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


Brooke is professional, prepared, and provides all the peace of mind that a bride needs on her wedding day. Because of our conversations leading up to the day, I had no doubt that she would capture every important moment and more. Throughout the day, she was present and helpful, but never overbearing or controlling. She beautifully captured the moments that happened naturally & her experience allowed for insight and ideas that I wouldn't have thought to ask for but that I'll now cherish forever! She is flexible, understanding, and patient, and looking back, we can't imagine our day without her. If you are looking for someone to capture your wedding day, or just any day, Brooke is your girl. She goes above and beyond to serve her clients, and she is absolutely gifted at what she does.

"SHE GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND TO SERVE HER CLIENTS, and she is absolutely gifted at what she does."

Linden + Brent

In the end, her creativity and our happiness totally shine through in every single photo. Brooke made both of us feel so at ease, from our individual sessions before we had our first look, to strolling through downtown Ouray, to our ceremony and in the scenic spots we visited afterwards. Her talent is beyond compare and we are absolutely thrilled with our gallery of photos we will treasure forever. We give Brooke our highest recommendation and can’t wait to work with her again!

"Throughout the entire planning process, Brooke was honest and flexible, and made it clear that her goal was for us to be 100% happy."

Emily + Nick

Brooke is hands down the most talented photographer I have ever met in my entire life. I gave her my inspiration and she took it and made it into something entirely unique and beautiful. Brooke was able to work with my budget and offer me options. Along with all of this, she was always there to communicate with me from ideas to concerns. The day of never goes as planned, she was thrown curveball after curveball and dodged them all with ease. The photos we received memorialized the best day of our lives and we are forever grateful for the beautiful artwork she created.

"we are forever grateful for the beautiful artwork she created."


Brooke was booked to do our wedding June 6th. However, the virus hit and we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to have our wedding in June so we decided to go ahead and get married with just our parents there. I called Brooke and told her our plans and literally we were getting married in a week and she was so quick to say yes and capture our day for us. She helped make our day very special. She was super fun and made Zach and I feel very comfortable. I got my pictures back and I felt so overjoyed to see the happiness and love I felt on that day. Even though we didn’t have our wedding like we planned, it was still very special and Brooke was a big hand in that. She truly captured some very special memories that I will have for the rest of my life. 


Our wedding was in Kentucky in September. Brooke not only traveled for us but made a custom package for us because we had a unique situation. She took pictures the day before, and just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. She met with me before the wedding and we communicated a few times up to the wedding about my specific requests, and she hit the nail on the head. I am so very thankful for Brooke's story-telling, organic nature. She captured our wedding for exactly what it was and what I will remember it to be...full of joy, laughter, love and hope for the future!

"I AM SO VERY THANKFUL FOR BROOKE'S storytelling, organic nature."



She’s professional, creative, organized, kind, and just a blast to be around. She made my husband comfortable instantly in front of a camera so she’s a miracle worker too. We can’t stop staring at our photos! So many people keep telling us how amazing they are!


Jessica & Robby

Brooke has a true talent. She is able to tap into and capture moments you didn’t even realize were happening.  Absolutely 100% recommend Brooke and her beautiful pictures. We booked her services for our engagement pictures and then immediately realized we needed to have her for our wedding also. I’m already preemptively dreaming of the anniversary shoot I want!

"Brooke will make you feel comfortable and like a friend - she will take your ideas and inspiration and produce something better than you thought."

Rori + Eli

Brooke truly listened to what we wanted as a couple, our hopes, and took time to understand our "vibe," which came through in her work she delivered.

I can't thank Brooke enough for her amazing work - seriously the BEST decision we made and brings me to tears each time I look at these beautiful, photographic memories we'll have forever.


Not only is Brooke an amazing photographer, but she is so fun and easy to work with! She made the whole process feel natural and comfortable for someone who typically feels awkward and weird while getting pictures taken! I love all of the pictures and I highly recommend Brooke as a photographer!

"SHE MADE THE WHOLE PROCESS FEEL natural & Comfortable."


That's exactly what Brooke does, she captures a story. No words needed. You can see it and feel it. You can remember the exact moment and how you feel for that person and see how they feel about you. Her intuitive eye has only gotten sharper. I can’t wait to see what other adventures await for her to capture.

"SHE CAPTURES A STORY, NO WORDS NEEDED. you can see it and feel it."

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

Brooke is so sweet, fun, personable and incredibly talented. We could not be more in love with our engagement photos!

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