Did you decide to elope instead of having a traditional wedding? I'm so excited for you! I think eloping is the most meaningful way to get married! If you were to ask any other couple that eloped, I bet they would say the same thing! I decided to create a list of things for you to consider when you're eloping to help you out! I want to go over things to help you figure out what spot would be best for you, along with the technical stuff such as permits and marriage laws, as well as a few important things to keep in mind!
Picking your location is probably one of the first things you'll check off your list. What kind of weather do you picture surrounding yourself with? Are you summery, warm weather people? Or do you feel yourself the most in the snow?
Next question: do you want to get married at a place with a view? For example, the top of a mountain? Or do you dream of running barefoot on the beach? Or do you love the warm tones of the desert and it's one of a kind scenery? The thing with elopements is there are no limits! If you value experiences over things, this type of wedding is the way to go for you. You can incorporate your absolute favorite activities! You can pick your favorite place, or pick a place you've always wanted to visit! You can use this opportunity of eloping to check some things off of your bucket list! If you are the more adventurous type, that is. You can also stick closer to home if that means more to you! Either way, you can incorporate your family and closest friends, whether you choose an adventure of a lifetime, or a laid-back backyard elopement. So the next thing to consider when planning an elopement is accessibility.
Depending on your location and scenery you picked, you need to make sure it's accessible during the time of year you're wanting to get married. If you're wanting to elope on top of a mountain, for example, you need to make sure you can access it. Usually in Idaho, you have to wait at least until June to be able to hike to the top without snow, depending on the elevation. In other areas, you can also just take a helicopter ride to the top! That would make for a super fun and memorable activity for your wedding day!
Another thing to keep in mind is, who are you inviting. if anyone? Elopements can include up to 25 guests of your choice, or it can also just be the two of you! You want your guests to be able to get to where you want to be for your ceremony. So there's a couple ways to go about this. One way is to just find a pretty overlook location that you two can just go to for bridals and a first look. Then later in the day, you can find an easier spot to access for your friends and family so they can still have a part. Another way is to have a separate reception later, so you can have the best of both worlds! There are also such things as multi-day elopements. You can have the first day for the two of you to explore and hike around, or do whatever your favorite activities are. For example, if you love the outdoors, you can spend the day hiking, or kayaking, and enjoy the views together. Then the next day you can spend more time with your guests, having a stress free and more laid-back celebration!
This is one of the technical details that aren't a blast to figure out, but they are super important! If you are getting married in a national park, you will probably have to obtain a special use permit. You can just go online and get the phone number to call and get the exact permit you need. Be sure to check for state parks as well, and make sure you can obtain the permit in time for your wedding date.
Marriage Laws This is another super important detail to figure out! Depending on what state you are getting married in, you will have to see if the state requires a registered officiant, and/or witnesses. You also need to see if the marriage license is valid the same day or not. Make sure you bring all the needed paperwork and documents so you can acquire the license smoothly.
Hiring the Right Photographer
You may be wondering why this is a topic, but this is another important one because elopement photographers and traditional wedding photographers work differently. If you are eloping, keep in mind that the photographer is gonna be the only one around you all day. You will want to make sure you hire someone that can help you, and you'll want to be able to "vibe" with them as well. They are gonna help you in the planning process, so someone who is a good communicator is important. Also, as an adventure elopement photographer, I like to hike in my free time, and I research new spots for fun in my free time. I have a first aid kit in my hiking bag, and I have familiarized myself with Leave No Trace. These are important outdoor topics to know that a traditional wedding photographer might not know. We do our best to make sure the conditions are safe and do our best to keep you safe. Make sure you book with someone you can trust, while also having a great time with!
Some Things to Keep in Mind
I felt the need to include this because sometimes things just don't go according to plan. You can't change the weather the day you're planning to be outside all day. One way to combat this is to have a backup location. The best way to still have a great day is to keep an open mind, and go be carefree and go with the flow! We will all be working together to curate your dream wedding day, and we will figure it out! Usually some wind and rain add such an element of adventure to photos, and it's great for storytelling! You are having a memorable wedding day, and you get to start it off with a great adventure!
Be sure to check out my blog posts about elopements for more photos and information!