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How to Have an Epic Elopement When It Doesn’t Go According to Plan

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Top Tips for Having an Epic Elopement–No Matter What Happens


Snaps of epic sunrise hikes in wedding attire, stunning photos of a couple on a sweet 4×4 vehicle, teary vow images of the most beautiful ceremony you’ve ever seen–elopement photos are an incredible way of capturing what a wedding day felt–and looked–like.

But what you sometimes can’t see in those gorgeous photos is how couples (and their adventure elopement photographer) have to pivot to keep things going. You see the mountaintop first kiss and the glimmer of a forest and the boho wedding dresses, but you don’t often see the things that didn’t go according to plan.

And that’s a point I always really want couples to think about–sometimes, no matter what you do, things don’t go according to plan. You know what I say about that? Hell yeah.

Because getting married is less about following a strict timeline to ensure you fit everything into your schedule and more about you and your partner experiencing unhinged, unreal joy on your wedding day.

Know how you make sure that remains the priority? You embrace the “go with the flow” attitude”–even when (especially when) things don’t go according to plan.

You can have the elopement day of your dreams even when it doesn’t look like anything you wrote down on paper.

These tips are here to help you sort through exactly how to adapt that flexible, joyous, anything-can-happen-so-long-as-we-get-married perspective that every couple deserves on their elopement day.


Above All, Be Mindful

Spoiler alert, I’m big on mindfulness. If you’ve read my blog before (or my specific post on mindfulness), you probably have a relatively solid idea of why I think mindfulness is so important on any wedding day. (If you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a read!). With this in mind, I hope it’s no surprise that my very top tip for an epic elopement is this: be as mindful as possible.

When I say “be mindful,” I don’t mean you need to transform into some sort of mindfulness guru before your big day happens. I mean take lessons from the practice of mindfulness and incorporate them into your wedding day–when things are going wrong, but especially when things are going right.

Be present. Don’t weigh things down with heavy expectations. Exist in each moment and let everything unfold around you. Starting to feel a little overwhelmed? Pause with your partner. Ask each other–what do you see, hear, taste, or smell? Slow the day down, take big, deep breaths, and work on being non-judgment of the moments that pass you by. Because truly, they are passing you by–try to soak them in as deeply as possible.

A young couple kisses during their elopement day ceremony.


Keep Perspective & Don’t Add Pressure

This might fall under the category of mindfulness, but I think these two elements are so important they deserve their own little blurb. First of all, I’m big on telling couples to plan the dreamiest elopement day possible. It’s not just my job to say that I genuinely believe that every single couple out there deserves the wedding day that they absolutely want.

But on the day of your elopement, my best advice to you is to let everything you planned and dreamed of just unravel in front of you. In other words, don’t put unnecessary pressure on your elopement day.

If it’s the day you wholeheartedly want, keep that perspective in mind. Why add pressure to something that’s been planned by you and for you? This day was literally designed for you–it’s going to be beautiful. Adding pressure and judgment to everything just detracts from the beauty of it all. Embrace it, hold it close, and focus on being mindful.

This specific and special day only happens once–revel in every moment of it.


Plan a Few Plan B (or C) Scenarios

Are you the type of person that gets a little anxious when things don’t go according to plan? If that’s true, that’s OK. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an elopement that’s epic and adventurous. It just means Plan B (and even Plan C) might be your BFF.

I’m big on helping couples plan the days they want–and almost all of them involve a little wiggle room in their elopement day timelines for epic plans B, C, or even D. I do this for all kinds of couples–even the most laid-back, naturally go-with-the-flow ones.

Because let’s be real, it would be a bummer to hype up an amazing day in a stunning spot only to realize you can’t get there. That’s what Plan Bs are for, friends. Yes, we’ll plan for your dream spot and your dream scenario. But we’ll have a just-as-amazing backup plan in case something doesn’t work out–that way you’re never scrambling, just soaking in every amazing moment.

A couple huddles under umbrellas during their elopement day ceremony, proving that you can have fun even when the weather turns.


Accept That Some Things Can’t Be Controlled

I haven’t yet figured out how to predict or control the weather–but when I do, you better believe my couples will be the first to reap the benefits. In the meantime, though, my best advice is to realize that some things–especially weather–simply can’t be controlled.

So why stress it, right? This is more of a lifestyle approach than a wedding day tip–but I do think that talking things through with your partner, being clear about your expectations, and reminding each other that some things are out of your hands can be an incredibly healthy and positive setup for an epic day–even if things shake out differently than you planned.


Focus on the Most Important Fact–You’re Getting Married

The truth is, absolutely nothing could go according to plan on your elopement day, and it would still be the wildest success you’ve ever experienced. Why? Because no matter what happens–weather, trail closures, timing issues, etc.–at the end of the day, you’re marrying the love of your life.

Humor me for a second and imagine your dream elopement day. Think about what you’d do, how you might say your vows, where you might go–all of it. Then quickly tell me–what’s the best part of it all? I’m willing to bet that no matter how epic your dream elopement day is, the peak of it is still rooted in the foundation of getting to marry your future spouse.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan and hope for the day of your dreams. What I’m saying is, when something stressful or unexpected does arise, close your eyes and remember that fact–marrying your spouse makes it the best day of your life no matter what happens. And that perspective is everything.

A newly married couples' silhouette is shown against a beautiful sunset.

Your Epic Elopement Day is Possible–I’m Here to Capture it All

At the end of the day, you can’t control every element of your elopement. We can plan perfectly, create a stunning timeline, and ensure that you receive authentic and beautiful captures of your day. But that doesn’t mean everything is always going to go according to plan. With some strategic planning techniques, a little flexibility, and a whole lot of mindfulness, you can have the day of your dreams ­no matter what happens.

You know what’s something you can control? Choosing a photographer who’s going to capture your love as genuinely and beautifully as possible. If that’s what you’re looking for, then friends, I’m your girl. Let’s chat about what your elopement day looks like, what sort of coverage makes the most sense for you, and why you deserve (yeah, I said deserve!) and epic adventure elopement day that’s designed just for you.

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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A couple hikes up to their elopement destination in their wedding attire, being flexible with their expectations and enjoying the day.


How to Have an Epic Elopement When It Doesn’t Go According to Plan