How to travel for an elopement.

Are you ready to elope?! Of course you are, it’s the most special way to commit to your partner. An adventure AND the start of the forever chapter all rolled together! Yes please! As your photographers who have been around a few times, we come to you with all our tips for how to travel for an elopement. While some of our tips are geared towards an international elopement there are plenty of great places to elope in the US. Alaska and Kauai are top of the list if you want to adventure out of the continental US but still have an easy time eloping legally. We get a lot of questions about a Yosemite elopement, and we love all things national park! Check out our 2024 guide on how to elope in a National Park.

How to travel for an elopement – set your travel mood.

  1. First, let’s talk about WHY you’ll love traveling to get married. In our resource guide, The Meaning of Travel – how travel makes us better people, we decode the enigma wrapped in the riddle of the “meaning of travel.” That’s right, that irresistible urge to hop on planes, trains, or automobiles, and chase the horizon is an essential part of what it means to travel. Why? Because this is the world we live in when we decide to throw restraint out the window and embrace the singular thrill of travel! Also a thrill? Middle fingers up high to anyone who tries to tell you to have a traditional wedding when you are ready to travel for an elopement!
  2. Go against the crowds. We have SEEN the places TikTok thinks you should go – Bannf, Cancun, Aruba, etc. Great, beautiful, but where else can you go? In our opinion, the downside of elopement is if you go somewhere so popular it doesn’t feel unique and special to you. By going somewhere less trendy, but equally AWESOME, you’ll be around fewer people, with lower prices, and more authentic experiences. For example, in our resource guide Where to Elope on Lake Garda we break down ALL the different places you can check out, not just the tourist hot spot! If you are OBSESSED with somewhere uber touristy (we get it) consider going on the shoulder season. We’re all about how to travel for an elopement the smart way.
  3. Once you get to your travel location, we recommend stopping to enjoy the moment once you’re there. Screw unpacking your bags right away! Throw them in the room, and make your way over to the nearest cafe for a glass of wine and to observe what’s happening all around you! You did it, you made it, everything else can wait for you and your love to soak in the goodness.
How to travel for an elopement and keep your dress protected.

How to travel for an elopement with your dress & suit

  1. That gorgeous dress! We MUST get it to the final location when planning how to travel for an elopement. We recommend taking it on the plane with you in a garment bag, not checked. A garment bag or suit bag is a container of flexible material, usually used to ease transporting suits, jackets or clothing in general, and also to protect clothes from dust by hanging them inside with their hangers and then on a closet bar.
  2. That handsome suit! Once again, the best way to travel with a suit is by using a garment. If the garment bag isn’t an option we found a great resource on how to master the fold and pack a suit in a suitcase.
How to travel for an elopement and bring a piece of home with you/

In the Suitcase

  1. Slip letters in your suitcase, Dear John style. Ask a few key people in your life to write letters for your elopement. You can read them before your vows or space them out so you read one each mile of your adventure! Hearing their voices inside your head makes it feel like they are there. This also gives you and your partner something fun to do when adventuring to your ceremony location. For more tips check out How to Elope with Friends and Family. Even if your family isn’t physically with you!
  2. If you find great alcohol abroad, you’ll need to pack it in your luggage on the way home. The vision here is to pop a bottle of something special while you’re away and pick up a second bottle to bring home. You can share it on your first anniversary or another special occasion! You can also purchase smaller bottles and bring a few back with you. Packing  alcohol in your checked luggage to take on an airplane is likely the easiest, safest, and most affordable way. Planes, trains, and champagne has all the best tips on packing alcohol in your luggage.
How to travel for an elopement and keep your rings safe!

What to pack in your carry on

  1. What’s in your carry on? Travel & Leisure says it best, “always pack a day bag if you’re checking into a hotel early. With the huge demand for hotel stays at the moment, many properties can no longer accommodate early check-ins, but you are always welcome to use the facilities (go to the pool or hit the beach) while they store your big bags until your room is ready.” This is also helpful if your luggage gets lost. Sending you all the vibes that it WON’T happen, but doesn’t hurt to keep your undergarments and toothbrush in the bag just in case! 
  2. Wedding rings. Okay partly us being overly cautious, but YOU DO NOT WANT TO LOSE THESE! Keep your rings with you in your carry on bag. Pack the ring box in a rolled-up sock for extra padding and keep it in the bottom of your carry on! 
  3. Bring snacks. Taking care of your body, especially during international travel, is so important which is why we like to bring our own snacks instead of relying on airport food. Nuts and seeds top the list. Whole fruits are good too, for international flights you’ll want to avoid cutting them up before you go as they won’t last the whole flight. Bring your reusable water bottle to fill once you get through security and to use throughout your trip.
How to travel for an elopement.

How do you plan a destination elopement?

  1. Make plans well in advance. Book hotels early and always purchase travel insurance. By insuring your trip, you take a lot of the stress out of travel. Flight cancellations and delays are more and more common these days! We are currently booking 2025! If this grand adventure is what you want, get locked in NOW! You don’t need to know the location before you book, we are the location matchmakers for a reason!
  2. Be smart about ticket prices. 6 weeks out is usually the best time to book flights for the price. I use Google Flights! You can book your rental car when you book your flights and you won’t have to pay until you pick it up.
How to travel for an elopement, passport and rings are at the top of the list!

How to travel for an elopement legally

  1. Bring your passport. All foreign countries require a passport! If you are legally marrying in the states first, hold off on changing your name until after you are back. Receiving a new social security card and using that to get your passport can take MONTHS. 
  2. Bring all the documents needed to legally marry. This looks different depending on what country you are eloping in. For Italy (one of the easier places to elope!) They require a valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, evidence of the termination of any previous marriage. Affidavit or “Dichiarazione Giurata” sworn to before a U.S. consular officer accredited in Italy, stating that there is no legal impediment to your marriage and an atto Notorio. This is a declaration, stating that according to the laws to which you are subject in the United States, there is no obstacle to your marriage.
How to travel for an elopement.

For some of the more popular locations to elope, we break down the ease for you. France and Spain are nearly impossible to elope, Netherlands is ACTUALLY impossible, Iceland is ranked medium, and Scotland is, dare we say, easy peazy?! Check out our Eloping in Scotland – American’s Guide for more information if that’s your voyage! This take is ONLY considering if you and your partner are both American. If that’s not the case it may be easier. You don’t have to worry about all that fuss though, if this is what you want, as your elopement photographers, we will do the leg work for you.

Lastly, be a good fucking human. 

  1. We are BIG on Conscious Tourism. Bring your reusable water bottle. Pack a reusable bag so when you are out shopping locally you do not use plastic bags. Pack it in, pack it out wherever you are going and with anything and everything you bring with you! As always, practice Leave No Trace Principles on your elopement day.

To quote Danny Rojas from Ted Lasso, but put my own spin on it: “Travel is life, coach!” When your adventurous spirit can’t be contained, don’t ignore it! OH and also! Think about how you want to showcase your photos – We create a photo album every year of our adventures! It’s the best way to look back and really cherish your memories. Hint, hint! We do adventure sessions worldwide! Contact us to make your travel easy and your adventure EPIC!

How to travel for an elopement - avoid crowds, book your photographer, carryon vs checked luggage.
How to travel for an elopement, 15 tips for adventurous couples.
How to travel for an elopement - how to pack, where to go, getting deals.

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