Hiking & Formal Wear, All Your Questions Answered

One of the biggest questions we get about elopements and adventurous weddings is about the logistics of packing your wedding outfits out into the backcountry! Lots. And lots of questions. Like, how am I supposed to hike in my dress/suit/outfit? What if it's sweaty and uncomfortable? What the hell am I supposed to do about shoes? Bouquets? Will my dress really fit in a backpack? How do I keep my suit from getting wrinkled? What if my dress gets muddy, or dirty, or dusty, or wet?

First off: it's a lot easier than it sounds. Generally, our first rule of thumb is don't panic too much. Yes. There might be a bit more wrinkles, and there will at minimum probably be some dust, and none of those things are going to "ruin" your look or your photos. Keeping things relaxed and flexible is a great way to go.

Secondly, we typically don't have folks hike *up* in their wedding outfits. We recommend doing any uphill/sweaty/heavy excursion parts of the trail in regular normal hiking attire, with their wedding outfits stored in their backpacks! This way, if you do get a little sweaty, you're not stuck hiking up a mountain in a ballgown or a three piece suit, both of which I can't say are very fun. Once we arrive at the top of our hike (whether that's .3 miles or 13 miles), folks change into their wedding outfits. You can just change outdoors, or we have a pop up privacy tent that we can bring along, if you would prefer!

In addition to a regular hiking outfit to hike *up* we definitely strongly STRONGLY recommend bringing hiking boots to wear. If you want to change into more formal shoes once we arrive at the ceremony site, you are welcome to do so, but actually hiking in heels or dress shoes is a one way ticket to unpleasant blisters and twisted ankles, neither of which make for a great wedding day experience. So hiking boots, or at minimum shoes with good traction and ankle support are required!

Most suits can be hung off the back of a pack with relative ease. With wedding gowns, it depends a little on the material of the gown for the best transport method, but we've found that rolling the dress up rather like a sleeping bag tends to actually work really well and is pretty forgiving when it comes to wrinkles! Bouquets we typically store on the outside of the pack, either by using some of the tension cords or water bottle holders or just zipping it in and securing the sides! It can hang out on the pack securely for even a really long hike that way.

As for dresses, and concerns about mud/dusty/wet/grass/bugs/pinecones/twigs/rips/etc: I am sorry to tell you, but. You are getting married outside. And all of those things will probably, at some point, show up on your wedding dress. But honestly, we love a dirty dress. We think it's pretty fucking cool, and the dress gets to live its best life in the outside, with plenty of beautiful experience along the way. So again, the best approach? Don't panic. Learn to love the beauty of a lived in elopement dress. And hey, if it really stresses you out, you can always get a cheaper elopement or hiking dress that you don't need to worry about getting dirty, and purchase a fancier dress for your larger wedding or reception, if you're going that route.

As for the hike down, you're welcome to stay in your formal attire, but just switch into hiking shoes, if that's easier or simpler for you! Some folks choose to switch back into their hiking clothes, but the majority just opt to hike down in the wedding outfits. It's a little easier, a lot less sweaty, and makes for some pretty great photos.

Share this story

Personal

Seward, Palmer, and Anchorage Alaska Trip

For Couples

Hiking & Formal Wear, All Your Questions Answered

Wedding

Autumn North Cascades Elopement