How to Hike on your Wedding Day – Advice from an Adventure Elopement Photographer
Tip 1: Wear the Right Shoes
If I could only give you one piece of advice, it would be to wear the right shoes. I say this because of safety. A hiking boot will give you maximum grip on the trail and protect your feet. What does this mean exactly? Welp, honestly it depends on where you are eloping and how far of a hike, if you will be doing one on your elopement day. Most likely no matter where your adventurous wedding is taking place you will want to wear a hiking boot. If you are eloping here in the desert you could wear something like a Chaco instead. If you are hiking in the snow or ice in the mountains you will want to wear crampons over your hiking shoe. If you are somewhere with a lot of snow you may even need snowshoes. Depending on the location and weather, often times on short non steep hikes men will wear a dressier shoe. You can always change into a different shoe once you have reached your destination. Outside of hiking books you can consider other style of boots as long as you do not put yourself at risk. Style is not worth your life if you are doing a strenuous hike on your wedding day.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out these links to some awesome wedding shoe options:
**** Extra tip: Be sure to wear the shoes you are going to wear to your wedding day prior to the big day. If you are going to wear hiking boots and they are new, be sure to go on a similar hike once or twice before hand.
Tip 2: How to hike in your wedding dress and if you should hike in your wedding dress
One of my favorite blogs I have ever put together is How to Select an Elopement Wedding Dress. Which leads me to say, before I can talk about hiking in your dress we need to talk about if you should hike in your dress. The questions to ask yourself to decide if you can or should hike in your dress are:
- Do you want to hike in your wedding dress? If you do not want to get your dress dirty then chances are you shouldn’t hike in your dress.
Is the dress appropriate for the trail? If your dress is tight and you need to scramble on part of the trail, chances are you dont want to hike in it. If the dress is loose and flowy and you dont have to hike anything outside of an easy, well maintained trail, you could totally hike in the dress. If the dress is super heavy and you need to go 5 miles you may not want to hike in it.
- How is the weather? If it is pouring rain you may want to change into your dress once you have gotten to the location, but you could still hike back out in your dress!
As I tell all of my couples, you just want to think about the experience you want to have and if that lines up with hiking in your dress, do it! So if you have decided to hike in your dress here are a few tips:
- For shorter trails that are three miles or less you could easily hike in your dress the whole time. For trails that are longer or considered hard you could hike in your dress part of the time.
- Sew a wrist band to the bottom of the dress in one or two places so when you are hiking it’s easier to gather and hold the dress.
- You can make the dress a short dress just for the hike by using something to attach the bottom to your waist or you can use a sewing method with a draw string.
If it is cold, wear a nude tight or white leggings under your dress.
- Have your partner help you carry the train of the dress
- Take your time on the hike!
So let’s say you decided not to hike in your dress and you want to change into the dress once you get to the ceremony location. How does this work?
- You will want to bring your dress in a dress bag or you can pack it into a pack. Often times I will carry the brides dress in a dress bag attached to the outside of my pack.
- Hike in an outfit that is great for the trail and something you don’t mind having photos taken of you in. I have had a bride hike in all white leggings and a cute white top. I have had a bride hike in a rad shirt that said ‘she hiked happily every after.’ This is a chance to bring your personality to your day.
- Be prepared to change at the top of the trail. This depends on your comfort level, which trail you have selected, how hard your dress is to put on etc. I have some brides bring pop up changing rooms, sheets for their friends to hold up while they change or they just slip the dress over what they’re wearing on the side of the trial and handle the rest from there.
Tip 3: Things to bring for your hiking wedding
What you should bring to your elopement is different per couple, per trial, per area and per weather situation. Here are some basics that almost every single time you will need:
- vows/wedding documents
- a day pack
- layers – even on warm days it can be cold for sunrise or sunset
Other things to consider are anything you need for putting your dress on or things to keep your dress in its spot (aka sticky tape). Be sure to pack any props, blankets or other things you may need specific to your day. Being over prepared doesn’t hurt on a day this important, you could bring any medications you may need, sunscreen, a change of clothing, band aids, etc.
Tip 4: Properly Prepare your Guests
Just as you are preparing, you need to prepare your guests properly. If your guests are hiking with you, then they also need to wear attire they can hike in. They need shoes that are proper for the trial and to bring their own snacks and water. It is important for your guests to be comfortable, prepared and safe so you can have the best day ever! I send my couples a lot of prep information in regards to their location and the trail they have selected, along with Leave No Trace Principals and their timeline with coordinates and more. I always tell me couples, just forward everything to your guests too so everyone is ready to go the day of your wedding!
Bringing your pup?! Well, they count as a guest too! If you want more information on how to elope with your dog check out this blog post.