What to do during your elopement

An elopement couple in a gondola above the town of Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado.

What to do during your elopement

This is Part 2 of my elopement planning series: what to do during your elopement. This is one of the most common questions I get asked! And I think that’s normal when you throw out the whole “wedding” basket. If you strip away the venue, the wedding party, the reception, and the guests… what are you left with? A blank slate! This is like having writer’s block, but for planning. Staring at that blank page can get frustrating. What do we DO!? Don’t worry, there are TONS of amazing experiences in your future. I’m here to help you figure out what to do during your elopement. So remember, it all depends on what YOU love doing! This is the day you will remember on every anniversary, and it’s ok to make it special even when you don’t have guests.

How to Plan your elopement series:
1. – How to plan an elopement
2. – What to do during your elopement – You are here!
3. – How to plan an elopement ceremony
4. – Here’s how to write elopement vows
5. – What to wear to your elopement
6. – How to personalize your elopement
7. – Including Family in your elopement
8. – How to include your cat in your elopement

The dreaded blank page phase

Okay, so NO venue. No bridesmaids. No bouquet toss. These are all the things that media has shown us to be synonymous with weddings. But what ARE elopements? Let me show you the way! Elopements can be a n y t h i n g you want them to be. Okay, that’s still intangible! So start with what you two like doing together. What was the best date you ever had together? What activities make you feel connected to each other? Because you’re not aiming to entertain guests, you don’t have to think about whether YOUR activities are worthwhile to anyone else. Your elopement isn’t for any judgey strangers on the internet, either. It’s for you. If you’d like to invite friends or family, great! Here is a post I wrote about how to include family in your elopement.

But Elopements are short..

But elopements are short, right? Wrong. I mean, they could be. If you take away everything from a traditional wedding, you’re left with.. dressing up (which is honestly still optional.). The ceremony. And then photos together. If you’re super pressed for time before a deployment, visa deadline or other constraint, this may be what you’re going for. But! I want you to know, that your elopement can and should be the best dang day of your lives. And let me tell you, that doesn’t last just 2 or 3 hours. Most of the folks who inquire with me say they want 1-3 hours of photography. But after chatting about all the amazing possibilities for what to do during your elopement, a full day or more is really what they need.

Planning your elopement is more like a vacation

If you planned the perfect honeymoon, you’d be 90% of the way to planning your perfect elopement too! Where would you be? What kind of place would you wake up in? What would you eat, see and do? When you’re faced with that blank page, try to get away from the mindset that your elopement is an event. Instead, think of it as a day of sharing all the best things in life. Planning what to do is as easy as combining two things:
1. What you would normally do together, like making omelettes or going for an evening walk
2. What extraordinary things you would reserve for a special occasion or a splurge on a honeymoon

That’s a contradiction, true. So write down 5 things things you often do and 5 things you’ve always wanted to do. Figure out which of them will be possible in your elopement location. And chat with your photographer for advice on timing, because I’m always thinking about the best lighting. So you don’t have to! Planning should be as simple as doing everything you want to do, and nothing you don’t!

Elopement Activity Ideas for introverts

You can read your favorite books together- or to each other! Combine with a cozy blanket at sunrise or an after-dinner fireplace. Try out a hot spring and take a dip, or rest up in your airbnb’s hot tub. Walk your dogs. Play your favorite board game or strategy game with a few friends or just the two of you. Go apple picking. Complete a MASSIVE lego set or a puzzle. Play music together, draw each other, do acro yoga or lay outside and make shapes out of clouds. Stay out late and go stargazing. Enjoy a scenic drive in your chosen location. Many national parks, like Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, the Everglades, and Yosemite, give you wildlife safari feels. And you won’t have to interact with other people. 🙂

Adventurous Elopement Activities

Take an off roading or jeep tour of the mountains. Ride a scenic gondola and take an alpine coaster back down. Tour a cave in Sequoia, Carlsbad caverns, or Glenwood springs. Hiking elopements are common, and you can really choose your adventure in picking a hike that’s a suitable length. Let it be known, though, that even a 1 mile hike can get you out in nature and away from the stress of every day life. You can go horseback riding, snowshoeing, dogsledding, or take a scenic train ride. For the ultimate adventure, take a helicopter tour over the landscape. It will be unforgettable! Some of the best places for helicopter tours are Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, Zion, Mammoth Lakes, and the grand canyon. Check out Kyle and Michael’s Canoe Elopement photos!

Elopement Food

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be hangry! The best day ever definitely includes a lot of food. So cook breakfast together and have pancakes with extra butter. Or go out to a fancy brunch and get your favorite coffee. Visit a farmers market and grab baguettes and cheese for a picnic lunch. Add champagne, root beer, apple cider, or hot chocolate depending on the season. Go wine tasting or cheese sampling. If you’ve invited guests, challenge them to a chili cookout in a campsite- make it competitive. Go out for tapaz, hibachi, korean bbq, a 5 star steakhouse or a taco food truck. Or have a private chef cook up all your favorites for you in your cabin! There are limitless possibilities.

Leave time to do nothing

One of the biggest benefits of eloping is the opportunity for spontaneity! So, let yourself relax. Let yourself be, and enjoy the amazing day you have, without rushing from one thing to the next. Leave extra time in between activities or waypoints. You can enjoy a roadside ice cream stand.. save time to let the entire elk herd cross the road. Watch the sun set. Explore. You’ll never be late if you don’t have a firm start time anyway. Leaving down-time or unplanned time is a key way to enjoy your elopement. And you will be less stressed, I promise!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide and are starting to imagine all the incredible experiences you can have! These ideas are just a starting point. Every single one of my clients brings something new and unique to their elopement, and that’s pretty freaking awesome. If you’re ready to have an adventure all your own and want great photos of how it really felt, get in touch with me below.

Ready to start planning your elopement with me? Get in touch!

More elopement planning guides

If you need more resources for elopement planning, I’ve got you. Check out these blogs for more how-tos and ideas.
What IS the difference between an elopement and a wedding
– How to personalize your elopement
– What to pack for a winter elopement
– How to write your elopement vows
– Why you should hire a professional photographer

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