50+ Unique Elopement Ideas for your Adventurous Wedding Day
- 10 Unique Overnight Elopement Ideas featuring Backpacking + More
- 25 Unique Elopement Activities to make your day memorable!
- Unique Places to Stay during your Elopement trip
- Looking for some badass elopement photographers to capture your unique elopement?!
10 Unique Overnight Elopement Ideas featuring Backpacking + More
Two day elopements are the most epic way to celebrate your elopement. It gives you a chance to immerse into an experience with each other, blocking out the outside world and just focusing on you two and the start of your marriage. Two day elopements also give you the chance to pick an elopement that is a bigger experience, something you will surely never forget. The first ten ideas on this blog are all overnight, two day to multi elopement plans/ideas that we think would be out of this world! Which one would you pick for your elopement?
1. Take a wilderness horse ride into the mountains…..
Mystic Saddle Ranch is a company in Idaho that will take you via horse back into the Sawtooth Mountain Range. They take groups of six people on private guided tours into the wilderness. So between you two as a couple and a photographer, if you invite three more people you would have a completely private elopement in the wilderness surrounded by beautiful mountains. In the state of Idaho you do not need an officiant to marry you, nor do you need witnesses. So eloping in Idaho gives you the same privacy as eloping in Colorado! Mystic Saddle Ranch offers hiking, fishing and hunting as a part of their camps if you wanted to do a little extra adventuring together for your elopement.
This is such a fun, unique elopement day plan for any couple who loves the outdoors together, who hunts, fishes or camps together. Working with a company like this will also take a lot of stress off you having to plan and put everything together, instead you can simply enjoy each other and the outdoors.
Love this idea, but don’t want to do an overnight? Mystic Saddle Ranch actually spends their Winters in Cave Creek, AZ for trail rides ranging from one to a few hours. There are also epic horse back ride options in Monument Valley, an incredible desert location with huge canyon walls towering the border of Utah and Arizona. You can find horse rides in many different parts of the country, not just the desert! Other awesome rides can be found on coastal areas in Oregon, Texas, Florida, etc. Other mountain areas with cool rides are in Leavenworth, Smokey Mountains, Montana, etc. Outside of rides you can consider your entire group of elopement guests renting out and staying at a dude ranch in places like Colorado and Wyoming.
2. Go Backpacking into the mountains with Llamas!
Check this out my friends, this is epic! Let’s say you want to elope in the mountains, you want privacy, you want to get away and disconnect from everything else and focus on a new experience getting married to your love. Solution, back pack into the Washington Wilderness surrounded by peak after peak of big mountains. But, maybe you don’t want to carry all of your gear up the mountain and you want a more luxurious experience. Solution, go with WA Llamas as your guide! The llamas will carry all of your stuff up the mountain with you. The guide, Jeff, will make you dinner + fresh apple pie at camp while you do your ceremony and enjoy sunset. You can camp in the most beautiful place you can imagine and make friends with the llamas. A truly awesome, and epic experience that I highly recommend for a couple wanting a bigger adventure, with a little less work and an unforgettable time. This is so great not just for a “just you two elopement,” but also if you want to have a few guests. Some of the guided hikes can host up to six people. So you can bring those you love most to share this experience with.
If you are interested doing this we recommend reaching out to Jeff to hire them as soon as possible as they have a set schedule and can only accomodate so many bookings per year. Their trips typically go from June through the end of August each year.
3. Back pack and stay in a fire tower…
When you think of backpacking you may immediately think of camping in a tent or a hammock, but did you know there are other unique options?! Here in Washington you can hike to a fire tower and stay the night in it! What is great about fire towers is that the views are usually incredible, they are unique, if it is raining you can stay dry, you can watch the milky way, and often get a beautiful view of both sunset and sunrise from these incredible place. Some of the towers are even dog friendly! Some downfalls, may be that they can be busy depending on which one you go to or that they are mostly first come first serve. To work around that we recommend eloping at one of these on a weekday and or considering a day in the off season.
Either way, you want to hike out earlier rather than later in the day if it is a first come first serve stay. Fire towers are not just found in Washington, other unique Fire Towers you can back pack in can also be found in Oregon, Montana, Colorado and West Virginia. Check out your states websites or the Dryt to find cool fire towers you can stay and elope in.
As some say, you’ll be sleeping in the sky. Sounds epic for your wedding day right?
4. Hike in to a Lodge
Love the idea of hiking and staying somewhere like a fire-tower that is not a tent stay, but want more accommodations than the towers? Don’t worry we got you covered! Hiking to your elopement locations, doesn’t mean you also have to skip out on a little bit of luxury. Here in Washington a cool option is the Lodge Stehekin located in the North Cascades National Park. We are talking beautiful mountain views, cozy cabins and lake access. You can get here by hiking, seaplane or by water. You can stay here with guests or just you two! An option outside of Washington that we love is located in The Smokey Mountain National Park called, LeConte Lodge. It is the highest lodge in the Eastern Part of the US and you have to hike into it. The lodge is roomy enough to share your experience with many of your loved ones but be sure to make reservations ahead of time to book a stay for your entire group. Other epic options are the Hike Inn located in Georgia, Paradise Inn located in Oregon and Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon! There are tons of unique options like these, so for sure dive into some research if you want more ideas like these.
5. Stay overnight at Fox Island in Alaska via a boat tour
Alaska is a place filled with endless incredible adventures for an elopement overnight experience. One that is super cool is the chance to stay overnight at Fox Island. This is a place in the Kenai Fjords, a part of Resurrection Bay. What is cool is you can experience all of this without “roughing it.” You can take a boat ride to the island to the lodge and stay on this remote island. Here you can eat local caught fish, kayak the bay, watch for whales and enjoy the beauty and privacy. You can stay here one night or three! There are also day tours to just have dinner there as well. What we love about this is that it is another epic elopement experience you can share with your loved ones. The boat can hold up to 136 people, so this can be just you two or it can be more of a micro wedding.
6. Stay overnight on Lake Powells shores
Lake Powell has over 2,000 miles of shoreline surrounded by canyon cliffs made of white, orange and pink rock. There are a few ways you can overnight on the lake. For example, you can kayak to a location, power boat or house boat and set up camp on a boat or on the shore in a tent. Of course on the lake you can swim, take in the views, or do other water sports.
However, you can also explore slot canyons from the water or hike to beautiful arches. Keep important factors in mind like knowing that your boat can not move after dark or before sunrise, so plan accordingly. This is another unique experience to share with your guests or just you two. Surrounding the Lake Powell area you can also explore Horseshoe bend, you can off road to epic overlooks of the lake, explore guided slot canyons from town and more. This is a great one night elopement adventure or you can make it as long as you want!
*** Interested in this idea, but don’t want to do it on the lake? You can do something similar on the Colorado River at the bottom of Horseshoe Bend! A boat service will drive you out to the dam, drop you and then you kayak back to the launch stopping to camp at Horseshoe or another maybe, more private location. OR book an overnight sailboat exclusive tour in the ocean. In Washington we recommend checking out tours right out of Seattle or Port Townsend! Other super popular destinations for sailboat tours are Alaska, Croatia, Spain, New Zealand, France, etc. Some of these tour options may let you off to explore an area like a town or place to hike. While others you may be on the boat the entire time.
7. Backpack Aboard
Within America there are so many beautiful and wild backpacking trips from within the National Parks, the coastal areas, the mountains, the desert and on and on. However, maybe you want to get out of the United States and experience a totally new place, culture and dream together. No matter what type of overnight backpacking trip you are looking for, it is out there. You can back pack in Peru with a guide to Machu Picchu which is only 26 miles. You can backpack in Chile to see mountains, glaciers, lakes and more in a wild mountain range. You can backpack in New Zealand where you can do a day trip out in the mountains or even on the coast with the most incredible views no matter which route you take. The list truly could go on forever.
Other countries that are super beautiful to consider and look into backpacking options would be Norway, Iceland, The Swiss Alps, the French Alps, Germany, India and Thailand. What’s super fun about going aboard for a backpacking elopement? Getting to honeymoon in the country following the back packing trip!
8. Stay on Sucia Island
This lovely small island is located within the San Juan Islands off of the coast of Washington. Why elope here over the other islands? Because it is more private! This island is only accessible by seaplane or a private boat/charter. So most people would get here by taking a Ferry over to Orcas Island then taking another boat or seaplane to Sucia. Once here you can camp in a tent or one of the shelters. The island also has covered picnic areas making them perfect for dinner with your guests or a space to dance. It is a great place to hike, look for start fish, whales etc. It is a great location for just relaxing, enjoying and find peace with a slow pace elopement experience.
Story Time! The couple below eloped on Sucia island, rowing a boat they built together across the ocean to the campsite they picked to spend the night with their closest loved ones. The islands of WA meant a lot to them as a couple, but also as people. So if you love this idea, but maybe Sucia island isn’t it for you then I would suggest asking yourself these questions to help you plan a super unique wedding day experience to you two as a couple:
- Where are places we have been that have shaped up? Where are places we love going to as a couple?
- What are things we value doing together? What are things involved in that activity?
- How do can we work together in this activity making it totally ours?
- What are our values as people and as a couple?
9. Elope on a Safari
Alright, are you an animal lover? Do you want a once in a life time experience to be your wedding day? This may just be the right thing for you! Places to consider for a Safari elopement: Kenya, Tanzania, India, Alaska, Canada, Yellowstone, So the extent of this idea can go literally 800 different ideas, so my friends you need to utilize Google. Take the idea, run with it and make it your own. However, here is a little research I already did for you of course 🙂
- If you want to go all in honey moon and elopement all at the same time AND it literally be a big trip, once in a lifetime detailed exactly to what you want we recommend checking this out! They have 8-12 day excursions totally private and an array of stays in safari tents and more!
- Looking for a place that already has an easy system in place for weddings and elopements? Then check out Africa Sky, they offer safaris all over Africa.
- Jim Corbett National Park in India is a great place to see elephants and spend time relaxing in a resort, you could take a day safari trip to get closer to seeing the wild!
It is important to say this idea takes research and time planning, where as a lot of elopements may not. You need to make sure you have a via, you understand at least the important terms in the native language, communicate with tour guides your ideas to make sure you can do the things you wish, make sure you can go to the country you are planning to go do medically, get your guest on board if you are bringing them and look up marriage laws. You can possibly get legally married on this day on your safari, but in some cases you may need to legally do it here at home or in the court house and then go for your symbolic elopement abroad.
10. Thru-Hike Elopement
Ever dreamed of the challenge of a thru hike? Why not get married on the start, end or middle of the trial with you partner? I’d say that is one hell of a way to start off your life together! Some of the top thru hikes in the United States are: the PCT, AT, CDT, Pacific Northwest Trail, Oregon Coast Trail, California Coast Trail, AZT, Grand Enchantment Trail, etc. They key to doing this for your elopement is that this is bigger than your elopement. You need to plan and prep for these trails extremely well. You need to be open minded and flexible in how your wedding day may happen on the trial.
Planning with your photographer will also be key to make sure they have some flexibility in your booking with them. A super fun idea with an elopement like this is that you could assign your loved ones to be your trail support on different areas, meeting you to provide a meal at break points or things like that.
*** Love this idea, but want to experience it on a smaller level, but still a challenge? Bill and I ourselves wanted this for our own elopement experience! We decided to hike our dream trail for our elopement that is 99 miles around the base of Mt Rainier, The Wonderland Trail. Other awesome trails that are on the longer side, but not a thru hike to consider are the Enchantments, Northern Three Sisters Loop in Oregon, Wire Pass to Lee’s Ferry in Utah/Arizona and Mount Sterling in Tennessee. Again, tons of options here!
15 Unique Elopement Ideas for your Ceremony
The ceremony is the root of the wedding day/elopement day. While we celebrate the entire day no matter what, this moment holds the words of the union. An elopement is so unique and here at Adventure and Vow we plan elopements rooted in connection and authenticity to the couple, this is especially true when it comes to the ceremony. Here are some of the most unique and beautiful things we have seen in our own past couple’s elopements:
1. Make a Unity Cocktail during your ceremony
If you enjoy a cocktail, make one together during your ceremony! Each person can add a part or do a task specific to making the cocktail, creating it together. Then you can drink it during the ceremony or following the kiss. If you have guests you can make a larger batch of the cocktail and share it with each guests getting a chance to do a cheers or toast mid ceremony. This is a great way to get everyone involved as well. The cocktail can be two ingredients or as many as needed. If you do not have any elopement guests a fun way to include your loved ones would be to borrow glassware from your parents or grandparents.
Love this idea, but don’t drink?! We have seen one of our couples in the past make a burrito together during their ceremony! You can do this with pretty much anything you can make together that has different items to include.
2. Read your Vows Privately
If you are having an elopement with guests, this doesn’t mean you have to share the entire experience with them. Many of our couples will split their day up and do sunrise with just them two sharing a first look and private vows. Then later at sunset do their more formal ceremony with their guests, including maybe poems, their love story, bible versus etc. They will do their legal vows here, but not their personal. This is a great because you can read your vows to your partner with out stage fright, can be emotional with less vulnerability, makes the vows that much more special and they can be as long as you two want them.
3. Include your family as a whole group
There are many ways to include your entire group of guests at your elopement ceremony. Here are some of our favorite ways we have seen this done: ring warming (where you pass your rings around and each person puts well wishes into them), each guests says a few words of congrats, marriage advice or a part of your story, breaking of the glass, or the group gathers around you during your ceremony for prayer or saging.
4. Anniversary Box
During your ceremony you can put things into a locked box to re-open on one of your anniversaries, a hard day or a life changing day. The box can include a bottle of wine, letters, your vows, Polaroids from your elopement day, well wishes from your loved ones, etc. You can make the box yourselves or you can order on on etsy or even amazon. There are no rules to what go in the box, so (pun intended) think outside of the box to make it totally yours.
5. Have a loved one officiate your ceremony.
Rarely, is there a priest at an elopement. That doesn’t mean there never is. We had a couple once have their childhood preacher perform their elopement ceremony. Typically, however we officiate for our couples or our couples hire an elopement specific officiant. Did you know though, it is super easy to get ordained and officiate?! This is a great way to include one of your friends or family members in your day and it is also a great way to get a very personal ceremony. In the past we have seen dad’s, uncles, siblings and friends officiate for our couples. This always leads to a unique elopement ceremony to you two.
6. Self Solemnize
Now the polar opposite of the above, you can self solemnize. What does this mean? No officiant, just you two and your own words. We consider this a very true form of the term elopement. You can legally marry yourselves in Colorado, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. However, you can also do this in basically any state by doing your own vows and ceremony with an officiant near by and then the officiant doing the legally verbiage and paperwork with you.
7. Include your pet in your ceremony
Including your pet in your ceremony can be so special, after all they are your family! Our favorite way is having your pet be a witness, which you can do in Colorado, but in any state you can put your pet’s paw print on any of your marriage licenses that you keep for keep sake or the official one you get back after it’s been processed already. Other ways to include your pets are to have them around for the first look, getting ready or a friend hold them during the ceremony. They can even walk you down the aisle. If your pet can’t be there, you can have your pets faces on your socks, on your shoes, you can have a picture of them in a locket, etc.
8. Hand Fasting
Hand fasting is a tradition that is actually not new at all. It dates back to B.C. times in Ireland! We have seen this a lot with our elopement ceremonies. You can do this with one ribbon or many! You can do it together or you have the officiant help tie it around both of your hands. One reason we love this for our adventure elopement couples is because if you rock climb it can be a perfect detail to use climbing rope for your hand fasting ceremony!
9. Plant a tree or plant together.
While this is something that has to be approved through the land management or private property you are getting married on, it is an idea we love! For couples that choose to elope they mostly love mother earth, so planting a tree to grow where they got married is such a special touch. If you do get permission to do this, be sure you are planting a tree or plant that is native to the area. If you did not get permission to do this, but want to do it anyway, you can always plant something in a pot then take it home with you to plant in your yard or take it somewhere to plant where it is allowed.
In the past for example, we had a couple that wanted to plant an evergreen while eloping in Mt Rainier during their ceremony, but the park didn’t grant permission, however, the Airbnb they are staying at did, so they will be planting a tree together following their first look.
10. Have an entrance or an exit to your elopement ceremony
Just because you are holding your wedding ceremony somewhere unique doesn’t mean you can’t include some of the traditions or do your own tradition. If you are a bride and you want to walk down the aisle with your dad, you can, it may just be a trail you are coming down into your ceremony! If you want to walk into your ceremony together as a couple you totally can!
At one of our ceremonies the groom walked down the center of the trail surrounded by his guests high-fiving them all and then the bride was walked down to him by each guest hand in hand passing her along til the end. If you have guests and want that traditional moment of walking back down the aisle together, you can! After you are announced simply walk out of your ceremony together and you can head off to a private area for some “we just got married time” before rejoining your guests! We have also seen some of our couples go right into their first dance together following being announced by the officiant! Remember, this is your day, just do it your way!
11. Have an instrument played
This one is always so fun! If you want to include this in your elopement ceremony, be sure to select an option where amplified music is okay. In the past we have seen dad’s play a song for the couple in the middle of the ceremony, we have seen a groom play a song while the bride walked down the isle, we have seen a bride play a song for her bride at the start and end of their ceremony and we have seen couples hire musicians to play throughout the entirety of their ceremony! Instruments that are easy to bring along for an elopement are guitars, violins, keyboards, etc.
12. Read Marriage Advice from your loved ones
One time one of our couples vows were actually marriage advice they had written down into a book (from the oldest book store in Paris) from every single one of their loved ones. They read these to each other as their vows in the middle of their ceremony. While they don’t have to be your vows, these are touching words you can read as a part of your ceremony and a beautiful way to include those you love. You can read them, your officiant can read them or if your loved ones are attending your ceremony you can even have them say them aloud.
13. Include something spiritual/religious or cultural in your ceremony
Here are a few different things we have seen or cool ideas from different religions or spirituality. Remember, if you really like an idea you can still use it even if you do not follow that practice, however keep in mind, in some cultures it may be considered disrespectful to do a practice if you are not a part of that culture, so always do your research 🙂
- Wash each others feet (from the Christian Faith)
- Ceremony to be with the Four Directions/Cardinal Directions (Spirituality)
- Washing a stone that your rings will be placed on before the ring ceremony (South American tradition)
- Vase Ceremony (Native American Tradition)
- Couple wears a lasso around them keeping them connected to each other made with flowers (Mexican Tradition)
- Cutting a log together (German Tradition)
- Hold your ceremony under a chuppah (you have to make a free standing one that your guests can hold pending your elopement location) and breaking the glass (Jewish faith)
14. Give a gift
At one of our elopement ceremonies the groom gave the two daughters each a necklace during their ceremony and shared with them some words of commitment as well. This is a great way to include your children in your ceremony or any of your other loved ones. Maybe you want to give each of your mother’s a gift, or each guest. You can also give each other a gift or letters even during your ceremony.
15. Honor those that are not with you on this day that you wish could be.
Sometimes we may not have any elopement guests except for those watching over us from above. We have seen couples in the past honor them by bringing an empty chair to sit out by them at the ceremony with their photo or a sweet note. We have also seen couples do a tradition where you toss out a drink in honor of them stating their names. We have seen many of our brides put a picture in a locket of the loved on in the flowers they hold during the ceremony. We have seen grooms do this too within their suit jackets.
For me personally, I honored my aunt by including the memory of when I first told her I was going to marry Bill in our vows and I wore some of her jewelry during the ceremony. There is no right or wrong way, but if you want to include a loved on that has passed in your ceremony definitely do it.
25 Unique Elopement Activities to make your day memorable!
The thing about adventure elopements is that most people think you have to hike to your location, but truth be told you don’t! There are so many things to do on your elopement day. It is also important to say not all elopements are adventurous, some couples elope on rooftops in downtown city scapes, or in coffee shops or tattoo shops, etc.
The key to having the best elopement is to plan something that you relate to, that is authentic to you and sounds best. It is equally as important to book a photographer that you relate to and that relates to your vision. So, for my adventurous, outdoor lover’s here is a list of super epic ideas for your elopement day that maybe you haven’t thought of yet!
- Kayak or paddle board
- Get matching tattoos of the coordinates you elope at, or of your rings, or of the landscape you eloped at, etc.
- Sky dive or base jump
- Go boating
- Go horseback riding
- Go rock climbing or bouldering
- Get in the ocean – snorkel or surf!
- Get out in the snow! By snow boarding, skiing, snow mobile rides or snow shoeing
- Cliff diving/jumping
- Go fishing on a lake, in a stream or on the ocean
- Mountain biking or just a general bike ride
- Hot air balloon ride
- Helicopter, small plane or seaplane ride
- Off roading in a jeep/truck or dirt biking
- Visit a winery or brewery with epic views
- Involve animals! Whale watching tour Washington or California, sled ride in Alaska, a safari tour in Africa or go to a petting zoo basically anywhere…
- Yoga or meditation together outside
- Visit some natural hot springs
- Hangout in a hammock together
- Bonefire/cook around a fire
- Slackline in a nearby park
- Skateboard/longboard or roller skate at a beach front town
Unique Places to Stay during your Elopement trip
One of the super fun things about elopements is that you are not tied to a block of hotel rooms. You can rent an epic place to stay, somewhere adventurous or a dream stay for the night of your wedding! Your stay when eloping may be the place you get ready, the place you come back to for dinner as a newly married couple. It could be just you two staying or you two and your intimate amount of guests.
Key factors when booking your elopement stay is: to make sure the location is near where you will be or accessible, to make sure it is okay to have photography on location and or to get permission to host a dinner on property. Below is a list of super unique stays to consider for the main states within the US we capture elopements in.
1. Unique Places to stay in Washington for an Elopement
- Treehouse Point – epic treehouses high up in the trees
- An Aframe Cabin outsie of Mount Rainier – cozy a frame
- Bay lookout in Bellingham near Mount Baker – unique and beautiful near lots of dining
- Cabins right on the lake in North Cascades – stay in the park on ross lake!
2. Unique places to stay in Oregon for your Elopement
- Cedar Bloom near Brookings Oregon – cute small unique glamping aframes
- Enchanting Cottage – Hood river stone and wood work home
- House Boat – located in Portland stay right on the water!
3. Unique places to stay in California for your elopement
- Luxury Star gazing tiny home – Rustic, but insanely beautiful rental in Joshua Tree
- Auto Camp – Airstream rentals outside of Yosemite National Park
- Treebones Resort near Big Sur – stay near the coast in beautiful yurts on the hillside
4. Unique Places to stay for your elopement in Arizona
- The Joshua Tree House – located in Tucson perfect for a boho Saguaro national park elopement
- The Sky Suite at Arcosanti – a wild geometric architectural dream not too far from Sedona
- Tiny Camp in Sedona – perfect for just you two or book the whole place for you and all of your elopement guests
5. Unique Places to stay in Utah for your elopement
- Under Canvas – this epic glamping option has locations near Lake Powell, Zion and Moab!
- Amangiri near Lake Powell – a luxury stay beyond your dreams and on property private adventures
- Gobin Valley Yurt – State park camping yurt in the deep desert, you’ve def seen this on IG!
- Yonder camping, tiny homes and airstreams – located in Escalante, hold an event here and disconnect from the outside world!
Looking for some badass elopement photographers to capture your unique elopement?!
Welp, look no further my friends! We are Traci + Bill, aka, Adventure and Vow! When we are not with our couples capturing their wildly connected days we are climbing spires in Sedona, canyoneering in Moab, backpacking in the North Cascades, off roading in Page, pack rafting in the Olympics and more!
We love getting out there and we love sharing adventures with our couples on such a special day!!! We are to help you bring your elopement day vision to life and preserve for you to look back on throughout your marriage. We are not just photographers, we are your moral, your support, your creative thinkers and maybe even your officiant! We would love to connect with you about your elopement day! <3
Wow this is an amazing guide, thank you!
Always here to help!
These are great ideas. Arizona gives you lots of options too like you pointed out. Amazing photos too!
Thank you!! I feel like Arizona has so many unique elopement options that gets missed by the big dog locations lol.
I love all of these unique elopement ideas! My favorite is the horseback riding tour, that would be absolutely incredible!!
This is such an informative guide for couples in the planning stages!
Thanks, just trying to help couples think of ideas they dont see everyday!
A horseback ride through Monument Valley would be SO EPIC. Images are stunning, as always Traci 🙂
Thanks so much girl!!!
This guide is beautifully designed! Love your work! 🙂
So helpful guide!!! I loved the image from Iceland. It is such a blast photo!
Iceland is pure magic within itself. You get a place like the ice lagoon to yourself at 2:45am on a summer morning, gold.
So many stunning places to adventure!
It is endless!