There’s a misconception that elopements are just a quick, rushed ceremony. That all there is to an elopement is saying your vows, exchanging rings, and then you’re done. While that may be what elopements used to be about, the meaning has changed so much over the past few years. Now, eloping is about being intentional with the way you get married, and having your wedding day be a true reflection of you and your relationship. The way you get married is still significant and meaningful – and if you’re eloping, I’d say it’s even more meaningful because you’re choosing to celebrate your wedding, your way!
That’s why I believe there is so much more to an elopement than just the ceremony. From getting ready, to saying your vows, to celebrating afterwards, you deserve to have the whole day to enjoy the experience! Here are a few elopement ideas, and some sample timelines at the end, to get the gears turning and get you inspired.
Mount Rainier National Park is a popular elopement destination (and one of my personal faves – check out this guide if you want more info!) in Washington. In the small town of Packwood, just 15 minutes outside of the park, there are tons of adorable, picturesque A-frame cabins that look like they popped right out of a fairy tale. The Little Owl Cabin is a rustic cabin in the woods that will have you feeling like you’re off the grid, without giving up any of the on-the-grid amenities.
Whether you have your ceremony at the cabin, or you use it as your home base before heading off to explore the park, an A-frame cabin is bound to be the perfect cozy getaway for your elopement. Plus, your getting ready photos will be incredible!
Even if you aren’t an early bird – hear me out! Eloping at sunrise has a lot of perks to outweigh the early wake up call. When it comes to elopement ideas and timelines, I love when couples choose to say their vows at sunrise. Just imagine a place like Taft Point in Yosemite – during the day it’s crowded, and you’ll have a hard time getting any privacy to say your vows. But if you get there before sunrise, you’ll have the place mostly to yourself! You can say your vows without bumping elbows with crowds of tourists, and watching the sun come up and cover Yosemite Valley with hues of orange and red is a magical experience worth waking up for.
When you’re brainstorming your list of elopement ideas, consider flying in a helicopter on the big day! Helicopter tours are basically a cheat code to get you to the most private spots, with no hiking required! Take a helicopter tour somewhere like Glacier National Park, and you’ll be able to avoid all the crowds and get a unique view of the park. You’ll go from one beautiful view to another, and see places that most people don’t even know exist!
For adventurous couples, a hike might be the perfect way to celebrate your elopement day! If hiking is something you love to do together, incorporating your love of the outdoors into your elopement day can be meaningful and special. Plus, they say you appreciate something more if you have to work for it – and that goes for scenic views too! One of my favorite spots to hike is Lake Tahoe. There are so many places to choose from, whether it’s lakeside spots on the shore, or overlooks high above the crystal blue water. Check out this couple’s hiking elopement at Lake Tahoe!
A lot of couples don’t know where to start when it comes to building a timeline, or figuring out what they want to do on their elopement day. Here are some sample timelines to help!
11:00 am – Hair and Makeup Begins
1:00 – First Look
2:00 – Drive to Mount Rainier National Park
3:00 – Ceremony
3:30 – Photos with Guests
4:00 – Couple’s Photos
5:00 – Return to Cabin
5:30 – Dinner & Cake
4:00 am – Hair and Makeup Begins
6:00 – Drive to Taft Point, Yosemite
7:00 – First Look at Sunrise
7:30 – Ceremony
8:00 – Couple’s Photos at Taft Point
9:00 – Drive to Yosemite Point Trailhead
9:30 – Begin Hiking
1:00 – Arrive at Summit, Couple’s Photos
3:00 – Hike Down
5:00 – Drive to Glacier Point
6:00 – Sunset Photos
2:00 pm – Hair and Makeup Begins
4:00 – First Look
4:30 – Drive to Lake Tahoe
5:00 – Ceremony
5:30 – Couple’s Photos
7:00 – Return to Airbnb
8:00 – Hair and Makeup Begins
10:00 – Drive to Helicopter Tour
11:00 – Helicopter Tour Begins
1:00 – Helicopter Lands
1:30 – Drive to Lake McDonald
2:30 – Lunch at Lake McDonald with Family
4:30 – Ceremony
5:00 – Photos with Guests
6:00 – Couple’s sunset photos
If these elopement ideas got the gears turning and you’re excited about planning your own unique day, contact me! As an elopement photographer, my job is to guide adventurous couples like you to the perfect elopement day that suits them. From location recommendations to custom tailored elopement timelines, I’m here for you!
Your day should be nothing short of incredible – and I’m ready when you are!
If you're thinking about eloping or getting married in NorCal, our blog is an excellent resource for inspiration. We've got sneak peeks of recent weddings, tips for eloping in Northern California, and more. Let The Adventure Begin is the perfect place to start planning.
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