So, where to elope? I can tell you a hundred reasons why eloping is the best. However, one of my favorite reasons is that you can elope in some of the most beautiful places in the world!
You don’t have to spend your time looking for a place that will be able to accommodate 200 guests. Also, you aren’t limited to tying the knot in a traditional venue. But when your options are pretty much limitless – how do you decide where to elope?
Your elopement location will set the scene for your one-of-a-kind wedding day. It is also one of the earlier decisions you’ll need to make as you dig into planning!
This guide will give you some tips for choosing an elopement location, and deciding where to elope.
The first step is to think about what you actually want your elopement day to look like! Once you’ve made the decision to elope, these are some things to think about.
It’s easier to work backward when you decide where to elope. Think about what kind of scenery you imagine yourself surrounded by. Is there a type of landscape that you’re drawn to, or something you especially love doing? If you want to swim, you probably won’t be eloping in the mountains. If you want to go skiing you probably won’t tie the knot in the desert!
So sit down with your partner, think about what your dream day looks like, and start brainstorming! Don’t hold back – this is just the beginning, so let your imagination run wild.
When you decide where to elope, you can always choose somewhere new. You also can pick somewhere that holds significance for the two of you! A meaningful elopement location can mean a favorite park, a local trail, or anything else that signifies your realtionship. As you’re brainstorming, think about if you want to elope somewhere meaningful, or if you want to go somewhere new.
On the other hand, instead of choosing a spot that’s already meaningful, you can choose to elope somewhere completely new! Some couples want to experience something unique and make new memories on their elopement day. If there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or an adventure you’ve always dreamed of having, what better time to cross it off the bucket list than the day you get married?
Another thing to think about in these early stages of deciding where to elope is how far you’re willing to go! Do you want to stay close to home, do you want to go on a road trip, or are you happy to hop on a plane? This will help you narrow down your options! Here are some things to consider when deciding how far you’ll go to elope.
If you’re inviting guests to your elopement, you’ll need to think about what will work for them! Some people may not be able to fly internationally or take a ton of time off of work to travel for your wedding day, so think about the people you want to be around you and what they’ll be up for.
If you have pets, this will be another consideration in deciding where to elope – whether they’ll be joining you or not. Do you want your dog with you on your elopement day? You’ll likely cross off any elopement destinations that you can’t reach by car. If the pets are staying home, think about who will watch them when you’re gone and how long you can be away!
I always recommend combining your elopement with your honeymoon or at least taking some extra time to relax and enjoy your elopement location. So if you know you’ll have a hard time getting time off from work, elope somewhere a little closer to home so that you don’t have to spend as much time on traveling!
Some couples already have an elopement date in mind, while others are flexible – but this can help you decide on an elopement location! If your heart is set on a specific date (or even a season or time frame), you can narrow down your options based on accessibility and weather. For example, if you want to elope in the winter, mountainous locations won’t be as easily accessible – but if you want to see snow, winter in the mountains can be ideal! If you’re hoping for a summer elopement, the desert might be too hot, but the beach will be perfect! Think about what kind of weather you want, and which locations will work with your date.
When you decide where to elope, after you’ve thought about scenery, weather, and distance, think about places that fit that vision! You don’t have to get too specific just yet, but you can brainstorm a list of potential spots. For example, if you know you want to elope in the Pacific Northwest and you want to elope in the mountains, come up with some parks or regions that could work – like Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, or the North Cascades.
So, now you have a general idea of where you’ll be eloping. It’s time to get specific! Look up each location on your list and find some options there that can work for you. As you go, you may be able to eliminate some of the options and narrow your search.
You can use All Trails to find hikes and filter by length, elevation gain, and even what kind of views you want to see! Or scroll around Google Maps and see if anything catches your eye. If you live close by, my favorite way to find elopement locations is to hop in the car and go exploring!
When you’re searching for an exact location, be sure to think about how accessible it is. Are you looking for an overlook you can drive right up to or an 8-mile hike? Think about you and your partner, your experience outdoors (don’t make this the first time you ever go backpacking), and any accessibility requirements for you and your guests.
If you’re bringing your pup along, you’ll need to make sure you’re looking at the pet friendliness while you decide where to elope. Most national parks are strict about dogs, but there are plenty of places that welcome leashed pets! Check this before you fall in love with a spot.
On your elopement day, you probably don’t feel like being surrounded by crowds. A lot of those popular spots are going to be, well, popular! I recommend trying to look for spots that are lesser known.
This can be easier said than done, though. My biggest tip for finding the perfect place to elope is to hire an experienced elopement photographer! I make a customized location guide for all of my couples, with options personalized just for them. After years of exploring (for fun and for work), I’ve got some secret places up my sleeve.
Know where to elope and are ready for a photographer?
We’ll talk about your plans (or lack thereof, that’s okay too), and I’ll help your vision come to life.
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