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elopement photography couple laughing by the lake
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6 Simple Steps to Plan the Perfect Elopement

So you’ve decided to elope… Congrats!

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

While many weddings will take quite a bit of planning and preparation, your elopement can be as simple as the love you have for one another. In this guide I’m going to go over the 6 basic things to consider while planning your elopement. With these 6 simple tips, you could potentially have your entire elopement planned out in less than a week!

Let’s get started…



Step 1: DREAM BIG!

crater lake national park fall elopement

Pick and evening to sit down with your partner and pour a glass of wine, tea, whatever your beverage of choice might be. Both of you close your eyes and imagine the BEST day ever together. (ok you can open them back up now!)

It’s helpful to think of this as the ultimate date night. Or if both of your birthdays were combined into one day. If you could do ANYTHING with your soon-to-be spouse, what would it be?

Don’t think about what it might cost. You’d be surprised at how easy and budget-friendly it can be to have your dream elopement day. Just dream BIG.

Are you going on an epic guided tour of Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail? Or would you prefer a private chef makes your favorite meal at a luxury beach resort while enjoying a beautiful sunset? How about watching the sunrise in a hot air balloon adventure going over Utah’s spectacular rock formations?

The world is truly your oyster when you choose to elope!

Step 2: Make Your Main Decisions

view of mt bachelor in bend oregon

Now that you’ve mused about your dream 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.

Here are 3 key questions to ask yourselves:

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

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

Step 3: Choose Your Details

elopement photography of a wedding ceremony in iceland

This is one of my favorite parts to help with! 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. I am more than happy to help with each of these if you elope with me as your photographer.

NOTE: If you are choosing to elope in a national park or any public land you may need to acquire a photography permit which could be a 2 to 8 week process.

Step 4: Crafting Your Timeline

elopement couple on a 4x4 off road vehicle

Now that all of your details are figured out, it’s time to put together a timeline to map out every part of your day. Which activities will you enjoy together? Which spots will you explore? Meaningful items to incorporate, etc. 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: Pack Your Essentials

sunset elopement at half dome sunset in Yosemite

Having traveled a lot myself, I find it’s easiest to make a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ and start throwing them into your suitcase(s). Arrange them neatly once you feel like it’s all in there. Make sure to also communicate with guests (if any) to help them make their packing decisions as well.

Bonus Tip: Always *roll* your wedding attire. Never fold. This will help minimize any wrinkles.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Perfect Day!

sayulita nayarit punta mita elopement and micro wedding photography

Breathe, relax, and get married! Enjoy all the effort you’ve put into planning and dreaming up your perfect elopement. Remember to embrace the unpredictable, always be present, and focus on the fact that you get to promise forever to your very best friend while having an amazing, unique experience together. Yay! 


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about the author:

Hi! I’m Mia!

I live in a tiny cabin in the woods of central Oregon with my boyfriend. We love cooking, camping, fishing, raising chickens and listening to true crime. I’ve had the best job in the world documenting intimate celebrations since 2010. My love languages are quality time and travel.

My approach to photography is a cross between documentary and editorial. Think of fashion magazines but with real couples. 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. 

portrait of elopement photographer at crater lake national park

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