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The Must-Bring Things to Have on Your Elopement Day

 head due north

The Top Things to Bring on Your Adventure Elopement Day 

Many people think that planning an elopement has everything to do with the stuff that comes before their big day. Before-day details like a gorgeous location, perfect-for-you wedding attire, the guest list, and the ultimate ceremony all matter. But planning–good planning, anyway–expands past the “before the day” stage and into the “day-of” stage seamlessly. 

What you should bring on your elopement day is a big topic in my book–and it’s one that’s not talked about as much as it should be. The last thing I want for any couple is to look back on their elopement day and think, “it was beautiful–but I sure wish we’d remembered to bring XYZ. That would have made the day perfect!” 

Here’s the deal. You can’t plan for everything. The weather is out of your hands. Wildlife cannot be predicted. And you can never fully know the state of a trail until you’re there. But the fact of the matter is, you can bring things to prepare for almost any outcome! And that can transform your elopement day from good to once in a lifetime. 

How can you be sure you’re not leaving anything behind on your elopement day? I’ve got you covered. I’m sharing my go-to list of things I believe every couple should remember to bring on the day they elope. 


Let’s get into it!

This comprehensive list is everything I think you should bring on your adventure elopement–no matter what your adventure might look like. Whether you’re picnicking at the top of a 4×4 trail or you and your partner are trekking through the backcountry for 10 miles, this list is the bare necessities for what I think every couple should bring. 

Use this list as your foundation. Then, based on your adventure, build on it for your unique adventure. Going rafting down the Colorado River? Bring an extra waterproof bag for things that can’t get wet. Planning to ski down the mountain on your big day? Don’t forget your ski bibs if you want to change. 

See what I mean? This list is your go-to starting point. Depending on your adventure, build from here! 


Wedding Attire

Imagine forgetting your wedding dress or suit on your elopement day! Obviously, your wedding attire is more than just your clothing–so make sure you don’t forget the small stuff. Double-check that you’ve got your jewelry, accessories, socks, the right undergarments, etc. And for those who plan to do their hair, here’s a word to the wise–bring more bobby pins than you know what to do with! The top of a mountain may not be the most ideal place to fix your hair, but with enough bobby pins, the job can be done.   


Don’t Skimp on Layers 

This might come as a surprise to you, but the weather is rarely reliable. The higher up a mountain you get, the more true this sentiment becomes. In Colorado, even the hottest summers can end up churning out chilly days. 

In June, I had a sunrise elopement at the top of a mountain, and it was barely 30 degrees! Layers matter during adventure elopements, even during seasons that promise and predict warm weather. Mountains, especially, can bring about weird weather patterns seemingly out of nowhere. 

And remember that weather isn’t static–it changes throughout the day. Layers tend to be the best because you don’t have to pile on a single, warm layer that ends up being too hot later. When things heat up, you can peel each layer off so you’re comfortable as you go through the day. 

It’s so much better to bring a few layers that you never use than to show up without a plan B. Trust me; nothing kills the mood faster than being bitterly cold on your wedding day. 

Snag your coat, hat, ear warmers, gloves, and a layer of leggings before you head out the door on your elopement day.  


Rings, Rings, Rings

If you’re planning on exchanging rings, make sure you pack them in a safe place! Is it the end of the world for you not to exchange wedding rings during your ceremony? Of course not. But if this is something that’s important to you, you’ll want to make sure you remember these details when you’re packing up. 


Shoes That Keep the Terrain in Mind

You might have the perfect pair of heels in mind for your wedding attire, but if you’re hiking up a mountain, that pair becomes a whole lot less perfect. Make sure you’re bringing shoes along that fit the terrain where you’ll be adventuring. 

Don’t get me wrong–you can still wear those gorgeous heels for some of your photos. But don’t try to trek up a mountain in them. Bring them along for moments when it’s safe and comfortable to wear them. 

Otherwise, choose shoes and footwear that are reliable, durable, and can keep you safe while you’re adventuring. Traction is your best friend when you’re dealing with an adventure elopement. 

And don’t forget to take the weather into account, too. If it’s icy, snowy, or extra cold, you might need microspikes or snowshoes to help you best get from Point A to Point B. 


Hand Warmers are a Must in the Mountains 

Want to know a super secret hack to enjoy every moment of your elopement day, even if it’s chilly? Handwarmers. It’s true! Handwarmers are a go-to of mine for chilly couples who could use a little boost on a cold day. Pop a pair into your gloves, socks, or between layers in your clothes to experience a little bit of toastiness that’ll perk you right up! 


Blankets for a Quick Cuddle Session 

Whether you’re looking for a chance to warm up, want to lay something down so you don’t have to sit on the ground, or just want a chance to cozy up with your partner and refocus on having a mindful elopement day, a blanket is a great resource. Use your blanket throughout the day to picnic on, cuddle up with, or just enjoy as an aesthetic part of your wedding day photos.  


Don’t Forget Your Details & Decor 

Think about everything you’re planning to do on your elopement day–from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes. Now, ask yourself–what details and decor do you plan to include in all of these moments? Whether it’s your flowers, letters from friends, or even a photo of your dog who couldn’t come to your elopement, you’ll want to be sure you pack these things up ahead of time, so you don’t forget them! 


Vow Books & Ceremony Things 

What are the details of your ceremony? Before you pack up for your elopement, talk it through with your partner so you can remind each other of the things you need. Are you handwriting your vows in custom vow books? Don’t forget those! Are you planning on playing your soon-to-be spouse a song you wrote them? 

Make sure you’re packing your guitar. Who has the sage for the sage smudging ceremony? Walk yourselves through each detail and element of your ceremony, so you don’t forget anything you need to make your perfect-for-you ceremony happen the way you always dreamed it. 


Paperwork, Certificates, & a Pen

If signing your paperwork and making it legally official is important to you on the day you say your vows in your ceremony spot, make sure you don’t leave your paperwork behind. You’ll need to sign your marriage license at some point throughout the day (if you want to be legally married on that day), and many couples get a kick out of signing it in their elopement location. If you’re eloping in Colorado and planning to self-solemnize, you’re the only two who need to sign. If you do want an officiant and witnesses, you’ll need them to sign that day, too! 


Bluetooth Speakers for Your First Dance 

Are you planning on celebrating your marriage with a first dance? If this sounds like something you want to do, make sure you’re not forgetting the Bluetooth-enabled speaker in your pack. Want another pro tip? Make sure your song of choice is downloaded before your adventure elopement. Service is option super spotty in remote, beautiful locations, so you’ll want to plan for this ahead of time. 


Comfy Backpack for All the Things You’re Bringing 

You’ve got a pretty hefty list of things to bring so far–but where are you going to put everything? Make sure you’re bringing a backpack to help you carry all the items you plan to bring, cart around your water, hold your snacks, and be an easy way to keep track of all your stuff on your elopement day. 


Go for a Garment Bag & Hangers 

If you want to keep your wedding attire from wrinkling on your hike, drive, or adventure to your ceremony location, I highly recommend a garment bag. Of course, hangers are a great touch, too. You can find hangers on Etsy that spell out your last name, first name, or something special–a detail I always find to be super sweet. 


Rain Gear, Ponchos, & Clear Umbrellas 

Remember when I said that the weather is unpredictable? I meant it. Make sure you’re packing some Plan B items you can use in the rain without risking getting too wet and chilly. I always recommend that couples bring rain gear and ponchos even if there’s no rain forecasted. Because, again, weather (especially in Colorado) is unpredictable, and conditions can change fast. Umbrellas are always a great option, but they do sometimes get in the way of capturing your day. That’s why I always bring (and recommend my clients do, too) clear umbrellas. They can stay warm and dry without umbrellas blocking their faces on their elopement day. 



Even if you don’t plan to adventure, hike, or drive in the dark, headlamps are always a must on my list. You never know when you might need a little bit of light to guide you–and you never know when your plans might change. What if you and your partner decide you want to stick around for sunset but then need a way to hike back down in the dark? Your headlamp is already packed and ready to help you navigate this fun and spontaneous change in plans.  



Always bring more water than you think you need! The last thing we want is for you to get dehydrated or overheat on your elopement day. So, don’t skimp on packing plenty of water. 


Thermos, Cups, & Bottles 

Want to make sure you’re not missing out on your morning coffee for your sunrise hiking elopement? Need an extra bottle to cart to make sure you’re bringing all the water you need? Don’t forget the thermoses and bottles. And, of course, if you’re planning on toasting your elopement, bring a cup, mug, or another thermos you can pour your beverage of choice into.


Sunscreen & Sunglasses, Please! 

Even if it’s cloudy, rainy, or snowy, sunscreen and sunglasses are musts. Getting a sunburn on your elopement day probably isn’t your idea of fun (it’s not mine, either). 


Bug Spry & Bug Wipes

Unless you’re eloping in the dead of winter (which is a great idea if you hate bugs but love the cold!), it’s always possible you might run into a few mosquitos. Make sure you pack enough bug spray to help you combat any annoying bugs that might pop up. 


Biffy Bags, Wag Bags, & Hand Sanitzer 

This might not be everyone’s favorite subject, but sometimes nature calls when you’re out in nature. Following Leave No Trace Principles on this topic is a must in my book, so make sure you pack some biffy bags, wag bags, wipes, and hand sanitizer in case you gotta go while you’re out and about on your elopement day.  


First Aid Kit & Med Bag

While I never anticipate accidents will happen, it’s always a good idea when you’re out exploring to bring along a medical kit. You’ll never know when you might need a bandaid, ibuprofen, or a way to clean out a tiny cut! A First Aid Kit is a must, in my opinion! 


Food & Snacks 

The best advice I can give couples is to make sure they’re fueling their bodies! Yes, it’s an exciting day, and you could probably run off adrenaline alone–but you don’t have to. Pack up your favorite yummy snacks so you can refuel, enjoy, and soak in some sweet moments over a picnic snack with your partner. 

A couple's delicious donuts are shown here in this image from a Colorado adventure elopement.


Downloaded Maps for Navigation

Make sure your maps are all downloaded ahead of time. This means including hiking maps, 4×4 roads, and Google Maps to get to your trailhead. Service is rarely reliable when you’re out exploring, and getting lost in the middle of nowhere is never fun. Make sure you’re able to enjoy every moment of your elopement day–even the car ride there–by downloading maps you can use when you’re off the grid. 


Trekking Poles for Long Hike Support

Planning on taking a hike that’s long, steep, or extra challenging? Bring the support you need to enjoy yourself best. Trekking poles are a must for those long hikes that require a little extra traction and support. 


Need Help Planning? I’ve Got You Covered! 

If you’re looking for someone to document your day, I’ve got you–but I can do so much more than that, too. 

When you work with me, we don’t just show up on your elopement day and hope for the best–we plan out all the details we can so you know that your wedding day is going to be amazing. 

Of course, those details include what to bring on the day you elope! I’ll have a full checklist ready for you so you’re sure you’re never leaving for your day without everything you need. Book a call with me, and let’s chat about what your dream wedding day looks like.

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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