There’s nothing quite like an adventure wedding.
Picture this: You and your fiancé at an amazing location, without the external pressure from family and friends. You get to celebrate your love exactly the way you want to.
An adventure wedding (sometimes called an elopement) is all about celebrating your marriage outside of the traditional confines of a wedding.
Instead of a country club or a ballroom, your venue will be an amazing, epic location. You get to decide how your wedding day will unfold. There aren’t any rules, and that’s what makes them so much fun!
One of the best parts of planning an adventure wedding is picking a location. The world is your oyster! You could choose to get married after hiking up to the cliffs overlooking Yosemite Valley or maybe you’d prefer a romantic getaway to Paris. There are an endless amount of options—if you can think it, you can most likely make it happen.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out some of my favorite locations here:
Once you’ve dreamed up a few potential location ideas, you’ll want to look into the logistics of getting legally married at that location.
Some countries have complicated marriage laws, so keep in mind you can always get legally married beforehand (in fact, it’s very common when traveling overseas for a wedding). This helps to broaden your location options.
Researching details like peak tourist season (where travel and lodging can be more expensive, not to mention it can get crowded) or what the weather is like at different times of year will help ensure there are no surprises (you don’t want to freeze during your vows if you can avoid it!).
Many locations such as national parks or private property also can require a permit for a wedding ceremony. Photography often requires a permit as well, so if you’re not sure definitely ask for help.
Although many people think of an elopement as just you, your fiancé, an officiant and a photographer, it doesn’t have to be. Don’t forget—there are no rules!
Would you rather do a private ceremony with just your closest family and friends? Then go ahead! Turn your wedding into the trip of a lifetime with the people you love the most.
Picking the right vendors for you helps to ensure your wedding looks and feels incredible. Great vendors will have your back when it comes to planning, making the whole process much easier.
A few tips: If you’re looking to have your wedding feel even more intimate, consider having a friend officiate your ceremony rather than a local. (This becomes even easier to do if you’ve completed your marriage paperwork beforehand!)
Also, don’t forget flowers! Adding a bridal bouquet is a simple way to elevate the look of your photographs. Flowers really do make everything look incredible!
Keep in mind that, depending on the location you choose to get married, it may be necessary to pick up your flowers a day or two before your ceremony.
Who you choose to document your wedding will be one of the most important decisions you make while planning (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a photographer). Look for a photographer you can trust to help you create an amazing photography experience—someone you feel a personal connection with.
I can say with 100% certainty that personal connection (and feeling comfortable with your photographer) is the biggest factor in creating images with a natural look and feel.
Your photographer will also likely be your guide throughout the wedding experience. A great photographer will help you plan, figuring out what time of day and what locations work best, so you can focus on having an incredible time and capturing amazing photographs together.
On the day of your ceremony, try to pack light if you can. Many couples doing an adventure wedding choose to hike to their wedding location, so you want to make sure your essentials fit inside a light backpack.
You’ll most likely change into your wedding attire once you arrive at the ceremony location. Ask your photographer if they have a changing pod—I always make sure to bring one for the couples I work with. It makes changing in the woods a lot easier!
Other necessities: sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes; your wedding attire; and jewelry and accessories. You’ll want to make sure you stay warm if it’s cold or windy outside, so bringing along a few extra layers is a good idea, too.
Planning an adventure wedding is a great way to truly make your wedding your own. In a day and age where the thought of planning a wedding can fill you with stress and anxiety, taking a step back and focusing on the things that really matter can be a refreshing way to celebrate your love.
P.S. Here are more free tips and resources on all things wedding planning, from whether to have a first look to how to create the perfect wedding timeline for you and more!
Want more visual wedding inspiration? Check out these boards on Pinterest.
We're wedding photographers who believe how you feel on your wedding day is just as important as taking incredible pictures.
As a wedding photographer & filmmaker based in both New York City & Southern California, Tom has captured close to 200 weddings. Together, we love to celebrate with you and your friends on one of the most exciting days of your lives. It brings us such joy to capture your wedding in an artistic way, not only telling your wedding story, but also making sure to bring warmth and friendliness (and a few laughs!) to the day.