We’ve gathered up 10 of our favorite real-life eloping ideas we’ve shared on our instagram over the years to help you with your elopement planning.
Read through the entire list or click one to jump to a section.
- Squeeze in alone time in your elopement timeline.
- You can elope with guests.
- Pick a unique place to elope
- Elope in a place you can honeymoon
- Feel free to be an artist too
- Already married? Do a vow renewal!
- No such thing as “bad” weather
- Incorporate unique elements to your day
- You can elope AND have a wedding
- Work with photographers you love
Plan for alone time in your elopement timeline
Take-away: Your wedding day, whether you’re eloping or not, is going to fly by. Make sure you set aside time to spend alone, just the two of you, and soak it all in together.
“We make sure our couples have time to be alone here and there throughout the day. It’s important they spend some time soaking in everything together. We’ll take a step back to capture the scene from afar and leave them to laugh and giggle, and think about their future together. This particular night we got pretty lucky and had this spot to ourselves. Not a bad place to have a private moment together on your wedding day, not a bad place at all.”
You can have an elopement ceremony with guests!
Take-away: If you want to elope but also want your closes loved ones with you during your ceremony, invite them along for your elopement ceremony and celebration! We’ll work with you to find the perfect place that everyone can comfortably make it to and then head out for a sunset adventure with just you two afterward.
“Eloping with guests. Yes, it’s a thing that’s totally possible! If you want an adventure filled day for your wedding that celebrates your passion for the outdoors, but you also want your parents or best friends to experience it with you, invite them! About one third of our elopements have a few guests with them. If your parents are able to hike, we’ll go on an adventure with everyone to a remote spot for your ceremony. And if they aren’t, we’ll find a nice roadside(ish) location that everyone can easily make it to. The “aisle” you walk down will be a dirt trail lined with tall grass and wild flowers. Instead of church bells you’ll hear birds chirping and wind blowing through the trees. Your officiant will announce your official marriage to your guests, including all the critters, trees, alpine lakes, mountain peaks, and clouds that were also there listening to your I-do’s. It will be the most unique and special ceremony that you and your guests have ever been a part of. And then we’ll all celebrate with a picnic and bottle of bubbly before we head off with just the two of you for a sunset photo adventure.”
Explore a unique place to elope
Take-away: We love it when a couple really shows their sense of adventure and wants to explore an entirely new place with us. The excitement and inspiration we all share creates such a fun experience and incredibly unique photos.
Elope in a place you can honeymoon in too
Take-away: You’re eloping and stoke levels are going to be off the charts all month long! Take advantage of that and combine your elopement location with an epic honeymoon, or even a shorter mini-moon.
“These last couple days in Kauai have felt like a dream. Brandon has been coming here with his family since he was a kid. Ever since the day we met he’s been raving about how magical this place is. Now that I’ve finally experienced it for myself, I couldn’t agree more. The laid back vibe of the island makes you feel so relaxed and at ease. The weather is perfect, not too hot and not too cold, hovering around a 80 degrees. The sun dips in and out of the spotted clouds. When it hits your skin you start to warm up and just before you’re too hot, the sun dips back behind a cloud almost as if it knew you wanted shade again. The lush greenery and sounds of the leaves blowing in the light breeze is heavenly. And of course, the adventure this island has to offer is incredible. The hikes up in the mountains are some of the most unique landscapes we’ve ever seen. You have epic ocean cliffs down on the shore, drive 45 minutes up the west side and you have a lush Grand Canyon feel with raging waterfalls, and then 15 more minutes up the road you have the steep ridge lines of the Na Pali coast that are covered in thick greenery….”
Take-away: If you have an idea for a photo, or even take a few photos yourselves, do it! This day is all about you and trust us, you’re going to feel inspired all day long. Feel free to flex your creative muscle and create something fun too.
“Sometimes our couples have a vision for a moment or photo they’d like to create and that always excites us. We love being able to take that vision and bring it to life for them. On this day, Alycia had a vision of her and her new husband surrounded by glowing candles. We weren’t exactly sure where or how we’d set them up, but when we saw the sky turn into shades of cotton candy pinks and blues, we knew we had a short window for this shot. We quickly set up the candles and asked these two newlyweds to look at each other. We snapped away from a distance and watched the biggest smiles grown over them as they soaked in their day together. It was a good thing we decided to do it right here because fifteen minutes later the sky opened up on us. It literally down-poured on us our entire way back down! Bonus feature of LED candles -> they’ll still glow in the rain 👌🏼”
Vow-renewals are just as special
Take-away: Just because you didn’t elope doesn’t mean you can’t have an elopement experience! Plan a day that’s special, true to yourselves, renew your vows to one another, and have an incredibly anniversary adventure.
“Derek and Sara have changed and grown a lot together since the day they got married. They moved from the Midwest to Washington and found their passion for the outdoors – together. They started hiking and as their relationship deepened, so did their love for the mountains. So when they were thinking about how to celebrate their 5 year anniversary, they knew they wanted to renew their vows in the mountains that have become such a big part of their lives. They reread letters they’ve written to each other over the years and their original vows, along with a new letter and new vows. It was so special to hear how their lives have changed over the years and all they’ve been through together. At the end of their reading they embraced, kissed, gazed into each other’s eyes, and held each other just like this. And just as if Mother Nature was there listening to them, she showed us the most magnificent sunset to compliment the beauty these two share together. It was all kind of a real life fairytale ✨💫”
Take-away: Be prepared for weather with the right gear, go into the day with happiness and positivity, and embrace the beauty that mother nature give you! The day will be incredible no matter what because you’re finally marrying your best friend.
“A lot of people ask us “what do you do if it’s raining?” The short answer is “we go out anyway and have a blast!” But there’s really a lot more to it than that. Firstly, Brandon and I usually have a plan B on locations. You see, some places photograph really well on a clear day, like open vistas that stretch on for as far as the eye can see. But those places don’t photograph too well in rain or fog. So for days like this one, we switch up our location to a trail that has more dimension – lots of trees, alpine lakes, wild flowers, rocky outcroppings – a place that has beautiful natural features that you can appreciate up close. The way rain drops catch light is spectacular, so trails with features like trees and flowers that hold on to rain drops are crazy beautiful, everything seems to have a subtle sparkle to it! Raychel and Erik were so flexible and open to switching things up last minute, and that’s a huge part of making this all work. We’ve been on all these trails in all kinds of weather, so their trust in us to bring them to the best place for this particular day is something we’re so thankful for. The other huge factor in having an incredible rainy elopement is the couple. These two right here were the happiest, goofiest, smileyest, and loviest. They let go of all prior expectations and completely embraced the day in every way possible….”
Think of elopement ideas that are unique to you and your fiancé
Take-away: Think about all the things that are special to you two and your relationship, and figure out fun ways to incorporate them into your day.
“These two had the most intentional elopement, incorporating so many meaningful little details and experiences into their day. They rented an RV and road tripped up from the Bay Area with their two beloved pups, we wandered through a pristine redwood grove and Ace even rolled their wheelchair down for some pics (Ace has a rare degenerative disease and wanted some photos to show that even those with disabilities can have an amazing elopement too), Derek surprised Ace with a gift in the forest, we gawked at the cathedral-like light filtering through the trees, then we cruised up to the beach where we met @officiantjimmie for their ceremony. Jimmie and his partner, Meg, gifted their pups with custom doggy bandanas (check out their company @pawsnpines!) and Ace and Derek got married as the sun set. Then they busted out a custom cake a friend made with a design of their home Bay Area on it, uncorked an ultra fine bottle of smoky Scotch, ran around the beach, and to cap it all off we even saw a pod of Orca whales! Talk about memories made. This was one for the books!”
You can have an adventure elopement AND a wedding
Take-away: If you can’t decide between an elopement and a wedding, why not do both? You can have an adventurous day, read your vows to each other, celebrate your relationship in the way that fits you two best – and then meet up with friends and family a few days later for a big celebration with everyone! And we always get teaser photos to you for sharing at the reception 😉
“The story of Elaine and Shaun’s wedding: six years ago they moved to Washington and fell in love with the mountains. They started out on big hikes and backpacking trips. That led to sport climbing, which led to trad climbing, which led to summiting the rugged peaks they’d been hiking between for so long. Their weekends are spent on epic adventures, long approaches, big climbs, and 360 degree views of this sea of peaks. In the winter when these mountains are covered in snow, they’re out there on skis, hiking up these peaks and snow surfing their way down them. To say these mountains are a big part of their lives would be an understatement, which is why they wanted these mountains to be a big part of their wedding. Capturing days like this is such an honor for us because we really relate. So much fun climbing with these two and capturing such an important part of their relationship. And this weekend they’re partying with their closest friends and family at an Airbnb nestled at the base of these mountains. Just a reminder that you can have your ultimate adventure wedding AND celebrate with all your people too 🙌🏼🧗🏻♀️👰🏻🤵🏻🍾”
Take-away: This one’s the most important one! Find your “friendtographers” – the ones behind the camera that will make you feel 100% comfortable to be yourselves around!
“WE ARE NOT ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHERS. We are your best friends who happen to be tour guides, planners, and also take beautiful photos. We don’t offer a quick elopement package to show up, shoot the ceremony, do sunset portraits, and then call it a day. No, our day with you begins at your inquiry. We ask questions to get to know you because we want to hear your story and hop on the phone to build the foundation of our friendship. We spend the next few months plotting and scheming with you. We’re texting about dresses and cute hiking boots. We’re emailing timelines that include things like picnics, a dance, hanging in a hammock, and reading letters from your parents. When we finally meet you on the day, we’re hugging as if we’re seeing an old friend for the first time in a while. We spend an hour just driving to the trailhead and hiking out, chit chatting and catching up. All four of us are running around the mountain like giddy kids on Christmas morning because TODAY IS YOUR WEDDING DAY! If your parents are there with you, we’re listening to stories of your childhood. We’re crying with you during your vows. We’re making coffee and pancakes on a camp stove after sunrise because who the heck doesn’t want to start their day with pancakes? We’re drinking your favorite IPAs in the evening because this is your wedding and we’re celebrating! As the sun begins to set and the light grows soft, we’re capturing the most excited, intimate, beautiful versions of yourselves together in the epic landscape you chose to get married in. The stars start to come out and so do the headlamps. We head back to the car reminiscing about the day and when we reach the car, we’re sad to say goodbye. But we know it’s not the end because the next day we’re already texting again. Weeks later we’re all reliving the day through the gallery we’re delivering. Months later we’re replying to your Instagram story because you just posted a pic of your new puppy. We’re meeting up for brunch in Joshua tree, Bend, or Yosemite, because we’re rolling through your neck of the woods again. Your elopement is an entire experience. One that we love documenting AND being a part of.”