In the past, an elopement involved running away in secret to get married. But that is not the case these days. Today, elopements are intentional, authentic, and meaningful celebrations that involve exchanging vows in epic locations. Elopements are a wedding day where you can celebrate both your love for one another as well as the amazing world we live in. This guide will go over location suggestions, example elopements, what to wear, and guest counts.
Choosing a Location
Choosing a location can be the most exciting and most overwhelming part of eloping. There’s just so many options! Here are some questions to ask yourselves to help guide you, as well as some of my favorite elopement locations.
QUESTIONS TO HELP GUIDE YOUR LOCATION CHOICE:
Is there a location that is special to us? Or do we want to go some place completely new?
Is the ceremony location itself the most important location, or do we want to go some place with a quaint or exciting town to explore?
Do we want to be super secluded and have a place all to ourselves, or are we ok sharing our location with other park visitors?
Do we want to hike? Or be able to drive up to a location?
Do we want to incorporate fun getting ready photos in an airbnb?
Are we traveling from sea level to high altitude? Will we need a day to adjust?
How many guests are we having? And are they able to walk on uneven terrain?
Our Favorite Elopement Locations
Rocky Mountain National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Dead Horse Point State Park
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
White Sands National Park
Pecos National Monument
Saguaro National Park
Yosemite National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Sunset Cliffs in San Diego
Sequoia National Park
Death Valley National Park
San Francisco City Hall
The Big Island
What to Wear
It’s your wedding day, and you get to wear whatever you want, right? Well, yes, but we also have to be safe and comfortable while braving the elements, so let’s go over some of my suggestions.
Elopements typically involve activity, so wearing a dress that you can move around in is important! Make sure you can hike , sit, step up on rocks, move your arms, etc. If you want a dress that really blows in the wind, then having a bottom made of silk chiffon is important!
Since we’ll be walking on rocks, cliff edges, and rough terrain, having shoes that handle all that is very important! Hiking boots are a must, and maybe you don’t have to wear them the whole time, but having them available to you is important. This goes for guys dress shoes as well, which are notorious for being very slick and lacking any grip.
Veils are gorgeous for photo ops, but they often get caught on surrounding shrubs and sticks. I would bring one for a few epic photos, but I wouldn’t plan on wearing it the whole time.
Depending on where you will be and what time of year, it may be cold. Especially in Colorado, even in the summer, if you are on a mountain top there is a chance to be freezing. My advice is to bring leggings just in case to wear under your dress. Guys can also bring long underwear to wear under their pants if they want. But definitely bring some kind of cover up if your dress does not have long sleeves. You don’t necessarily need to wear it all the time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I think of elopements as having less than 10 guests, and an intimate wedding having over 10 guests, but that’s just semantics. Whether or not you want guests is completely up to you! I’ve photographed elopements where it was just me and the couple, and I’ve photographed elopements (or intimate weddings) with 30 guests.
Having more guests will limit the locations where you can elope. More guests mean more cars that need parked, more space at the ceremony site, and often times includes guests that can’t walk very far on uneven terrain. Despite the fact that guests will limit the location, I think it’s your wedding day and you’re allowed to have whoever you want there! Just make sure to reach out so we can plan.
For the couples that end up having more than ten guests, I recommend one of two things. Either having a rehearsal the day before and showing everyone where to stand (trust me, having 30 people arrive in a field with no chairs makes everything very chaotic and stressful). Or renting chairs so there is no confusion when your guests arrive. A rehearsal is also important since a lot of locations don’t have an address, so it’s important your guests know where they are going and don’t get lost. A little preparation the day before will mean smooth sailing on your wedding day, which is what eloping is all about!