How to Plan an Epic Adventure Elopement

What is an adventure elopement and how do I plan one? Learn everything you need to know about adventure elopements with this complete guide!

Updated: April 20, 2023

What are adventure elopements?

For many couples, a big, traditional wedding just doesn’t feel like the right choice. Instead, adventure elopements allow couples to get married in a way that feels more true to themselves. By foregoing the traditional wedding and throwing out the rulebook, you can plan your wedding day ceremony around any type of epic adventure you can think of!

Who plans an adventure elopement and why?

Even though big weddings can be fun, there are lots of reasons that couples might decide a traditional wedding isn’t the right choice for them. 

Sometimes there is a lot of family drama or stress that comes with planning a big wedding. They can easily become more about the guest experience or the fancy decorations, instead of the commitment the couple is making to each other. Not to mention, they come with a hefty price tag. The average wedding in the U.S. costs around $29,000! 

Bride and groom saying vows to each other at their adventure elopement at a Colorado lake in the mountains

It’s a total myth that couples who elope don’t care about their wedding day. In fact, often they care even more–so much so that they are willing to break tradition and make their own rules for this special day.

Here are some common reasons that couples choose to have an adventure elopement:

  • You value experiences more than things.
  • You want your wedding day to be focused on the commitment you’re making to each other.
  • Travel and adventure are already a big part of your relationship, so it only makes sense for these things to be a part of your wedding day!
  • You want an intimate and authentic day that truly represents who you are.
  • A “just us” wedding day experience sounds perfect to you.
Bride and groom wearing their backpacks are walking through a field together holding hands

What could we do on our adventure elopement?

Many people think of eloping as just some quick vows and a few pictures, but why? This is your wedding day after all, and it should be your best day EVER!

If you and your partner love adventures, traveling, or the outdoors, an adventure elopement could be the best choice for a wedding day! You can literally do ANY adventurous activity you can think of.

Couple kisses at their adventure elopement in the Colorado mountains

But in case you need some help to get started brainstorming, here are some ideas for adventure elopement activities:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Helicopter adventure
  • Kayaking/SUP-ing
  • Jeeping/ATV-ing
  • Mushroom foraging
  • Hot Air Balloon rides
  • Stargazing
  • Rock climbing/ice climbing
  • Skiing/Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobile riding
  • Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
  • Exploring natural hot springs and waterfalls
  • Visit wineries and breweries

What would our adventure elopement look like?

Your elopement day can be any type of scenery you can imagine. While many couples choose the epic mountains of Colorado or the Pacific Northwest, you can have your elopement anywhere in the world!

You can choose lush green forests, sand dunes in the desert, red rock formations, or the mountainous beaches of Hawaii. Even cityscape elopements are becoming quite popular!

Also consider the time of year you want to elope! Do you imagine a romantic snowy day on the slopes, or a warm, sunny day? The best thing about adventure elopements is that you can literally think about what your perfect day looks like, and then make that vision into your wedding day!

Bride and groom holding hands in a field in the light from their headlamps as it gets dark outside

How do I plan an adventure elopement?

Check out this elopement checklist for a complete list of everything you should consider for your elopement.

But to make things simple, here are the basic steps:

  1. Start dreaming about what your perfect day might look like!
  1. Get in touch and book your adventure elopement photographer.
  1. Work with your adventure elopement photographer to find your perfect elopement location and activities.
  1. Obtain your marriage license and hire any other vendors you need. 
  1. Your epic adventure elopement day is here! Enjoy it!

Adventure Elopement Planning Tips

When you’re planning an adventure elopement, it can be as simple or as crazy epic as you want it to be. Here are some planning tips and questions to ask yourself to help you brainstorm your perfect adventure elopement wedding day.

  • Spend plenty of time brainstorming with your partner about what each of you feels your perfect day would look like. Spend time talking about the real meaning behind a wedding day (the lifelong commitment you’re making to each other!), and what is important to each of you for this day.
  • When you’re planning your elopement day, leave more time than you think. One of the best parts about eloping is having enough time to have a relaxed and spontaneous day. Big weddings can get very rushed, and many couples that have a big, traditional wedding say that their day was a total blur. But adventure elopements don’t have to be that way!
  • If you’re traveling to a destination for your adventure elopement, plan to be there at least one full day before and after the elopement. You’ll thank yourself later for leaving plenty of time to enjoy the moment.
Lesbian couple stands on a rocky outcropping at their adventure hiking elopement in Colorado
  • Don’t forget to look into local marriage laws! If you are planning to complete your marriage license paperwork on the same day as your adventure elopement and commitment ceremony (which doesn’t necessarily have to be the case), then definitely check into the local marriage laws to see if officiants and/or witnesses are required. If you want to self solemnize (a.k.a marry yourselves with no officiant or witnesses needed), consider a Colorado elopement!
  • Choose your photographer wisely, especially if planning is not your thing! These days, the best adventure elopement photographers do way more than just show up and photograph your wedding day. And this is important, because unlike weddings where a couple usually has either a wedding planner, venue coordinator, day of coordinator, or at least a very helpful friend or family member, with adventure elopements often the photographer is the only professional the couple has to help with things like finding the perfect location, figuring out what permits are needed, knowing the best local vendors, and more.

What else should I consider for my adventure elopement?

Where should I elope?

My best piece of advice is to work with your adventure elopement photographer to find your perfect elopement location. It is literally part of the photographer’s job to find amazing spots, and it’s so much less stressful than trying to take this task on by yourself! 

Bride and groom hiking up a rocky trail in Colorado surrounded by evergreen trees

But here are some important questions to ask yourself when considering where to have your adventure elopement.

  • How far are you willing or able to travel?
  • Are you willing to travel into the backcountry (via hiking, off-roading, etc.) or do you want a more accessible location? If you are bringing any guests or pets, are they willing and able to join you?
  • Are there certain types of activities you want to do?
  • What time of year are you planning to elope?
  • What type of scenery do you prefer?
  • Do you have any bucket list destinations or activities that would be great for your adventure elopement? 
  • What permits are required for the elopement location? Many parks and public lands require special use permits in order to hold a ceremony. 
  • How important is privacy?

What time of year should I elope?

Depending on where you choose to elope, the time of year can create a very different elopement experience. 

For example, in Colorado, many mountain areas are not even accessible during the winter time when certain roads close. And summer may start later than you think!

Consider how comfortable you are in certain temperatures! Do you hate the idea of sweating in your wedding attire? Or does the thought of being cold sound unbearable? Is there a certain type of scenery you want for your elopement (for example, snowy weather) that is only available at a certain time of year? 

These types of questions can help you narrow down when to have your elopement! 

Bride and groom's adventure elopement in a cave in Colorado

What should I wear?

Since you’re already breaking tradition for your wedding, there’s no reason you have to stick to traditional wedding attire! You really can wear whatever you want!

While most couples do choose to wear the traditional suit and white wedding gown, you can choose to wear something different if you’d like! Black wedding dresses, and more colorful dresses, are definitely getting more popular! 

Also for guys, you have some freedom to dress more casually if you’d like, and could skip things like a suit jacket in favor of a bow tie and suspenders.

The most important thing is that you’re appropriately dressed for your activity, and that you wear something that feels like yourself! 

This is especially important when it comes to footwear. If you’re planning to do any hiking on your adventure elopement, heels are not the best choice. 

Luckily, hiking boots and white sneakers (for brides) are becoming very popular! Make sure that you break in your shoes before your elopement day, and I recommend packing an extra pair of socks if there’s any chance yours might get wet so that you don’t have any issues with blisters. If you’re looking for more info, I have a complete guide on wedding hiking boots here.

Who to bring along on my adventure elopement?

A common question about eloping is whether friends and family can be included. The answer I always give is yes, of course! It’s your day, so you get to make the rules!

However, when you invite guests or bring pets along, you will have to consider their needs and preferences. This may impact your choices for your day on activities, food, lodging, etc. Check out this post for more helpful info on understanding how and what it means to include friends and family in your elopement!

Elopement vendors

Most couples choose to have at least a couple of vendors for their elopement. It’s still your wedding day after all! Here is a list of the types of vendors that you might want to consider:

Bride in a black wedding dress holding groom's hand and walking up a mountain path

Adventure Elopement Packages

I’m more than just a photographer…I’m here to help you have the best day ever!

Based on my experience, especially with elopements and microweddings, couples need more than just a photographer.

Unlike with a traditional wedding, you may not have a venue coordinator or wedding planner helping you think through logistics, locations, or all the little details that really add up!

I don’t just show up and take photos on your day. I’ll be here for you every step of the way. 

I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a photographer. What makes me different is that my number one goal is to be here for YOU–not just as your elopement photographer… but as your elopement partner to help you create the epic day your love story deserves!

Couple eloping in Colorado with mountain views and pine trees in the distance at sunset

All of my Adventure Elopement Packages include:

  • Elopement & Micro wedding VIP Planning Guide exclusively for Wild and Found couples
  • Questionnaires to help you through the planning process
  • Personalized location assistance
  • Local vendor recommendations
  • Logistics help and a custom timeline
  • Gear and day-of checklists customized for your day
  • More one-on-one planning help
  • Assistance with wedding permit if needed
  • Cost of photo permit included
  • An entire gallery of edited, high-resolution images great for printing, PLUS websize images ideal for posting to social media
  • The rights to print, share, and download all of your images
  • A sneak peek of 5 images with 48 hours
  • PLUS a 20% off discount on prints, albums, canvas art, etc. for your first order

2-Day Adventure Elopement Package

Can’t decide between a “just us” celebration, or a day with friends and family? Have both!

Includes 12 hours of photo coverage, split over 2 days.

Travel throughout all of Colorado included!

8 Hour Adventure Elopement Package

Our most popular package–for capturing memories of your entire elopement day

Includes 8 hours of photo coverage.

Travel throughout all of Colorado included!

4 Hour Adventure Elopement Package

A great choice for simple elopements at accessible locations or for short hikes.

Includes 4 hours of photo coverage.

Travel throughout all of Colorado included!

2 Hour Adventure Elopement Package

When something short and sweet will do!

Includes 2 hours of photo coverage.

Available only for “just us” elopements (no guests) on Mondays through Thursdays within 2 hours of Denver, CO.

Bookable up to 2 months in advance.

Are you planning an adventure elopement?

I’m more than just a photographer. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best!

Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

This post contains affiliate links. While I may receive a small amount through affiliate links, it is always at no cost to you and all opinions are entirely my own.

Adventure elopement cover photo


    1. What a great entry into your blog, which by the way, as a whole is very resourceful. I’ve read more than one! Thank you for all the creative ideas you listed for me to think about when planning my elopement.

  1. This is an amazing planning resource. You’ve literally answered all of the questions we’ve been thinking about. Thanks for sharing!

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