How to make your elopement memorable
It doesn’t mean you can’t do any of the above as part of your elopement day, but I firmly believe your wedding day is so much more than just your vows. This is the day you marry your best friend, the person you have the most fun with and want to spend the rest of your life with. So wether you have 200 guests in attendance or 2 guests or none at all, your wedding day is just as meaningful and should be celebrated all day long and all night long!
Trust me, I kind of thought eloping was just going to the courthouse too when I was planning our elopement in Wyoming a few year ago. Then as the day got closer, I realized we had the whole day to ourselves to do exactly what we wanted so the planning begun. Not hardcore, stressful, never ending to-do list planning, more of a mellow schedule with lots of room for relaxing and soaking in the day.
But still, when I would tell people I eloped, I would immediately get these follow up questions:
Did your family not like him?
Did his family not like you?
Were you pregnant?
No, no and no :)
I will be honest I had decided I was going to elope before I even met my husband. I mean if girls with big weddings can dream of their perfect wedding when they are 10 year-olds, why not be able to dream about eloping when single?
Luckily, my husband wasn’t even planning on getting married when he met me, so he was easily swayed into having a relaxed stress- free fun wedding day. We drove from New York to California and smack dab in the middle-ish, we eloped!
And it was truly the best day ever!
Another misconception is that eloping needs to include hiking boots and camping.
Again it could, but it doesn't have to.
Eloping is making the day you say I DO all about you, and when I say you , I mean you as a couple, doing exactly what you want to do, without worrying about a rigid timeline or logistics for another hundred people: no stress, no drama, no expectations, just celebrating your love and doing whatever it is that you want to do.
You don’t have to jump off an airplane to say I do. You don’t have to hike 30 miles or freeze in the snow either. You don’t have to do anything that’s not 100% you. Your wedding day should be AUTHENTIC to you.
Again, I can’t stress this enough: it’s your day and it should be a representation of who you are, and not some image you might have seen on social media or Pinterest...
Trust me, had I made my husband wake up at the crack of dawn to hike 15 miles before saying I do, I might have lost him half way through the hike -:) And yes I love waking up for sunrise and hiking 15 miles makes me happy, so if that’s what you are thinking and you both love hiking, I am down! But it's not a requirement. They are beautiful national and state parks with amazing lookouts that are easily accessible by car.
Also, if national parks aren't your jam, backyard elopements or city elopements are just as special. Trust me, there is no location I would say no to. It is your wedding. You decide. I am just here to help in case you want help with the logistics. So however you imagine your day, that’s what your day should be like. Just don’t cut yourself short by limiting our wedding day to a couple of hours as if it were merely a photoshoot in wedding attire.
This is your wedding day, make it count, make it memorable, make it unforgettable!
And if you need some inspiration or are wondering what a full day elopement could look like, check out the timeline examples below. You will see your elopement can be full of adventure, half adventure half not, or no adventure at all.
The only important part is that you are both happy with your day and every anniversary, you look back at your photos and say:
OUR DAY WAS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!
ALL DAY TEXAS RANCH ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE
Getting Ready Location: Bella Cavalli Ranch bridal suite and groom suite
Ceremony Location: lake at Bella Cavalli Ranch
Additional Portrait Location: horses at Bella Cavalli Ranch and carriage house and open fields
Meal/Celebration Location: ranch as well
1:00 pm - Getting ready for bride at bridal suite / Getting ready” for the groom at groom suite
2:00 pm - First look in front of the carriage house
2:30 pm - Vows on the dock overlooking the lake with a Pretty flower arch
3:00 pm - Soak in that first hour of husband and wife while slowly drifting in a canoe on the lake
4:00 pm - Pictures surrounded by horses or holding horses or riding horses in wedding attire if they ride and don’t mind a little dirt
6:00 pm - Picnic on the lake or dinner with a private chef on the carriage house porch
7:00 pm - First dance followed by cake cutting and some sunset photos in the open fields with lake in background since that is where the sun sets + stargazing on a blanket to end the night
8:30 pm- Decorated getaway car or truck to exit + sparklers photos
- say goodbye 👋
TEXAS BIG BEND ELOPEMENT + DAY AFTER PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE
Getting Ready Location: Chisos Basin campground
Ceremony Location: Basin Loop Trail (2.4 miles)
Additional Portrait Location: Sotol Vista Overlook, Santa Elena Canyon
Meal/Celebration Location: Lajitas Casa vacation rental / catered or private chef on premises
6 am- campground
Getting ready for the bride outside the tent with my help while groom gets ready in the tent
7 am - First look - around the tent and pretty views surrounding the Chiso Basin campground
7:30 am - Start hike to basin loop trail and say vows with the surrounding peaks in the background - take candid photos throughout hike
10:30 am - Back from hike, drive to sotol vista overlook and (45 min drive) and enjoy some snacks in the car
11:30 pm - Take in the views at the overlook, some photos, continue driving (35 min)
12:30 pm - Arrive at Santa Elena Canyon overlook, take in the view and photos, start hiking surrounded by towering cliffs of limestone (1.4 mile round trip)
1:30 pm - Picnic lunch mid- trail, relax, hike back, or if water is high, canoe/ kayak
4 pm - Drive for sunset drinks at Lajitas Casa Grande Vacation rental
6:00 pm - Dinner catered from nearby restaurant/hotel or private chef
7:00 pm - Cake cutting and eating, followed by first dance on the porch
7:30 pm - I say goodnight and see you the next day
Next day: brunch in bed, relax, play golf, get a massage, no photos in the morning
2 pm - get picked up by Angelo Expeditions Jeep for some off-roading, photos at Mexicano Falls lookout and Madrid Falls Lookout and any other stop along the way (duration 4/5 hours including sunset)
- say goodbye 👋
WYOMING ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE
Basically my elopement timeline back in 2017
Getting Ready Location: Jackson Hole Wyoming
Ceremony Location: Lewis waterfall
Additional Portrait Location: Snake river for first look, Lake Jenny + Yellowstone waterfall for sunset
Meal/Celebration Location: Picnic adjacent to ceremony location so they can soak in the moment right after their vows
1:00 pm - Getting ready for bride at local cabin in town while having bellinis (her favorite drink)
“Getting ready” for the groom at nearby brunch spot while having a mimosa (his favorite drink) - he will already be ready so it will mainly be having a drink to break the ice with the photographer and a few photos
2:00 pm - Drive to first location ( Snake river) about 30 min from town for a first look with the grand Tetons in the background … photographer and bride will ride together … Groom will drive the couple’s car and get to location first
3:00 pm - Drive to beautiful Lake Jenny for some fun on the shore, get their feet wet, maybe even swim if not worried about make up and hair or if very adventurous, insert horse back riding or white river rafting
4:30 pm - Drive to a pretty but not busy waterfall on the way to Yellowstone falls for private exchange of vows (Lewis Falls)
5:00 pm - Same location: have a personalized picnic
6:00 pm - Same location: cutting of the donut mini tower + first dance with a little speaker
7:00 pm - Continue to drive to Yellowstone Falls
8:00 pm - Sunset photos at Yellowstone fall
- say goodbye 👋
If all or any of the above sounds like something you want to experience for your wedding day,
Let's get you E L O P E D!