Choosing your elopement location can be the toughest part of the planning process. I get it. How can you begin to choose when there are almost endless options? As an Elopement guide & photographer, most of my couples reach out to me during this stage, overwhelmed, a bit confused and need some real guidance. Choosing your elopement location is actually a lot easier than it seems. Let me walk you through this process…
If you could get married ANYWHERE in the world, where would it be? That’s always the very first question that I ask my couples. Write down that giant list of ALL of your dream locations. Even if they’re halfway across the world. Need inspiration? Turn to travel magazines/guides, your favorite photographer’s recommendations, and your past experiences. I want you to dig deep & think of your wedding day as the most epic day of your life– because it will be.
Reflect back on your past experiences. Do you enjoy the dry heat of the desert? Or the moody rain skies, like Iceland or the Pacific Northwest? Do you love walking barefoot on a beach? Summiting a mountain top just in time for sunrise? Do you want a quiet & calm evening at a cabin, roasting marshmallows under the stars? Think of the feeling that you crave for your elopement day.
If you’re leaning towards an adventure elopement or small wedding, you’ll likely reply back to this with “well epic views, of course!”. But I want you to dive deeper. Think about those epic views. Do you imagine the views from a mountaintop? In the desert? Beach-side? Lake or Ocean? Tropical or Nordic? The ideas are endless, but the goal is to hone in what YOU think of when you say “epic views”.
If you want to incorporate sentimental value, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the location you choose. You can incorporate a tradition, or bring an item that means something. Your elopement location is going to spark the beginning of your adventure together, that in itself is going to create sentimental value for you to look back on a lifetime to come. Do you want to experience a brand new scenery together? Trailing through the Arizona Canyons, or feeling the mist under Iceland’s remote waterfalls. Or do you want to head back to “that place” and experience it while embarking on this new adventure of life? Summiting a mountain in the Adirondacks, or kayaking in a lake in Colorado. Make a decision together on whether you want to go somewhere new, or go somewhere that holds sentimental value.
Now that you have your “think big” list written down. It’s time to hone in & narrow your list down. There’s a few logistical components to consider as you’re crossing off & circling locations.
Chances are, you wrote down some locations that are “top elopement” places. Just because they are named the “top”, doesn’t mean you have to choose them! You can go somewhere new and unique!
Do you want to have your elopement or small wedding locally, out of state, or internationally? Most of my destination elopements & small weddings merge their elopement day with their honeymoon right after!
Looking at the location’s seasons is one of the first things that I do when a couple comes to me with options of different locations. There’s so many different types of seasons to think about: Rain Season, Hurricane Season, Snow Season, Dry Heat Season, Tourist/Peak Season, Shoulder Season. There’s resources out there to help determine the best season/month for each specific location, I suggest turning to an expert elopement guide to help you with determining what season is best for your elopement.
How accessible do you want your location to be? Not all elopements & small weddings require hiking! Actually only 35% of my couples choose to hike into their ceremony location. I’ve mastered the art of finding incredible locations for my couples that are very accessible for themselves and their guests. And if you’re craving that adventure adrenaline, some of these locations can include off-roading jeep access, helicopter access, gondola access and seaplane access! Most National Parks also have designated Ceremony locations that are accessible (flat, easy walks) for all couples & their guests! Keep in mind that if you want to include hiking for photos of you two after your ceremony, but still have your ceremony location be accessible for your guests, you can absolutely do that!
This process shouldn’t feel daunting. Pick a location that just feels right. You have the rest of your life to adventure to the other locations on your list. Find a location that speaks most to your heart, and stick to it. Planning your elopement is an adventure in itself– enjoy the process!