Your Ultimate Adventure Elopement Checklist
Now that you’ve decided on an adventure elopement, you need to create a checklist of every decision that needs making and item that needs purchasing. Lucky you – I’ve already got one you can use!
Here a five questions you should ask while planning your elopement, plus a logistics and packing checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing. You’re welcome in advance!
Where Will You Elope?
Although choosing a wedding venue doesn’t always come first, with an elopement this decision is top priority! If you’re tied to a specific time of year for your elopement, let that inform your location options. If you’re eloping in July or August, don’t elope in Arizona because that heat is brutal. However, winter elopements should avoid extremely cold areas – particularly Alaska, unless you want to elope in the pitch dark.
Timing is really a matter of preference, but keeping in mind the daylight hours and logistics that need to be taken care of on the big day can help you when deciding your location and how much time you want to spend there. Shorter elopements can save you money on things like photographers and any rentals, but also means limited location options.
If you really want to make the most out of your elopement, we love breaking it up into two days, which makes it possible to explore multiple locations in the same area. If you’re struggling with narrowing down your location options, ask us! We’ve captured elopements everywhere from the Pacific Northwest to Iceland.
Who Will Help You Elope?
Second only to location is choosing your elopement photographer. Good thing you picked us! As van life traveling photographers, we can work with any location and are completely dedicated to your elopement the whole time we’re there. Want engagement photos? I got you.
We even offer video now, thanks to my handsome and ever-so-talented hubby who may or may not help write these blogs. We highly recommend including videography in your elopement package, because it really captures the emotions of the day and makes it possible to share your elopement with people who don’t attend.
Speaking of attendees, do you want any? Parents? Besties? Fur babies? Or do you prefer to keep it just the two of you and your love story? You don’t have to invite anybody you don’t want there – perks of eloping! Smaller groups are always easier, cheaper, and less stressful, but it’s up to you! This day is about you and no one else!
Technically, you don’t even need to bring an officiant if you don’t want to – I’m ordained and can sign papers! It can literally just be the four of us up on a mountain top (although, if you have dogs, please bring them.)
How Much is in Your Budget?
Okay, realistically you should probably start here. If your budget doesn’t allow for travel, for instance, you may want to look at epic elopement locations near you (don’t worry, every state has them!)
Fortunately, eloping is waaaaay cheaper than a traditional wedding! Just look at how much the average wedding cost in 2021. Crazy, right?
Since you’re eloping, having photography/videography will probably be your highest priority (and I’m not just saying that because it’s my job!)
What Do You Need to Elope?
Okay, checklist time! Now that you know your budget, your location, and have hired the best photo/video duo ever, here is all the logistical stuff to help your day go off without a hitch:
- Get your marriage license – You’ll need a license for the state/county in which you’re eloping, and laws vary. Don’t wait to do this!
- Research any needed permits – look up the rules as soon as you choose your location (I can help with this!) Many permits can take months to get and have some cost involved.
- Choose where you’ll stay – A lot of our couples go the AirBnB route because it’s less expensive and easier to find near adventurous elopement locations. That said, there is more risk involved with an AirBnB, whereas hotels will have more consistent quality of service, cleanliness, etc. Read those reviews before booking!
- Find Your Hair/Makeup Artist – Many will travel with you in their local area to do it on site, so your hair can be touched up after an unexpected monsoon goes through it. I’ve worked with artists near several popular elopement locations and am happy to make a recommendation!
- Go with a Local Florist – For custom florals that will be guaranteed fresh and ready day-of, choose someone local. Again, I can make recommendations!
- Plan Transportation – Especially if your location isn’t local for you, book a rental car or other mode of transportation. You can try to do taxis or Uber, but renting your own vehicle is much more reliable.
- Pick Your Outfits – Avoid long sleeves in the summer, or backless in the winter. Pick something lightweight and easy to move around in. Here are some really unique elopement outfit ideas for inspo!
- Food – Yes, you need to eat on your wedding day! If you’re eloping in the middle of nowhere, we’ll want to pack and bring food with us. A charcuterie board is a great, portable option that photographs beautifully! You can even bring cake, though keep it small and portable if you’ll be doing any amount of hiking.
- Props/Decor – Make a list of any signs, accessories, family heirlooms, etc. that you want to bring for your elopement. Keep in mind, some props aren’t allowed in certain parks, like flower petals on the ground or arbors.
Why Are You Eloping?
This last question is the most important, because if you know why you decided to elope in lieu of a traditional wedding, you’ll know the answer to many of the other questions! You’re eloping because you want an adventure. You’re eloping because you want to say your vows surrounded by nature. You’re eloping to avoid people-pleasing and wedding day drama. You’re eloping so that it will be all about you – as it should be on your wedding day!