A brides stands overlooking lake tahoe on a windy day in a red hat.

Elopement Wedding Dresses + Shopping Tips

I am SO excited you are here, because that means you are eloping!! I am so happy for you.

Now you are wondering, how do I select a wedding dress for an adventure elopement???

In this blog post I will share with you all the secrets I have gained from previously being an adventure bride myself, photographing hundreds of elopements in different locations all over the western US and helping brides on their elopement day! When I was shopping for gowns I found that I have a huge love for wedding dresses. All of their textures, colors and fabrics always catch my eye. I hope this elopement dress guide helps you in finding the perfect gown! If you have any questions at the end please drop them in the comments!! Or feel free to reach out to us about your elopement, I would love to capture your day and help with the planning along the way!


What makes a great elopement wedding dress?

Adventure elopements often involve hiking, kayaking, getting in and out of helicopters, off roading, climbing and beyond. When shopping for a wedding dress in general you may consider: Is the dress comfortable, does the dress go with my venue/vibe of wedding and can you dance in it?? These are all things you may still consider when shopping for an elopement dress. However, there is an additional list of specific things you want to consider for an elopement wedding dress:

Is the dress practical for the type of adventure you are going to be doing?

For example, if you are going to be hiking is the dress comfortable with a pack on? Can you pick up the skirt easily if needed?

If you are rock climbing consider how it fits with a harness on and will it make climbing harder?

If you are kayaking, riding in a helicopter or anything that involves big movements, can you do those things?

The biggest mistake you could make is buying an elopement dress that holds you back from the adventure you plan for your wedding. You want to have fun, be relaxed and feel beautiful. Not be worried about logistics!

Fabric Matters

Some of our favorite fabrics for an elopement wedding dress are:

  • Tulle
  • Chiffon
  • Crepe
  • Types of Silk

Why does the fabric matter? Well, a lot of eloping brides love the dresses in the wind photos which can only be created, pending weather, with a flowing dress. We also love these fabrics as dresses made with this materials are usually light weight and do not wrinkle easily. You really want to have mobility.

A dress that is secure

Considering that you will be adventuring around all day in your beautiful elopement dress. You really want to be comfortable and able to move around! We recommend getting a dress with some sort of strap or sleeve unless you have a strapless wedding dress that is really secure and that will work with your elopement plans. If you get a dress with long sleeves be sure to purchase it with enough time to get it altered, as most sleeves will need to be fitted to your arm/shoulder.

A couple dances by a river in the mountains of New Zealand.

Top 10 Wedding Dress Designers for an Elopement Wedding

There are so many incredible designers out there! Below is a list of our favorite designers specifically in regards to designing elopement dresses that bring all the elopement dreams to life! Be sure to check out their websites to see their dresses + learn where to shop for their gowns. The photos under the designers name is an example of elopements we’ve photographed where the bride wore that designer!

Daci Gowns Elopement Dress

Daci gowns are all custom made, extremely flowy with unique texture and they are stunning. The designer is based in Idaho, but you can also connect with her online. You can also consider renting one of her gowns for a cheaper option.

Daci Gowns

Instagram – Daci Gowns

Jenny Yoo Elopement Dress

Jenny Yoo is a long standing name in the bridal industry for tradional wedding and elopement dresses. Her dresses are minimalist and classic. This is a great designer to consider if you are doing a hybrid of an intimate wedding with an adventure!

Jenny Yoo

Instagram – Jenny Yoo Nyc

Rue De Seine Elopement Dress

Another absolute favorite for eloping brides, especially for our desert brides! The colors, textures and boho fit are so amazing!! This brand has long been associated with elopements and for good reason.

Rue De Seine

Instagram – Rue De Seine Bridal

A bride wearing a Rue De Seine wedding dress.

Watters Elopement Dress

Watters or even more specifically Wtoo by Watters is another excellent and popular choice among eloping brides. We love this brand because they have a large array in pricing, but also in styles. There is something here for almost any bride! You can also shop for this brand in a lot of place!


Instagram – Watters

a groom twirls his bride, letting her dress flow in the air. they're smiling in front of sedona's red rocks

Leanne Marshall Elopement Dress

This one might be my personal biased favorite as this was the designer of my own elopement dress! Leanne Marshall stopped producing wedding dresses last year, however, you can still buy her wedding dresses at used shops. Also, she still creates AMAZING gowns – though they might have some color, which isn’t a bad thing. These wedding dresses are the queens of flow.

Leanne Marshall

Instagram – Leanne Marshall Official

traci and bill kissing in front of mount rainier during their elopement. indy is on a leash.

Grace Loves Lace Elopement Dress

This Australia based brand focuses on comfort and sustainability, however, that does not mean their wedding dresses are not absolutely gorgeous. And yes, you can still shop the designer here in the States 🙂

Grace Loves Lace

Instagram – Grace Loves Lace

A bride wearing Jenny Yo

Calla Blanche Elopement Dress

If you are looking for a luxury look and brand that ha elopement friendly options – this is it! Choosing one of these dresses would be a unique elopement dress option!

Calla blanche Bridal Gowns

Instagram – Calla Blanche Dress

A bride wearing a Calle Blanche Dress

All Who Wander Elopement Dress

All Who Wander is a fitting name for an elopement wedding dress, don’t you agree!? We love their unique sleeve options on some of their wedding dresses, making a bold statement and still being easy to move in! Lots of variety here!

Instagram – All Who Wander

Dreamers and Lovers Elopement Dress

Romantic and Boho is exactly this brand to a T. Their elopement dresses are also quite affordable, most of them ranging between $2,000-3,500. You can easily shop online or find a store!

Instagram – Dreamers and Lovers

A bride wearing an elopement dress from dreamers and lovers.

Sara Seven Elopement Dress

These wedding dresses are elegant, sexy and simple. The bodices on some of the gowns are complete fire. Great option for an elopement thats at a venue with adventure portraits.

Instagram-Sarah Seven

Honorable Mention Best Elopement Dress Designers

These designers may not be as popular or well known, but we are obsessed with the flowy fabrics they use, perfect for an elopement.

A bride and groom hold hands and run as the bride holds her blue shoes.

Where to shop for an elopement wedding dress?

If you are shopping for a dress in person our personal favorite shop is Brides for a Cause. They are based in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Sacramento. We love this shop because dresses are donated by past brides, other shops and designers and all profits are donated to women causes. We also love that their dresses are affordable and that you get to shop at your own speed without pressure from a sales person.

However, if you are not able to shop here we recommend simply looking at reviews of your local shops and making sure they carry brands you may be interested in first. Be sure to fully communicate before shopping what you will be doing for your wedding a slight idea of what you may be looking for. We believe it is important to set expectations up front when going into an appointment.

Where to shop online for an elopement dress?

Since a lot of eloping brides plan their wedding on a much shorter timeframe than traditional brides you may need to consider shopping online. These are the best places we have found for shopping online:

A bride wears a dress from Azazie in Puerto RIco.

Elopement Dress Shopping Tips:

  • Research online first the styles you like and shops that carry those dresses through Pinterest or Instagram. Before selecting a wedding dress store to shop out of, learn about the experience they offer. Is it what you want? Some stores are pushy with sales, some stores are extremely hands off. Some stores have limitations on how many people you can bring with you so just do your research by calling or reading previous brides reviews. I personally found that I prefer stores that are super hands off and give you space.
  • Bring with you when you shop the undergarments you plan to wear the day of your elopement and the shoes you plan to wear.
  • Be open to trying on other styles too.
  • If you need to order a dress for your elopement day then you want to shop at a minimum 4 months before, 6 months before would be even more ideal. If you are shopping off the rack you can go whenever, but do keep some wiggle room for alterations if needed with your timing.
  • You can buy an elopement dress from $75 and all the way up to $20k or more. Set a budget that you are comfortable with and shop only within that budget.
  • Don’t be afraid to shop online, just read lots of reviews on quality and sizing, giving yourself enough time to send the dress back if it’s an option with that dress provider.
  • Be prepared for alterations, especially if your dress has sleeves. You can ask your shop where they recommend to go. A tip someone shared with me that I have personal experience with is I looked for someone on Facebook. I made a post and a wonderful lady on a local Facebook group replied and she altered my dress in only three days for $75! I’m not saying you’ll find a deal quite that good, but be mindful that it is an option.
  • Date the dress. Do not feel like you have to buy something while shopping. Spend some time in it to make sure its comfortable, envision wearing it on your day.
  • 100% you need to make sure that your elopement dress is wear-able for the adventure you plan to have on your elopement day.
Two brides look at a rainbow that appeared behind them in Joshua Tree.

Elopement Accessories

While accessories are never required to be a part of your elopement look, they can for sure be fun to play with. Below are some of our tips on where to shop, what to purchase and more!

For sure your most important accessory is your shoes for an adventure elopement! You want to be the most comfortable and prepared you can be on this day. Always pick a shoe that is safe for what you are doing, you like the look of and is comfortable. Remember, you can always change into a different shoe for the ceremony or some portraits. For hiking shoes specifically our recommendation is to shop online or go to REI and try on shoes in person. Personally, I LOVE Blundstones for hikes under 5 miles. Be sure you can get them broken in before the elopement day. You may also even consider getting them embroidered!

Elopement Veil

Veils are a great touch for windy shots, to add something special to the ceremony or for those dreamy under the veil photos. The trick with veils is to purchase one that is either Chapel or Cathedral length. If you purchase a veil, remember you make the rules in elopements. You can wear it all day or for just part of the day. Your rules, means you also do not have to have a white veil! We have photographed some unique ones with textures, embroidery and even color.

Don’t be afraid to pair your veil with another accessory like a hat, a flower crown or another head piece. Or you can skip the veil for one of these options. One of our favorite alternatives is a cape or wings. This gives you a very similar look to a veil, but you avoid something flowing in the wind coming from your head.

Places to shop for a veil:

Bridal Jacket

Often for elopements we are starting before sunrise or ending after dark which means it can get chilly. Even so, we are out in the elements and having a jacket on hand is crucial because you want to be comfortable for your wedding day.

We recommend a practical jacket that will keep you warm and that is a good fit for the adventure you have planned and that you are happy to be photographed in. A lot of our brides simply bring and wear their puffy jacket which you can purchase at an REI or through any outdoor gear store. We have also seen brides choose something made from wool like Abby’s Pendleton Jacket – perfect for a very cold elopement day.

Otherwise you can totally have a “bride” jacket for your day! We have seen these as something that is just white or something that you get bride painted/printed on. Here are some of our favorite places to shop for a bridal jacket:

A brides veil blocks her face as she walks towards her groom for the first look.

Answering the top 4 questions brides ask us about their elopement dresses:

Will my dress get dirty during my elopement?

Most likely, yes! This is not a huge deal because after a dry cleaning it will be back to normal in most elopement locations! Now, if you are eloping in Sedona or Moab it could stain depending on the fabric of your dress. There is a chance of your dress getting torn, getting sticks or cacti in it so be mindful of that potential.

If you are eloping somewhere like Alaska or other wet mountain regions your dress could get wet or dirty from the dirt on the trail or the melting ice on the glaciers. This type of dirty is usually pretty easy to clean, but it is avoidable depending how much you pick up your dress.

These are just risks you take when choosing to have the most epic wedding day possible. If you are concerned with your wedding dress getting dirty it is best to change into the dress after the hike and carry the bottom of the dress as much as possible.

Where will I change into my Wedding Dress during my elopement?

This really depends on a lot of things like, where are you eloping? What are you doing as far as an adventure? Do you want to get the dress dirty? Can you adventure in your dress? Some couples change at their Airbnb and hike in the dress. Some change at the top of the location where they plan to get married via a changing tent or hiding behind a tree or bush. Some change at the trail head in the car or bathroom. It all really depends on what you’re envisioning, but be assured there is no shortage of possibility here!

Can I do a first look in my dress if I am eloping?

Of course!!! First looks are not just for the big traditional weddings. You can share a first look on the top of any mountain peak. The great thing about elopements is that the day is truly all about what you two want to do and the experience you want to have. If you want your partner to help you get ready, great! If you want to get ready separately and have that surprise moment together, great! We can make it happen.

Do I have to wear a white elopement wedding dress?

Nope, not one bit!!! You do not have to wear a white dress if you do not want to. We have had brides wear pink dress and black dresses! Some of the designers we mentioned above offer elopement dresses that are not white! To be even more specific, you do not even have to wear just one dress! We had a bride that had 4 elopement dresses throughout their 2 day elopement and many of our 2 day brides have more than one wedding dress! This is your day, do it your way.

A Bride and groom walk together in wedding clothes in Mount Rainier on a trail.

Hey there! That’s us, Traci + Bill. As you can see, We’ve walked miles (About 74 on our elopement!) in your shoes! With hundreds of elopements photographed under our belts, we know all the tips and tricks to keeping your elopement dress clean or getting it as dirty as possible! Either way, we’re here to be your elopement gurus for the most epic wedding day!

We’d Love To Bring Your Elopement Dreams To Life!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
A bride wears a black wedding dress as she sits on the beach her husband.

Read some of our recent elopement day stories…