How To Elope: A kickass guide to planning an epic and adventurous elopement -



How To Elope: A kickass guide to planning an epic and adventurous elopement



December 21, 2020


Valerie Savercool


How to plan an elopement

Does the thought of having a big, traditional wedding make you want to run the other way? If so,  great news! You’re in good hands, friend. We love helping couples plan for a  wedding day that reflects their values, likes and dislikes, and everything that makes them, THEM. If you want a roadmap for how to plan a stress-free wedding day that you’ll enjoy from start to finish, keep reading. We’re going to lay out exactly how to elope and have the best day ever!


When people hear the word “elopement,” they may have an outdated idea of a couple running off  for a quick drive-through wedding in Vegas with an Elvis officiant. Boy, have elopements  changed since then. Nowadays, elopements can be as simple or as extravagant as you dream  them to be. When planning your elopement, you can incorporate the beautiful dress you’ve  always dreamed of, an epic location or venue, lush florals that you’ve pinned on Pinterest, and so  much more. Or perhaps you want your elopement to be a simple backyard affair or you want  your elopement to take place where you and your partner spend a ton of time hiking. Whatever you’re envisioning, you can make possible through planning an elopement without all of the stress, drama, and details that often accompany a traditional wedding day.


When you’re in the early planning stages of eloping, the first thing to consider is where and  when you want to elope. This is the fun part! When thinking of the location and the date you  want to elope, consider these factors:

PLACES YOU LOVE. What places have a special place in your and your partner’s heart?  Perhaps it’s the place you met, where you spent your first weekend away together, where you go  hiking on the weekends, or where you’ve gone on vacation. Planning your elopement for a  location that has significance to you can make the day even more memorable.

PLACES YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO. Is there a place that you and your partner have  been dying to go? Maybe you’ve had Iceland at the top of your bucket list or you’ve always been  fascinated with Thai culture. Eloping is a great time to have the best day of your life and to visit a country or place you’ve always wanted to see. Not only will you have a very unique wedding  day experience with unforgettable photographs, but you can also save money by eloping and  having your honeymoon as part of the same trip.

WHAT SORT OF SCENERY DO YOU IMAGINE? If you closed your eyes and pictured your  wedding day, what would you see? Would you see lots of greenery in a forest, a neutral desert, an  urban cityscape, an ocean view, or something completely different? By imagining the scenery you want for your elopement, you will have an easier time narrowing down where you want to  elope.

Bride and groom watch a rainbow dancing in the mist of the waterfall at their elopement at Sahalie Falls in Oregon

WHAT YOU LOVE DOING TOGETHER. One of the best parts about eloping is that you can do  whatever you want on your wedding day without adhering to traditional wedding norms. This  includes incorporating activities that you love doing together. Are you outdoorsy and love  camping? Consider starting your elopement day by hiking to one of your favorite campsites,  having your ceremony and amazing photographs taken, and ending the night with dinner over the  fire and camping under the stars. Perhaps you and your partner love cooking and hosting fun  dinners with your friends where everyone brings a dish. Instead of having a traditional plated  meal, you could have everyone help make the food. Making time for something you love to do  on your wedding day will make the day much more fun and less stressful. I recommend making a  list of things you and your partner love to do and then thinking of how you could add one or  more of these things to your wedding day.

WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU WANT TO DO ON YOUR WEDDING DAY? How do you want  to spend your wedding day? My guess is that if you’ve made the decision to elope, you don’t  want to spend the day posing for boring photos or having the same mundane conversation over  and over again with people you hardly know. That’s what’s great about planning your elopement;  you can do whatever you want! Maybe you both love new, thrilling experiences that get your  adrenaline going. A helicopter ride over the glaciers in Alaska could be a fun activity to add to  your wedding day. Or maybe you want a relaxing day that focuses on yoga and meditation before  your ceremony. The options are literally endless and we would be happy to help you think of  some rad ideas.

WHAT SEASON/WEATHER DO YOU WANT? When determining what day you’ll plan to  elope, you’ll want to keep the weather in mind during that time of year. Whether you’re wanting  a snowy elopement or a warm day with sunshine will impact the time of year and the location  you choose.

DO I NEED A PERMIT? Most of the time you will need a permit to get married, especially if  you get married in a national or state park. These permits are not very costly, especially when  you compare them to the price of a wedding venue, and they’re definitely worth getting in order  to guarantee that you can have your elopement at the location of your dreams. We help our couples with obtaining permits.

David and Latoya share a kiss at sunset at their Columbia River Gorge elopement


Once you’ve decided on when and where to elope, you can begin hiring your wedding vendors.  When planning your elopement, you may want to include these vendors:

PHOTOGRAPHER. Choosing the right photographer for your elopement is so important  because you’ll be spending more time with them than anyone else on your wedding day (maybe even more time than you do with your partner). You’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable with your photographer, that you trust them with your wedding day, and that you  believe they can bring your vision to life. We believe in connection, inclusivity, and  environmentalism and we strive to connect our couples to other vendors who share the same  values.

OFFICIANT. While the officiant is usually only at your wedding day for the short ceremony portion, they are a critical vendor to have if you want a ceremony that feels a little traditional. But know – you don’t need a formal officiant to elope! You can have your ceremony be just the two of you (and do something like read letters to one another). Bonus fact – we are able to sign as your officiant or witnesses!

FLORIST. A florist can create any bouquets or boutonnieres that you want for your elopement as  well as centerpieces or an arch installation if you’re including rental pieces in your elopement.  By including florals in your elopement, you can give your day more of the vibe that you’re  wanting such as boho, rustic, tropical, etc.

CATERER. If you’re planning to have a meal provided on your wedding day, hiring a catering  service or chef can help.

RENTALS. You can hire a rental company if you want any pieces like an arch, tables, chairs, etc.

TRAVEL + LODGING. When planning your elopement, ideally you will want to find lodging  that is close to your ceremony site. Remember that you don’t have to go the traditional route of  staying in a hotel. This is your day! You can stay in an Airbnb, a cabin, a hostel, a yurt, or even in a tiny home!


You’ve chosen your awesome location and your date, but what do you wear for your elopement?  As with all of your elopement planning, you should choose your wedding attire based off of what  YOU feel best in. If you want to wear a big, ballroom gown with high heels, do it! Or if a jumpsuit is more your scene, go for it! And remember, white is not a requirement. This day is  about you and how you want to remember it. If you’re elopement is more on the adventurous  side, however, you will want to dress comfortably for it. You’ll want to wear hiking boots, pants that stretch, and light materials. If you have formal wedding attire that you want to wear on your adventurous elopement, you can always pack it and change once you reach the ceremony site.


During the planning process, you’ll want to create a timeline for your elopement so that you and  your guests know what to expect, to ensure that you’ll have enough time for everything you want  to do, and so that you hire your vendors for the correct amount of time. Here are some things to consider when making your elopement timeline:

DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A FIRST LOOK? A First Look is a dedicated time for the couple to  see each other for the first time on their wedding day. There are many benefits to having a First  Look such as getting to see your partner’s reaction to how beautiful you look on your wedding  day without everyone else staring at you guys, you will both get to actually talk and touch each  other when seeing each other for the first time unlike if you waited for the ceremony to see each other, and it also gives more time for portraits.

SUNRISE VS. SUNSET. Golden hour is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, and is  the best time of day for taking photos. As such, you’ll want to have your elopement either around  sunrise or sunset. The lighting is different for both sunrise and sunset; at sunrise you’ll have a  softer light whereas at sunset the light will be a bit more contrasted. Both are beautiful and are  ideal for photographing. If you choose to elope at sunrise and are planning an adventurous  elopement that might include hiking or something of the sort, you will be arriving to your  location in the dark so you’ll want to keep that in mind and bring flashlights with you.

HOW MUCH TIME FOR HIKING? With adventurous elopements where you plan to hike,  you’ll want to budget time for that into your timeline. We budget 1 hour per mile so you won’t be sweaty and to ensure plenty of time for photo stops along the way.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ALL DAY OR MULTI-DAY COVERAGE. One of the cool  things about eloping is that you don’t have to adhere to the traditional 6, 8, or 10-hour packages  that a normal wedding follows. Your elopement can be as short or as long as you want and there  are so many benefits to having an all day or multi-day elopement. With both an all day or multi day elopement, you will have a lot of time for activities, your guests will have more time to do the things they want to do, you’ll have more time with your guests AND still a ton of time  together as a couple, and you’ll have this entire experience documented. When the food is eaten, the flowers have dried up, and your dress has been put away, you’ll have your photos to look back on to remember this amazing time in your lives.


Your elopement day is finally here! You have one job today: throw out everyone else’s expectations and have fun!


Your elopement has come and gone. Now what? You’ll want to return the signed forms from  your marriage license to your county’s Marriage License Bureau to make things official. If  you’re able, you should take the next couple of days to enjoy your new marriage! Enjoy these next few magical days together and soak it in.

Brennan holds the bouquet while leading Zoraya along the lake shore at Waldo lake for their kayaking elopement


  1. Decide where you want to elope.
  2. Decide when you want to elope.
  3. Hire your vendors, starting with your photographer.
  4. Book your travel and lodging.
  5. Choose your wedding attire.
  6. Make a timeline for the day.
  7. It’s your elopement day — enjoy yourselves!


We can’t wait to get started helping you make all your wedding dreams come true. With 3 years of practice helping guide couples in crafting their perfect wedding day experience, we’ve got all the tools you need to make your dreams a reality. We’re ready to help you pick the best, unique location, connect you with local vendors, and create an adventure-filled and stress-free day. All you have to do is have an amazing time together and get married! We can’t wait to be your elopement photographer and wander with you.

Check out our elopement packages here.

  1. Sydney says:

    Such a good guide for couples looking to elope and how to!

  2. This blog post has it all! It’s a great resource for your couples to use when planning an elopement! Great job! Beautiful images as well!

  3. Such helpful information for any couple looking to plan an epic elopement! Also, I adore the image of the couple in the water, so much fun!

  4. liz koston says:

    OMG!!!! Gorgeous! These photos are epic! And the blog is so helpful and informative. You rock!

  5. Leah says:

    Such a great guide and gorgeous photos!

  6. Aimee Flynn says:

    This is GREAT. Super thorough- this is a great resource for couples planning their elopement. And the photos are stunning!

  7. Natalie says:

    Such a comprehensive guide! This will be so helpful for couples deciding to elope.

  8. Maaike Mayor says:

    Such an awesome guide! Great work! 🙂

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