There’s no way to pick a best part about eloping.
There’s photographing mud on the hem of a wedding gown — a nuance that is the sheer embodiment of being a badass. A badass in love, who isn’t afraid to hike in lace, or velvet, or silk, while donning a backpack and trekking to the perfect spot to say “I do.”
There’s the surprises that Mother Nature never fails to deliver. Be it knee-deep snow, an intense coastal storm, a cotton candy sunset, or great gusts of wind. She knows how to keep things dramatic (which also happens to create the most gorgeous pictures).
There’s the profound intimacy of individuals deciding to spend the rest of their lives together, and the intentionality to take those first vows off the beaten path.
But right up there, at the very top of the list, is the way that you’re allowed to shape your elopement into whatever it is that feels the most right for you, and how that makes for some damn fun celebrations.
This is why I love my job being an elopement photographer. In a space without judgment, there’s no need to stick to old scripts. Feel free to mix traditional and nontraditional wedding elements — cherry pick what you like, and throw out the rest. Love the idea of a first dance? Have one barefoot underneath the Milky Way. Can’t stand traditional vows? Do Mad Libs instead. It’s your party, and you can cry if you want to. (But happy tears only.)
If you’re super into backpacking, let’s get trekking. If you love paddleboarding, let’s SUP. If you’re all about deep sea diving… well, you probably get the gist by now. Fill your elopement with all the best parts of what it means to be together. Eat dessert first, sing Lizzo karaoke, or go on a helicopter tour. Because you and your love eloping? It’s kind of a big deal.
Research and brainstorm mode is always a good place to begin your elopement planning. Get creative, and pay attention to what it is that makes you unique together. An inspiration board can be a helpful place to keep track of all your ideas.
I have lots of nontraditional wedding suggestions and Pacific Northwest elopement-specific ideas on my social media and blog posts. Wandering Weddings is another great site for adventure elopement planning, and of course, there’s always Pinterest.
Don’t be shy about asking for elopement activity ideas from the professionals you’re hiring — providing suggestions and advice is a huge part of what they’re there for. I send out a questionnaire to all of my clients to get to know who they are, and what matters most to them. From there I can recommend fun, meaningful ways to celebrate.
I’ve learned that the more unique and catered to the individuals the activities are, the more special and memorable the wedding is. Make sure to incorporate meaning throughout your day, whether it’s with a heartfelt heirloom or the significance of your chosen location — your elopement should represent who you are together.
I’ve listed some ideas to get your creativity flowing; feel free to steal away. Pick your vibe, or mix and match between them, there are no rules. Or if there are, I trust that you’ll do a spectacular job of breaking them.
It doesn’t really get more romantic than marrying your favorite person. Sounds as good an excuse as any to devour chocolate, indulge in some good wine, and embrace the amour.
Calling all Nat Geo die-hards, who know that elopements are really just opportunities to get your fancy clothes dirty.
Remember: Your elopement may bring you on some wild adventures — you’ll want to pack accordingly. If you’re planning a day in nature, be prepared for all kinds of weather. Make sure that your outer layers or adventure clothes are all things you’re fine with being photographed in. FYI: I’m a planner, so I’ll show up with a toolkit of just-in-case necessities (it’s jam-packed with things like a needle and thread, bandaids, stain removers, and myriad other goodies).
Love keeps you young. Celebrate your newfound fountain of youth by taking a trip down memory lane with some childhood classics that never get old.
As an adventure elopement photographer, I’ve learned that the most meaningful elopements reflect and celebrate who you are together. Helping folks design, organize, and capture their day is right where I come in.
From paddleboard yoga, to mountainside horseback riding, let’s elevate your elopement to fairy tale standards. But, like, a fairy tale where everyone goes outside and gets a little dirty and has a completely kick ass time.