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So you’ve decided to elope… Congrats on making the brave decision to have a wedding that’s totally & completely you.

“What now” you ask? Don’t worry, I’m here to help!

6 Easy Steps to Help You Plan Your Ideal Elopement Experience

Step 1: DREAM BIG!

pink clouds and moon in the sky

Imagine the BEST day ever. It’s helpful to think of it as the ultimate date night. Or if it were both of your birthdays combined. If you could do ANYTHING with your soon-to-be husband or wife, that would bond you two forever, what would it be?

Be sure to think in terms of money not being a factor. You’d be surprised at how easy and budget-friendly it can be to have your dream elopement day.

Are you going on an epic guided llama trek in Patagonia? Or are you more laid back and prefer a private chef to make your favorite foods at a luxury beach resort to enjoy while gazing at a beautiful sunset? How about sunrise in a hot air balloon adventure going over spectacular Utah rock formations? The world is truly your oyster when you choose to elope!

Step 2: BIG DECISIONS

elopement couple paddleboarding at sunset

Now that you have a general idea of your ideal elopement experience, it’s time to begin narrowing things down. Again, remember the big picture and imagine how you want to feel on your elopement day. 3 key questions to ask yourselves:

– Who will be there? 
– Where will you be? 
– How long will you be there for? 

These help narrow things down like budget, activities, and the overall vibe of your elopement day.

Step 3: DETAILS

This is where it gets fun! Based on where / when / with whom you’ll be eloping, it’s time to research things like flights, lodging, vendors, activities, permits, attire, and begin putting together a packing list so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Step 4: TIMELINE

couple on a boat kissing and celebrating their elopement

Now that all of your details have been decided on, it’s time to put together the logistics of a timeline to map out each part of your day. Based on what you know so far, it helps to decide if you would prefer a sunrise/midday/sunset ceremony and work from there.

Step 5: PACKING

elopement photography by the ocean

You likely have checklists upon checklists at this point. It’s time to make another one with your ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ and start throwing them in your suitcase. Make sure to also communicate with guests (if any) to help them make packing decisions as well. 

Bonus Tip: Always *roll* your wedding attire. Never fold. This will help minimize any wrinkles or thick lines in the fabric. If you know your lodging will have a steamer or ironing amenities, great! That’ll help.

Step 6: ENJOY YOUR DAY!

bride and groom enjoying the sunset on a pier on their wedding day

Breathe, relax, and get married! It’s time to enjoy all the hard work you’ve put into planning and dreaming up your perfect day. Remember to embrace the unpredictable, be present, and focus on the fact that you get to promise forever to your very best friend on this day while having an amazing, unique experience together. Yay! 

portrait of mia oregon elopement photographer

about the author:

Hi! I’m Mia!

I live in a tiny cabin in the woods of central Oregon. I love listening to true crime and autobiographies. My love languages are travel and quality time.

I’ve been a wedding photographer since 2010. My approach to photography is a cross between documentary and editorial. I love capturing seemingly mundane memories beautifully. I believe the experience is just, as if not more important than the photos and that photos are the closest thing we have to time travel.

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