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Seattle Wedding & Elopement Photographers

Plan Your Elopement Day

The How-To Cure for Elopement Decision Overload

If you feel like eloping is for you, but maybe your head is spinning from the sheer amount of freedom & options; here’s where we recommend you start! This is all our best tricks, practical tips, and ideas for making that dream a reality. 

First off: Congratulations! You’re eloping! There are no rules! You can do whatever you want, and don’t have to give a sh*t about stupid wedding stuff that you don’t like! No seating charts to stress over, no 7 million tablecloths to iron, and no fussy great aunts to please!

The sky is your limit!!!!! YAY! 

Shelby & Garrett during their lakeside elopement on Priest Lake, Idaho. Image by Forthright Photo.

Ok. Yes, eloping is *awesome*, but all that freedom can be a little overwhelming sometimes. Where to start? There are so many choices, it can feel impossible to pick and then your head starts to spin.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to put a bunch of pressure on a single day of your relationship. When you get stuck or start to feel stressed by all the options (or maybe so overloaded by choice paralysis, you just can’t think of anything at all) here’s my favorite trick: Just think about your elopement as a really epic, all-day date.

What activities would make this day the most perfect, most “you” date ever? From the time you get up to the time you go to bed, what really makes the both of you happy to be doing together? Where would it be? Write out everything that would make for the world’s coolest date between the two of you, and you’ll have a great place to start in planning your elopement. 

Once you’ve made a list of your epic, ideal date requirements & you’re looking for some more ideas, here are our favorite tips for planning a great elopement day:

-Try a new activity you’ve never done before! A helicopter ride, 4×4 offroading, bungie jumping, snowshoeing, kayaking, finally trying that cool Indian place down the street from your house, or whatever the heck you want. It doesn’t have to be super adventurous, but just something new you’ve always wanted to do, or maybe have been meaning to try for a while.

-Incorporate favorite activities of yours to do together. Again, eloping means your wedding day gets to be an epic, once in a lifetime date with you and your favorite person, so it only makes sense you should spend it doing things you genuinely enjoy! Playing boardgames, backpacking, kayaking, wine tasting, rock climbing, you name it. Whatever it is that makes the both of you happy.

Kimi and Derek dancing during their adventure wedding in the Grand mage by Forthright Photo.

Think about what elements of a traditional wedding you want to incorporate. A private vow exchange? Cake Cutting? Champagne Toasts? First Look? Handfasting Ceremony? First Dance? Sparklers? All of the above, none of the above? The sky is your limit, you can put together as many or as few of these traditional wedding elements as you want, or invent some of your own. The wonderful thing is that you can pick whichever ones speak to you & leave the rest!

Don’t be afraid to ask for a break! If you guys want to take a hike alone, without your photographers/videographers/friends/family, or maybe you want an hour or two to soak in the scenery or enjoy a dinner without the pressure of being photographed, socializing, or otherwise being otherwise disturbed, make a plan for it! NO ONE should begrudge you alone/relaxed time, especially on your elopement day. That’s kinda the whole point!

Wait, don’t forget about the food! Do you want to opt for a private, mountain top picnic? A small dinner with your closest friends & family? Late night dive bar pizza? A private chef making a custom 4 course meal for the both of you? Maybe just some In-n-Out? Seriously, you can do whatever you want for your elopement day food, but have fun with it and we’ll bring the snacks. 😉

For the more practical side of making sure your elopement day has a somewhat coherent schedule, we’ll absolutely be helping you with building an elopement timeline. Here’s some basics to keep in mind though while you daydream:

Are you hiking? Plan in some time for hiking in and hiking out.

Are you driving to multiple locations? Plan in some time for travel/transit.

How much daylight do you have? What time does the sun rise & set on your elopement day?

Are you bringing in any decor? If so, who will be doing set-up and tear down? How long will that take?

Are you having your makeup professionally done? Ask your makeup artist for a good estimate of how long their work will take!

If you need more ideas, or want help putting the pieces together of your kickass elopement day, please never hesitate to reach out! You can always shoot us an email, give us a call, or we can sit down over some lattes and hash out the details together. Happy Planning, my friends!

Christina & Tanner celebrating after their elopement ceremony on Mt. Baker. Image by Forthright Photo.

P.S. Here are some other great elopement planning resources around the web:

Adventure Instead

Junebug Weddings Checklist

and of course, this article would be totally incomplete without mentioning some of our favorite elopement planners!

Greatest Adventure Weddings

Tapestry Event Co.

Rooted & Wild

Emily Aitkens Events