July 6, 2017 / Blog, tips, Wedding

Planning An Adventure Elopement | Elopement Wedding Photographer

Planning An Adventure Elopement | Destination Wedding Photographer 

snowy colorado adventure elopement planning a destination wedding

Planning an intimate adventure elopement

Elopements are special.  There is nothing quite like saying your vows in a place that you are in awe of.  There’s no need to worry about the venue, meal, or how the guests are getting along. It’s just the two of you and whoever you deem worthy enough to help out and capture the moments.  While I think planning an adventure elopement tends to be much easier to execute, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind when starting out.
 Rocky Mountain National Park landscape

Choosing the perfect destination for your adventure elopement

This is certainly one of the most important decisions you will make.  It really does affect every other aspect of the day.  A good rule of thumb is to start by asking whether you would prefer somewhere that already has meaning for the two of you, or a new location that you will make new memories at.  You really can’t go wrong either way, but for the more sentimental, going to a place that already holds importance can add value to the experience.  A favorite vacation spot from childhood, the place you first realized you loved each other, or even retracing an ancestors steps, are all great options.  Personally, I prefer going someplace you’ve always dreamed about; that way each and every moment spent traveling and exploring will have such great meaning and importance attached to it.  Having a photographer you trust with you to preserve those moments and tell your story will be the ultimate icing on top of your adventure cake.  (See below for some of my favorite destination elopement locations!)
San Francisco City Hall adventure elopement Wedding

The best time for an adventure elopement

There are multiple factors involved in choosing what time of year is best for your adventure elopement.  Of course, the biggest factor are your location and the weather.  For example, if you are not used to cold weather but are set on a mountain ceremony, you might want to plan something in the summer.  It’s also smart to think about the time of year in terms of crowds.  Many national parks and vacation destinations have peak times of the year when they are can most crowded.  One of the best things about an elopement is the intimacy involved, having to fight with strangers to get a photo next to a popular spot or having to say your vows over whistles and congratulatory screams from passers by is anything but ideal.  The right photographer can help suggest the best times of day and show you areas off the beaten path.
  Lake Como Italy Destination Wedding planning

Planning and timelines for an elopement

The planning any kind of wedding can be stressful.  We care so much about the day being perfect. Adventure elopements usually make this a lot easier because of their spontaneous nature.  However, you do need to be prepared to expect the unexpected.  It’s a great idea to have you’r vow exchange spot picked out ahead of time, and to have a plan B and even C spot selected.  The time of day you want the ceremony to take place will basically determine your schedule for the day.  It’s good to know the sunrise and sunset times, but don’t forget to ask your photographer their opinion on when the best light will be.  If there are trees or mountains involved, those times can get tricky.  I also love the idea of making plans for a romantic late night dinner or intimate celebration afterwards.  Find a special place and make reservations. Just be sure to leave enough time for all the unforeseen circumstances that can crop up. Of course, you don’t want a timeline in the traditional sense. Just a few guidelines of when you should be where in order to accomplish your vision.  The goal is to relax and take in the day as it happens.
  how to plan a destination wedding or adventure elopement

Choosing a wedding dress for an elopement

This may seem pretty obvious, but you’ll want to be prepared for the elements; your dress should reflect this as well.  However, I never recommend sacrificing style for functionality.  In the long run, I think you you’ll regret it. Try to find a happy medium.  In most cases, you can wait to change into your dress at the location.  This also gives the chance for some incredible first look images!  If your adventure elopement features an extreme climate it can be tempting to not consider your comfort and try to “tough it out,” while that’s certainly an option, I usually prefer that such an important moment not be rushed.  You will want to be thinking about each other and the once in a lifetime moments you are experiencing, not how miserable the wind, rain, or heat feels.  Accessories like coats or hats can be well thought out ahead of time to compliment your dress.  Adventure elopements also give you the opportunity to think outside the box and look at options that might be a little too “out there” for a traditional wedding days.
destination elopement smiling african bride

Who to invite to an elopement

This is a very personal choice you have to make.  Obviously, adventure elopements are usually very intimate and many people opt only to bring a photographer.  This works great because they are able to truly focus on each other and still share their story with family and friends. However, sometimes there are people that just have to be there.  In this case, it can be helpful to give these people a role in the day.  They can act as an officiant, carry essentials, be in charge of hair and makeup, or even be crowd control (those pesky, but well meaning tourists mentioned earlier).  Not only can this take a little weight off your shoulders, it makes them feel more connected and part of the day.

elopement planning destination wedding couple

Finding the right elopement photographer

I may be a bit biased, but this is really the most important decision you will make.  Your photographer will determine the majority of your memories of this experience, and how the story looks and feels for everyone who were not there with you.  You should choose somebody who is enthusiastic about not just the location, but the spirit of your event.  I love getting to know my couples, and telling their story in a way that reflects what is important to them.  I want you to see yourselves in the photography.  I often hear people say that their images help fill in the blanks of their experience and that’s important to me.  I don’t want to you to look back at an image and think about how you were being posed or asked to perform an action.  I want to encourage you to be adventurous and have fun, then capture what happens authentically.  I also believe in photographers helping out when it comes to traveling.  Part of the reason I love elopements and destination weddings, is that I get to explore with couples.  We end up collaborating on the places we go and the things we experience.  It’s a really powerful thing that plugs me into the story even more.

Oregon cannon beach elopement kiss

I hope this has you dreaming of your perfect adventure elopement or wedding.  If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch and learn more about what I do.  I’m always up for a new adventure with passionate couples! Speaking of adventures, here are some destinations I think would be amazing options for an adventurous elopement:


Venice, Italy

Joshua Tree

Maui, Hawaii



Isle of Skye, Scotland



Rocky Mountain National Park




Lake Como

Andes, Peru


Tulum, Mexico

Columbia River Gorge


Mount Rainier


The Alps, Switzerland

San Francisco City Hall


Crater Lake

Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend

New York City

Zion National Park

Cannon Beach, Oregon


Cinque Terra


Great Sand Dunes National Park


Grand Tetons

California Coast



New Orleans


adventure elopement planning destination wedding

Portland Oregon Elopement Wedding planning tips

Here are some of my favorite destinations for desert elopements. Also, look for how to make your wedding day more intimate.








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