How to Plan a Stress-Free Wedding Day

A couple shares their first dance at Red Earth venue.

Planning a wedding can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many details to consider, it’s no wonder that many couples find the process to be stressful. From table layouts, linen colors, catering for all of your guests, the list of “must-do’s” seems to have no end in sight! However, if you’re an adventurous, outdoorsy couple who wants to escape the traditional wedding experience and would much rather spend time making unforgettable memories with your forever partner than debating what color your napkins should be, then an adventure elopement might be the perfect stress-free solution. In this article, we’ll discuss why planning a wedding can be stressful and offer tips on how to plan a stress-free adventure elopement that’s perfect for you and your partner.

The Stress of Traditional Weddings

Traditional weddings often come with a long list of expectations and requirements, leading many couples to feel overwhelmed and stressed. From choosing the perfect venue, coordinating with various vendors, managing a tight budget and accommodating the needs of family and friends, it’s easy to see why planning a traditional wedding can be a challenging experience. The high that comes from the beginning of your journey as an engaged couple can come quickly crashing down when faced with the daunting task of trying to make everyone else happy because, well that’s what your “supposed to do”. Here at Adventure and Vow, we’re so excited to tell you that 100% does not and should not be the emotional process when it comes to your wedding planning.

What to Do Instead of a Traditional Wedding

While the thought of planning a traditional wedding is causing you stress and anxiety, once you start to plan for the alternative, an adventure elopement, it quickly goes from stressful to inspiring and exciting. Adventure elopements combine the thrill of an outdoor adventure with the intimacy and romance of a wedding ceremony. This choice allows you and your partner to focus on what truly matters—your love and commitment to each other—without getting bogged down by the details of a traditional wedding. At the end of the day, that is the most important part of your marriage after all. Each other!

Elopement vs. Traditional Wedding

The idea of an adventure elopement might be completely new to you, and if it’s the first time you’ve come across this idea then your first impression could be running away to Vegas and jumping into an Elvis church at midnight. We promise the modern term of eloping is very far from that old idea. Eloping is a smaller, more intimate and purpose driven wedding experience typically involving just the couple and perhaps a few close friends or family members. Elopements often take place in unique or adventurous locations, such as on mountaintops, in forests, or on remote beaches. This type of wedding allows you to focus on your love, commitment, and the experience itself, rather than the expectations and pressures of a traditional wedding.

Should I Feel Guilty for Wanting to Elope?

Absolutely not! Your wedding day should be a reflection of your relationship and what matters most to you as a couple. If a traditional wedding doesn’t align with your values or interests, there’s no reason to feel guilty for choosing an alternative path. In fact, many couples who choose to elope find that the experience is more meaningful and memorable than a traditional wedding could ever be.

Eloping is becoming an increasingly popular option for couples who want to get married without the stress of a traditional wedding. While eloping, you can focus on the most important parts of your relationship—your love and commitment to each other—without worrying about elaborate decorations, seating arrangements, or other details. Plus, you can enjoy the freedom and excitement of exploring a new location together with just your partner or a few close friends and family members.

The best part about eloping is that it’s completely customizable. You can choose any location that speaks to you as a couple, whether that’s the wild desert of Moab or a the snow capped mountains of the North Cascades. You can also create the perfect elopement ceremony for your big day incorporating meaningful rituals, or bringing along special items from home. We’ve had one couple roll their own burrito during their elopement ceremony, so while we’re not saying that is for most couples, we are emphasizing here the only limit is your own imagination. Whatever you decide to do, an adventure elopement will be an unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

How to Plan a Stress-Free Adventure Elopement

Set Your Priorities

Before diving into planning your adventure elopement, take some time to discuss your priorities and goals with your partner. When we collaborate with our couples, we send an exciting date night prompt with questions to engage with so that the elopement experience is exactly what you’ve been dreaming of. What elements of your relationship are most important to you? What kind of adventure do you want to incorporate into your day? Do you plan on hiking during your elopement? How do you envision the experience to feel? By establishing your priorities from the start, you can make sure your elopement is a true reflection of your relationship and values.

Choose the Right Location

The location of your adventure elopement should be a place that holds special meaning to you and your partner, or a destination that you’ve always dreamed of exploring together. Consider factors such as accessibility, weather, and the level of adventure you’re seeking. Research permits and regulations for your chosen location, and make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. Those last few details might sound like stressful barriers, but we capture love stories on public lands all the time! We’re here to help you pick the perfect locations and to acquire any permits if needed (we promise, it’s an easy process)!

a couple laughs as they hold onto llamas' leads, overlooking the mountains.

Hire an Experienced Elopement Photographer and Planner

An experienced elopement photographer and planner team (Meet us!) can help bring your vision to life while reducing the stress of planning and logistics. We assist with location scouting, permits, timeline creation, and vendor recommendations taking the logistics load off your shoulders and of course we capture all of those intimate moments and everything in between resulting in a gorgeous set of photos of your special day.

Be Prepared for the Outdoors

A key aspect of planning a stress-free adventure elopement is being prepared for the elements. We know it sounds a bit obvious, but being comfortable while enjoying the outdoors goes a long way to enhancing the experience. This includes having appropriate clothing and gear, such as hiking boots, rain jackets, and possibly warm layers. Make sure to check the average weather for that area during the time that you’ll be there to know what is important to have with you.

Keep it Simple

As I’m sure you’ve picked up on by now, one of the main benefits of an adventure elopement is the opportunity to focus on what truly matters. By simplifying things down to what’s fundamentally important and letting go of the elaborate decorations you maximize the space for intentionality. Remember that the most important aspect of your day is you and your partners love and commitment to each other. Building your wedding day around that first will result in the most incredible elopement experience.

Make Time for Yourselves

Amidst the excitement and adventure of your elopement, it’s essential to carve out time for just the two of you. Whether it’s a quiet moment together before the ceremony, a private first look, or a romantic picnic after exchanging vows, make sure to prioritize quality time with your partner. We always try to find a moment during the day to take a step back from our couples to let them really embrace the, “we really just got married!” vibe. 

a couple stands between two large trees in the desert.

Stress-Free Wedding Ideas for Your Adventure Elopement

Incorporate Personal Touches

While simplicity is key for a stress-free adventure elopement, that doesn’t mean you can’t add personal touches to your day. Consider cooking a favorite meal together, incorporating a meaningful ritual into your ceremony, or including sentimental items in your attire or accessories. Really the door is wide open here because this day is a reflection of your love story, so take the time to envision what’s important to you and your partner and add those details to your day.

Create a Stress-Free Timeline

Creating a timeline for your elopement can help keep the day running smoothly and reduce stress. We build the timelines for all of our couples, and we always aim to give you some extra time to account for any unexpected delays or mishaps. We’ll be playing in nature after all so we want to be sure a 15 minute traffic delay doesn’t get in the way of those stunning sunset photos. We make sure to plan breaks throughout the day so you can take a few moments to relax and enjoy the moment together.

Inform Your Closest Friends and Family, or don’t!

If you would like your closest friends and family members to be part of your special day, consider creating an online invitation or sending out postcards with information about your elopement. Let them know when and where you’ll be eloping. An element many of our couples include when family and friends can’t come along (or the couple doesn’t want them to) is to have their closest loved ones write letters of advice and love to be read during the elopement. This is a great way to celebrate with loved ones even from afar.

Make it an Unforgettable Experience

Your adventure elopement is the perfect opportunity to create lasting memories through unique experiences. Whether it’s rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, or backpacking, choose activities that you and your partner love and that will make your day truly unforgettable.

Embrace the Unexpected

While thorough planning is essential, it’s important to remember that not everything will go exactly as planned. Embrace the unexpected and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances. This flexibility will help keep your day stress-free and enjoyable. When your love story is the focus of the day, a bit of rain, some extra wind, or a trail that might have some excess mud on it become an opportunity to embrace the true nature of the world. Your marriage is sure to face some trials and while we aim for sunshine, one of the beautiful aspects of an outdoor wedding is it’s just as authentic as the love you share.

How to Plan a Wedding Without Stress: Final Thoughts

By choosing an adventure elopement over a traditional wedding, you can focus on what truly matters: your love and commitment to one another. With the right planning, preparation, and mindset, you can create a stress-free, unforgettable experience that will truly reflect your values and interests as a couple. So go ahead, embrace the adventure, and embark on the journey of a lifetime together!

A woman and a man hold hands smiling towards each other standing in sand.

Meet your Stress-Free Adventure Elopement Photographer Team!

Hey there! We’re Traci and Bill! Adventure elopements resonate so true to who we are because authentic experiences are what inspire us to get up every morning. We connect so much with intentional choices and intimate spaces.

No strangers to skipping the traditional route ourselves, while we initially started planning a wedding day to include our closest family and friends, we opted to skip the stress and do what was the most true to ourselves. We planned our own backpacking elopement in Mt. Rainier National Park! Just us two, the solitude of nature and of course the cat. We can not wait to hear what you’ve envisioned for your very own stress free wedding day!