Our main goal as elopement photographers+videographers is to rock your world. With our knowledge of the perfect, secret little spots that will make your elopement absolutely magical, years of helping and capturing couples elope, and our own elopement, we’ve collected a few questions we think it’d be helpful to answer here. Kiiiiinda like an FAQ page, but we’re calling this the ‘top 10 questions eloping couples ask’ guide instead. Enjoy!
What is an adventure elopement?
We define an adventure elopement as anything outside of the traditional wedding setting that is well…. outside! Part of the adventure is the journey getting to the epic place where you’ll say “I do” in the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.
Would you enjoy kayaking in the clear waters of Fiji, rock climbing in Boulder, or getting up close and personal with the volcanoes of Iceland? You can have an intimate celebration overlooking your dream travel location, checking off your bucket list, AND marrying your honey! You could plan a full day elopement with just the two of you, a multi-day elopement in a different country, or even a micro wedding if you’d prefer to have a few friends and family join you.
Here are a few questions eloping couples ask to help you dream about your elopement day:
What is the overall meaning of your day? Is this day just for the two of you? Do others play a role in your day? What does the scenery look like? Are you in the mountains, by a lake, on a cliff, in a forest, or in front of a waterfall? How much time are you able to use for the trip? Is the elopement part of a larger trip or combined with your honeymoon? How much time are you able to take off work? Will it just be the two of you, or will you include others? What does the ceremony look like? Are there important cultural or religious traditions you’d like to incorporate into the ceremony? What do you want to wear? A dress or a suit? Something more casual? Are you wearing shoes – or not? If it’s cold, will you need to wear extra layers? What footwear do you need? What activities do you see yourself doing? Are there activities you enjoy doing together or ones that you’ve never tried before, like hiking, stargazing, stand-up paddleboarding?
What do I wear?
What.ever.you.want. 🙂 If you haven’t quite noticed by now, eloping means you get to do whatever the fuck you want. Not sure where to start with choosing your wedding attire? We’ve got you.
Wedding dress: More than anything else – it is essential that you feel absolutely beautiful, comfortable, and happy on your wedding day. There are no rules. Whatever you love that best fits “you” and who you are will be perfect.
The best questions eloping couples ask are for hiking elopements. The best idea is to pack your dress away in a backpack and change when we get to the ceremony spot. Consider getting a lightweight gown style dress and avoid heavy materials like corsets with boning or huge amounts of tulle in a puffy skirt.
Suit: Pick something that best fits your style and the environment. Make sure you give yourself room to wear an extra layer underneath if you need the extra warmth in cold locations. Move around like you would if you were hiking and lifting your significant other to ensure the best fit.
Footwear: Good solid footwear with actual tread is very important when walking and if you’ll be hiking on your elopement day. There may be some very epic photo spots on top of rocks & boulders that will require good stable footwear with tread. I highly discourage heels of any kind and also strongly discourage men’s dress shoes that are completely smooth on the bottom.
For a longer hiking elopement, I highly suggest wearing the best pair of hiking boots you can find (make sure you break them in if they’re new!). You can keep them on for your photos or pack a different pair of shoes in your pack to change into. If you opt for changing shoes – they still need to have tread!
Layers: If you’re traveling for your elopement, you might want to pack a few layers. Here’s what we recommend:
Under wedding dresses: I highly suggest wearing leggings, long underwear, yoga pants, etc. Plan for more than one layer depending on the time of year at your location. If the top layer is nude, it blends in very well for photos. Amazon has a lot of options for nude fleece tights.
Outer layers: The weather can be unpredictable, and it is always a good idea to have outer layering options! A packable rain shell to block wind and/or unexpected rain. And something warm – depending on your season and location, this may be a down jacket, a fur wrap, a chunky sweater, or a wool shawl. Brands I love: Fjallraven, Patagonia, Arcteryx.
How do I tell my parents we’re eloping?
This is one of the questions eloping couples ask that we get all the time. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: your elopement day is YOUR elopement day! You get to decide who you’ll celebrate with. Whether you have a few people, no people, or a micro wedding, we recommend letting your family and favorite people know. Many times, our loved ones have dreamt about this day just like we have! Letting them know ahead of time gives them space to process, support you, and enjoy your stories to tell after you’ve eloped.
We recommend telling your parents and/or loved ones as soon as you’ve made your decision to elope. Sit them down over dinner or coffee and break the news face to face. If an in-person meet-up isn’t feasible, FaceTime works too! As tempting as it may be to share the news over text or social media (avoid this at all costs!!!), your loved ones deserve the love and respect of being told in person. This way you’re able to make your intentions crystal clear, avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings and allow them the ability to ask any questions they may have. Try to be as sensitive as possible during this initial conversation and be prepared for some potential tears.
Once you’ve told your parents, there are lots of ways to keep people included if they’re itching to help! For example, you could share the details of your day with your friends and family and let them get involved. Between booking travel arrangements and lodging to attire and honeymoon plans, there are many areas where you could enlist their help and expertise.
Eloping also doesn’t have to mean giving up on your favorite wedding traditions! Take your mom and girl’s dress shopping with you, have your friends throw a bachelor/bachelorette party, take something old, new, borrowed, and blue from your loved ones, and incorporate that into your day. Another one of our favorites is having people write the two of you letters to read on your big day.
Lastly, if you’re having a celebratory reception after your elopement, a video or slideshow of your images will make your guests feel included and a part of your day! The smallest things can really make a difference in making your friends and family feel included.
How do you scout the locations we want?
It all starts with the questionnaire so we can find out what is important to you for your elopement. You’ll get a list of customized location options, resources to help you plan, and vendor recommendations. We’ll dream and scheme! We’re available for advice, jumping ideas around, and talking through logistics.
Then, we spend literally hours pouring over your questionnaire to get you custom location ideas, permit info, local vendor recommendations, and activities that are fun for you. We’ll send you all the resources, guides, and checklists so you can dream while we work on the details.
Do you have any locations you give discounts on?
We love when we get this question because the answer is always yes!! We call these locations our ‘bucket list locations’, and we can’t wait to give you a discount if you’re looking to elope in…
The Italian Dolomites
We can’t wait to explore these incredible locations with you! Let us know about your dream elopement and we’ll start planning together!
Can I have people attend my elopement?
You sure can! Do you want your siblings to be there when you say your vows as your witnesses? Or maybe you have a shared special person you want to act as your officiant? Do you want both of those plus your parents and a few friends? Depending on the location, you can make it happen. Knowing if you WANT to have people attend your elopement is the most important part of knowing if they can attend. It’s one of the top questions eloping couples ask. For example, if you want three people to join you but one of them cannot hike a rigorous path, this will help us determine which hike you’ll choose for your adventure elopement! Or, if you want a certain number of people to join you, we’ll need to check with the National Park guidelines for permits. We’ll discuss this during your intake so we know how to plan accordingly!
Can I elope in the mountains on an epic hike?
Yes, yes, a resounding YES!! This is our without-a-doubt favorite way to help people elope. Of all the questions eloping couples ask, this is definitely a big one. To be surrounded by nature, to have summited a hike, to overlook the valley, to marry your best friend, you can absolutely do this. Here are a few of our favorite US Mountains to hike and elope in:
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Glacier National Park, Montana
Lake Tahoe, California
Mount Denali, Alaska
Maroon Bells, Colorado
North Cascades Mountains, Washington
Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Yosemite National Park, California
Did you know there are different permits for National vs. State Parks? And that lots of hiking locations require a permit? But not ALL hikes need a permit? For example, you can day-hike through Yosemite National Park without a permit (unless hiking to Half Dome), but a wilderness permit is required year-round for backpacking, overnight climbing, or any other overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. There are also different rules for State Parks versus National Parks (ie: you can keep a pup on a leash at State Parks, but you must leave your furry friends home at National Parks). This is something that can be super overwhelming for couples, BUT we actually love to nerd out on permits. Truly – we’ve yet to be somewhere without the proper permit – we’ve got you!
How do we spend 8-12 hours eloping?
This is one of our favorite questions eloping couples ask. Whether you’re looking for a two-day elopement experience (think: two 8 hour days of documentation, or mix it up and do a 12 hour day and a 4 hour day), a full day elopement experience (up to 12 hours of coverage), an 8-hour elopement experience, or a partial day elopement experience (up to 4 hours of coverage), we’re here to help you fill your day with adventure bliss. You waking up, and eating breakfast. Next, hopping in the Jeep with the top down, driving to the trailhead blasting your favorite tunes. Getting your pack on and carrying your wedding clothes and flowers. Lacing up those hiking boots. The journey to the top! Saying your vows, putting a ring on it (cue Beyonce dance) – it’s really here! It’s actually happening! Your first champagne toast, your first dance under the starlit sky. Then reliving the day sitting by the campfire as you cuddle up under a blanket. You don’t want the moment to end.
In case you’re worried you won’t fill the time, here are 100 things you can do on your elopement day, and here’s an example of an elopement timeline!
Hour 1: you get ready (separately or together – it’s your damn day you do what you want!). Take your time while we grab some shots of your dress hanging in the sunlight, his tie, and your rings. Plus, all other little details you’ll want to remember.
Hour 1 – 2.5: can’t wait to have your first look outside your picturesque AirBnB? We’ll capture the magic, tears… that. look. Already hanging out together? Keep doing you, we’ll capture the sweet moments you enjoy together as you take a walk, cheers with your favorite drinks, or snuggle with your pups.
Hour 2.5 – 3: time for adventure! We hop in the car and drive up a gorgeous mountain pass to our hike.
Hour 3 – 5: we start the climb and you two take your time soaking in viewpoints and enjoying snacks along the way. We’ll dedicate some time to spontaneity and make sure you two are able to take your time and enjoy yourselves. While you’ve been focusing on the hike, each other, and the views, we’ve been capturing it all with our handy backpack system. We’re about two hours from the sunset at this point and our eyes are on the lookout for a perfect elopement spot.
Hour 5 – 7: then you find it. That perfect spot to say your vows. The light gets really golden and beautiful, the air is crisp, you pull out your vows. You look into each other’s eyes. Next, YOU GET MARRIED! The rings are on, we’ve captured your sweet moments together. Now, you soak it all in as a married couple. After a bit of alone time together, some exploring around the ceremony area, and enjoying the sunset, we head back down.
Hour 7 – 8: time to put on that headlamp and hike to the bottom of the trail where we’ll take some pictures with the stars.
Hour 8 – 11: You love birds are famished at this point from all the adventuring so we drive to an awesome nearby restaurant. You have your first drink, cheers, celebrate over dinner and do your first dance in the foyer with some random music because you don’t care, you’re just having fun. Or maybe you’ve preselected your first dance song and you dance under the stars, ending your magical day with a magical moment.
You can check out more elopement timelines here!
When do we eat?
As often as you’d like is really what we want to say. This is one of the top questions eloping couples ask because… We all gotta eat. Eating during your elopement, regardless if you’re adventuring or hanging out in a backyard, is so important. Eating helps your body stay present, keeps your energy up for your favorite day, and if you are adventuring, is pivotal for hiking to and from your elopement ceremony. We recommend eating something in the morning while you get ready (mimosas don’t count, though they accompany many delicious bites!) with your favorite glass of something special. Plan to bring snacks no matter what your day looks like. You could have a nervous stomach that a quick little bite could help settle or be famished from your hike. We’ve seen it all – snacks are clutch!! We’ll help you plan when you have actual meals along the way – sometimes we plan for a picnic, other times a pub crawl with bites and a meal along the way. It really depends on where your elopement will take place! Just remember: eat something in the morning, bring snacks, plan for a bite to eat midday, and plan a feast at the end of the day.
What are the best locations to elope?
You know you best. So, while we can list a ton of elopement locations here (which we do below), we really want to talk to YOU about what you want and all your ideas! Then we can make magic happen. Your ideas could even just be requests like, ‘we want to get married in the mountains’, ‘we want to have a city adventure and rent scooters at some point’, ‘we want to rent an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere and hike then camp then hike back’, ‘we want to go to Ireland and elope on an island’, ‘we want to ride bikes for 50 miles to a remote destination for our ceremony and then have brunch’. It’s important to start with envisioning your elopement so you can narrow down where you’ll elope.
Most of the soul-on-fire photos you see on our site are from locations our couples didn’t know existed before they hired us! Okay so, of course, we’re going to list some epic locations for you:
Oh and don’t worry – we’ll help you take care of custom location/permit info, vendor recommendations, personalized activities, provide planning resources and a timeline built just for you two! One of the best questions eloping couples ask is ‘where’s the location where I want to commit myself to my other half?’
Let us know about your dream elopement – we can’t wait to connect with you!