How to plan an elopement!


Many people think of an elopement as a last minute decision or something that doesn’t take a lot of planning, but I disagree! An elopement is still a wedding, albeit smaller and more intimate. Personally, I find elopements to be incredibly special and romantic. It’s a ceremony centered around honoring the start of a marriage and gives you the freedom to celebrate however is most special to you. Whether it’s an adventurous hike to a mountaintop or being out in the open space or a rooftop in the city, an elopement can be whatever you can imagine!


Which means it takes some planning! While you may not need the extensive month-by-month checklist you’ll find in every bridal magazine, it’s still important to think through what will make your day special and stress-free. Here’s my step-by-step planning guide for the perfect elopement!


  1. Get engaged! This might seem a little obvious, but it is the first step! When you announce your engagement to family and friends, that’s a great opportunity to let them know about this special occasion, but also that you’ll be eloping and can’t wait to celebrate with them in a different way.

  2. Pick a season and “theme”. Depending on your dream elopement, you’ll want to choose the season for your wedding. Whether it’s a sleigh ride through a winter wonderland or a hike through the wildflowers, this decision will impact the rest of your planning process.

  3. Pick your photographer. Hint, hint - it’s me! While you can contact me at any point in the process, the sooner you book me, the sooner I can help with making your day extra special. I’m always happy to share tips, vendor lists, and recommendations with my clients. I’ll make sure we have the proper permits and help plan your timeline for the day.

  4. Pick a location. Now that you’ve narrowed in on the timing and theme, explore some locations. This can be super fun! Maybe it means trying out some hikes or exploring some vineyards. There are so many more venue options for elopements than for larger weddings.

  5. Choose your date. I highly recommend choosing a weekday! This will mean less people and more location options. Especially for outdoor activities, weekends typically mean crowds, higher costs, and fewer options.

  6. Book your flights and car. If you’re not local, or you have an out-of-town witness participating, we want to make sure you get here with plenty of time to spare and have transportation to get where you’re going. I also recommend checking out this blog post on how to prepare for a high altitude wedding if you’re coming in from a lower elevation!

  7. Plan your accommodations. You should splurge for your wedding night! Whether it’s a romantic cabin, penthouse hotel room, cozy yurt, or a camper topper for the car, be sure to plan something special for the night of the wedding.

  8. Choose your wedding attire. I highly recommend new outfits to make the day extra special! I really love flowy dresses and am a sucker for bowties! If you want to wear that big princess dress and see your groom in a tux, go for it! If you don’t, there’s no pressure. Remember this is your day, so choose whatever makes you feel special!

  9. Schedule Hair and Makeup. Regardless of how many guests are in attendance, this is a big day and your photos will last a lifetime! So go ahead and pamper yourself with an appointment for bridal hair and makeup. This makes such a difference in photographs and you won’t regret it!

  10. Book a florist. Having a bouquet and boutonniere adds to both the experience and the photo quality.

  11. Get your Marriage License. If you’re flying in for your elopement, plan to do this as soon as you arrive. In Colorado you can pick up and drop off your marriage license anywhere, it just has to be the SAME location. For more on marriage licenses, check out this blog post!

  12. Plan a party for when you get back! You can still dance the night away celebrating with your friends and family if you’d like. Or throw a cookout, game night, or cocktail party as a newly minted Mr. & Mrs.


The joy of an elopement is that it’s intimate and freeing to be able to do whatever you want to do on your wedding day! I think the freedom of being with just each other to celebrate this huge step in life is the best part about an elopement.