You chose to Elope partly because you wanted to remove most of the stress in planning a wedding and you wanted to keep the planning simple, but you may be at a loss for how to go about planning an elopement. Well that’s why I am here, to help you easily plan your perfect day in your dream location (although I do offer elopement planning with my photography services for Elopement Couples who book me. (Check it out: My Services)
Elopements are a day planned all around the two of you and what you love doing together. There are so many possibilities of what you can do, where you can go, and more. So check out my list of 10 Easy Steps to Plan an Elopement so you can focus on your love story and enjoy being engaged and the lead up to your elopement instead of stressing and feeling lost!
1. CHOOSE AN ELOPEMENT LOCATION/DESTINATION
I love chatting with couples and helping them to figure out where they would like to elope. I am very familiar with the Canadian Rockies, but I also love to travel and helping couples plan something a little more exotic somewhere in the world that inspires you or calls to you. It’s so important to choose a location or travel destination that suits you both as a couple and the things you like to do.
2. PICK A SEASON/DATE TO ELOPE
The seasons are so different and can change the landscape in your chosen location so start looking at what season you both enjoying doing the most activities together and what that looks like in your dream location for your elopement. The mountains offer so many incredible activities and views in every season and honestly they are all beautiful. I am also here to help you figure that out, just ask me. 😉
3. CHOOSE AND BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Quite possibly the most important part of an elopement is a photographer. Choosing a photographer is about their style, their vibe, and their knowledge. Photos are all you will have left when memory fades over time so you want images you will love and cherish so choose a photographer whose work represents you best and draws you in. You also spend a lot of time with your photographer so you want to vibe with them well. You also want them to be familiar with the location or willing to find out everything they need to know about that location; it’s okay if they have never been there before because if we know how to shoot in one spot, we can generally shoot anywhere and personally I will research to the death if it’s a location I don’t know and plan out a great elopement for you. I get the most inspired showing up somewhere new and create magic!
NOTE: I showed up at a beach I had never seen in San Francisco to shoot an engagement session with a couple I had never met before that day, and I found the spot by doing my own research online from Canada before I went and the shoot was magic: San Francisco Engagement Shoot
4. BOOK ALL YOUR VENDORS
As much as Elopements are less complicated than a traditional or larger wedding you will most likely still need to hire a few professionals such as: marriage officiant, florist, makeup and hair artist, helicopter, cake and/or snacks/food, restaurant, accommodations, etc. I have been doing this a long time so I know tons of incredible wedding vendors in BC and Alberta that I can help you with by sending recommendations.
5. GET YOUR WEDDING ATTIRE & ESSENTIALS
It doesn’t matter what you wear, but you will need to figure out your outfits and order them. You can wear whatever you want and you can even change your outfit for different activities if you want. If you are hiking to your ceremony spot then you might want to dress casually and pack your outfits in your backpack, changing on top of the mountain (make sure you think about the weight of a wedding dress and your freedom to move in it depending on what activities you are including). You will also want to get any elements you want to include or are necessary: rings, vow books, an outfit for your dog, lanterns to include in the dusk hours, warmer layers, adventure gear, and more.
6. APPLY FOR MARRIAGE LICENSE & APPLICABLE PERMITS
Make sure you know the requirements for a marriage license in your chosen location and apply for it with lots of time for any issues and for it to be ready on your elopement date (pick up the day before). Also there may be a requirement for a permit depending on the location you choose so make sure you apply for that in plenty of time before your big day. I can help you with that 🙂
7. FIGURE OUT YOUR WITNESSES
Most places require at least 2 witnesses to your nuptials for the legal certification of your marriage. I am happy to be a witness and we can even find a few hikers or tourists in the area to sign the paperwork. But you can also choose to bring a few guests (yes guests can come to Elopements!) -> See my blog post on Modern Elopements: What Are They & Why You Want to Choose To Elope
8. BOOK YOUR TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATIONS
If you are not local to your elopement location then you need to book flights or plan a road trip, rent a car, book an AirBnb or Hotel and more. Weekday travel and accommodations are always cheaper to book and may be less busy. Don’t leave these bookings to the last minute to avoid stress if things book up, depending on the season you have chosen for your elopement. (Do this a few months before)
9. PLAN YOUR TIMELINE OF EVENTS/ACTIVITIES
There is no set way or required time to do anything on your wedding day. You can hike in the dark to be on top of a mountain at sunrise and then adventure the rest of the day. You can say “I Do” at sunset after brewery hopping, a paddleboard on a lake, and a romantic dinner beside a lake. Basically you can order your day however you want and it will all depend on the light you want, what activities you want to include and what kind of people you are; ie: morning people, nighthawks, afternoon adventurers. I am always going to aim for the golden hours around sunset and sunrise but ultimately it’s your day and we will structure it how you want. I am here with all my expertise of what works and what doesn’t so I can help you plan the perfect timeline.
10. CREATE A LIST OF ALL YOU NEED TO BRING
It’s a more relaxed day when you choose to elope, however you will still not want to forget all the important things you need for your big day. I have an abbreviated list for you to check out: What to Bring on your Adventure Elopement
Well, I hope that was nice and easy to understand and helps you plan your elopement. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me to discuss your Canadian Rocky Mountain Elopement or Travel Destination Elopement and let me help you plan your dream elopement as well as capture your love story!