What to wear for your elopement
You’ve already thrown out the rulebook when you decided to elope – so what to wear for your elopement shouldn’t be any different! You can and should customize any element of your look. I want you to feel like the main character in a movie. I want you to feel the most badass or beautiful you’ve ever been. And if that means a non-traditional look is what you’re after, you’re in the right place! This inspiration board covers all the options for styling your elopement outfits for all genders.
Table of Contents
- Hiking in wedding clothes
- Floral Elopement Dresses
- Artistic Elopement Dresses
- Brides who didn’t wear white
- Dressing for non-binary partners
- Bridal Accessories
- Elopement Capes
- How to dress stylishly in suits
- Colorful suits for elopements
- Casual elopement looks for masculine partners
- Fun ties & color combinations
- Themed outfits
- Accessories for wearing suits
- Tips for elopement grooms
What to wear on your feet is a common question. When you’re planning to go offroad, it’s essential to keep footwear practical. If your feet are cold, wet, hot or cramped, then you are not having a good time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to wear good shoes that won’t make you feel dorky. For summer, beach, or tropical elopements, I recommend waterpoof adventure sandals like Tevas or Keens or Eccos. Closed toe is better. For hiking, spring & fall, desert, rocky or sand dune elopements I recommend hiking boots. Cowboy boots are a popular alternative. For winter, make sure your boots have WOOL socks. Read more about preparing for winter elopements here.
Hiking in Wedding Clothes
Should we hike in our wedding clothes? I get this question a lot. And first of all, you don’t have to hike at all if you are eloping outdoors! But if you are to be walking, please consider the nature you’re about to get on your clothes as the ultimate accessory. When you give up the ballroom, you don’t have to keep things clean for anyone. Hiking in your clothes is totally an option! I’ve got some tricks to keep it cleaner as you go, but honestly? It’s not something you need to worry about. The options for hiking in your wedding clothes include..
- Hike in your elopement finery (You get the most photos along the way.) Bite into the adventure! Release your inhibitions, feel the rain on your skin, you know how that goes.
- OR.. change into your fancy attire at the focal point of the hike. (Keeps things clean, but you have the weight of packing it in. A small changing tent can be brought for those desiring modesty.)
- Your clothes may get dirtier on the way back as you let loose and adventure.
Floral Elopement Dresses
Andrea and Rebecca both chose floral dresses. This is a whimsical way to bring color into your look, and to give a strong middle finger to tradition. Any print dress would be fun to play in – it doesn’t have to be floral! What about a star print, or a woodland mushroom or leaf print? I’ve got a TON of ideas for bridal style, floral elopement dresses, capes, and everything else fun and bridal here.
Do I have to wear white to my elopement?
Do you HAVE to? No. Do you GET to? Yes, if you want to! So many times I see people online asking if it’s ok to wear white if.. blah blah blah. Honestly, I don’t know of ANY good reason you shouldn’t wear what you want to. You hereby have my permission to do whatever the frick you want! So here’s an incomplete list of times you get to wear white to your wedding or elopement:
- If it’s not your first marriage – yes, you still get to wear white if you want to
- If you feel like you’re “too old to wear white” – You’re not.
- You’ve been living together and doing adult activities before marriage 😉
- Your date is after Labor Day – yes you can wear white after Labor day
- If you want to wear white – wear white!
Here are some bold ladies who chose NOT to wear white to their elopement:
Artistic Elopement Dresses
Kacie chose a watercolor dress with shades of blue, pink, and purple on a ivory base color. The dress has an amazing twirl to it with thin layers that also kept the dress light for hiking and playing in the dust. If you want to have the most incredible custom look, start with a designer who empowers you! My favorite is Michal Andrea.
Zoe added a bright blue train to her mother’s white wedding dress. The modified dress truly became her own with this splash of color. And Kortni stunned in this full length glamour gown in the snowy landscape of Rocky Mountain National Park. The nude underlay and fuchia lace applique brought a huge pop of color. Remember, when shopping for an elopement gown, It’s ok to widen your search outside of bridal boutiques. Gala gowns, thrift stores, Etsy, consignments, ren faires, and even Prom stores might have more fun and pizzazz!
Sara wore a thrifted vintage gold gown. The subtle shimmer and structured design highlighted her light pink undercut. “Bridal” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Run TOWARD that feeling, not into a box.
What to wear for eloping non binary partners
For queer, genderqueer, agender and non binary partners, navigating the world of gender and weddings is ROUGH. You may not feel “bridal” or identify with the label of “groom” or “bride.” And that’s ok! You deserve every ounce of marriage euphoria.. and gender euphoria! Here’s a starting point to looking your best on your wedding day if you are between the lines of the gender binary:
- Wear a jumpsuit
- Add a blazer over a dress
- Wear a super wide-leg pant
- Wear a suit in gold, silver, white, rainbow or other holographic colors
- Wear a two-piece look. A dress shirt and ombre skirt, or a sweetheart top and slacks are both great options.
- Wear pants with a skirt that flows from your waist to the floor behind you – like the train of a dress without the front.
- Use your hair to balance out your look. If your clothes feel femme, pick an edgy haircut. If your clothes are more masculine, add a sparkly headband, flower, or wear your hair down.
- When in doubt, add a cape. Billy Porter style.
- Customize the liner of your jacket with pride flag colors that represents you.
- Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! There are so many ways to feel like the absolute bombshell you are. No labels or boxes contain you, so you can take notes from all gender’s accessories.
Accessorize your Elopement Look
Where do I even start? The ways accessorize what to wear for your elopement truly are endless. You could go edgy with a black leather jacket. Keep it funky with a disco-ball or sequin blazer. Flower crowns and hair pieces? Yes please! Want to be forest royalty with a mushroom crown or feathered cape? Go for it. Dip dye your dress or pants. Use inspirations from nature, like the northern lights, your favorite animal, the night sky, mermaids, or heck – sea monsters!
What to Wear – Elopement Cape Inspiration
This could be my favorite opportunity to show your personality and have fun while dressing up for your elopement. You may choose to wear a veil, but the way they pull on your hair and head are rather impractical. Enter: the wedding cape. Sometimes these are sheer and veil-like, and other times resemble a cloak. Either way, you probably need one. I mean when else do you get to rock one of these?! And these aren’t just for women! Some of the best red-carpet looks have tuxedo-capes, and I am HERE for it.
Ruth wore her grandmother’s ivory silk wedding dress, with a unique back cowl and bedazzled shoulders. She added a long cape and had almost too much fun playing with it.
Kim wore a bright blue cape over a simple white dress from JJ’s House. Their elopement was in October, so the cloak was meant for warmth. When It snowed the day before, we were extra glad to have it!
Athena hand-made a grey draped cape that made her feel bridal, special, and tied into her fantasy theme. She threaded her husband-to-be’s wedding ring on a silver chain and wore it around her neck down the aisle. And she even wore her flowers on her arm, so she didn’t have to hold a bouquet. I love the unique ways she accessorized!
How to dress stylishly in suits
I think there’s actually more chance for personalization in a suit than a dress. And believe it or not, you DO have more choices than black or grey! For marrying partners who wish to wear a structured suit, there are a few ways to play up your personal style. Obviously, the suit color is a chance to go big or go home. Velvet green is so luxe. (Or velvet in any color, really!) A bold blue will stand out in the desert landscape & and make you feel like a million bucks! Brown tweed or purple suits for eloping are also popular. Or, brighten up a black, brown or grey suit by adding color.
Colored suits for eloping
Casual Groom Elopement Style
So if you don’t want to wear a suit – that’s OK! Suits can feel stuffy in the outdoors, so if you’d rather ditch it, I respect that. There are still ways to have fun with what to wear for your elopement. Might I suggest a shirt with a print? Or keep it super simple with linen colored pants, a light shirt, and suspenders. Or no suspenders at all! Another modern look is a jacket with no tie. Feel free to unbutton a few of your shirt’s buttons if you want to feel like a snack. Listen, what you wear to your elopement just has to make you feel good. There are no other requirements! Here are some options for a casual groom look:
- Pants & Dress shirt only (print, color or plain).
- Dress shirt with a tie or bow tie
- Shirt and suspenders
- Shirt and suspenders with a tie or bow tie
- Dress shirt and open suit jacket or sport coat – no tie
- Shirt, vest and bow tie
- Vest and no tie – try a colored or print shirt
- Bolo tie, with optional suspenders
Fun ties & bow ties for eloping
If you don’t know what to wear, start with a fun tie and build your whole outfit off that. I’m serious! Go into a bunch of stores and find a tie that you LOVE. The kind that 5 year old you would just DREAM of wearing. Maybe your perfect print has sharks on it. Or laser beams. Or donuts or otters or your own pet’s face. Here is a collection of my favorite fun ties just to get you started! Jamie chose a dinosaur print for hers, and she has no regrets.
Dustin & Anthony both wore bowties, and the feather detail on them was incredible. Paired with complimentary but not matching light print shirts, they look FINE on their wedding day. I love that they chose to include Hawaiian wedding leis as well. Comfortable, formal AND personalized.
A bold tie choice, like this purple and yellow combination on a grey textured suit, can add a ton of style to a suit you already own. More fun ties and color combos:
Themed outfits for your elopement
If you have military distinction, consider wearing your uniform. Or perhaps you’d like to play up a traditional outfit from your heritage, or simply express yourself in a new way! This is my elopement groom inspiration board. From wearing stars in your hair with a print tuxedo, a day of the dead themed suit, to a full kilt – the options are endless! If you’re going for a full fantasy look, I’d caution you to not be too costumey. You want to be recognize-able as not just the one getting married, but yourself as well!
Accessories for Grooms & Masculine Partners
Hats. Cufflinks. Socks. Watches. Tie clips. Suit lining & embroidery. Belts, belt buckles, sunglasses, suspenders, and shoes. There are so many ways for an elopement groom look to be personalized! You also usually get a flower corsage buttoned to your lapel, if you have one. This is often called a boutonniere. You can use dried flowers, or even feathers to DIY your own! A 2023 trend for elopement groom style is to exchange the boutonniere for a pocket-flower, like this:
Tips for Elopement Grooms
Dress head to toe. Think about everything from your haircut to your socks. Aim to have your hair cut one to two weeks before your elopement day. Best to avoid that just-cut look! Trim up any facial hair the morning of if needed. Go custom whenever you can! Add a train to your jacket or a dagger to your boot. Put 100% of your personality into your look, because you’re worth it. And showing up for your partner means looking 100% your best. It’s ok to pamper yourself and get your hair done too, like Brian did! He wanted a viking style fishtail braid in his long hair, so by jove that’s what he got.
That’s all of my elopement clothing inspiration.
Here’s the rest of my How To Plan an elopement series:
1. – How to plan an elopement
2. – What to do during your elopement
3. – How to plan an elopement ceremony
4. – Here’s how to write elopement vows
5. – What to wear to your elopement – You are here!
6. – How to personalize your elopement
7. – Including Family in your elopement
8. – How to include your cat in your elopement
9. – How to save money on your elopement