How to Pick the Perfect Elopement Location—Factors to Consider for Your Elopement Spot
First things first—before I really dive into some of the factors that might affect how you pick your elopement location—I want to make a super important point:
NO MATTER WHERE YOU END UP PICKING FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT LOCATION, THE VERY FACT THAT YOU’RE CHOOSING TO SPEND AN INTENTIONAL, MEANINGFUL, AND PURPOSEFUL DAY PLEDGING YOUR LIVES TO EACH OTHER MAKES IT PRETTY PERFECT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
That being said, as professional elopement photographer and adventurer, I totally get it.
There’s something so alluring about adventuring to a place that’s both breathtaking and jaw-dropping all at once, finding a place that’s all yours where you can take hands, saying your vows and commiting your lives to each other.
I understand there are a lot of breathtakingly epic locations out there in this big world, and choosing which one to explore with your soon-to-be-spouse can be a little bit overwhelming.
A little guidance (especially guidance from a pro who has done this sort of thing before) can be invaluable when it comes down to picking the perfect spot.
Don’t worry….I got you!
WHEN YOU ELOPE, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!
Eloping is about doing exactly what you and your significant other want to do, however and where ever your little heart desires—that’s a big reason people decide to elope in the first place.
No rules. No regulations. No guidelines. '“Ain’t nobody go time for that!!!” Just you, your partner and your wildest adventure dreams waiting to come true.
Elopements are fundamentally built for adventurous people who want to travel and explore jaw dropping locations.
An alpine lake at the very top of a mountain? You bet ya…
The cinque Terre hiking trail in Italy? Ummm, yep:)
A deserted beach we have to kayak to? Okkkuurrr!
Like I said, there are no limits to where you can elope.
Which, brings me to my most important question…
IF YOU & YOUR FIANCE COULD ELOPE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Do you want to find a dreamy location that you’ve never been to before that takes your breath away? Do you want to find a secret, secluded spot that will forever be uniquely yours? Do you want to revisit an old adventure area that’s meaningful to your story together?
It’s a lot to think about, I know. However, I am totally here to guide you through this daunting but extremely exciting process.
I have laid out a few factors to consider when picking out the perfect place to elope.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN FINDING THE BEST PLACE TO ELOPE
There are dozens of factors to consider when you’re trying to pick the perfect elopement location, but I find it is best to take it slow at the beginning and really start thinking about a few factors that might matter most to you.
Think about your preferences, needs and desires. Once you start really letting the thoughts flow, you will most likely start zeroing in on the perfect spot for your elopement in no time at all.
SCENERY + VIEWS
This is always one of the first things I ask a couple—what type of views and scenery do you want to be surrounded by?
One of the biggest benefits of eloping is that you are giving yourself the opportunity to have your wedding day absolutely anywhere, so nothing is out of the question.
Do you both come alive when you’re at the top of a mountain?
Does your heart soar when you’re running hand-in-hand down a sandy beach?
Are you incredibly passionate about old-growth forests, powerful waterfalls, canyon edges, rocky coastlines, private islands, desert dunes?
Really take some time to sit down and imagine the places that make you feel genuinely happy and authentically yourselves. What does it look like? What do you see? What type of landscapes come to mind when you think about being inspired, humbled and completely at peace?
It is OK if more than one landscape, one type of scenery or more than one view.
That’s the amazing thing about our beautiful planet—there are so many places on this earth that are abundantly overflowing with diverse landscapes all within a few miles of each other. For example, the Olympic Peninsula is famous for hosting three entirely different ecosystems all within its bounds. And it’s not the only place like that in the world.
There are endless possibilities!
If you want to road trip through an entire country for a few days to see tons of diverse views and landscapes, I can do that. If you want to hop in a helicopter and fly over gorgeous fjords, glacier fields, and alpine meadows, that is completely possible:) If you want to take an epic, off-road adventure to carve through the mountains, let’s do it!
If that’s what you both are about, then make sure your elopement lasts for days so you can see every view, every landscape and every sight there is to see.
When you really start thinking about locations that might seem perfect for you, it’s time to start considering the accessibility of those spots. No matter how you decide you want to elope, it’s always important to consider a few important accessibility questions.
How will you get to your destination? Will you fly? Drive? Take a boat?
Does your elopement location spot require you to hike? Camp? Backpack? Take a 4x4 vehicle?
Do you have an idea of how far you’re willing to travel, what kind of adventure you want to take, and how you’re ultimately going to get to your destination? Will you be including guests and do you need to consider accessibility for them?
Answering a few of these questions together can really help you get the ball rolling on choosing a few elopement locations that could be perfect for you (and eliminating some that might not truly fit as your dream elopement spot after all).
I always encourage couples to completely embrace their adventurous side—especially since this is what I LOVE to do and will be by your side for the adventure. You should do exactly what you want to do for your meaningful, intimate day, but it’s always important to consider some of the key accessibility questions before ultimately deciding on your spot.
Often, answering the question about when you want to elope can be incredibly helpful in deciding where you want to elope.
Because the seasons exist differently everywhere.
If you’re hoping to get married in December but you’re not crazy about fresh powder on your wedding day, a high alpine, mountain elopement in Colorado might not be the right choice for you.
If you love misty, foggy days that make for dreamy, moody photos, then the PNW during the wet season sounds like just your ticket.
If you’re hoping to be totally overwhelmed with glorious golden-and-red fall colors in the middle of October, that can both add on some super specific locations and also eliminate others that might not fit that time frame. There are so many questions you can answer just by truly thinking about when you’d like to elope, the season you’d prefer to elope during, and what you want the weather to look like.
For a lot of couples, the location of their elopement ceremony comes down to one big factor—seclusion.
One of the reasons that couples end up choosing to elope is because they want intimate moments, privacy, and total freedom to laugh, cry, and be themselves on such a monumental day. I completely love and respect that!
While there are many stunning spots in the world that make for absolutely beautiful elopement locations, not all of those spots are entirely secluded anymore. Sure, the internet is a beautiful thing, but in a world full of geotags and google searches, it is becoming a lot harder to find truly private spots.
Often, those stunning places that are fairly accessible and relatively well-known won’t be as secluded as some couples might like. If seclusion is a big deal for you (and for some couples it might not matter as much, that’s OK, too), know that there are ways to find these private, intimate spots,—I can certainly help do that.
Though it can be tough to find secluded locations, it’s definitely not impossible (and I have plenty of secret locations up my sleeve)—it just takes a bit of research, knowing when to go, and being willing to make your adventure a little bit more epic.
TOOLS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT ELOPEMENT LOCATION
I would be more than happy to help you pick out the perfect elopement location, but it’s always fun to do a little elopement research on your own, too! Here are a few helpful tools to use when seeking out your ideal elopement spot!
Google Tools (Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Earth Pro)
Social Media (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook)
Hiking & Trail Websites (All Trails, Hiking Project, etc.)
Hiking Forums (14ers.com)
Travel Guides (Lonely Planet)
4x4 Road Maps
Local Guides & Guide Companies
Those are just a few of the tools out there that can help you find the best elopement spot for you! Remember, I am happy to help you with your search.
A Few Extra Things to Consider
Before really deciding on your elopement location, remember to consider a few of these other factors! They probably won’t change your dream spot, but it’s always helpful to check in on these few things before solidifying your elopement location decision
Legalities—Make sure it’s both legal and ethical to have a wedding ceremony in your chosen spot. Additionally, check on the marriage laws in the state or country you’re choosing to elope in—there might be specific guidelines about your marriage license, waiting periods and who can marry you (fun fact: I am a licensed officiant, so if you need someone to sign your marriage license, I’ve got you!).
Permits—Check on where you’ve decided to elope to make sure you’re not missing the memo on any special permits or licenses you might need. This could come in several different forms. For examples, lots of national parks require that you purchase a permit if you plan to get married within their bounds. There are also a lot of wilderness areas that require you to acquire a permit if you plan to backpack, back country ski, or camp in certain areas. Do a little research and make sure you’ve got all the permits needed to make your elopement dreams come true.
Leave No Trace Principles—This one is incredibly valuable and very important to me, too. We only have one earth and while it’s important for us to enjoy it, it’s even more vital that we take care of it. Make sure that before you decide to elope in nature, you’re totally prepared and in-the-know to follow leave no trace principles.
Remember, in the end, the perfect elopement location is going to be the one that makes you the happiest! Dream big, follow your heart and don’t let anyone stop you from having your epic elopement adventure!
YOUR ELOPEMENT LOCATION SHOULD BE JUST AS UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL AS THE LOVE YOU HAVE FOR EACH OTHER. LET ME HELP GUIDE YOU TOWARD THE PERFECT ELOPEMENT SPOT FOR YOU!
I AM ERIN! I AM AN ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN ARKANSAS. I TRAVEL WORLDWIDE TO HELP FEARLESS COUPLES LIKE YOU CREATE A WILDLY UNFORGETTABLE WEDDING EXPERIENCE
ARE YOU READY TO CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTUROUS ELOPEMENT?
If you would like help dreaming up your intimate wedding day, a customized elopement location idea list just for you, planning tools, vendor recommendations and a laid-back creative documentary approach to your adventurous wedding photography—I would love to help you make your elopement dreams come true!