Ultimate Guide for Choosing Your Suit
My elopement suit guide is here to help you find something suitable (pun intended) for exploring the outdoors on your wedding day. I’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years, and my husband, Ryan, just happens to be weirdly obsessed with clothing material that’s good for hiking. So this is going to be a lot of fun.
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Wedding Suit vs Elopement Suit
So what’s the difference between a wedding suit and an elopement suit? With a wedding suit, you can pick any style, fabric, color, texture, pattern, etc. because you are most likely getting married and having a big party indoors. With an elopement suit, you want to consider a few things to make it more practical.
- Mobility: Think about the activities you’ll be doing like hiking, climbing rocks, twirling your partner, jumping over streams, sitting on a blanket, etc. A suit with stretch fabric helps increase mobility. Luckily wool, linen, and all types of suits can be made for the active person these days (although check that the suit has stretch before performing any ninja moves). You’ll want to carefully see if you can squat down easily and also reach behind you (as if you were getting water from your backpack). I personally think it’s worth the cost to get that stretch fabric, but if you can deal with limited movement and save some money–have at it!
- Packability: Thicker material suits are just going to be bulkier. Not much we can do about that. Luckily, once we’re at the trailhead, suits are pretty easy to hook onto your backpack, and bungee cords can help keep your suit strapped to the bag rather than swaying back and forth while hiking.
- Weight: Just keep in mind your blazer will be the heaviest item besides your shoes. So when you’re choosing that super stylish blazer that’s a bit heavier, just be prepared to hike with it (it’s probably worth it!).
Renting vs Buying Your Elopement Suit
This isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think. And these days with online shopping options, you’ll be able to figure out what works best pretty quickly.
When renting, please understand the rental policy when it comes to accidental wear and tear. You could get a big mud stain, tear your pant leg on a thorny bush, or other accidents (even if you’re not hiking in your suit). That’s what happens when we’re out in nature all day 🙂 While it doesn’t happen often, you just want to know those details in case it happens on the trail. That way you don’t have to worry about any mishaps on your special day.
Reasons to Rent A Suit
- You want a suit that’s more unique or creative.
- Maybe you only need a formal suit for your elopement day.
- You could rent a super upscale suit that otherwise might be out of your budget.
- You’ll get most of the accessories you’ll need with your rental.
- It only has to fit you perfectly for one day. So if your body changes a couple of years from now, you won’t be stuck with a suit that doesn’t fit.
Reasons to Buy Your Suit
- You can tailor it to fit like a glove. You can only do minor alterations to a rental suit. So if you have a more unique physical build, you might want a suit where you have the freedom to tailor the heck out of it.
- You want a suit that would work well for other formal occasions in your life. So it just makes sense to buy this suit instead of buying a different suit later.
- You can pick out your own accessories and have more options when buying.
- The suit will hold personal significance. Years from now, you can look back on the actual suit you wore for your elopement.
Fabrics for Each Season
You’ll want to think about the time of year and the location you are getting married. Will it be cold, windy, and snowy? Hot and dry? Rainy and muddy? You’ll want a suit fabric that fits the weather you expect.
- Fall/Winter (cold weather): Heavier fabrics like tweed, wool, cashmere, or velvet. Consider bringing a sweater, scarf, nice gloves, and a hat. You can really look stylish while staying super warm. If we’re expecting snow or near-freezing temperatures, you’ll want to wear long johns underneath.
- Spring/Summer (warm weather): Light and airy fabrics like cotton or linen. Although these suits tend to wrinkle easier.
Final Fabric Tips
If you’re eloping in the mountains in the summer, you can expect chilly mornings (even if it says the high will be in the 70s). Layers will be your best friend! And keep in mind that tech fabrics with stretch tend to be more wrinkle-resistant and stand up better to rain and mud.
Did you know the definition of an undershirt is an upper undergarment? I didn’t. But on a serious note, let’s talk about what you wear underneath your suit! A lot of people hike wearing their undershirts. And those undershirts tend to be made of cotton. And while that makes sense for most people, you don’t want to be wearing cotton when hiking. I definitely recommend upgrading to a technical undershirt. It’s such a cheap and easy upgrade. You’ll be thanking me later. I personally recommend Pair of Thieves, although any shirt with quick-dry, anti-odor, or wrinkle resistance will be better than plain cotton.
That same concept applies to your underwear. Now, this might be thinking this is overkill, but if you’re doing long hikes on your elopement trip–then it’s probably worth upgrading in the underwear department. These are what we wear below, but again, anything that’s a more technical fabric will be a huge upgrade.
ExOfficio Men’s Undies – You can wear these for multiple days, wash them in the sink, and hang them off your backpack to dry. So these will be great if you want to be adventure-ready for your post-elopement road trip.
ExOfficio Women’s Undies – Same goes for the women’s version. They even have different styles (regular, bikini style, etc).
You can wear stylish dress socks for photos, but I recommend upgrading to socks that will help avoid blisters, stay dry if you step in a puddle, etc. You can check out my elopement gear guide for my sock recommendations (and more).
What Color Suit Should I Get?
This is ultimately up to what makes you feel your best. However, my suggestion would be a color that will pop against the landscape. Navy and burgundy suits seem to work well in lots of locations. Black suits can blend in with darker areas like heavily shaded forests. And grey suits can blend in if you’re hiking up to an alpine area surrounded by a bunch of rocks and boulders that are just as grey as your suit (basically any lake in Colorado). So my main tip is to pick a color that best suits you and goes well with the landscape.
A few colors I think work well for elopements:
Hiking With Your Elopement Suit
If you have a super short hike or you are hiking on a heavily trafficked trail–that’s a great sign you should change beforehand. Otherwise, most of my couples end up changing at the end of the trail. Talk to me in the planning process if you’re not sure what will work best for your plans.
Still wearing your suit to hike? If you end up hiking in your suit, you might consider going without your blazer in case you start to get sweaty on the trail. Bringing wipes to wipe down is a good idea too (you can buy body wipes, baby wipes, or even Duke Canon Cold Shower wipes at Target.
My Advice on Changing
Bathrooms: A lot of trailheads either don’t have bathrooms or they have vault toilets (no running water, mirrors, or lights). So you probably can’t rely on a bathroom to be your safe haven for changing unless I’ve prepped you otherwise. It’s best to change at the car or at the end of the trail.
Keep Your Socks/Shoes Clean: Packing a big trash bag is a great, lightweight “makeshift rug” to stand on while changing, and then you can shove your hiking clothes inside when you’re done changing. It’s also a great backpack liner to protect your belongings if it starts raining. You can bring a lightweight blanket for changing too if you’d like for me (or your partner) to create a makeshift wall for privacy.
Be Mindful: When changing, try to keep all of your belongings in one area, preferably out of the way of other possible hikers. Look for a boulder or clear area where you can safely put your belongings. And most importantly, try to find a more secluded area behind some boulders or trees for privacy (not as difficult as it sounds).
How to Pack Your Elopement Suit
You’ve decided you want to wait until the epic views to change, but how do you pack up the suit? Here are some of the ways I’ve seen it done:
- Roll in tissue paper to help with wrinkling.
- Get a foldable garment bag, lay out or hang your suit, fit it into a garment bag, and zip up (being careful with the zipper).
- Hang on the outside of your pack using a bungee cord, carabiners, or just hooking onto the handle of your pack.
Ready to Find That Perfect Suit?
You’re ready to go shopping. Grab a friend or loved one to go with you, and remember to bring the shoes you’ll be wearing on your elopement day.
Tips For Trying On Suits
- See how much mobility it provides. Can you squat down easily? Reach behind you? (Obviously, be careful not to tear or strain a very fitted suit)
- Bring your hiking boots with you to try on! Can your pants fit over the tops of your hiking boots? Some boots are quite large and can just barely squeeze your pant leg over them.
- Bring your hiking socks if you plan on wearing them with dress shoes at any point. Some thicker wool socks are too tight in dress shoes.
- Are you willing to get this suit dirty? There’s a pretty good chance you’ll get sweaty and dirty throughout the day. So while you can have the nicest suit on the rack, just make sure you’re willing to let it get dirty. Don’t let the suit you bought eight months ago prevent you from enjoying the hike and feeling comfortable.
- If you are renting, make sure you know the policies when it comes to cleaning it.
- Find a suit that fits well on your shoulders. It’s expensive to get a suit altered that doesn’t fit your shoulders well. If it sits well on your shoulders, the rest is easier and less expensive to tailor.
Tips for Wearing & Tailoring Your Elopement Suit
- Your suit/blazer pockets might be sewn shut. Be sure to use a seam ripper to open them (for purchased suits or blazers) before your elopement day. It’s a small detail, but it helps to have that extra pocket instead of running to your backpack sometimes.
- Don’t leave anything in your rental suit. You know, like vows or any other knickknacks that you might shove in a pocket and forget later when you return it.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to get your suit altered. I know, it isn’t the most fun thing to do. But give yourself (and a tailor) enough time to make any changes.
- Have a conversation with your tailor (if you have/need one). Don’t be intimidated! They want to help you. Let them know you’re eloping and whether or not you might hike in your suit. Some tailors might cut the suit to be a really close fit, not realizing you need that wiggle room for the sweater underneath or climbing mountains.
- Indochino offers free alterations if you can make it to one of their showrooms (when you buy a suit with them, of course). And they also cover a portion of your tailoring if you don’t live near one. Pretty cool, right? You just have to set up an appointment within 10 days of receiving your suit. You can read their policy here.
How to Be a Rebel With Your Elopement Suit
There are no expectations with elopements–and that includes your suit. I want you to be comfortable and feel like whatever suit you put on represents who you are and makes you feel stylish. Ryan didn’t wear a tie or a formal button-down shirt for our elopement. Instead, he wore a more campy button-down that still looked classy but felt more like something he would actually wear. The key here isn’t to lose all the stylish elements, just make it into something that you personally enjoy.
- Do you want to wear a tie at all? A bowtie? Or maybe a super stylish patterned tie that pops?
- Do you want formal dress shoes? Maybe some Blundstone Boots instead? Or just go all out with the hiking boots?
- Do you want campy nordic socks? A pop of color? Or just some long wool socks to keep you cozy?
- Do you want to bring some cultural outfits to change into? This is a great way to honor your culture and grab more photos of you and your partner in new outfits!
I’ll mention Indochino again below, but they have some great options for customizing your suit to have more personality.
Who says you can’t have cool accessories?!
Pocket squares: I’ve seen silk, topo patterned, and an heirloom pocket square. If your suit jacket’s pocket is sewn shut, use a seam ripper to open it back up.
Boutonniere: You wear it on your left side on the lapel over your heart, or tuck it into the chest pocket if you don’t have a way to attach it. Ask your florist if they have magnets instead of pins (it’s way easier to attach).
Watch, tie clip, cuff links, suspenders: If you want those extra details.
Scarf, hat, gloves: For those cold mornings or if you are having a fall/winter elopement.
Where to Buy Your Elopement Suit
There are loads of places you can buy your suit: in-store, online, thrifting, your father’s suit, etc. Here are some of our favorite online and in-store shops:
For the lady suits:
ASOS (great budget option)
The Groomsmen Suit (yes, it says groomsmen, but it has Women’s suits)
Check out Dancing with Her’s Blog Post on more suits for LGBTQ+ Women.
Helpful How-To Resources For Your Elopement Suit
This video really helped Ryan get comfortable with trying on suits and knowing what a “great fit” is supposed to look like. Give it a watch!