How to Pick an Elopement Location

One of the most exciting things about eloping is that you can elope anywhere! You can pick a trail in your backyard, or you can jet off across the world to explore a new country. There’s no shortage of beautiful scenery that would make an incredible backdrop for your elopement. But, with so many options and so many possibilities, how do you narrow it down? Finding the perfect spot for your elopement day can be exciting, but it can also feel a little overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start. Here are my tips on how to pick an elopement location!

What Scenery and Views Do You Want For Your Elopement?

The first step to deciding on an elopement location is to figure out what kind of scenery you want on your elopement day! Do you picture yourself saying your vows on a snow capped mountain top? Dipping your feet in the ocean? Walking through a forest grove? 

Think about what kind of landscapes you feel most connected to – when you go for a hike or plan a trip, what are you most excited about seeing? After you have an idea of what kind of scenery and views you want on your elopement day, work backwards! Brainstorm some places that match what you’re envisioning.

What Activities and Adventures Will You Be Doing on your elopement?

Elopements aren’t just about the ceremony – this is still your wedding day, and you should spend the day doing what you love! This can be anything – no rules, baby! You can hike, rock climb, kayak, stargaze… the list goes on and on. Check out this post to get you start dreaming on your elopement activities:

Think about what would make this the best day ever. Whether it’s something you both love doing, or something you’ve never tried before, what kind of activities do you want to do on your elopement day? 

This will help you narrow down a location, because if you want to go skiing a desert won’t be your best option, but for rock climbing, the desert is perfect!

What Weather or Seasons do you desire for your elopement?

When you’re outside in nature, weather will have a big impact on your elopement day. While some people love sunshine and warm weather, others might be excited about a snowy winter elopement. 

If you’ve already decided on an elopement date, think about what the weather will be like that time of year, and what locations will be more likely to give you the weather you’re hoping for. For example, any mountain location in the United States will be buried in snow in January, but beaches in New Zealand will be hot and sunny! Spring is a perfect time to elope in places like Joshua Tree and Death Valley, because it isn’t too hot. But, mountain locations like Mount Rainier and Yosemite will be snowy into the summer. 

If you don’t already have a date in mind for your ceremony, it can be easier to pick an elopement location first, so that you can research the weather in that spot and decide when the best time to elope is. 

Somewhere New, or Somewhere Meaningful?

When you elope, you can choose to explore somewhere you’ve never been, or a spot that you’ve visited before that has sentimental value. You could elope at the national park that you love to explore together on your days off, or you could fly to a new country and spend the week of your elopement experiencing new things together.

Both options can be equally amazing, so when you’re brainstorming and trying to pick an elopement location, try writing a list of places you love and places you want to visit. Which one makes you feel the most excited about tying the knot there?

How To Avoid Crowds on Your Elopement

It’s safe to say that most couples would prefer to say their vows in private, without a bunch of strangers around. Any time you visit the outdoors, you’re likely to run into other people. But, it’s important to remember that those popular places you keep seeing on Instagram and Pinterest are going to be much more crowded than the photos make them seem.

To avoid crowds on your elopement day, do some research and find locations that are a little more off the beaten path. You can always say your vows at a more secluded location, then go to the more popular spots for photos!

Think About Accessibility and Your elopement Guests

A big consideration when it comes to picking an elopement location is accessibility. Are you both up for hiking 8 miles to get to the perfect spot? Or would you prefer a spot that you can drive up to? Both options have their perks, so decide which is best for you!

If you’re inviting guests to your elopement day, you’ll also need to consider their needs. Are they able to take a flight to your elopement destination, or will they need to stay closer to home? Can they hike, or do they need a more accessible option? You can always have your ceremony in an easy to reach spot, then go hike or explore without your guests – it can be nice to spend time with your guests, and also take time for just the two of you on your elopement day.

Including Your dog or pets in Your Elopement

If you have a dog (or a few) who you can’t imagine your day without, you can totally bring them along for the adventure! But, you may be more limited in your options when it comes to picking your elopement location.

Flying with dogs can be a hassle, so you might opt for a location close to home, or a location that you can road trip to so that your fur babies can comfortably come along. 

A lot of parks and public lands also have restrictions on whether dogs are allowed, and the places within the park that they’re allowed to go. For example, most national parks don’t allow dogs on trails, and dogs can only be in parking lots or at overlooks. This would definitely limit your options when it comes to choosing a spot for your ceremony, so it’s best to find a park that allows dogs.

If you are wanting to involve your dog or any other pet, be sure to check out this post to give you tips from your elopement photographer/vet tech..aka me!

Need Help Picking an Elopement Location?

As an elopement photographer, my job is so much more than taking photos of your elopement day. I’m also your planning partner and adventure buddy, so I’m ready to help with location recommendations. I hand craft personalized, meaningful elopement days for couples like you – so if you’re ready to pick an elopement location and have the most amazing day in an amazing place, reach out. You don’t have to have things figured out yet – that’s what I’m here for and I love helping you find that perfect place!

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