YESS. It’s time to plan those little moments that make your elopement day an experience you’ll never forget. And you’re in the right place because I’m going to share my favorite unique ideas for how to make an elopement special.

Breckenridge elopement couple
Breckenridge, Colorado; Among the Pines Photography


As an adventure elopement photographer who’s joined many couples for their special day, I’ve got some amazing suggestions for memorable moments to enjoy with your love.

How to Make an Elopement Special

When it comes to having an authentic elopement day that you and your partner can cherish for a long time to come, the key is making it all about the two of you. That said, here are some ideas to help you plan the perfect day!

  1. Elope somewhere special.
  2. Make a whole day of it. 
  3. Include your loved ones.
  4. Be spontaneous.
  5. Don’t be afraid to dress for comfort.
  6. Have a first look.
  7. Surprise each other.
  8. Write personalized vows.
  9. Incorporate something really unique.
  10. Add decoration to your adventure gear.
  11. Hire a private chef.
  12. Have a picnic.
  13. Celebrate with a first dance.
  14. Do a fun activity (or a few) together.
  15. Stay in a special accommodation.

Related read: Announcing Your Elopement: Top Tips & Elopement Announcement Ideas

1. Elope Somewhere Special

One of the best parts about eloping vs. a traditional wedding is that there are so many more options for where you can elope. Because you don’t have to worry about accommodating a bunch of guests and you’re focusing on making the experience all about you and your love, the opportunities are endless for where you can elope.

Garden of the Gods - elopement couple
Garden of the Gods; Among the Pines Photography

Whether you want to have a national park elopement (Arches National Park is one of my favs!), a beachside ceremony, or elope at a unique vacation rental, there are many options.


For more elopement location ideas, check out these articles:

2. Make a Whole Day of It 

Another reason couples love eloping is that the whole day is about YOU. You can skip worrying about sticking to a rigid schedule and your venue’s timeline. Instead, you can make your entire elopement day a special experience for you and your partner.

You might plan a few adventures or have a relaxing morning together before a special afternoon ceremony. It’s totally up to you! 

Tip: Work with an adventure elopement photographer (like me!) that can help you execute your dream day! 

3. Include Your Loved Ones

Sometimes couples avoid eloping even when it’s what they want because they’re worried about their loved ones feeling excluded. The cool thing about eloping is that you can still include your loved ones. Eloping doesn’t have to be old-school, where you run away and get married in secret.

Here are a few fun ways you can include your loved one in your big day:

  • Have them write letters you and your partner can read on your elopement day.
  • Let them help you with wedding planning, picking out your attire, etc.
  • Facetime your closest friends and family during your ceremony (or after).
  • Have a celebration afterward and watch your elopement together.
  • Invite some of your loved ones to join you for your elopement.

How to make an elopement special for pet owners: include your furry family members by bringing them along on your elopement day!

dog at an elopement - how to make an elopement special
Among the Pines Photography

4. Be Spontaneous

Another incredible perk of eloping is that you can be spontaneous because you don’t have to follow a specific schedule. While coming up with a plan can help you have an amazing elopement day, spontaneous moments sprinkled in can make the day even more memorable.

If you decide you want to check out one more waterfall or grab a drink after your ceremony, do it! Being present and having those moments of spontaneity adds to the memories. 

Tip: It’s especially important to be open to spontaneity, as this will also help you when things don’t go as planned. Because rest assured, your elopement day plans can always get interrupted due to things like unexpected weather or your ceremony location being crowded. 

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Dress for Comfort

If you’re planning to get adventurous on your elopement day, it’s okay to dress for comfort. You can rock your gorgeous dress with hiking boots underneath. You can even plan for outfit changes on your elopement day, depending on what kind of activities you’re doing.

elopement couple with hiking shoes - how to make an elopement special
Among the Pines Photography

6. Have a First Look

If you’re wondering how to make an elopement special while sticking to wedding traditions, have a first look! Many couples don’t think to do this for their elopement day too, but you definitely can. 

While you’ll probably be spending most of your elopement day with your love, you can take some time apart to get ready. Then, have a sweet moment where you share a first look. 

7. Surprise Each Other

Whether you decide to surprise one another with a first look or not, another way to do something special on your elopement day is to plan a surprise for each other. This could be with a fun song you wrote for your love or a photo album of moments you’ve shared together throughout your relationship.

A quick story about surprising my husband on our elopement day:
On my elopement day, I surprised my husband with a song I had written about our relationship. Even though photography is my thing (I’m no music artist!), I made the song special by incorporating things like our love for road trips with our dog Charlie and how hard it was to say goodbye while doing long distance. I also added in the audio of his late grandmother telling him how proud she is of him from the day he graduated with his Doctorate as a Chiropractor. I had a friend who’s a musician help me with this, and it was perfect!

6. Write Personalized Vows

Writing vows for your elopement doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, this can be a fun experience that makes your big day even more meaningful. 

Grab vow books for you and your partner before your elopement and spend some time coming up with ideas on vows. Write your vows before the ceremony, where you share special memories, make promises for the future, and tell your love how much they mean to you.

couple reading elopement vows at Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods; Among the Pines Photography

For more help on how to write personalized vows, check out this guide on how to write elopement vows.

7. Incorporate Something Really Unique

Most couples who elope dream of a day that’s authentic and unique. Forget wedding day expectations and make it exactly how you and your partner want it to be. 

Maybe you want to wear an untraditional dress or cheers with champagne right after you say, “I do.” That wild thing you think would never fly at a traditional wedding can be the perfect thing to incorporate on your elopement day.

elopement couple pouring champagne - how to make an elopement special
Among the Pines Photography

8. Add Decoration to Your Adventure Gear

If you’re planning an adventure elopement, decorating your gear is a great way to make your elopement special. For example, add signs to your hiking backpacks or flowers to your kayak like in the pictures below of beautiful couples I’ve worked with!

couple eloping with backpacks & signs "just married" - how to make an elopement special
Breckenridge, Colorado, Among the Pines Photography
elopement couple in kayak - how to make an elopement special
Bozeman, Montana; Among the Pines Photography

9. Hire a Private Chef

Delicious post-wedding meals aren’t just for traditional weddings. Best of all, when you elope, you can actually sit down and enjoy your dinner with your new spouse. So why not go all out and hire a private chef? This is the ideal elopement day experience, especially for foodies.

10. Have a Picnic

Have your chef cater your meal picnic-style, or keep it low-key by packing a picnic yourself. If you’re eloping in a scenic setting, having a picnic is the perfect way to really enjoy the setting.

elopement day picnic setup
Among the Pines Photography

11. Celebrate With a First Dance

Don’t forget to celebrate this new chapter with a first dance. Either hire a musician to join you for your ceremony or play a favorite song on your phone. You could even really be in the moment and dance to the sounds of nature! No matter how you choose to enjoy your dance, this is an excellent opportunity for a few minutes of intimacy with your partner on this important day.

12. Do a Fun Activity (or a few) Together

One thing I especially adore as an adventure elopement photographer is capturing couples enjoying activities they love or new-to-them experiences. Incorporate one or a few things like this on your elopement day to create new memories. This can be something as adventurous as kayaking or paddle boarding together or simple yet fun like grabbing pizza in town or watching the sunset.

elopement couple at Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park, Among the Pines Photography
elopement couple with Jeep in Ouray, Colorado
Ouray, Colorado; Among the Pines Photography

13. Stay in a Special Accommodation

Take your entire elopement experience up a notch by heading back to a special accommodation. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime day!

Instead of booking a standard hotel, stay in a special accommodation. If you’re eloping in a park, find a nearby campsite or cabin. If camping isn’t your style, book a cool vacation rental.

How to Make an Elopement Special: Final Thoughts

As an adventure elopement photographer, I love helping couples plan and execute their dream elopement day. That’s right! Not only do I take photos to capture all those special moments, but I can also help you pick your location, recommend vendors, and make sure your elopement day is an epic experience. I even have a 100-page elopement guide to share with you!

I hope these ideas for how to make an elopement special has helped you start brainstorming how to have the most perfect elopement ever!

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CHLOE + CONNER

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.

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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.

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ERICA & ZACH

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. 

"SHE TRULY CAPTURED SOME VERY SPECIAL MEMORIES THAT I WILL HAVE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE."

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NATALIE & KEVIN

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ALYSSA & HUNTER

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!

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ALI & KYLE

"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."

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