where do I start?
Before you can plan anything, you should know how much you want or can afford to spend. Find your budget sweet spot and use that as a starting point. What are you "must-have's" and "can't-do without's?"
Choose a Location
Instead of looking for a "venue," adventure eloping allows you instead to choose an epic location that speaks to you. Do you love mountains, the ocean, waterfalls, the beach or the desert? Where in the U.S. is this epic location?
Choose a Date
This is often what the bride and groom choose first, but with adventure eloping, you need to make sure it coincides with the type of weather you want in your location of choice. That said, we all know that weather can be variable, so depending on your location, are you flexible with your date? I suggest you have the next day or two as a backup date just in case the weather doesn't cooperate. The beauty of eloping is that you can do this!
Transportation covers the obvious: how are you getting to your location (airline, train, bus or car). Then, based on your adventure of choice, how are you getting around that location? (helicopter, car rental, bike, pack-mule) and will this be a part of your adventure?
Will you stay in a hotel, a houseboat, a luxury villa, a tiny house, a yurt, cabin or a luxury tent? Research unique places to stay in your chosen location.
Did you know?
The average cost for a traditional wedding in the United States is $30,000 in 2019? Did you know that the cost for a reception venue and a ceremony site is the most expensive cost associated with traditional weddings - even more so than your engagement ring?
Nature, for the most part, is free except where certain (very reasonably priced) permits are needed such as National and State Parks. See below for more info.
How many family members and friends will be a part of your day? And in the location that you choose, what will they do for accommodations? Think about the logistics and fitness abilities of guests you want to invite. Consider having your intimate ceremony with family first, and then set off on your adventure as a twosome.
Every state has different laws. And if you want to get married in the wilderness, you will need to find out if you need an officiant. Research "U.S. marriage laws by state" to find out more specifically what you need to do, or contact your city hall.
Are you going to tell your friends and family in advance that you are eloping, or after the fact? And how will you do so? We can certainly make suggestions, just ask!
adventure elopement in the u.s.
Congratulations! Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in your relationship, so hold on to that feeling! As you dive into your elopement planning, we want you to have fun, be creative with your decisions and keep your stress to a minimal. Take a look at this guide to help you stay organized and on track.
If you hire me as your elopement photographer, I will give you more in-depth guidance every step of the way. Send me an inquiry and let's get the process started today!
What to wear
Your wedding dress - it's likely the first thing you will think about shopping for, and we want it to showcase your personality! Dresses that scream adventure you won't likely find in a traditional wedding dress shop, but we can recommend bohemian dress designers! Don't want to wear white, no problem! Red and yellow look amazing against nature!
Just because you are eloping in nature doesn't mean that can't have a styled table-scape or a high-end styled picnic. We've got amazing ideas and referrals for this type of "reception." Including how to incorporate a wedding cake!
Hair & Makeup
Even if you are a naturalist, we still recommend that you do something special for your wedding day. Eyelash extensions, bohemian fishtail? Consider hiring someone that will work with you onsite or where you are staying.
Supported a local floral farmer - use in-season, locally grown flowers tied with a beautiful ribbon. We can tie it onto his backpack if you don't want to carry it all day!
We've got you covered - from best lighting scenarios to scouting epic locations at your chosen location, let this be a stress you don't deal with!
Writing your own vows and saying them in private to each other will often release the stress of the "performance." Figure out if this style is right for you.
Remember, the day is yours to craft it however you want.
Think big - it's your wedding day if you can dream it, we can help you plan it!
a note on eloping in u.s. national parks
U.S. National Parks have become one of the biggest destination choices for eloping couples. Why? Because they are protected land with landscapes that are exquisitely breathtaking. Here are a few things that you should consider when choosing a national park to elope in.
Almost all of the U.S. National Parks allow for ceremonies to take place, although special-use permits, such as wedding permits and commercial photography permits are required. There is a fee associated, and is usually between $50-$200, depending on the park. Applications should be submitted several months in advance - I suggest doing it as soon as you've set your wedding date and choose a park as your destination.
National Parks are definitely the most restrictive at the top of the list of all land organizations. Visit for info on each individual park that interests you. Each park also has their own website with information on special permits. Permit fees vary from park to park, generally depending on the popularity of the park.