How To Choose an Elopement Location | Elopement Planning

One of the hardest parts of planning your elopement is choosing an elopement location. The world is a big place and it can be so overwhelming to narrow it down to one location! Today I’m giving you 5 tips on how to choose an elopement location that is perfect for you. I recommend you sit down with your partner, read over these tips, and start your search for your dream elopement location! 

Happy Adventuring!

1. Scenery

One of the easiest places to start while choosing an elopement location is to picture what your dream elopement looks like. Picture where you can imagine you and your partner exchanging your vows. Do you imagine being on the edge of a cliff with dramatic mountains in the backyard? Maybe you have always dreamed of getting married next to a huge saguaro cactus. It helps to narrow it down later on when you have an idea of what kind of scenery you want to be in. Some locations have multiple scenery types in the same spot. Washington State offers dramatic cliff edges next to the ocean. Montana offers blue glacial lakes close to dense forests. Utah offers a vast red desert with slot canyons and rock formations. Hawaii offers beautiful tropical rainforests with turquoise ocean views. This world is a beautiful place, but try to narrow it down to what sceneries you picture on your dream wedding day and start from there.

2.Time of Year & Weather

Another important factor of choosing an elopement location is the weather and time of year. When deciding to elope you are agreeing to Mother Nature running your day. Make sure you talk to your partner about your non-negotiables in regards to weather. Maybe you hate humidity and your partner despises the cold. Most locations have ideal seasons for getting married, which is another thing to keep in mind. If you’ve always dreamed of a summer wedding, then the Southwest isn’t going to be at the top of your list. I always like to check the average temperatures during certain months, as well as the chances of rain or snowfall. Don’t forget to be educated on the weather and best times of year to visit for your top locations.

Elopement ceremony with family and friends in Sedona, Arizona desert.

3.Your Favorite Activities

One thing most couples don’t think about when choosing an elopement location is considering your favorite activities to do with each other. If you’ve chosen to elope more than likely you have a special love for nature. When I work with my couples to help plan their elopement day I always ask.. “What would your dream day look like?” Would it include a short hike with a picnic? Perhaps you would like to cross country ski to a private mountain overlook. What about taking a boat ride to a private island? Do you and your partner love to roadtrip? Maybe taking a road trip around your favorite state could be the perfect idea for you. The possibilities for activities to do on your wedding day are seriously endless. If you want any cool ideas for epic activities to do on your elopement day, check out this blog post I wrote!

Bride and groom hiking to their ceremony location at their Colorado elopement.

4.What State/Country Has All of That?

Now that you have narrowed it down to your favorite sceneries, your desired time of year and weather, and your favorite activities, now it’s time to find a state or country that has it all. If you’re dreaming of an epic adventure I’d suggest to look outside of the United States. Maybe you want to go to the country that you and your partner have always had at the top of your bucket list. Some of my favorite countries for elopements include Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Thailand, and Chile. 

If getting married out of the country isn’t desirable, no worries! The United States has so much variety and I guarantee you can find your dream scenery in one of the states. I suggest using Google, Instagram, and your favorite hiking trails apps to decide on which state is best for your elopement location. I also always recommend reaching out to your elopement photographer to see if they have any suggestions. I always love working one on one with my couples to find the perfect state for their elopement.

Bride and groom at their elopement in the mountains of Alaska.

5.Narrow It Down.. And Choose Your Perfect Elopement Location

Let’s break it down even more specific now that you’ve chosen the ideal state/country for your elopement. If you’re unfamiliar with a state I suggest that you first start looking through the various national parks, state parks, and popular hiking trails. Most national parks do require that wedding ceremonies, no matter the size, must take place at certain spots in the park. Make sure to do all of the proper research ahead of time…it’s important to respect all of the rules that come with getting married out in nature. Here‘s a great resource for information regarding getting married in a national park. If you don’t want to get married at a national park, another great option is to look into the various different trails. Once you find one that ticks all the marks, check out the rules for getting married in the park. Some parks require permits, and some don’t. If you’re struggling with narrowing your elopement location to a specific area in the state, I suggest that you talk to your elopement photographer and planner. One of my favorite parts of being an elopement photographer and planner all in one is location scouting! After years of traveling all around the world and photographing couples in epic places I have a few tips up my sleeves with finding the perfect elopement location. I talk to my couples about how much they want to hike, how secluded they want their elopement location to be, and many other factors. 

Don’t worry if you get to this spot and you feel stuck. Take your time researching and talking with your photographer. Most parks require permits to be submitted within 4 weeks in advance to your desired date. This gives you plenty of time to find the perfect location for your elopement. Have fun researching! If you end up finding a park that isn’t the best spot for your elopement, at least you’ve found another cool spot to explore in the future. Don’t forget to ask lots of questions, look at lots of photos on google, and have FUN. 

Want more elopement planning tips? Check out all of my recent blog posts here!

How To Plan An Out-of-State Elopement 

Top 5 Elopement Locations in Arizona

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