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What I Wish Couples Knew About Eloping–Before They Elope

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9 Things I Wish Couples Knew Before They Elope 

When it comes to helping couples plan their elopement day, the one thing I want more than anything for them is a day of no regrets. No matter how they plan it, what they do, and who’s invited, ultimately, I want them to remember this: it’s their day, and it should feel like it. 

Over the years, I’ve been thinking about everything I wish couples knew about eloping before they tied the knot. I’ve always wished there was something out there that could act as a roadmap for every couple who wants to elope–something to guide them, remind them of important things, and shine the light on what their day is really about. 

But the more I looked, the more I realized something like that wasn’t out there–so I decided to write it myself. 

If you and your partner are craving an elopement day that’s focused on you, is fully intentional, and prioritizes the things that you care about most, you’re already on your way to having the elopement day of your dreams. 

This blog–filled with advice and insight I think every soon-to-be-married couple planning an elopement should know– is the next step toward making that dream a reality. 


Mindfulness Matters 

Life seems to go by so quickly–and that’s extra true for moments that are saturated with love and overflowing with joy. That means your wedding day–a day you want to pause and slow down and play over forever and ever–is probably going to go by quickly, too. 

The best way to combat that speed-up? Focus on mindfulness

Mindfulness is something I will always talk about with every couple who wants to elope. Mindfulness, being fully present and in tune with what’s happening in the moment, is like an elopement day hack that helps you and your partner slow things down and soak everything in. Mindfulness empowers you to experience every moment of your elopement day without judgment, to absorb all of the magic around you, and to remember each minute more clearly. 

A bride and groom soak in the views around them during their adventure elopement in Colorado.

Now’s Not the Time to Compromise 

In life, compromise always exists. In fact, in marriage (you know, the whole reason you’re having a wedding), compromise is a recurring theme. But if there was ever a day to say hell no to compromise, it’s your wedding day. 

All that matters about your elopement day is that you and your partner are doing, feeling, and experiencing exactly what you want – no matter what anyone else says. 

I’ll make this short and a little matter-of-fact– what you want on your wedding day matters most, don’t compromise that to make anyone else happy. 


Choose a Location That’s Meaningful to You 

You only get one elopement day, so give the location choice the importance it deserves. 

Maybe it’s a place you’ve been one thousand times together; maybe it’s a spot you’ve dreamed about going to together–no matter what, make it a place that matters. 

And remember, it doesn’t have to be some enormously epic viewpoint if that’s not what matters to you–it can be a spot by your favorite lake, a hike through a wildflower field, or your go-to picnic place in your favorite national park. There’s no limit to where you can go or where you can elope! 


Who Says You Have to Hike? Adventure Your Way 

I truly love an epic and incredible hiking elopement–but only when the couple experiencing it actually likes to hike. 

If you love the idea of an adventurous hiking elopement but just don’t enjoy the actual act of hiking, who says you can’t have an epic elopement without it? 

You absolutely can. 

A newly married couple walk through the Grand Tetons to go paddle on a beautiful alpine lake for their elopement day.

There are hundreds of different things you can do on your day that are perfectly adventurous that don’t involve a second of hiking. Whether it’s a picnic in your favorite spot, a day spent skiing the slopes, a 4×4 adventure, or a helicopter ride–your kind of adventure is out there, and you have full permission to do what you love the most on your elopement day. 


Vendors Can Be Part of Their Elopement Day 

I’m not sure who fueled the idea that elopement days are bare bones and void of intimate details, but it’s just not true. Elopements are the perfect opportunity to include meaningful details courtesy of traditional (and even non-traditional!) vendors. 

Think about how vendors could bring more love, authenticity, and joy to your day, and consider working with vendors like:

  • Florists and floral designers 
  • Private chefs and caterers 
  • Hair and makeup artists 
  • 4×4 off-road guides
  • Adventure and excursion guides 
  • Officiants and ceremony leaders 
  • Bakers & desert experts 

Whether you’re sharing your vows on a wild mountain top you hiked 7 miles to get to, or you’re pledging your love to your partner at an intimate ceremony in a national park, vendors can and should be included in your elopement day

A couple kisses during their elopement ceremony at Blue Lake during their adventure wedding.

Book More Coverage Than You Think You Need

I know what you’re thinking. I’m an elopement photographer, so this might come off like I’m trying to sell you more time. Well, you’re right–but I’m trying to sell you on the concept of more time, not necessarily just more time with me. 

Even if you don’t work with me for your wedding day, I wholeheartedly encourage you and your partner to sit down and talk about everything you want to experience and feel on your wedding day. Now think about squeezing all of that into a few hours of time. Is it genuinely possible? Are you going to feel rushed?

My best advice is this–book more elopement coverage than you think you need. 

Your elopement day matters–and how you spend your time during that day matters, too. Don’t rush through everything to fit things in, don’t avoid going somewhere because it doesn’t fit your schedule, and don’t let yourself feel pressured or sped up. 

Give yourselves the gift of time, space, and joy that doesn’t have to fit into a schedule or a box. 


Your Wedding Attire Is Your Choice (and Yours Alone)

Let’s keep this short and sweet–there’s no need to wear something on your wedding day just because you’re expected to. Don’t love the white gown and black suit thing? Ditch it. Not interested in wearing a veil? Don’t do it! 

Like I said before, today is no day for compromises. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful–no matter how non-traditional or traditional it might be! 

A couple in all black gets married during their adventure elopement in Crested Butte.

A couple twirls around on their elopement day wearing non-traditional elopement attire that makes them happy and comfortable.

Guests Can Come–But They Don’t Have To 

It’s your day–you’re in charge of the guest list. And you know what? That’s how it should be. The only people you invite to your wedding should be wholeheartedly supporting you, encouraging you, and there for you–anyone else who doesn’t fit that shouldn’t make the list. 

No matter what you want for your day–one that’s just you and your partner or one that includes the people you love most–it’s perfectly OK to go for it. 

If you’re battling with wanting a “just-us” elopement but want to make your family and friends feel like a part of the day, there are plenty of ideas for including your loved ones in your day without having them physically with you when you say your vows or experience your elopement. 


There’s a Checklist of Things to Remember For Your Elopement Day 

OK, no, there’s not a universal checklist that includes every element for every elopement (sometimes I wish there was)–but there are some general things that I think every couple should remember on their elopement day. 

Check out my elopement day checklist here to get the inside scoop on what you should be prepared to bring on your elopement day. 


It’s Your Elopement Day–Let’s Keep it That Way

No matter what your day looks like, no matter how you plan it, and no matter what you’ve got in mind, the fact remains that it’s your day–and everything about it should reflect that. 

As your elopement photographer, I’m here to help you capture your authentic love in the most genuine way possible. But I’m also here to help you create that day. If you’re ready to discover what a perfect-for-you elopement day looks like, reach out to me ASAP. 


I’ve got all the answers to your questions, inspiration to help you create your vision, and coverage to ensure every second is documented as it deserves to be. 

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 bride and groom make their way down a trail during their adventure elopement in Colorado.


What I Wish Couples Knew About Eloping–Before They Elope