Elopement Picnics Guide

Elopement picnics are a great way to slow down, enjoy delicious food, and soak in the stunning mountain views. It’s one of the more popular activities my elopement couples choose to do. So let’s dive into all the options, including my tips and recommendations, and hopefully inspire you to plan an elopement picnic of your own. And while I have a lot of ideas below, feel free to choose only the ones that really resonate with you.

An Elopement Picnic Can Be Whatever You Want

Elopement picnics can be luxurious or it can be quite simple. It just depends on what gets you excited. The important thing is to do what feels right to you. Customize it and make it as personal as you want! You can include local beers (or other celebratory drinks), enjoy a special dessert you both love, bring sushi because it’s what you had on your first date, etc. If you could have your dream elopement picnic as a couple, what would you include?

a couple enjoying an elopement picnic with charcuterie at a mountain lake in Colorado

Where Do We Have Our Picnic?

Most couples have elopement picnics at vistas, easy walkout locations, or at their cabin. If it’s small enough to pack in your backpack or easy to carry, you can also bring it on a hike. In the planning process, I’ll let you know where I recommend having your picnic based on the locations + hikes for your day. But I’ll always try to choose a more convenient option so we’re not walking far and can keep your food fresh. You can have your picnic at any point in your day. But I recommend saving sunset lighting for portraits of you two, rather than using the best lighting for your picnic.

bride and groom having a breakfast picnic in the snowy mountains

Make It A Breakfast

You don’t have to bring a charcuterie board or have alcoholic drinks for it to be a picnic. You can also make coffee on the trail, bring pastries, or enjoy tea and a small snack. Some couples would rather have fresh coffee and pastries to celebrate. It’s also fairly easy to get everything you’d need in one quick stop at a coffee shop (rather than putting together a whole spread). For more unique ideas, I’ve had couples get their own blend of coffee specially roasted for their day, bring specialty tea from their home country, and even bake pastries for their elopement picnic too.

If you’re making coffee or tea, you’ll need to bring a Jetboil to boil water and some cute mugs. Here are the ones I recommend:

Jetboil Flash – Jetboils boil water faster than backpacking stoves and are easier to use for a picnic. The flash has cute color options, but you can get the Zip model if you want something more compact.

Custom Mugs – Get a custom-designed mug for your day. There are lots of options on Etsy. So you can easily find a style you like.

Enjoy Local Goods

Here in Colorado, we have tons of fresh jams, honeys, spreads, and other artisan goods. Not only are they usually fresher, but they’re also pretty easy to find in our small mountain towns. A lot of the local grocery stores will have great options available. If you’re getting a pre-made charcuterie or a catered meal, you can add local jams or other snacks too. Either way, try to find a way to include something local in your elopement picnic.

wedding couple having elopement picnic and making margaritas in the mountains

Bring A Blanket for Your Elopement Picnic

Nothing says “picnic” like a cute blanket laid out in the grass with delicious food to enjoy. And while it’s great for photos, it’s also practical and helps you avoid getting too dirty in your wedding attire. It’s also a great keepsake from your wedding day since you can use it back home. There are camp blankets that are more durable and meant for the outdoors. But most couples opt for a wool blanket since they’re typically more stylish and more practical for back home.

Here are some blankets I recommend:

Sackcloth & Ashes Mountain Blanket – The prettiest, coziest blanket around! They’re also sustainable and have an amazing donation program.

Pendleton National Park Blanket Series – A warm wool blanket that I absolutely adore. Super warm and easy to use at home too.

Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket – This is the lightest and warmest blanket you can buy. They have the texture of a puffy jacket, so it’s not a “wool” cozy blanket by any means. But it does pack a lot of warmth if you need a warm blanket for your elopement.

Alpaca Threadz (Colorado local) – Lightweight and softer than traditional wool blankets. Some of their options have a two-tone design which I find stylish.

bride and groom on a beach blanket having an elopement picnic

Bring A Cooler or Cooler Backpack

Keep your food cold and fresh by bringing a small cooler bag or a cooler backpack. Especially with cheese, desserts, or anything that melts easily. This is a great way to keep your food separate from your other elopement details and avoid making a mess.

Here are some cooler backpacks I recommend:

REI Trail Split Pack Cooler – A cooler backpack with a “top” section to separately store other elopement/wedding details.

Topo Designs Cooler Bag (Colorado company) – Smaller cooler bag for smaller picnic setups.

Igloo Leather Soft-Sided Cooler Bag – Soft-sided cooler bag with a more elevated look for an elopement.

two brides having an elopement picnic playing a card game at sunset in the mountains

Bring Games For Your Elopement Picnic

If you want to slow down and have more fun, you can also play a favorite card game (or board game). When you elope, you have the whole day to do whatever you want. So feel free to bring any fun games or activities you want to enjoy after your meal. This makes your picnic more unique to your relationship and also feels relaxing to really take your time together.

Here are my recommended two player games that are easy to travel/hike with. These games are easy to learn and don’t take hours to play. So they’re perfect for a picnic:

Love Letters – Easy game to understand and it’s just a small deck of cards.

The Fox In The Forest – More complicated than Love Letters but if you enjoy card games, this might be the sweet spot for you. This is also just a small deck of cards.

Deck of Cards – If you grew up playing rummy or other classic card games, you can bring a deck of cards and keep it simple.

Letters

If you already have a cute picnic blanket set up, it’s also a great time to read any letters from family and friends. Over the years, I’ve found this is the most convenient time for couples to read letters. But feel free to read them back at your Airbnb, after your ceremony, or whatever works best for you. Just know that it’s an option if you want to include it during your picnic.

couple enjoying hot chocolate in the mountains for their elopement picnic

Bring Camp Chairs

You can also bring camp chairs if you’d rather have a more comfortable seat. While most couples bring blankets, I’ve had a few couples bring chairs too. It’s easier to set up a little table for a card game and keeps you up off the ground. Rachel and Zach (the couple in the above photo) go backpacking with their chairs and always bring dessert. So they decided to do it for their elopement day too! So you can tie in traditions or things you enjoy doing together for your picnic. I also have my Elopement Gear Guide blog post with other things couples bring on their day.

Final Thoughts

An elopement picnic is a great activity for any couple to do. So I hope my elopement picnics guide gave you some inspiration for how to make your picnic unique to your relationship. There are so many fun ideas! If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to check out my unique elopement ideas blog post for other ideas you can include in your day.

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