Now that you know you want to elope, what things are you gonna need to budget for? Specifically for my brand, I love hiking elopements, so this blog is catered a bit more towards a hiking elopement or an adventure wedding. Each category listed will go into a little bit of detail for elopements. Most of the time you can find affordable options to make your elopement even more budget friendly! Let's get started!
Average Needs for a Hiking Elopement/Adventure Wedding:
Photographer and/or Videographer
I put this one first as this is probably the most important one. You need someone you trust to capture all the most important moments! Whether that be just a photographer (who also usually doubles as your wedding planner) or a photographer and videographer duo, you'll wanna make sure you vibe with them as they will be by your side the entire time, helping you along the way. Hire someone you get along with well, who is a good communicator, and someone that creates work you adore. Make sure you don't skip out on this one.
Whether the hike is shorter, or if it's longer and you want to change at the top, getting a dress that suits you is important! This doesn't mean you have to skip out on your dream dress either! For hiking, here's a few things to keep in mind. For one, lace doesn't wrinkle! So if you end up packing your dress in your hiking backpack, this is a great option. I personally love lace, and it's also lightweight and can fold up smaller.
You also might want to think about getting a dress that you can move in. A dress built for movement/dancing will allow you to take big steps while climbing, even if we are just walking around to get some photo variety. And, if there's some wind, having a flowy dress will look so majestic in photos, just saying! ;)
There are also tons of affordable dress options out there! You can also go to a bridal shop just to try on some dresses, so you can see which style you end up liking best! Bridal shops often have sale racks, and you can get a dress affordable! Check out some places online as well, like Amazon, Lulu's and ASOS.
Same thing applies here! For grooms, it is usually more simple. But this is your day, so make it unique if you like! You can totally get a custom suit, or if your elopement has a theme, go all out for it!
You can also keep it super simple by wearing a suit you already own. It is up to you!
It may be harder to find an officiant who is gonna hike with you up to a remote location. I'm not saying they don't exist, but there are some ways to get around this is if you are hiking longer, or if you want it to just be the two of you.
1) You can have a legal ceremony beforehand, and just have a commitment ceremony at the location of your choice later (or vice versa). That way you can be legally married beforehand, and go up somewhere special to get photos done and start your adventures together. You can say your vows at your commitment ceremony, as well as invite family and guests if you wish.
2) Someone you know can get ordained online and you can have them officiate, and have a legal ceremony at the location you want. This allows you to have everything done on the same day. Although this way is harder because depending on where you get married at, sometimes there is a waiting period for marriage licenses, and other paperwork. Research state marriage laws where you are getting married to see which of these options is best suited to you.
Where I'm based here in Idaho, you can get married the same day you get your marriage license. And if you are eloping somewhere where there's not much hiking involved, it can easily be done all in the same day. Check out my other blog post here about how to elope in Idaho!
I personally love photographing bridals with a flower bouquet! I think they add so much to the photos, and they can serve as a souvenir from your wedding day later if you save them, and preserve them. Since you're eloping, you don't need flowers for every table, every bridesmaid, etc, like you do for traditional weddings. In other words, the budget for flowers is smaller. So you can either still hire a florist to make you one bouquet and one boutonniere, or you can totally DIY your flower bouquet yourself! For my wedding, we did all the flowers ourselves! We went to places like Fred Meyer and Albertsons, and just picked the flowers we liked! I also hear that Trader Joes has some amazing flowers for super affordable! This way you can customize it to your liking, and you can say that you made your own wedding bouquet! There are tons of videos online on how to make your own, and how to make them secure. Also, flower bouquets look super cute sticking out of your hiking backpack!
Food is always a necessity, am I right? But for real, you need some good food to keep you fueled on your wedding day. Bring lots of snacks that are high in protein to keep you going and energized, and don't forget water! But say once you reach your destination, you want a good meal after an afternoon of exploring and adventuring. You could bring some dehydrated food. They pack light and turn into hearty meals later. And what about cake? There are such things as mini cakes that are easier to travel with. Or if that's too much and you want that back at home, you can also pack other small treats like cookies or cupcakes!
If you are choosing to travel somewhere new for your elopement, travel is another important factor. If you are just driving, consider gas money and mileage. Since elopements are usually more affordable than traditional weddings, perhaps you can use that original budget to elope somewhere amazing! By doing this, you can also turn your elopement destination into your honeymoon destination, and just extend your stay since you will already be there! How memorable would that be?! Another travel cost to keep in mind is also flying your dream photographer with you to the destination. Unless the photographer you want is already at your destination, you'll have to keep in mind you also will need to pay for their travel as well.
Once you arrive at your destination, you'll have to decide how long you are staying for. Maybe you are gonna stay in a tent and wake up early the next morning to hike, or if we are taking photos into the evening, staying in a tent or a camper that night, then come home the next day. Since this is your day, there are endless options that are up to you to decide. But for example, if you want to stay in a resort or a hotel in to the national park you're eloping in, you'll factor in the cost there. Also, while planning, be sure to call ahead to make sure they have a room available for you for your dates.
Some national parks require permits to allow you to elope there. Usually permits are pretty inexpensive. Be sure to go to their website and look for special use permits. Most of the time, you will probably have to call for specific information about your plan to elope. If there is any wait time, make sure you keep that in mind as well while planning your elopement or adventure wedding.
Hair and/or Makeup Artist
This category is also entirely up to you! If you don't have the greatest hair or makeup skills, hiring a HMUA will ensure you look amazing on your day! Or, if you prefer to keep things simple, you can always do your own hair and makeup as well. Or take some time at the location and touch it up there. Or, you can do what I did, and hire a MUA while I did my own hair. For hiking elopements, I would probably recommend doing your own, unless the ceremony site is close and you have time to get your hair and/or makeup done beforehand. It's whatever you would like, and whatever would make you feel the most confident!
This is also something important to consider. You'll want to make sure you have the proper hiking equipment to get you to your destination safely and comfortably. Now I won't go into this in very fine detail, but I will list a some basics that will help along the way!
1) A good hiking backpack is a must! Get one that has hip straps so all the weight in your bag isn't on your shoulders. 2) Wool socks is another one. This will help keep your feet dry and cool, but also warm if it's colder outside. 3) To go along with that, a good pair of hiking boots that are comfortable and fit you well. Maybe try and wear them a few times beforehand so you're not breaking them in for the first time while we hike, because that will usually end in painful blisters. 4) Hand and foot warmers are a life saver if it's cold outside as well.
5) Headlamps will be super helpful if we start a hike early, when it's still a little dark out. 6) Rain ponchos, for in the event of any rain, you'll be glad you had it to keep you dry. 7) Bear spray, bug spray, and sunscreen. Those are self explanatory haha!
Just because you're eloping, doesn't mean you have to skip out on the invitations or décor! Bring some fairy lights to make your elopement look that much more magical. You can also find some super cute "We Eloped!" signs on Etsy, or you can make your own! This is a cute way to announce that you eloped too, and you can use that photo to invite people to a later reception.
If you want to have a bigger celebration later with more friends and family, having a separate reception later is perfect! This way, you get the time you want with the people that matter most at the elopement, and you can spend more time with more friends and family later.
Even if you have guests with you on your elopement day, you will want to keep in mind catering for them. This can include extra food, enough blankets, places to sit/stand, enough places to park (carpooling would be ideal), and maybe even some things from the hiking supplies category. You want your guests to have a good time and to be comfortable as well!
And there you have it! I hope this guide helped you to think of some things you may not have considered, and helped you to plan out some more of your elopement! In case you missed my last blog post about how to start planning your elopement, you can check that out here!
"The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go."