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Best Elopement Ideas to Make Your Elopement Extra Special

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More Than Vows: A Couple’s Guide to Amazing Elopement Ideas

Often times when I’m chatting with a couple who wants to elope, they mainly focus on finding an epic ceremony location and taking some bomb-ass couples photos there. This is an obvious starting point and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m here to tell you and maybe even encourage you to think bigger! Just because your wedding day is small in terms of guest size doesn’t mean that your day deserves any less time or attention. If anything this is your time to dream BIG! I’m here to share with you some amazing elopement ideas to help make your day feel special and unique to you!


Close up phot of wedding rings



Perfect-For-You Tips to Ensure an Authentic Elopement

Let’s be honest for a moment—it is absurdly easy to get caught up in everything that a wedding should be, even when you’re already on board to elope.

There is an expectation—let’s call it pressure, even—that your wedding day should check certain boxes. Two of those boxes that tend to dominate couples’ minds are things like vows (they must be absolutely perfect) and couple photos (of course, they have to be stunning).

Sometimes, the desire to please outside voices (families, we’re looking at you) or ensure you get the perfect photos can detract from the reason you’re eloping in the first place—to do things your way with the one you love.

Don’t get me wrong; the vows you exchange with your love and the memories captured in beautiful couple shots are exceptionally meaningful, and you’ll cherish them for a lifetime. There’s just more to your elopement day than that.

So, what should a perfect elopement day look like?


Whatever the hell you want!


Dream big, let loose and make your special day exactly what you want it to be.

Of course, your elopement day will look vastly different from someone else’s—that’s kind of the point—it’s unique to you and your partner and should embody what makes your love unique.

If you are on the hunt for elopement ideas or want to feel out the limits of what is possible (spoiler alert: nothing is impossible), you have come to the right place. Read on for some of my personal favorite elopement day activities.



Activity Ideas to Get You Started

Relaxing Outdoors
Stargazing, Riding Bikes, Settling into a Hammock, Sitting around a Campfire, Having a Picnic, Soaking in a Hot Spring, Reading Love Letters to Each Other, Challenging Each Other to a Snowball Fight
Indoor Activities
Drinking Tea or Coffee, Writing Vows Together, Helping Each Other Get Dressed, Getting into a Hot Tub, Having a Bubble Bath, Cooking Together, Facetiming Family, Playing Cards Games
Outdoor Adventures
Paddleboarding, Canoeing, Kayaking, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Cliff-jumping, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing, 4×4 Off Roading, Taking a Helicopter Tour, Going Up in a Hot Air Balloon, Camping, Backpacking

Here are even more adventure elopement ideas (that don’t include hiking)!


Outdoor Adventure Elopement Ideas

As a Colorado photographer, the outdoors have my heart. I adore couples who are as excited about outdoor adventure as I am, especially when they choose to make it an integral part of their elopement day. The adventure elopement possibilities are endless—you can craft your day to fulfill your wildest dreams—which means there are opportunities galore for any activity that excites you. A few of our favorites make for a stellar and memorable day, even if you just use them as an inspiration springboard to your own idyllic experience.


Take a Hike

Close your eyes and imagine the most stunning backdrop where you wish to exchange vows. What does it look like? How did you get there? If you can dream it, you can achieve it—you may just have to hike to it!

Whether it’s a leisurely stroll through the woods or a journey to an unforgettable vista, taking an elopement hike is one of the best ways to forge lifelong memories as you embark on life’s next stage with your partner.

Detailed photo of dirty wedding dress and hiking boots


When in Doubt, Kayak it Out.

Kokopelli has amazing 5-pound pack rafts that inflate quickly. Imagine hiking to an alpine lake and kayaking out to an island. This time alone on the water can help you reflect on the day and your love for each other. Paddle out to your own private island and share your vows where no one else has!

Couples kayaking on their elopement day


Life is Better on the Slopes

Imagine the joys and exhilaration of skiing or snowboarding down a mountain after sharing your love and saying your “I Do’s” with your partner. The views from the top at 10,000+ feet are absolutely incredible and you’re sure to hear so many others yelling congrats as you enjoy your ride down! The sheer adrenaline rush and thrill of this winter sport are enough to make your wedding day extremely memorable.

Bride and groom skiing and snowboarding on their elopement


Ice, Ice, Baby

You don’t have to be a hockey player or pro skater to strap on some skates and enjoy some fun on the ice! There are many indoor and outdoor ice rinks where you can skate into your future together. This is an exciting way to get great candid photos and have a little fun.

Couples ice skating on their elopement day


Travel Some Place New

Think about a place you’ve never been but wanted to, and would love to adventure to. Enjoying a brand-new place with your new spouse is an unforgettable experience. You’ll feel like this place is yours and yours only and it will have significant ties to you forever.

Wedding couple dancing at the Sand Dunes National Park


Splash in Some Water

How about this for an elopement idea…I know it sounds kind of crazy to get in the water when you’re in your wedding attire, but why not be a little spontaneous on your wedding day? Just dip your toes, or go all-in. You’ll be swimming through life together forever so why not start now. 

Bride standing the water while groom watches.


Go on a Sleigh Ride

Imagine being on a horse-drawn sleigh going through a quite snow-covered forest. Some companies take it to the next level with custom hot chocolate or even rides at the top of a ski resort at 11,000 feet. If you love horses and adventures then this is the option for you.

Bride and groom on a sleigh ride during their winter elopement.


Enjoy the Sunset

Ending the day in the most beautiful way with your life partner is a great elopement idea! Share your favorite food or beverage in the most beautiful spot in the world as you watch the sun go down. You’ll never want this night to end and you’ll cherish every second of it.

Bride and groom watching the sunset on their elopement day


Take a Stroll with Lanterns

Make your elopement magical and light the way by taking a lantern-lit walk! Some of the most beautiful photos come from these romantic and intimate strolls. This is a great way for you to spend quality time alone together and to get some of the dreamiest memories.

Couple holds lanterns during their winter elopement


Canoe Believe it?

Nothing is more romantic than taking a little cruise on the water with your sweetheart. Canoeing can be such a fun and adventurous activity to enjoy as a couple. You can canoe for fun or canoe to your ceremony location! Better yet, enjoy a canoe ride into the sunset. Take a moment to yourselves out on the water, and soak up all the goodness of the day.

Couples canoeing during the elopement day


Hang Out with Some Animals

If you absolutely LOVE animals, may hanging out with a few on your elopement day is exactly what you should do! Pick your favorite animal, surround yourselves with them and then watch happiness commence. Your smile is sometimes its most authentic with you are being stood on by a goat.

Bride and Groom hang out with farm animals on their elopement day



Nontraditional Elopement Ideas

Wear a Colored Dress 

Who says you have to wear white on your wedding day? If blue is your favorite color, wear blue! Different color attire can complement a couple and scenery better to create breathtaking images. You’ll love looking back on your day thinking “that was totally US!”.

Bride wears black dress on her elopement day


Shed Some Clothes

Take some steamy photos under a waterfall or jump into an alpine lake for a swim. This is absolutely one of the best ways to connect and create personal and lasting moments during your elopement. These photos are ones you’ll cherish and look back on for the rest of your lives together.

Couples sheds clothes while standing under waterfall on their elopement day


First Touch

Adding a First Touch is a fun and simple elopement activity and can be in place or in addition to a first look. This is a great way to sneak a few moments alone together without the couple seeing one another. You’ll be excited to hear about how each other’s day is going and how you are feeling leading up to your ceremony.   

Couple holds hands for their first touch


First Look

Instead of seeing each other for the first time in a fleeting moment at the ceremony, take all the time you want  in whatever place you choose to admire and check each other out. This can end up being one of the most emotionally fantastic parts of your elopement day.

Bride and groom share a first look at mountain elopement


Wear a Cape!

Superheroes have gotten enough attention, it’s time for you to steal the spotlight. Capes can help keep you warm in cold environments, so if you’re planning a snowy mountain-top wedding day this may be an option. If you feel your outfit is a bit more on the simple-side, capes can bring in that extra touch to give you the dramatic look you’re seeking.

Bride wears a green cape on her wedding day


Ditch the Wedding Shoes

Depending on how adventurous you’re planning to be on your elopement day, your choice of footwear may be one of the most important parts of the day. Dress attire can be uncomfortable and usually doesn’t have the traction required to scale mountains, or dance around in an open field. Your feet will feel better and you’ll be more worried about being in the moment than you are about scuffing those shoes.

Bride wears sandals on her wedding day



Celebration Elopement Ideas

Make a POP!

This is an elopement idea that takes up very little time and is an absolute blast! Get fizz-ical and shake that bottle, remove the cork and go crazy! It’s almost impossible not to feel a little bubbly.



Memorable Elopement Ideas 

Get a Polaroid Camera to Take Photos of Each Other

There is something spectacularly sentimental about images that have only one copy, aren’t displayed anywhere on the internet and have that authentic vibe that brings you back to the occasion. Each time you look at these images you’ll know how important and special that person and day were to you.  

two polaroid of of a bride at Garden of the Gods


Celebrate on a Holiday

Remember thinking your favorite holiday couldn’t get any better? Well you were wrong and can now celebrate it harder than ever! The holidays already revolve around spending time with your loved ones and oftentimes come with an extra day of vacation off work for you and your guests! 

Couple celebrating elopement day on Halloween


Bring Your Furry Friend

Dogs are the absolute best and tend to be some of our most amazing friends and companions in life. Your elopement day will feel so much more like it’s truly yours if you can incorporate your little pupperoni. In Colorado and many other states, your dog can legitimately sign as your official witness on your marriage license!

Dog sits on brides wedding dress


Let the World Know

Imagine having tiny little celebrations all day long with random people that happen to drive alongside you, or see your vehicle from location to location. You may be surprised at how many honk and cheer for you on your elopement day as you drive by!

Couple writes just married on their car after elopement


Personalized Elopement Ideas

Monogram Your Wedding Shoes

Elopements are all about making things as personal as possible and a cute and simple way to make your outfits more personalized is by adding a monogram to your shoes. Quotes, Poems, Nicknames, Initials, Dates, or even just words that mean something funny or special for you as a couple can really make your outfit feel more special. 

bride and groom has monogram on their converse wedding shoes


Write Personalized Vows

Nothing makes your elopement more sentimental and powerful than exchanging personalized vows in a scenic location that means a lot to you. This priceless elopement idea gives you the opportunity to truly connect and reflect on your past, present and future together. Many people consider this romantic moment one of their favorite and most memorable parts of the day.

personalized custom handwritten vows


Have your Furry Friend “sign” your marriage license

Did you know that in Colorado, you can have your fur child sign your marriage license under the witness section! This is such a sweet way for them to be part of your day in a meaningful and permanent way! Dogs show you love and make you happy each and every day and this is a great way to honor them.

dog signs marriage license in Colorado


Make Your Own Meal

Imagine cooking your absolute favorite dish, together, with a beautiful view of your choosing. For some cooking is its own love language and it is an elopement activity that can heat up the occasion. You’ll love looking back on your elopement day, remembering this epic meal you shared and the memories that went into making it happen.

handmade pizza and and wedding cake on elopement day


Read Love Letter to Each Other

A beautiful way to add some love and romance to your elopement day is to write and exchange love letters to one another. You can read them to one another or allow your partner to read them in private as they get ready leading up to seeing you for the first time that day. This elopement activity is a great way to add value to your day and make is seem more meaningful.

Couple read love letters to each other on elopement day


Elopement Ideas with Guests

Personalized Gifts

Add your own unique twist to your elopement day with some personalized wedding favors for your guests. They’ll love it, you’ll love it, just a whole bunch of love! They’re all present on your elopement day because they’ve positively impacted your life and this is a great way to show them how much their support, love and friendship means to you.

Wedding day poem on the back of tie for dad


Remember Loved Ones

So many people have probably been there for you when you needed it and sometimes they are no longer around but deserve to be celebrated just as much if not more. From reserving seats for them, adding heirlooms to your attire, sharing favorite and funny memories, displaying photos throughout your various locations, playing their favorite songs or serving one of their favorite dishes….There are so many ways to honor the people we love.

framed photo of loved on at wedding day


Have a Loved One Officiate 

Your friends and family members know you the best and can help you have the type of ceremony that you are looking for. Professional officiants may come with a few rules, statements, or vibes that you aren’t expecting and surprise you. You’ll love knowing that someone dear to your heart assisted you and your spouse onto the next stages of your life together.

Friend officiates wedding day for bride and groom


Unique Mementos 

One of the most influential things that makes you different from other couples around the world are the people that have come in and out of your life. Parents, Grandparents, Cousins, Best Friends, Coaches, Teachers, etc… So many individuals that you can pay respect to in so many different ways. People will love knowing their on your mind and are a part of your big day.

Charms on wedding bouquet with photos of loved ones


Read Letters from Family and Friends

Sometimes people say more when they don’t have to say it out loud. At times this is when the funny and secret stories may get revealed that may not be told in public. You’ll probably be bursting out loud at times and crying at times while reading these letters.. You’ll 100% love having these letters to look back on one day and the photos that come from this moment can be remarkably candid.

Couple reads letters from loved ones on their elopement day


Sign Your Marriage License

Maybe one of the most important people in your life is your kid, nephew/niece, or all time hero so it may make the most sense for them to sign your marriage license. They’ll be so happy knowing that they took part in an official role in binding you all as a family. You’ll love knowing having their name on your official document instead of someone who may not be as familiar to you.

kids sign the marriage license of their parents


Make a Speech or Toast

Speeches or toasts can oftentimes turn out to be one the most humorous and emotional elopement activities of the day. You know more about your partner than anyone else and what makes them unique, interesting and special. Speeches and toasts can help bring some formality to your day and is one of the few parts of the day where you get to openly express how excited you are about eloping with your partner and maybe share some funny or sentimental stories about them too!

Brother makes toast at wedding


Relaxed Activity Elopement Ideas

Check Mate

If you and your partner share a love for chess, why not try to incorporate a match into your elopement day? This is a great way to have some fun in a leisurely way while you spend quality time together. It’s extremely satisfying to win this particular game of chess because you’ll never let your partner forget about it. 

Same sex couple plays chess on elopement day


Slow Down and Enjoy Each Other

This may seem like an overly simple elopement activity, but you are deciding to spend the rest of your life with your partner because they are amazing! Why not take a moment to just enjoy them in the special place you’ve chosen to be bound. A bench in a park, a blanket on a beach, there are endless opportunities to escape the craziness of the day and cozy down for a moment and appreciate each other. You’ll love looking back on your day knowing you’ve cherished as much time as you could together with laughs and good conversation.

Lesbian couple sits on bench and laughs


Starry Starry Night

Imagine getting your wedding photos back and there’s an epic shot of you in your wedding attire, holding lanterns surrounded by hundreds of stars! There is nothing better than standing under a starry night sky where you can see the milky way with your naked eye. Headlamps, lanterns, and LED flickering candles can bring your experience to the next level.

Bride and groom stargazing before their sunrise elopement day

Stop in A Bookstore

While you embark on this new chapter of your life together, open a few chapters in books too! Peruse through some adventure books and fantasize about the places you’ll go, or find the funny section and crack a few laughs. You may end up finding something perfect that you bring home with you can keep on your shelves to look back on for the rest of your lives together.

Bride and groom at a bookstore during elopement


Bust Out the Cards

You’re going all-in together, might as well go all-in with some cards and take all your partner chips too! If you both enjoy playing some cards from time to time, whatever the game, maybe you should play a round during your elopement day? You get to set the bets and wagers and the prize for winning can be whatever you want.

Couple plays cards during the elopement day


Take time to Relax

People always say that their elopement day just flew by in the blink of an eye. A good way to slow your day down and create some lasting memories is simply to relax. Just lay back and watch the clouds pass or enjoy your favorite snack or drink together. You’ll love the change of pace and photos that come from this candid break in the day. 

Bride and groom east sandwich and drinks champagne during alpine elopement


Let Your Inner Child Play

Your elopement day doesn’t have to be overly serious or formal, be spontaneous and have a little fun. Swing on a swing set, splash in puddles, or climb some rocks or trees. Sometimes elopement days can seem stressful and this is a great way to counteract that and keep things fun.

Couples swings on swing set during elopement day


Plan a Picnic

Sharing a meal together is a great way to celebrate your commitment and share an intimate moment. It can help you slow down and savor every second of a day that can feel overwhelming or fleeting. Throw in a sunset or a Colorado vista, and you have the recipe for a meaningful meal you will not soon forget. You can also use this time to read letters from loved ones, reflect on the day you met, and otherwise indulge in the culmination of your shared histories.

Bride and Groom enjoys delicious lunch on their elopement day


Hang a Hammock

Even when you choose to do your own thing and elope, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to simply exist within it. Hanging a hammock in a gorgeous or sentimental spot can help you and your fiancé take a deep breath and just be. It’s a great way to stop and smell the roses (or the bouquet).

Bride and groom swing in hammock during their mountain elopement


Serenade Your Love

Imagine the look on your partner’s face when you bust out a guitar and serenade them in a dreamy mountain valley. Even if you’re not exactly musically talented, this elopement idea will surely make the day much more memorable, romantic and full of smiles. Being fearless and showing your love in this way will surely express devotion, respect and comfortability in your decision to spend the rest of your lives together.

Groom serenades bride during elopement with guitar


Sip on Some Goodness

Take a moment during your elopement to enjoy your favorite beverage together. Alcoholic or not, this can be a great way for you guys to loosen up a bit while also slowing things down giving you the opportunity to cuddle up and have a great conversation. Getting to cheers to your new beginning together is a priceless moment.

Bride and groom holding cocktails on their elopement day


It’s Your Elopement, Live it up a Little! Unique Elopement Ideas

Hopefully, the elopement day inspo cranked your creativity up to the max. If those classic elopement activities don’t quite push the limits and get your adrenaline flowing as you crave, don’t worry—there are more ideas where they came from. Your elopement day is the time to take things to the next level in your relationship; why not take it to new heights of adventure, too?


Try Something New

Doing things your way is the major draw of eloping. If you want to take a hot air balloon ride, scale a vertical cliff with ice climbing, dip in a hot spring or try your hand at flyfishing, go for it!

From the unfamiliar to the extreme, you should dream big on your elopement day. Nothing can hold you and your love back, so take this opportunity and run with it.


Make it Permanent

Sure, you’re getting married. That’s pretty permanent, but have you considered getting a tattoo with your partner?

What better way to immortalize your special day and life commitment than with a permanent, meaningful reminder? Getting matching or complementary tattoos is a great way to do just that.


Prolong the Moment

Overnight camping is not only adventurous and super romantic but also allows you to prolong the precious moments surrounding your elopement.

Whether you choose to hike to a specific location before the big day and rise with the sun or enjoy a sunset after you’ve exchanged vows and shared a tremendous elopement together, overnight camping is the perfect addition to an outdoor wedding.

Bride and groom sitting in VW van


Have Your Cake (and eat it, too)

Your elopement is about more than a ceremony and stunning couple shots, but that doesn’t mean those elements shouldn’t be respected and given the attention they deserve. That’s where I come in.

My passion is helping you immerse yourself in your adventurous elopement and ensuring your experience fits your vision and what you want. No matter what elopement day activities you and your loved one choose, I will help you pull it off flawlessly while also capturing the silly, intimate, carefree moments you share.

If you’re ready to embark on your dream journey with the person you love, I’m here to make it happen, so let’s connect!

Get in touch with me to ask questions, get to know me, or just say hi. Your idyllic elopement is waiting!


Join the Facebook Community, Mindful Elopements, filled with free resources, free videos, engaging conversations and questions, and other couples that are exactly like you, in the same place, trying to book an adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer.



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Alex, Coastal Elopement

"We loved our experience having Marcela as our elopement day photographer.

What was even more special about our experience was her ability to set us at ease months before our day. Through constant communication leading up to, and during, the day we got eloped. Her personality is that, in just four days time, we felt as if we've known her for years. 

Ah, but you're wondering about her photos. We loved every thing about them especially the raw emotion captured in many of the shots."

Caitlin, Alpine Lake Elopement

"My husband and I have been trying to put into words how simply amazing working with Marcela was.

From the start we could tell she truly cared about us, our relationship, and our story. She asked us so many questions, valued what we wanted, and kept up with the ever changing plans that came along with planning a wedding.

She made us feel so comfortable, made us laugh till we cried, and captured our true wholesome love for each other."

"We loved every moment of the day she helped create. Marcela was the perfect photographer for our adventure elopement! She worked tirelessly to make our adventure into marriage happen after our first options were snowed in! Great Sand Dunes felt like the perfect unique place for two Floridians who met in the mountains.

She made us comfortable to be ourselves throughout the whole day while making her job look effortless and fun. Our cheeks hurt from smiling, laughing and a few tears.

Marcela captured every precious moment! Her photography is absolutely stunning every way! I highly recommend Marcela for your elopement or wedding!"

Lauren, Sand Dunes Elopement

Amy, Forest Elopement

"Instead of telling us how to pose or interact with each other, Marcela gave us prompts that seemed simple but made a huge difference.

She asked us to talk about our first date. We discussed the weirdest things we loved about each other (which made us laugh) and how we could fulfill each other’s love languages. Amy and I played games with each other and Marcela captured the energy that happened naturally between us.

I love this shoot because it perfectly captures the love we share. It’s incredible to see that love and admiration encapsulated in a photo! Thank you for this!"

Chris, Anniversary Session

"The photos we just got back from Marcela are giving me CHILLS!! They are absolutely stunning!!!

She did SO MUCH more than just photograph us — she created special moments that I’ll cherish forever. She encouraged Con & I to genuinely interact & share intimate moments together. She prompted us to tell each other things that we love about one other, ways that the other person inspires us, & how being together has positively changed us.

It was more than just a beach shoot. We ended up giving each other precious, heart melting encouragement & that makes these photos all the more treasured to me."

Andrea, Red Rocks Elopement

"We had a pre-meet with her before the big day which definitely helped me feel more relaxed going into the wedding day. She gave us great suggestions and things to think about to be ready with on the wedding. On the day of she showed up early to help scope out the venue. She was creative to try and pull extra joy into our photographs.

When I look at these photos I see more than just beautiful images. I feel the moments that Marcela helped us experience and the connection we had.

I can't thank Marcela enough! We will treasure these moments forever!"

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Elopement couple kayaking during sunset on an alpine lake


Best Elopement Ideas to Make Your Elopement Extra Special