Asking myself “if I were eloping tomorrow, what would I do?” I get a lot of different elopement ideas in my head. Just to name a few, if I were eloping tomorrow I would:
Head to Alaska in the summertime. I would wake up for sunrise with my partner and have coffee and breakfast before getting ready. Following that, I would want to hike to a location in the mountains and have a ceremony with incredible views, somewhere I’ve never been before. To celebrate, we would go on a helicopter tour that ended with landing on a glacier and sharing some champagne. To end the day, I would book a romantic Airbnb, preferably one with a hot tub, and hire a private chef to make us an intimate dinner.
That sounds like a perfect day to me, but so does traveling to somewhere like Italy. Imagine having a ceremony at the Italian Dolomites at sunrise, followed by a gondola ride and a ton of carbs. I’m here for all of the pizza and pasta. Add in sightseeing in our wedding gear and a beautiful hotel room and I’m sold.
Now, these elopement ideas are brought to you by a single elopement photographer who has almost zero time for a boyfriend, but a girl can dream. The best part of elopements is that you don’t have to be tied to a venue or tradition. The options are absolutely endless, and this however can make it hard to start the planning process. So, let’s do some brainstorming and see what pops up in your head when you and your partner think about these variables.
Elopement Location Ideas
When you ask yourself “if I were eloping tomorrow” what is the very first thing you see? Are you surrounded by mountains? On a beach? In a different country? Choosing the type of scenery that speaks to you and your partner is a great place to start when narrowing down your location options and elopement ideas. Personally, I think picking the location is half of the battle. There are a few other questions to as yourselves when thinking about this. One of them is, do you want anyone there for your elopement? If it were me, I would want my closest friends (aka chosen family) present for my ceremony and reception the following day.
There is a lot of ways to include family in your elopement. If you’re thinking about this option, it might only be possible to do something close by or within your own country, since international travel and lodging can be pricey. Here are some options to think about when deciding on your location.
National Park Elopements
It’s no secret that the National Parks in the U.S. are beyond breathtaking. Some of my absolute favorites include Mt. Rainier, Grand Tetons, and Yosemite. If you’re interested in eloping at a National Park that you haven’t been to, you can pull up AllTrails and take a look at the different hikes throughout the park to get a feel for the landscape. Next, you can check out local hotels and Airbnbs to find the perfect place to stay. This helps get the juices flowing when thinking of different elopement ideas and locations.
National Parks have become an incredibly popular place for elopements, and generally speaking, have always attracted pretty large crowds. It’s possible to find hikes and locations in National Parks that aren’t as busy. Although, if you’re looking for something a lot more private, I would highly suggest checking out National Forests. National Forests are just as beautiful, and often times have way fewer visitors and foot traffic. Same as before, pull up AllTrails and start taking look around the National Forests that pique your interest. Some of my favorites are Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, Inyo National Forest in California, and the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho.
Some people might be reading this and be wondering “what the heck is BLM land?” BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau of Land Management oversees 247 MILLION acres. Their mission is to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” This land is oftentimes used for recreation and camping. This can be another incredible option for elopements if you’re seeking something totally unique and private. There’s BLM land everywhere, desert, mountains, mossy forests, you name it.
A lot of couples have been opting to combine their elopement with their honeymoon. Sometimes an easier question to ask yourself is “where would I want to have my honeymoon? to get some elopement ideas” If something specific strikes you, maybe this would also be an incredible spot for your elopement too! Or, maybe you just want to go on a grand new adventure together and go somewhere neither of you has ever been. Elopements in places such as Iceland and Bali have gotten very popular over the years. International elopements are incredibly adventurous and are a great fit for couples who love to travel. Beware, they can be a bit harder to plan and most friends and family likely won’t be able to be present.
Road Trip Elopement Ideas
This is one of my favorite elopement ideas and can be done within your local country or internationally. Imagine going on a road trip with your partner to destinations all over and exploring together until you get to your elopement location. Do this in your car, a rental vehicle in another country, or even rent out one of those spiffy converted vans for a more luxurious road trip. Book Airbnb’s throughout your trip if you want something a bit cozier. This is a great option for couples who want to incorporate their elopement with their honeymoon and go on a huge adventure together. Can I change my answer? If I were eloping tomorrow, I would do this.
Once you pick your location, the planning starts to fall in place a bit more easily. You can start researching your destination and see what activities the area has to offer that might be enjoyable to you. Wine tasting, hiking, helicopter tours, boat rides, winter sports, whatever it is the two of you like to do. Remember to consider guests if you plan on having them present. You can choose to include them for just a part of the day, or the entire day. Maybe even just for a reception the following day or that night.
Don’t forget to think about food. Personally, I am always thinking about food. Sharing a meal is very grounding and in my opinion a really beautiful part of an elopement day. With bigger traditional weddings, couples barely have time to eat the food they spent so much money on. When eloping, you don’t have to deal with this issue. You can have a fancy picnic, a private chef, cook together, or even make reservations somewhere and go out in your wedding gear. There’s this restaurant in Alaska that you take a tram up to, made up completely of floor-to-ceiling windows where you can see seven glaciers. Naturally, it’s called Seven Glaciers. A fine dining experience with a view can be the perfect way to end your intimate day, or even break it up.
At the end of the day, activities really come down to what you and your partner love to do together. Hell, if you’re rock climbers, go rock climbing. Do it in your wedding gear. This is where you get the make your day full of the things you love and cherish together. No idea is a bad idea here.
My best advice for coming up with elopement ideas is to sit with your partner with your favorite drink and think about your absolute favorite things that you have done together. Think about things you’ve always talked about doing together. Think about who you want to be there. Look at AllTrails and Airbnb and find locations and lodging that would make you feel happy. If you’re ready to start planning your own elopement and want help with all of these steps, get in touch with me! I help my couples location scout, curate timelines, and get any necessary permits alongside documenting your intimate wedding day.