Along with answers to the question “Should we elope?” and other tips for eloping

One of the first decisions you will make after saying “YES” is whether to elope or have a traditional wedding. But it can be hard to know which way to go. 

There are some pros and cons to each, so we always advise that couples sit down and take some time together to decide what is important to them on their wedding day. Knowing what’s important to you both will help you make a decision on whether to elope or have a traditional wedding.

To help you get started, we’ve included some questions to think about below as well as provided some stories and inspiration from real couples who have eloped! 

For more help on deciding whether an elopement is for you, check out these resources!

Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering an Elopement

Where do you see yourself getting married?

Location plays a big part in your wedding day as it sets the mood for the day and determines what activities you can experience. Maybe it’s a place that holds a special place in your heart, like Jess and Vanesa. They chose to elope on the trail they hiked together for the first time when they moved to Washington. 

Or maybe it’s a place you’ve never been to before but one you’ve dreamed of visiting one day. Carley and Liz love the ocean and scuba diving has always been a big part of their relationship. They wanted to incorporate their hobby into their elopement day so they chose to elope in Honduras as it’s home to the 2nd largest coral reef in the world. 

Or maybe, just maybe, your elopement location is somewhere totally unreal and you’re not even sure if this place truly exists. Kim and Chris had no idea that they wanted to elope in Alaska but after hopping on the phone with us and hearing ideas and seeing photos of what was possible, they immediately knew it fit their vision for their elopement!
No matter what you envision, know that anything is possible and as destination elopement photographers, we can’t wait to help you plan your dream elopement no matter where it takes place! 

Who do you see standing there witnessing your vows? 

Who to invite to your wedding or elopement can also be a big decision. Some couples choose to elope just the two of them, while others choose to invite family and friends to the celebration. No matter who you choose to invite or not invite is up to you. Don’t let anyone else pressure you into planning a day that you aren’t truly 1000% excited about. This is your day and we always say you should only include those people whom you love and who love you back and are there for you and with you.

If you’re torn on whether to invite guests or have a private elopement, why not consider doing both? Sometimes couples choose to invite guests to their elopement, but they also set aside time to share their vows in private. Ashley and Wesley did exactly that during their snowy mountain elopement in the North Cascades. After their afternoon ceremony with family, the three of us adventured up into the mountains for sunset photos where they exchanged emotional private vows with mountain views all around.

Your elopement can and should be everything you want, so feel free to get creative and come up with ideas that fit your vision for the day! And, if you need help, we’re happy to help provide suggestions during the planning process. 

What else do you do on that day? 

Some of the most fun parts of planning an elopement are choosing what you want to do on the big day. Do you want to go boating on a lake or hiking in the mountains? Do you want to ride a helicopter or go snowshoeing? How about making a meal together or having an intimate hot tub session at the cabin? 

There are so many fun things to include on your elopement day and the best part about planning your elopement is you get to include details and aspects that are important to you and your relationship.

For more unique elopement ideas, check out our blog post!

Tips for Eloping from Elopement Photographers Who Captured Over 200+ Elopements Worldwide

Once you’ve decided that you want to elope, there are a few very important things to keep in mind when it comes to planning your day. 


Depending on the location you choose and the weather during that time of year will determine a lot of things for your elopement such as what to wear, what supplies to bring, what activities you can do, etc. 

No matter where you choose to elope, remember, that weather can be quite unpredictable. In places like Hawaii or Big Sur or even Washington, what you expect the weather to be vs what it actually ends up being can change so it’s always best to be prepared for anything.

No matter what weather you get on your elopement day, our advice is to embrace it! If it rains, dance in the rain. If it’s sunny, feel the sun on your skin. Focus on what matters most, not the little things. 

Change of Plans

Weddings can be stressful. A million things could happen. Despite how much you carefully plan for your wedding, sometimes, unexpected things can happen, and sometimes, those things are out of everyone’s control. 

That’s why we always recommend couples have a backup plan. While we hope to not have to use it, having a plan B, C, or even D can be so helpful when things come up unexpectedly (as it did for Cote & David.) Instead of stressing out when these situations occur, having a backup plan in place allows you to seamlessly transition and keep your focus on what truly matters – your love! 

What makes a perfect wedding isn’t in how it should look on Pinterest or Instagram, rather, it’s how much fun you have and how much love was shown.

Bride and groom kissing on the Oregon Coast

Honest Elopement Stories from Real Eloping Couples

Being destination adventure elopement photographers, we have been able to witness a lot of love stories. Some of the best moments from an elopement are when we get to sit down with the couple and hear what brought them together and to this point. Those are the moments that we cannot always show in a photograph, but those are the moments that we hold near and dear to our hearts. Today, we want to share with you a few of those stories. Stories of why people want to elope. Stories of successful elopements. Stories of love. 

Helen & Tommy – Ruby Beach

Bride and groom holding lanterns at Ruby Beach during blue hour

Helen and Tommy included meaningful traditions to honor their cultures in their Ruby Beach elopement with family and friends. Read more about their elopement day on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Cote & David – North Cascades National Park

Two grooms kissing on the rocks in the North Cascades

After wildfires changed their plans at the last minute, Cote and David put their complete trust in us and allowed the day to unfold the way it was meant to be. Read more about their elopement day in the North Cascades on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Julie & Calvin – Yosemite National Park

Bride and groom spraying champagne at Yosemite National Park

During their full-day elopement in Yosemite, Julie and Calvin shared many of their life stories with me (Henry) and Viet. We exchanged stories of life and created new friendships with each other along the way. Read more about their elopement day on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Cassie & Cintia – Oregon Coast

Two brides at Natural Bridges on the Oregon Coast

Cassie and Cintia eloped on the Oregon coast with their closest family, friends, and even their fur baby! They gave me all their hearts that day, resulting in the most magical photos. Read more about their Oregon coast elopement day on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Tim & Nancy – Positano, Italy

Bride and groom sitting on a boat with Positano views in the background

Nancy and Tim planned a destination elopement in Positano, Italy. They trusted me to fly halfway around the world to capture their gorgeous day and the results are magical! Read more about their Positano destination elopement on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Emily & Kiersten – Zion National Park

Two brides eloping in Zion National Park

Kiersten and Emily proved that your elopement doesn’t have to just fit into one day. These two planned a multi-day adventure elopement and visited multiple Utah national parks along the way. Read more about their Zion National Park elopement on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Dusty & Bobby – Ruby Beach

Two grooms eloping at Ruby Beach

Dusty and Bobby’s Ruby Beach elopement was 100% gay-friendly. From all LGBTQ vendors to the grooms themselves, these two supported fellow LGBTQ small businesses and created a magical day at one of our favorite Washington beaches. Read more about their Olympic National Park sunset elopement on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Minda & Kadin – Whistler, Canada

Bride and groom kissing in front of red helicopter in Whistler mountains

Minda and Kadin’s epic helicopter elopement in Whistler, Canada proved that you can have a gorgeous wedding and an adventure elopement all in one. Read more about their Whistler helicopter elopement on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Caitlin & Alexa – Ruby Beach

Two brides eloping at Ruby Beach

Caitlin and Alexa’s styled shoot turned vow renewal was a beautiful day full of love. During sunset, the couple renewed their vows at Ruby Beach while the waves crashed onto the shore in the background. Read more about their Ruby Beach vow renewal on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

Ella & DJ – Mt Rainier National Park

Two brides kissing in front of A-frame cabin at their Mt Rainier Elopement

Ella and DJ’s intimate wedding at Mt Rainier National Park featured one of our favorite things – an A-frame cabin! Set in this gorgeous setting and surrounded by love, this couple exchanged vows in the rainy PNW. Read more about their A-frame cabin elopement on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

OT & DT – Gold Creek Pond

Two grooms eloping at Gold Creek Pond

DT and OT flew in from the other side of the world to elope in Washington state. Their day was short and sweet but full of emotion. Read more about this Gold Creek Pond elopement on our blog or on Junebug Weddings.

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