A bride and groom sip champagne on their elopement day after figuring out how to elope in Zion National Park.

9 Simple Tips for How to Elope

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Updated April 9, 2024

You’ve decided you want to elope and that’s awesome but one big thing we hear time and time again is “Help! We don’t know How to Elope.” Well, that’s where we come in! This blog post will cover 9 tips for how to elope and in the order we recommend doing them to make your life easier and to make elopement planning a breeze! If you’re already confident about how to elope but need some elopement location suggestions, head over here where we talk about the Best Locations to Elope in the US!

1. Hire an experienced elopement photographer to help figure out how to elope & take over the stress and planning (um, that’s us… Scenic Vows!)

Our biggest piece of advice is to start by hiring an elopement photographer who can help you figure out all the details and help take away any stress you might be feeling. We not only photograph your big day, but we also help you figure out how to elope and help you plan everything. We know that this is all new to you and odds are you’ve never done this before! Even though it’s a small wedding (or maybe even just the two of you), there are still some things that you need to figure out before you say “I do”. 

2. Decide on a general area for your elopement.

Ok, this can be difficult when figuring out how to elope because there are so many beautiful places to choose from! Our advice would be to sit down together and talk about the type of landscape you imagine when you think about your elopement day. Are there mountains, trees, desert, or the beach? What time of year is it? Is there snow, fall colors, or wildflowers?

Your elopement location can be somewhere you’ve been to a million times that holds a special meaning to you or somewhere new you’ve always wanted to visit! Once you figure out the general area, we’ll help you narrow it down bit by bit until you decide on the perfect location for your elopement. Here are the best places to elope in California, Montana, and Yosemite (in our opinion!). 

There are so many incredible locations out there, so if you’re feeling stressed, get in touch with us! We’re here to help! We’ve got some great ways to help you two find your dream location!

3. Invite family and friends…or don’t!

The most controversial topic when sorting out how to elope is whether or not to invite guests.  For some couples this is easy, and for others, it’s not. We get it! When trying to decide, circle back to what you imagine for your elopement day. Are there people in your life that you feel you want by your side? Or would you rather share beautiful photos when you get home? Ultimately, you two have to choose what is best for you.

4. Book accommodations/Car rentals/flights.

Once you decide on a location, it’s time to book accommodations, car rentals, and flights. We’ve learned the hard way that sometimes it’s better to book things like a hotel/Airbnb ahead of time so you’re not stuck at a Motel 6 on your elopement night.  AirBNB‘s in some of these places sell out years in advance these days! When you are considering where to stay, look for places that have fun architecture and lots of windows if possible. That way the lighting will be better for your getting ready photos!

5. Hire other vendors.

This kind of falls in the same line as accommodations, especially if you found another vendor you are dying to work with (hair and makeup, florist,  videographer, etc.). When you find those people, reach out and chat with them to see if they would be a good fit for what you are looking for, and to see if they have any availability!

6. Get the legal stuff for how to elope out of the way.

When you’re trying to figure out how to elope, this can feel a bit confusing when you first look into it! But fear not, we’re here to help! Becky is an authorized officiant in all 50 states and will do her best to answer any questions you have about how to get a marriage certificate and any rules that might apply to the state you’re getting married in.

We also keep up to date with the ever-changing wedding permits that National Parks have in place (and oh boy do they change often!). We’re here to help and will pass along all the information we have to make sure you know how to elope legally and that you’re good to go for your elopement.

7. Choose some elopement activities

This is one of our favorite parts and we even wrote a blog post about all the activities you could include! (Check that list out here!) Now is the perfect time to start chatting about what you want your elopement day to look like.

  • Are you both hikers who love being on the trail?
  • Or is being on the water in a kayak more your thing?
  • Or maybe some type of 2-wheeled instrument (hello mountain biking?!)?
  • Maybe the thing you two love most in life (besides each other, of course) is food! Plan your elopement day around amazing meals or hire a private chef to wine and dine you in that perfect Airbnb you found!  

The options really are endless and if you’re feeling stumped when looking at how to elope, don’t worry! We’ll get to know the two of you and help suggest ideas that are relatable to you and stuff that you like to do.

8. Choose an elopement outfit!

Time to pick your wedding wear! There is so much to look at when it comes to choosing the best dress, or suit, and the options can definitely get overwhelming. We recommend something that will suit the environment you’re heading to for your elopement. Consider sleeves, or a shawl/jacket maybe, if in a cold area. And visa versa for hot. Also, think about any activities you might want to include for your elopement experience (and photos!). But really, in the end, it comes down to what you feel you are in.

We have a bunch of tips for all of this, and we even made a blog post about just this. Come check it out here!

9. Chat with your elopement photographer about a timeline!

When you’re learning how to elope, one of the most important things is to figure out the timeline. At this stage, the details are mostly figured out and now is the fun part! We start thinking about a timeline early on but now we get to actually write it out and see what it will look like! While we suggest a timeline, we love to allow for plenty of room for those spontaneous decisions and let the fun and beauty unfold as it goes! 

10. Get married!

And just like that, your wedding day is here and you are marrying your person. You two can celebrate by watching the sunset over the mountains or with an intimate dinner and champagne! However you decide to celebrate, we’ll be there capturing every second of it! Now that you know how to elope, let us help you plan out the details. Head over to our contact form to get in touch today!

Embark on your journey today! We’re excited to get you started on having the best elopement you could have imagined — and then capture it all on camera!

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