It’s pretty common for couples to be curious about different elopement ideas inspiration. And let me tell you, this is the absolute *best* part of eloping- you get to design a day that is completely and unequivocally “you.” It’s such an opportunity to have the legit best day of your lives as you start this adventure together, but couples often ask:
“What do we do on our elopement day?”
“How do we fill our day?”
“What are some unique eloping ideas?”
“Is an elopement just an all day photo shoot?”
“How do we make our elopement day special; more us?”
These kinds of questions are super common, so I put together this list of elopement ideas to get your gears turning.
And when it comes to answering the question “how do I make your elopement special,” here’s a pro tip: do what sounds fun, and do what sounds fun *to you*. It’s your freaking wedding day and you are doing it absolutely epic fashion – so do what sounds the most fun and meaningful for you as a couple. Whatever that is.
Hint: this does not have to be fancy. Hot Cheetos? Cookies? Goldfish? Maybe you always start your day with a favorite cup of coffee, so you pack a thermos. Whatever snack is meaningful to you as a couple. Maybe you have a snack you have whenever you hike together, or go on road trips (mine is Gardettos- can’t go on a road trip without it), it can be super fun to incorporate that into your day.
Check out how this couple incorporated a cliffside charcuterie in their beautiful Zion elopement day.
Talk about a fun way to make your elopement special. Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have a fancy dinner. Imagine spending your day out adventuring with your love, then returning to an amazing, custom meal just for the two of you. A vegan feast? Tacos? Burgers?
Or maybe you want to enjoy your dinner on your adventure- a great way to do this is to pack a charcuterie and set it up cliffside. You can bring all your favorite things- whatever that means! Fancy crackers, honeycomb, your favorite cheese! It’s a great, hiking friendly way to enjoy a luxurious dinner out in the beautiful place you’ve chosen to elope.
This is an incredible way to reach some off-the-beaten path locations without having to hike miles and miles to get there. “Car hiking” is also an adventure in itself- you can ride dirt roads hugging a cliff side or scamper through some sand dunes in an ATV. And if you like the idea but don’t have a ton of off-roading experience, we can pick an easy road or hire experts to get us from point A to point B. Off-roading is one of my favorite elopement ideas for a fun and adventurous day.
Curious about a jeeping elopement? Check out this personal and adventurous Moab elopement.
The ultimate transportation adventure, you can hire a plane or helicopter tour- you want to know how to make your elopement special? Take to the skies. There is nothing like seeing the amazing landscape from the air. Some tours offer the ability to land in remote locations (especially in places like Alaska), so for those of you who prioritize privacy, this can be a great way to have some fun *and* get to a place you’ll have all to yourselves.
For the truly adventurous at heart. There’s something very special about essentially carrying your wedding with you on your back and celebrating in a remote corner of the wilderness, knowing you got there on your own two legs with the person you love most in the world. Whether it’s a place that has meaning to you already or you hike to a bucket list spot you’ve always wished to see, supporting one another on the journey is such a meaningful way of starting your lives together.
Curious to see what a backpacking elopement could look like? Check out this couples epic three day elopement- backpacking adventure included 🙂
My board game loving self loves this activity. Whether it’s Go Fish or Uno- if you two have a game you love to play as a couple, what’s stopping you from incorporating this on your wedding day. Card games are great because they are easily transportable, but with some creativity we can get bigger games into the back country, too 🙂
This is a perfect activity for your elopement if you are more on the adventure adjacent side of things… or if you just love a good glass of wine or pint of beer. Lots of small towns that are common elopement destinations often have local spots to check out (like Moab Brewery and Distillery for example). Not every town has a local brew, but the ones that do are sure to be checked out.
This is honestly one of my favorite elopement ideas. It’s such a lovely and romantic way to end your day. A lot of elopement destinations wind up having the most incredible skies on a clear night (yay getting out of light pollution!). And snapping some star photos is a great way to cap off your elopement. Pro Tip: Star photos are set up totally differently than typical photos and wind up taking a pretty substantial period of time to capture (think one image every 5-10 minutes). There is a lot of set up and adjustment that comes into play. But while I’m tweaking settings, the two of you get to snuggle up under that huge sky and take it all in.
One of the benefits of the an elopement is that you get to think outside the box- so why settle for a cookie cutter hotel? This is such a great way to make your elopement special and booking a cute, fancy, or funky airbnb is a really fun way to level up your elopement day. Staying at an Airbnb opens up the possibilities for super fun getting ready photos, hiring a private chef for a celebratory meal, or just using a homey space to hang out and connect.
For those of you wanting to really splurge on your wedding day, this elopement idea is for you. There are some amazing hotels out there that pair so perfectly with elopement day celebrations. The Aman Resorts are luxurious, small, and so client focused while highlighting the beautiful places they located in, like the deserts of Northern Arizona and iconic Teton mountains. Dunton Destinations is another amazing line of hotels- Dunton Hot Springs is a personal favorite, especially in the winter, where you can do things like snow shoe, cross country ski, ice climb, and sit in incredible hot springs all on the hotel property in Colorado. For those of you wanting to mix adventure and luxury- this is how.
And for those of you who are mort dirtbag than bougie, this is for you. Whether you camp in your tent or in your van, this is a fun and adventurous elopement idea. Imagine waking up in your van (which, ProTip: if you don’t have your own van and this appeals to you- you can 100% rent and awesome built out van and have the elopement road trip of your dreams) to sunrise over a desert vista. You enjoy your morning coffee snuggled in your blankets, then slowly get ready together as the sky lightens. You hike out a short way to your ceremony and, in total privacy, say your vows. You can van to wherever you want. If you love to camp or love to road trip, this is a great option for you.
Want to camp for your elopement? Check out how this couple camped with their nearest and dearest at a group campsite near Moab.
Friends: this is absolutely one of the best ways to make your elopement special. I know a lot of people think of traditional getting ready photos when they hear this- but let me tell you that getting ready for an elopement can be tooooootally different. Writing your vows the morning/day of your elopement is one of my favorite elopement ideas (if that feels last minute- let me share that about 85% of my couples wind up writing their vows day of-either by design or because that’s just how it worked out!). Each of you sitting down in different parts of your airbnb/hotel or at your elopement trailhead/location and taking time to really think through and write down your vows (or transcribe them from your phone if you’ve written them ahead of time) is such a meaningful way to really get into the “we’re getting married today!” headspace.
This is a fun elopement idea to help ease any pre-elopement nerves. Taking the morning slow, drinking coffee, helping each other fasten buttons, zip zippers, tie ties, or lace boots can be a meaningful, sweet, and authentic way of starting your day together. There’s a lovely sort of symbolism there, too. Starting the first day of the rest of your lives together? Doesn’t get more romantic than that.
For those of you that love the anticipation factor, this is for you. First looks really makes the butteries flutter and the heart skip a beat. This is when both of you get ready alone, then set up a special moment where you get to see each other for the first time. The waiting is the best part for this elopement idea- a first look can happen at where your staying or a cool nearby location. It’s exciting and romantic and thrilling. It’s so so fun 🙂
I will sing this from the rooftop: Wear what makes you happy, what you’re comfortable in, and what you feel best in. Not into wearing white? Don’t do it- bring in some color. A traditional tux not your thing? Wear a colored suit, or a vest, or suspenders, or shorts! Whatever feels like *you*, do that. And if a flowy white dress or spiffy black suit are what makes your heart flutter, do it. If you want to wear a yellow dress and red chucks- you can do that, too 🙂 Don’t be afraid to have a non-traditional, unique wedding outfit. This is an elopement- you get to do whatever you want.
For the ultimate in personal style, check out this elopement! The groom wore a pink suit and the bride rocked two different and amazing looks 🙂
This can be *anything*. Come couples incorporate a hand fasting ceremony, or making a special wine blend to be enjoyed on your anniversary, or blend remade candle wax for a special candle (to be lit later on). Or you can think totally outside the box- play a game or put on fake tattoos. If there’s something that’s special to the two of you, make that a unity ceremony.
And let me be super duper clear: *any music you want.* So yeah, you can use Canon in D. But if that’s not your thing you can use the music from Lord of the Rings. Or Gregory Alan Isokov. Or Led Zeppelin. Or Phish. Whatever music you love you can play that during your ceremony (or during a first dance after). You can play that song as you take in the gorgeous surroundings and the fact you are there with your love- and then in the future whenever you hear that song it will transport you back to that moment instantly. Gah I get chills just thinking about it.
I love this elopement idea and think this is a way to incorporate a sweet and lovely surprise for your partner on your elopement day. Especially if it’s the two of you, starting out with a favorite song and then sharing these readings can ease you into reading your vows. And these readings can can be song lyrics, poems, quotes from your favorite show or movie, spiritual readings… anything that feels authentic to you. Don’t feel constrained by the “traditional” wedding readings- you and your elopement is unique so your readings should be just as unique as you.
Going for a wander 🙂 Gah this is so much fun to do when you get to your elopement location. I like to fall back during this time and just let my couples explore. Take time to absorb your surroundings, check out areas that look fun, climb on rocks, or even just sit, breath, and take it all in. This doesn’t have to be a posed thing- this is truly a time for you to wander around together and really enjoy this special place you’ve chosen to get married in. The posed photos can come later. First- you explore 🙂
This couple picked Yosemite, site unseen, just from the photos on my site. They wanted to visit somewhere totally new to the both of them and take in the beauty and awe. There was exploring a-plenty (and epic photos to boot).
The elopement idea for those of you wanting the ultimate elopement adventure. This allows for so many opportunities for fun. You can see so much more, do so much more. For those of you wanting to backpack into the backcountry, this is for you. Or! For those of you who want to have one designated day for family, and one day for the two of you to really get amongst it. The sky is the limit here. Hot Air Balloon ride, off road adventure, climbing expedition, back country camping, kayaking on an alpine lake, taking a private plane to a remote desert location… you can do so much and have time to truly take it all in.
On the other hand, sometimes folks will want to elope somewhere that is already familiar and very meaningful to them. Whether there are places or activities that feel like home, it’s always an option to adventure in a favorite location. I’ve had couples want to elope where they got engaged, took a meaningful trip together, or in places they make annual trips.
This is such a fun elopement idea to include family and friends- especially if you want something small to make your elopement special for your loved ones, too. If you have service, face-timing friends or family back home is a sweet way to include loved ones. Or if you you’re in a place that’s super remote, you can request family record some toasts ahead of time. Then, while you’re enjoying your “just married feels” you can play those toasts and enjoy your loved ones well wishes. You can even record one of your own that you send once you’re back in reliable service. It’s a great way to preserve a day you’re wanting to truly just be the two of you, while still including the ones you love back home.
Who says signature cocktails are reserved for traditional weddings? Whip up a delicious cocktail while watching the sun set over the mountains. Or, if you enjoy something simpler, bring a bottle of Champagne or a few cans of your favorite local beer.
If you’re in a place where a fire is allowed, this is a great elopement idea to end your epic day. It’s especially perfect if you have an airbnb with a fire pit! There’s nothing like the crackle of sparking logs and the smell of woodsmoke to end your day with magic.
Who says you can’t celebrate with friends and family right after your elopement? This is such a great option for folks who reeeeally want private time with their partner during the elopement day- but want to come home and party with their loved ones. Hire a private chef (see above!), order pizza, cook s’mores over a campfire, toast to your new lives together.
Or! If having friends and family come to your elopement location proves to be too much of a logistics “to-do”, simply meet up with them at home. This can be in your yard, at a favorite restaurant or bar, or even something unique (axe throwing?). Having a low key celebration (where you get to share all your amazing photos) gives family and friends a way to feel included without having them actually attend your elopement.
This is more of a long term idea, but one of my favorite things about elopements is how much fun it can be to return to your elopement location. Making it a tradition go back on your anniversary is such a cool way to keep those memories alive and fresh in your mind. Plus- it’s just fun!
And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. There are *so many* elopement ideas to make your day special and magical and uniquely you.
— Ryan + Styhiln