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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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!
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:
How to make an elopement special for pet owners: include your furry family members by bringing them along on your elopement day!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
For more help on how to write personalized vows, check out this guide on how to write elopement vows.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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."