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How to Pick the Perfect Elopement Location—Factors to Consider for Your Adventure Elopement Spot

First things first—before we really dive into some of the factors that might affect how you pick your elopement location—we want to make a super important point:

No matter where you end up picking for your elopement location, the very fact that you’re choosing to spend an intentional, meaningful, and purposeful day pledging your lives to each other makes it pretty perfect in the first place.

That being said, as professional elopement photographers and adventurers, we totally get it.

There’s something so alluring about adventuring to a place that’s both breathtaking and jaw-dropping all at once, finding a place that’s all yours where you can take hands, say your vows, and commit your lives to each other.

We also understand that there are a lot of epic, beautiful locations out there in the world and choosing which one to explore with your soon-to-be-spouse on such an important day can be a little bit overwhelming.

A little guidance—especially guidance from pros who have done this sort of thing several times before—can be incredibly helpful when it comes down to picking a spot.

Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

For starters, let’s make this fact known:

when it comes to eloping, the sky is the limit.

A bride and groom walk toward a gorgeous, enormous sand dune in the middle of the desert. The two are walking hand-in-hand toward their elopement ceremony location— these elopement photos were captured by elopement wedding photographer Adventure Instead.
A bride and groom embrace and kiss as they stand on a granite and mossy rock on the edge of an alpine lake. All around them, giant mountain crags peek up toward the sky. Eloping where and when you want are some of the best elopement ideas to consider for your small simple wedding.

We’re 100 percent serious.

Eloping is all about doing exactly what you and your partner want to do, wherever and however you want—that’s one of the major reasons that people decide to elope in the first place.

No rules. No regulations. No guidelines. Just you, your partner, and your wildest adventure dreams waiting to come true.

You can have any type of ceremony you want, invite the guests you want (or have no guests at all), and of course, get married in the location you want—no matter where that might be.

Elopements are truly built for adventurous and beautiful locations.

A rocky cliff overlooking an epic valley beneath you? Yes.

A secluded beach you have to kayak to get to? Sure.

An alpine lake at the very top of a mountain? You bet.

Like we said, there are no limits to where you can elope.

Which, brings us to the most important question:

If you could elope anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Do you want to find a dreamy location that you’ve never been to before that takes your breath away? Do you want to find a secret, secluded spot that will forever be uniquely yours? Do you want to revisit an old adventure area that’s meaningful to both of you?

It’s a lot to think about, but we’re here to guide you through this daunting—but really exciting—process.

We’ve laid out a few of our favorite factors to consider when picking out the best place to elope. We hope this helps to inspire you, narrow down your search, and ultimately, allows you to find the perfect elopement location for you and your partner.  

A bride and groom take hands and run on the side of a mountainous cliff in Yosemite National Park. A Yosemite National Park elopement was one of this couple’s ideal small wedding ideas. That’s one of the benefits of eloping—you can pick any location you want!
A bride and groom pull each other close in a red and orange slot canyon. In the background, a ladder can be seen leading down into the canyon, beautiful beams of light are hitting specific spots in the canyon. This is one of the most beautiful elopement locations in the world— but there are so many to choose from!

 

Factors to Consider When Finding the Best Place to Elope

There are dozens of factors to consider when you’re trying to pick the perfect elopement location, but we find it’s best to take it slow at the beginning and really start thinking about a few, driving factors that might matter most to you.

Depending on your preferences, needs, and desires, once you start really letting the thoughts flow on these factors, you’ll probably start zeroing in on the perfect elopement location for yourselves in no time.

Scenery + Views

This is always one of the first things we ask couples—what type of views and scenery do you want to be surrounded by on your wedding day?

One of the biggest benefits of eloping is that you’re giving yourself the opportunity to have your wedding day absolutely anywhere, so that means that nothing is out of the question.

Do you two come alive when you’re at the top of a mountain?

Does your heart soar when you’re running hand-in-hand down a sandy beach?

Are you incredibly passionate about old-growth forests, powerful waterfalls, canyon edges, rocky coastlines, private islands, desert dunes?

Really take some time to sit down and imagine the places that make you feel genuinely happy and authentically yourselves. What does it look like? What do you see? What type of landscape and views immediately come to mind when you think about being inspired, humbled, or wholly at peace?

If it’s more than one landscape, one type of scenery, or more than one view, that’s entirely OK.

That’s the amazing thing about our beautiful planet—there are so many places on this earth that are abundantly overflowing with diverse landscapes all within a few miles of each other. For example, the Olympic Peninsula is famous for hosting three entirely different ecosystems all within its bounds. And it’s not the only place like that in the world.

There are other options, too.

Remember when we said that elopements have no rules? We meant it.

If you want to road trip through an entire country for a few days to see tons of diverse views and landscapes, you can do that. If you want to hop in a helicopter and fly over gorgeous fjords, glacier fields, and alpine meadows, that’s totally possible. If you want to take an epic, off-road adventure to carve through the mountains, that’s a great idea, too.

If that’s what you two are about, then make sure your elopement lasts for days so you can see every view, every landscape, and every sight that you want to experience.

There are no limits. Find the landscape and views that make you and your partner feel entirely happy—it’s your day, after all.

A bride and groom take hands in their wedding attire and run through an alpine mountain. Behind them, a giant, Switzerland peak reaches toward the sky. The couple included this elopement location as one of the best elopement ideas for their elopement wedding. These adventure elopement pictures were captured by elopement photographer Adventure Instead.
A brie leads her groom down a mossy path as a rushing waterfall powers forcefully behind them. Small wedding ideas like these make for the best elopement locations. Why elope, you might ask? You get to have your elopement wedding in a spot like this!
A couple sits on the desert ground in Africa, holding each other close. Behind them, giant orange sand dunes rise up toward the sky. When people ask what is an elopement wedding, we love to show them elopement photos like these—it’s anything you want it to be. It’s unique eloping ideas in destination elopement locations.
A bride and groom sit by a lake in the dark, the stars and their headlamps the only lights shining down on the scenery in front of them. Hiking up to your elopement ceremony location is one of the unique eloping ideas several couples want to include in their elopement wedding.

Accessibility

When you really start thinking about locations that might seem perfect for you, it’s time to start considering the accessibility of those spots. No matter how you decide you want to elope, it’s always important to consider a few important accessibility questions.

How will you get to your destination? Will you fly? Drive? Take a boat?

Does your elopement location spot require you to hike? Camp? Backpack? Take a 4x4 vehicle?

Do you have an idea of how far you’re willing to travel, what kind of adventure you want to take, and how you’re ultimately going to get to your destination? Will you be including guests and do you need to consider accessibility for them?

Answering a few of these questions together can really help you get the ball rolling on choosing a few elopement locations that could be perfect for you (and eliminating some that might not truly fit as your dream elopement spot after all).

As always, we encourage all couples to totally embrace their adventurous sides—especially since we’re trained explorers and guides who will be by your side for the adventure. You should be free to do exactly what you want to do for your meaningful, intimate day, but it’s always important to consider some of the key accessibility questions before ultimately deciding on your spot.

Seasonality

Often, answering the question about when you want to elope can be incredibly helpful in deciding where you want to elope.

How?

Because seasons exist differently everywhere.

If you’re hoping to be totally overwhelmed with glorious golden-and-red fall colors in the middle of October, that can both add on some super specific locations and also eliminate others that might not fit that time frame.

If you’re hoping to get married in December but you’re not crazy about fresh powder on your wedding day, a high alpine, mountain elopement in Colorado might not be the right choice for you.

If you love misty, foggy days that make for dreamy, moody photos, then the PNW during the wet season sounds like just your ticket.  

There are so many questions you can answer just by truly thinking about when you’d like to elope, the season you’d prefer to elope during, and what you want the weather to look like.

Seclusion

For a lot of couples, the location of their elopement ceremony comes down to one big factor—seclusion.

One of the reasons that couples end up choosing to elope is because they want intimate moments, privacy, and total freedom to laugh, cry, and be themselves on such a monumental day. We totally love and respect that.

And while there are so many stunning spots in the world that make for absolutely beautiful elopement locations, not all of those spots are entirely secluded anymore. Sure, the internet is a beautiful thing, but in a world full of geotags and google searches, it’s becoming a lot harder to find truly private spots.

Often, those stunning places that are fairly accessible and relatively well-known won’t be as secluded as some couples might like. If seclusion is a big deal for you (and for some couples it might not matter as much, that’s OK, too), know that there are ways to find these private, intimate spots,—we can certainly help do that.

Though it can be tough to find secluded locations, it’s definitely not impossible (and we have plenty of secret locations up our sleeves)—it just takes a bit of research, knowing when to go, and being willing to make your adventure a little bit more epic.

A bride and groom stand among the shadows in a caggy, sandy dune. All around them, small little sand hills peek up. These adventure elopement photos were captured by elopement wedding photography Adventure Instead
Two brides take hands in white wedding dresses (and with gorgeous bouquets) and walk toward a gorgeous, granite and snow-covered mountain peak. This is one of the best places to elope because of its gorgeous scenery.

Tools For Finding the Perfect Elopement Location

We’d be more than happy to help you pick out the perfect elopement location, but it’s always fun to do a little elopement research on your own, too! Here are a few helpful tools to use when seeking out your ideal elopement spot!

  • Google Tools (Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Earth Pro)

  • Social Media (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook)

  • Hiking & Trail Websites (All Trails, Hiking Project, etc.)

  • Hiking Forums (14ers.com)

  • Travel Guides (Lonely Planet)

  • 4x4 Road Maps

  • Local Guides & Guide Companies

Those are just a few of the tools out there that can help you find the best elopement spot for you! Remember, we’re happy to help you with your search.

A Few Extra Things to Consider

Before really deciding on your elopement location, remember to consider a few of these other factors! They probably won’t change your dream spot, but it’s always helpful to check in on these few things before solidifying your elopement location decision

  • Legalities—Make sure it’s both legal and ethical to have a wedding ceremony in your chosen spot. Additionally, check on the marriage laws in the state or country you’re choosing to elope in—there might be specific guidelines about your marriage license, waiting periods, and who can marry you (fun fact: we’re all licensed officiants, so if you need someone to sign your marriage license, we’ve got you covered).

  • Permits—Check on where you’ve decided to elope to make sure you’re not missing the memo on any special permits or licenses you might need. This could come in several different forms. For examples, lots of national parks require that you purchase a permit if you plan to get married within their bounds. There are also a lot of wilderness areas that require you to acquire a permit if you plan to backpack, back country ski, or camp in certain areas. Do a little research and make sure you’ve got all the permits needed to make your elopement dreams come true.

  •  Leave No Trace Principles—This one is incredibly valuable and very important to us, too. We only have one earth, and while it’s important for us to enjoy it, it’s even more vital that we take care of it. Make sure that before you decide to elope in nature, you’re totally prepared and in-the-know to follow leave no trace principles.

A bride and groom take hands and walk by a glacial lagoon in Alaska—a gorgeous spot for a destination elopement. These adventure elopement pictures were captured by Adventure Instead, an elopement photographer.
A bride and groom hold each other close as they stand at the top of a rocky mountain peak. Behind them, a forest full of tall, gorgeous pines is shown, as well as an alpine lake off in the distance.

Remember, in the end, the perfect elopement location is going to be the one that makes you the happiest! Dream big, follow your heart, and don’t let anyone stop you from having your epic elopement adventure!


Hey there! We’re Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We’re the adventure elopement photographers and guides behind Adventure Instead. Though we’re based out of Colorado and Washington, we’d love to help you and your love elope anywhere in the world you want. We can promise to help capture your unique elopement experience in a creative, meaningful way, while being here to answer all of your elopement questions! We can’t wait to help you start planning your special just us day.

 your elopement location should be just as unique and beautiful as the love you have for each other. Let us help guide you toward the perfect elopement spot for you!

Get in touch with us and let us guide you.  

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HEY THERE!

We're Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We are adventurous elopement photographers & guides based in Colorado that travel worldwide to help fearless couples like you create your unforgettable, wildly different wedding experience—that is completely yours.

Are You Ready to Create Your Own Adventurous Elopement?


If you would like help dreaming up your intimate wedding day, a customized elopement location idea list just for you, planning tools, vendor recommendations, and a creative, laid-back, documentary approach to your adventurous wedding photography—we would love to help you make your adventure elopement dreams come true.

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