Planning the perfect elopement is exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming. As an elopement photographer who has also eloped, I understand this better than most! That’s why I’ve created this helpful article with my favorite elopement ideas for an unforgettable wedding – with suggestions for all kinds of couples and experiences.

groom holding bride in Moab
Moab, Among the Pines Photography

Below, I’ll share everything you need to know about planning your special day, what to do the day of, how to include your loved ones, and so much more.

Planning Your Dream Elopement

When brainstorming elopement ideas, careful planning is the best way to make your dream wedding day a reality.

When you’re elopement planning, you want to:

  • Choose your perfect location
  • Book an elopement photographer
  • Book other vendors
  • Prepare for your trip and elopement day
  • Write your vows

Continue reading for more info and resources on these!

Choose Your Perfect Location

One of many reasons an elopement can be better than a traditional wedding is because location opportunities are ENDLESS.

elopement couple smiling at camera in Ouray
Ouray, Among the Pines Photography

Whether you want to get away to the mountains, explore a national park, exchange your vows at the beach, or have a multi-day elopement adventure, there are countless possibilities. 

Here are some things to consider when choosing your perfect elopement location:

  • When do you want to elope?
  • What’s your ideal setting? 
  • Do you want any guests to attend?
  • How far from home do you want to go?
  • Do you want an adventurous or relaxed elopement?

Book an Elopement Photographer

Working with an elopement photographer is ideal because not only do you want to capture your special day, but many elopement photographers help you plan and execute the perfect elopement experience.

Here’s how Among the Pines Photography (that’s me!) helps couples:

  • Location scouting
  • Timeline planning
  • Vendor recommendations
  • A “How to Elope Guide”
  • Gorgeous photography, of course!

Book Other Vendors

Depending on how simple or detailed you want your elopement day to be, you might want to book other vendors. 

As I mentioned above, I help couples I work with find suitable vendors, but here are examples of ones you might want for your wedding:

  • Hair and makeup artist
  • Videographer
  • Musician
  • Caterer
  • Florist

Of course, booking other vendors isn’t necessary if you prefer no-frills. I’m often the only one joining couples for their “just us” elopement day.

Prepare for Your Trip and Elopement Day

Once you know your ceremony location, it’s time to prepare for your special day.

When planning your trip (if it’s an elopement away from home) and ceremony, here are some things to consider:

  • Dates
  • Wedding rings and attire
  • Marriage license requirements

Tip: Getting your marriage license is often easier in your home state before or after your elopement.

Write Your Vows

Exchanging your vows is one of the most memorable moments of an elopement day. The best part? Your vows can be whatever you want them to be.

couple reading vows for Colorado elopement at Lake Isabelle
Lake Isabelle, Among the Pines Photography

While writing your vows might feel intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Your vows should be your way of sharing your commitment and love to your partner.

Your vows can be long, short, funny, serious – anything in between!

When I eloped, my partner and I went to a coffee shop and wrote them together. We grabbed a coffee, sat together, and wrote our vows while occasionally looking up and smiling at each other. It was one of the most fun and profound experiences of our elopement planning process.

If you need help or inspiration, check out this complete guide to writing your elopement vows.

The Best Elopement Day-Of Ideas

The best elopement ideas are ones that make your day all about you and your love.

Here are my favorite day-of elopement ideas:

  • Make an entire day of it
  • Include loved ones – or don’t
  • Include wedding day traditions
  • Be spontaneous
  • Bring your pet

Make an Entire Day of It

When coming up with elopement ideas, consider making the entire day about you and your love. When you’re not planning a traditional wedding, you really can do whatever you want on your special day.

elopement couple drinking coffee to represent elopement ideas
Alaska, Among the Pines Photography

I believe one of the most important pieces of having a meaningful and unique elopement experience is making it all about what you and your significant other love. The best way to do this is to include activities throughout the day that you both enjoy. Make it authentic and adventurous!

For example, my husband and I love visiting coffee shops and hammocking. So we incorporated both of these into our elopement day after our sunrise hike. 

Tip: For help creating a whole day that includes bits and pieces of memorable moments, work with an adventure elopement photographer like myself!

Include Loved Ones – or don’t

While elopements are traditionally known as the couple running away together without telling anyone, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, I’ve worked with several couples who want their loved ones present on their big day.

elopement couple smiling with guests behind them
Crested Butte, Among the Pines Photography

If you decide to invite people, I recommend keeping your guest list limited to 10 people maximum. This way, you can still prioritize focusing on you and your love.

You can also opt for an intimate wedding with more guests.

Below, I’ll share ways you can celebrate your new chapter with all your friends and family, no matter how small your guest list is.

Include Wedding Day Traditions

Just because you elope doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate wedding traditions. 

I love when my elopement couples tie in special wedding day traditions like:

  • A first dance
  • A delicious meal – a private chef is a fun idea for this!
  • A bridal bouquet
  • A wedding cake
  • Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Be Spontaneous

Be spontaneous for an epic elopement day! This lets you make the most of each moment, create unexpected memories, and be present throughout the day.

Having a celebratory drink midday, exploring a different location due to unexpected weather, or dancing together after dinner – these are the things that make your special day truly memorable.

Bring Your Pet

One of my favorite additions to an elopement is pets! Many locations are pet-friendly, and some states, like Colorado, don’t require a witness, so your pet can witness for you.

Read more: How to Make an Elopement Special: 15 Unique Ideas for a Memorable Day

How to Celebrate Your Elopement with Loved Ones

Weddings are meant for you and your love to start this next chapter together, and you want the experience to be authentic to you.

There are many ways you can stay true to this while also celebrating with loved ones before, during, and after the ceremony.

Here are some ideas for announcing your elopement, celebrating with friends and families, and including loved ones on the day of.

Announce Your Elopement 

A lot of couples who elope are unsure how to announce the news. That said, there are many fun announcement ideas.

Remember that this is your day, and there are ways you can share the news with your loved ones while staying true to yourself.

A few ways you can announce your elopement include:

  • Sending announcement cards after your ceremony that include your elopement pictures
  • Sharing the big news with everyone on social media
  • Creating photo books to give to loved ones

Celebrate Before or After Your Ceremony  

An engagement party is perfect if you want to get together with friends and family members to celebrate. This lets you join together for a celebration. It’s also the ideal opportunity for those who want to give gifts as you usually would at a traditional wedding reception.

You can also have a reception after your elopement day and watch your elopement video together with friends and family. In fact, this is what my husband and I did, and it was incredible! We also sent hundreds of virtual invites to other people special to us, where they could scan a QR code on the invite to watch the wedding film with us oto.

Include Loved Ones in the Ceremony

You can also include loved ones in your elopement ceremony, even if they’re not physically present.

Ideas for this include having them:

  • Help with planning/picking out attire
  • Write letters for you to read on your elopement day
  • Facetime with you during or after the ceremony

Elopement Ideas: FAQ

Below, I’ll answer common questions on ideas to elope to help make the most of your special day!

elopement couple standing in the snow with backpacks showing signs that say just married to represent elopement ideas
Breckenridge, Among the Pines Photography

What do you do on your elopement day?

You can do anything you want on your elopement day. I recommend making a list of activities you and your love enjoy and items on your bucket list. Incorporate these ideas into your big day.

How do you do a simple elopement?

From having a laid-back ceremony at a nearby park to celebrating at your favorite restaurant, there are many ways to do a simple, intimate elopement for two. You can work with an adventure elopement photographer like myself to plan your dream day.

How long is a typical elopement?

Elopements usually last four to eight hours. Couples who want an extended celebration can also plan a one or two-day adventure.

Can you have a bachelorette party if you elope?

Of course! Elopements can be celebrated in whatever way you’d like. Even if you choose to elope the day of with your love, you can celebrate with friends at a bachelorette party before your big day.

How do you elope without offending anyone?

The best way to elope without offending friends and family is to find unique ways to include them. For example, have an engagement party, let them help you plan, and share pictures of your ceremony afterward.

Couples often worry that eloping will offend loved ones. And while this is a very valid concern, it’s important to remember why you’re eloping and that your wedding day is about you and your love.

The Best Elopement Ideas for YOU

Elopements are unique to each couple. I recommend coming up with unique elopement ideas that include what’s important and special to you and your partner.

I love working with couples to create an authentic elopement experience. Once couples book with me, I send a planning questionnaire that helps us get creative with planning meaningful activities and moments.

Are you ready to start planning your dream day?

Client Praise

kinsley + caden

“Brooke was the perfect choice for our wedding day! We had a micro wedding at Sapphire Point in August. I had never been to Sapphire Point and Brooke was so helpful suggesting vendors, picture locations, parking, marriage license info etc. She was so kind and helpful before and during the whole process and was a large part of why the day went so smooth. She does so much more than just show up and take pictures, Brooke will truly go out of her way to make your wedding day perfect! The photos are gorgeous and I keep getting so many compliments! I truly cannot recommend her enough!”

"Brooke was a large part of why our day went so smooth and will truly go out of her way to make your wedding day perfect!"

We chose Brooke to capture our Colorado elopement and she did exactly that and more. She made it easy to plan our day out with locations and timelines so that we could focus on ourselves. We decided last minute to change our afternoon/evening elopement to a 6am sunrise one so beat the heat of the day. Brooke accommodated us without hesitation and even created a new timeline for us so that we knew where to be for the perfect sunrise. She was kind and understood what we wanted in terms of our elopement and we are so grateful to have her capture the day. Our photos turned out beautiful and truly helped us relive the day. I would recommend Brooke to anyone wanting their special day photographed.

"Brooke accommodated us without hesitation and even created a new timeline for us so that we knew where to be for the perfect sunrise."

erica + stacy

kirstie + colin

Brooke not only photographed our mountain elopement beautifully, but she put so much thought into the details and knew all of the answers the questions I didn’t even know to ask. She really puts a lot of thought into each photo and brings her expertise while still remaining very open to what we wanted and ideas we had. She even helped pick the perfect spot for us and advised us on the logistical details like securing a reservation at the mountain lake where we wanted our ceremony. She is SO easy to work with and very friendly and chill. My husband and I are super awkward in front of a camera but she made it so natural and easy - and the shots came out better than we could have imagined.

"She really puts a lot of thought into each photo and brings her expertise while still remaining very open to what we wanted and ideas we had."

amanda + jace

Brooke is many things; talented, calm, flexible, experienced/ knowledgeable, patient, incredibly responsive, organized, resourceful in a pinch, supportive, creative, professional yet a blast to work with, and goes above & beyond w her clients. Our wedding was a spectacular dream and we couldn't be more grateful that she made that single day last forever. Whether she's photographing nature or an intimate event, her pictures tell a story of peace, love, whatever your vision may be. We couldn't recommend her more and we look forward to booking with her for all of our vow renewals, seasonal and family pictures for as long as she'll have us.

"Whether she's photographing nature or an intimate event, her pictures tell a story of peace, love, whatever your vision may be."

linden + brent

Working with Brooke was a dream come true! Before we even met, my husband Brent and I were impressed by her portfolio. After meeting, we were even more convinced that her photography skills and knowledge, and her fun and easygoing personality were exactly what we were looking for in an elopement photographer. Brooke was able to take our vision and facilitate everything so that it worked out beautifully, especially when it came to finding the perfect location (the incredible mountains surrounding Ouray). Throughout the entire planning process, she was honest and flexible, and made it clear that her goal was for us to be 100% happy. In the end, her creativity and our happiness totally shine through in every single photo.

"Throughout the entire planning process, she was honest and flexible."

lauren + branden

I can't begin to express my gratitude for the intimacy and beauty behind Brooke's photographs. In capturing our wedding day, she went above and beyond to document our story, our families, and the depths of our love in ways that I'll forever be grateful for. Brooke has an eye for not only capturing the adventure and magic of your love, but deeply connects with your personal story, understands your relationship, and then gives that back in the most incredible way. She is truly an artist and tells your story in an authentic and creative way for you to look back on for years to come. We are forever grateful to Brooke for spending the time to get to know us, our story, and capturing the memories that we'll relive for years to come.

"Brooke deeply connects with your personal story, understands your relationship, and then gives that back in the most incredible way."

heather + jedd

“If you're contemplating which photographer to go with, THIS IS YOUR SIGN TO CHOOSE BROOKE!!!! She is so so so talented and was able to capture our elopement exactly how I pictured and wanted! We eloped in Ridgway, CO this past September and she was so helpful figuring out picture locations, recommendations of timeline for the day, and just made the whole day feel so smooth. She schedules multiple check ins, phone calls, etc., leading up to the big day to ensure everything is as you want it. Brooke has such a calming, down to earth presence and is one of those awesome people you feel like you've known forever after just the first time of meeting."

"Brooke has such a calming, down to earth presence and is one of those awesome people you feel like you've known forever."

christy + austin

Brooke is the absolute best. She truly went above and beyond for my fiancé and I to be able to get our engagement photos taken with the fall colors. Brooke is so sweet, fun, personable and incredibly talented. We could not be more in love with our engagement photos! Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever.

"Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever."

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