Elopements are a deeply personal and intimate affair. It’s not just about escaping the crowd, it’s about creating a celebration that’s uniquely yours.
As you’re planning to elope, you might be wondering how to make your day ultra special. From sunrise breakfasts to night-time stargazing, there’s a whole universe of romantic activities to explore. But we have the adventurous couples covered too: with mountain hikes to dogsled rides, there’s no reason why your elopement can’t be fun as well as romantic!
Let’s delve into a plethora of elopement activity ideas that will heighten the sense of intimacy and make your day memorable. Whether you’re adventure seekers, nature lovers, or simply desiring a quiet moment, these ideas will inspire you to craft a day that perfectly reflects your love story.
Dreaming Up Your Elopement Day
Before you come up with your elopement activities, you need to have an idea of how you want your day to go.
Kick off by visualizing your perfect day, from sunrise to sunset. Imagine the soft light of dawn breaking as you awake, the anticipation building as you prepare for the day. Your day may begin very early at sunrise, with a first look session which is becoming a popular way to begin an elopement. However, you may wish to start in the early afternoon. Knowing this in advance will help you to plan your activities.
You may also consider incorporating meaningful elements that speak to your unique love story. Perhaps you want to recreate an activity you did on your first date, took part in a memorable activity on a vacation, or have a family tradition that holds special significance for you both?
It’s also a good idea to consider inviting close friends who’ve been there through thick and thin. Their presence will add a layer of intimacy and warmth to your day. Likewise, you may want to have some of your closest family members with you. If you’re including guests there will be some extra planning around them for your activities, maybe your 80 year-old Grandma isn’t up for a mountain hike for example. But it’s also becoming more popular to hold an elopement with just the two of you like Mitchell and Hayley’s beach elopement in Delaware, that I photographed in the Summer of 2023.
And most importantly of all, don’t forget that this day is about you. Adding your unique touches that will make your elopement truly special is the most important thing. Whether it’s an adventurous hike to exchange vows at the peak of a mountain, or a quiet picnic by a secluded lake, these details will turn your elopement into a cherished lifetime memory.
Unique Elopement Activity Ideas
So, here are some ideas for unique elopement activities. I must stress that it is not an exhaustive list: the options for an elopement are endless! To get a personalized plan for your elopement, the best thing to do is to contact me. We can arrange a quick chat either online or over the phone (or in-person if you’re close by), where I’ll get to know a little bit about you as a couple and what your dream wedding day might look like. With this information, I can help you come up with some great ideas for your day.
For Thrill Seekers
You guys love to do things to the extreme, feeling the rush of adrenaline is what you live for and you want elopement activities to fulfill your thrill-seeking desires. Here are some ideas for you:
- Skydiving: Take the plunge together and tie the knot with adrenaline pumping through your veins as you soar through the air.
- Whitewater rafting or kayaking: Navigate a roaring river hand-in-hand, symbolizing your journey together.
- Hot air balloon ride: Ascend into the clouds for a breathtakingly romantic elopement ceremony with panoramic views of your favorite locations.
- Scuba diving or snorkeling: Explore an underwater world filled with wonder and say “I do” amidst colorful coral reefs.
- Rock climbing or rappelling: Conquer a challenging cliff face as a team, celebrating your commitment at the summit.
For Nature Lovers
You guys are my favorite. Nothing says “romance” to me like being surrounded by the wonders that nature has to offer. Here are some ideas that allow you to immerse yourselves in the great outdoors during your elopement:
- Backpacking adventure: Hike into a secluded wilderness and elope under a canopy of stars.
- Glamping retreat: Enjoy luxurious camping in a scenic location, with nature as your witness.
- Sunrise hike to a mountain peak: Greet the day with breathtaking views and exchange vows bathed in golden light.
- Riverboat cruise: Sail across a serene lake or river, exchanging vows on a secluded beach or amidst gentle waves.
- Horseback riding through a forest or desert: Explore rugged landscapes on horseback like our forefathers exploring the untamed West, adding a touch of adventure to your ceremony.
For Creative Spirits
Those of you who always have ideas floating around in your head and can’t help but express yourself, we’re kindred spirits (I also have an art shop). An elopement is the perfect opportunity to express your creativity and plan a ceremony with activities that truly represent you.
- Paint your own ceremony backdrop: Collaborate on a breathtaking landscape painting to serve as the backdrop for your elopement.
- Write and perform your own vows in a dramatic setting: Compose heartfelt vows and recite them amidst towering waterfalls or ancient ruins.
- Learn a new skill together, like pottery or glassblowing, and incorporate it into your ceremony: Craft your own wedding rings or a unique vessel to hold your vows.
- Take a private dance lesson and choreograph your first dance as a married couple: You’ll find lots of videos of this on YouTube and it always goes down well.
- Message Tree: create a tree with branches and have guests write a message on the leaves. You’ll be left with a beautiful memory and something you can display in your home together.
For Travel Enthusiasts
Those of you looking for the ultimate adventure might want to elope overseas. Well why not, it’s a big old world out there and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to see as much of it as you can. Your elopement is a great time to scratch your traveling itch, and here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Northern Lights elopement: Witness the celestial dance of the aurora borealis in Iceland, Norway, or Finland. Flights to Reykjavik are fairly regular from the Northeast USA, with a flight time of around 5 hours.
- Safari elopement in Africa: Go on a wildlife adventure and exchange vows surrounded by wildlife in their natural habitat.
- Gondola ride elopement in Venice: Glide through the canals of Venice and say “I do” on a charming bridge or hidden piazza.
- Temple elopement in Southeast Asia: Experience the spiritual atmosphere of an ancient temple in Thailand, India, or Cambodia.
- Hot springs elopement in Iceland or New Zealand: Soak in rejuvenating geothermal pools amidst some of the most breathtaking landscapes that you can see on Planet Earth.
What Else Should I Know?
Of course, there are also some other considerations that you’ll need to make which come into your general elopement planning. Although you can start to generate some ideas, you won’t be able to finalize plans until you’ve thought about costs, legalities and timeframes.
You’ll need to consider your budget. As well as travelling costs, including accommodation and food, you’ll also want to budget for a photographer and may have to add in venue hire if you plan to host a reception after your ceremony. Have you planned what to wear for your elopement, and considered the cost of attire?
If you have your heart set on an activity as well as other aspects your day, you’ll need to budget accordingly. If your budget can’t meet all, then you may need to prioritize. I’ll help you out here if you get in touch.
I always say that elopement allows you to do whatever you want. What I really mean is that you can do whatever you want within reason, and within the law. Generally speaking, it is perfectly legal to elope in the USA and your marriage will be recognized across the country. However, you will need to follow the legalities for each state to ensure your marriage is valid.
Some of the legalities to consider include whether you need witnesses, if there’s a waiting period between applying and receiving a marriage license, or whether you need an officiant.
Hint: some photographers can act as your officiant to make things easier and less expensive. Yes, I’m one of them!
Give yourself enough time to plan everything thoroughly, and also your guests time to save money for travel and book their vacation leave. I cannot stress this enough: just because an elopement is on a smaller scale than a wedding, it doesn’t mean there is less planning to consider.
While you’re looking at your timeframe, you’ll also want to think about when your ceremony will take place. There’s no point in planning a mountain hike in Winter if they close off passages every year due to snowfall.
Get in touch with me via the contact page if you have any more questions, or would like some help to plan your perfect day!