How to Elope – Your Guide to Planning the Perfect Elopement in 2023

First off – congrats on making a brave and bold decision to elope! You’ve decided a big wedding wasn’t for you, and you want an intentional, more intimate, and meaningful wedding experience. So now that you’ve decided to take this brave step, you’re probably wondering how to elope? I will be sharing below all my tips/tricks on planning an elopement, from how to pick a date and location and all of the legal things!

If the idea of having an elopement sounds really cool, but you’re not really sure what it actually means to elope, you can read my blog post about the definition and meaning of elopement to see if it’s a good fit for you!

elopement photographer Utah view of Moab elopement

Step 1: Imagining your Dream Day

Elopements are meant to be centered entirely around YOU. You can choose whatever you want to do during your elopement day – that’s the beauty of it! Picture yourself on the morning of your elopement day. What are you doing? Are you having breakfast with your partner or watching the sunrise? What activities do you enjoy doing with your partner? Spend a good amount of your time with your partner brainstorming what things feel the most authentic to you. You want your elopement day to feel meaningful and authentic to who you are!

Step 2: Choosing Your Elopement Location

There are so many things to consider when choosing the right location for you. Just remember that the possibilities are endless, and there are no limitations! Whether the location is meaningful to you or it’s just somewhere you think is breathtaking, all that matters is that the location feels right for YOU. Choosing your elopement location is always the fun part of things! Maybe there’s somewhere you’ve both been dying to travel to, like a National Park or a particular country. You can also combine your elopement with your honeymoon if you want to extend your trip!

Knowing how to elope will give you the day of your dreams without the stress! Here are some things to consider for your elopement location:


What types of scenery do you like seeing? Imagine yourself saying your vows with your partner. Are you saying it on a mountaintop, a beach, in a desert, or somewhere else? Think about whatever scenery feels most authentic to you!

Weather and Time of Year

This is something really important to keep in mind when you’re planning your elopement. When choosing an elopement location, you need to plan with weather and seasons in mind. For example, if you’re eloping in the desert, you’ll probably want to elope in the fall or spring to avoid extreme heat. You’ll also want to keep rain in mind if you’re not a big fan of it – avoid choosing locations that rain most of the year. If you hate the cold and being in the snow then make sure you keep that in mind when planning for the right location and time of year. In order to have your elopement at your dream destination, you might have to be flexible with the date to make sure that the weather is perfect for your big day!


Privacy is another big factor in picking your elopement location. If you choose an elopement location that can get crowded, keep in mind that other hikers and tourists might be a distraction, so having a more isolated spot for your ceremony is ideal. If there’s a popular location you have your heart set on, then make sure you go during the off-season or have your ceremony during sunrise – however, even sunrise can be crowded during peak season if it’s a popular location. I love helping my couples find off the beaten path locations so they can still have gorgeous views without the crowds.


If you’re planning on having guests, especially the elderly or guests with mobility issues for your elopement, plan on having a ceremony location that is easy to access. You can find a ton of beautiful views without having to take a long hike! Even if you’re not having guests think about how accessible you want the location to be for you. Do you enjoy going on long hikes together and want to do that for your elopement? Or would you prefer to find somewhere that has a shorter trail that’s easy to access?

elopement photographer Utah view of Moab elopement

Step 3: Activities for Your Elopement

Your elopement day is meant to be about YOU and your love. The whole day should be filled with all the things that you love and want to do together! From the moment you wake up until the end of the day, imagine what activities would be fun to do together and what would make your wedding day extra special. For example, you could wake up for sunrise, say your vows and explore the area you’re staying in, or you could start your elopement later in the day, go hike to your ceremony location and end the night with a private chef dinner or stargazing.

Step 4: Choosing Your Elopement Date

When choosing your elopement date, this can be the part that requires a bit more flexibility and factors to consider. For example, suppose you have your heart set on eloping in Moab, Utah. In that case, you should pick a date during the fall or spring to avoid extreme heat conditions, which would make your elopement very uncomfortable. So you’ll have to prioritize if having your dream destination means that you must elope during a specific time in the year. Make sure that you keep all of these factors in mind when choosing your date.

elopement photographer California view of El Matador Beach Malibu

Step 5: Booking Vendors and Travel

Now that you have your elopement date and location, it’s time to pick all of your vendors! So here’s a list of vendors that I think are helpful to have for your elopement day!

Elopement Photographer

Of course, I’m a bit biased here, but I believe that photos are an important part of your wedding because they preserve the memories from your special day! It’s also important to find the right photographer for you – meaning you not only love their work, but you also connect with them. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your elopement photographer, so you should find someone that you get along well with and trust! I’m here to show you how to elope so you get the most out of your elopement.

Elopement Officiant

Most couples hire an officiant if you want someone to legally marry you on your elopement day. If you want to have all the legal paperwork done before or after the ceremony, you can also do that as well. I’m also ordained and can sign your marriage license for you (in most US states) and say a few lines to make it official! However, if you desire to have more of an official ceremony script, then you can hire an officiant to help craft that experience for you. Keep in mind that if you hire an officiant and have a remote location for your ceremony, they’ll have to be willing to go to that location. Some couples also have one of their friends get ordained and officiate their ceremony! If you’re looking for a quick way to get ordained online you can check out this site to become ordained.

Hair and Makeup Artist

I highly recommend getting a hair and makeup artist! After all, it is your special day, and you deserve to get pampered! You can find hair and makeup artists willing to wake up for a sunrise ceremony too. Of course, you can do your own hair and makeup too, but it’s nice to have a professional to make sure that’ll also last for the day throughout hiking, excursions, and whatever else you do during your elopement!


Having a bouquet is a wedding tradition I fully support! I think having a nice bouquet is a great finishing touch for your elopement. However, keep in mind that certain areas like National Parks only allow certain kinds of flowers that are native to the environment and make sure the florists can accommodate your needs – like having a durable bouquet for hiking.

elopement photographer California view of Anza Borrego

Step 5: Picking Your Wedding Attire

This is your chance to pick out your dream dress! There are no rules when it comes to this, especially since elopements aren’t traditional. You can do whatever you desire. You can wear a black dress or even a gold dress – the choice is yours! Choose something that makes you feel amazing and confident. If you’re doing excursions or hiking for your ceremony, you’ll want to keep this in mind. You might have to bring an extra outfit for excursions depending on what you’re doing throughout the day.

Step 6: How to Elope and Make it Legal

If you’ve decided to get married at your elopement location legally, then you’ll need to check the local marriage laws. As I previously mentioned, you can always do the legal stuff either before or after your elopement day! It doesn’t make your wedding day less special or real because it’s not about signing a piece of paper. This day is all about committing the rest of your lives to each other!

elopement photographer Utah view of Moab elopement

Planning an elopement is all about creating an amazing wedding experience for you and your partner! I firmly believe that this day is all about you and your partner committing the rest of your lives to each other. If you’re looking for an elopement photographer to help you plan and assist you so you can have an amazing wedding experience I’d love to be considered! Click here to set up a free consultation call with me so we can chat about your dream day!

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