Choosing an elopement location can seem tough. With Instagram, Pinterest, and your own personal travels to consider—how can anybody ever pick just one place? But choosing an elopement location for is a lot easier than you’d think! And I’d like to share my tips to help you make this decision!
Your Marriage Is a Journey–Not a Single Destination.
After your elopement—the real adventure begins. And I don’t just mean marriage. I mean years upon years of hiking, sunsets, and packing up the bags to head out on weekend getaways, or longer vagabonding trips around the world. Where you elope matters, but keep in mind that over a lifetime, it’s only the first spot on the map. Thinking about your elopement location like this helps a ton. The eight places you’re considering are all worth visiting. You just have to pick the one that feels right and stick to it. The other places you can visit during your honeymoon or ten years from now—no need to be in a rush!
Go Somewhere New or Go Somewhere Meaningful
I love watching couples experience a location for the first time on their elopement day. It adds a lot of heightened emotions to an already emotional day. It makes a trip that much more unforgettable!
You can also return to a super meaningful trail or state. If the first place you traveled to was Colorado—that’s also a heightened emotional place to get married. You’ll be reflecting on your past trips you’ve been on together on your day. You’ve also planned trips there before, so it takes some of the planning stress out of it.
Avoid Looking at a Ton of Options
Social media and even photographer’s websites can give you a wealth of inspiration. Anywhere from the Faroe Islands to the North Cascades are bound to show up in your Instagram feed as you start planning your elopement. And while I totally recommend couples to explore different ideas (which is exciting and fun), avoid looking at too many locations and vendors. Alvin Toffler first coined the term “overchoice” in the 1970s. Overchoice is having so many options to choose from that you struggle in making your decision. So there is a tipping point when your research might lead to “overchoice” or anxiety. You have 18 locations you love—how could you possibly choose?? Research enough to make a good decision that feels right—and then stick to it! You’ll be far less anxious and you’ll be able to put that extra thinking energy toward the rest of your elopement planning!
My Own Planning Mistakes
We originally planned on eloping on a long hike in Isle of Skye. As we followed accounts on Instagram, and started passively planning an elopement there, we realized two things:
1) We were becoming pretty desensitized to the landscape. These epic places that made us say “Woah!” were becoming far more normal for us to see, even if just from our phones. We definitely knew where we were going and what the best hikes were—but at the expense of a more novel experience.
2) We thrive on spontaneity—yet we were planning every detail. We didn’t want to miss the best hikes, and we wanted to really know we were going to see everything. We asked ourselves, “Would we be happier knowing we for sure found the best hikes and photo locations? Or that we were our spontaneous dorky selves and missed out on a few locations? We’re super organized in a lot of aspects, but we love our personal travels to be more relaxed. So we knew that we had to stop researching and just enjoy whatever crazy plans happened on our wedding day.
If you don’t live out West, you might have a very different idea of when summer starts. Here in Colorado, we often have snow (and a lot of it) until June. And the snow comes back in late-September or early October to the high country. So our summer season is shorter than other places in the United States. If you envision a sunny May afternoon, it isn’t out West in these mountains 😛
The shoulder season (Spring/late Fall) is much more unpredictable for weather. It might be sunny, hail, and snowstorm within a few hours. That’s the Rockies for ya! So I recommend eloping between mid-June and early-October for the best weather and having access to all of our trails and vistas.
If you want to get married outside of June- October, expect lots of snow! You won’t be hiking. You’ll be skiing or snowshoeing 🙂 Mountain passes and trails may still be closed and it’s generally best to elope in true winter (when weather is more predictable and it’s a winter wonderland) or during our beautiful summer + fall seasons.
Bringing Your Dogs
There are a ton of dog-friendly elopement locations in the mountains of Colorado! Not to mention that Colorado is dog-friendly pretty much anywhere you go. So if you want a fun, easygoing elopement with your dogs–come elope with me in Colorado!
You Don’t Have to Do What’s Trending or Popular
I can say with confidence that some of the most beautiful places to elope in the United States are not all that popular for elopements (yet). I love these less popular locations because they’re less competitive, less busy, and still…incredibly beautiful. The more popular places are easier to envision because there are thousands of photos that help make the idea seem more real. But if you’re willing to step outside of trends or what’s available on Instagram—there are a lot more locations available where you can create a really unique experience.
Imagine planning a second trip (that’s not your elopement). Where would you go? What’s a place you’ve been wanting to explore? What state has been on your bucket list? It’s a really surprising difference in your thought process here. Because a lot of couples don’t realize how much elopement planning shifts their thinking process. Social media has a huge impact. And if you can focus more on your wanderlust and bucket list—you might end up with a totally different location that isn’t super popular on Instagram for elopements.
Eloping is intentional. It’s deciding to not only do something different, or something that gets better pictures for Instagram—but to do something you want to do. Use Instagram/Pinterest for inspiration, but allow yourself the space to be creative and think outside of the box. You never know what trail you might end up on!
What Matters Most
At the end of the day, what matters most is marrying your special person. Your location will heighten emotions and create an unforgettable experience. But this is only the start of the adventure to come. I hope you found this blog post helpful! Of course, I’m happy to chat about specific locations in the planning process with you. So feel free to reach out whenever you want to start planning your elopement!