How To Plan Your Adventure Elopement

 In Elopement, Wedding Details

It’s early in the morning. The stars are still out. But you spring out of bed, your heart beating fast and tingles going up and down your spine. It’s the day of your adventure elopement, and you both are so ready. You grab your dress, pull on some wool socks and your favorite pair of hiking boots, and meet your fiance at the car. You pack your outfits safely in the back, and the cake is in its sturdy Tupperware and buckled in. The flowers have their own seat, your custom sign is packed, and your dogs are looking their best for their parents’ big day. Sounds romantic, right? But, getting to this point definitely took some major planning, and we know all too well how stressful it can be to plan an elopement wedding. So, we rounded up some inside tips from the professionals themselves on how to plan the adventure elopement of your dreams.

Your Elopement Florals

Elopement bouquet by Revel Petals
Bouquet: Revel Petals | Photo: Haley Lupinski
Bouquet: Revel Petals | Photo by Haley Lupinski

When to Book Your Elopement Florals

For traditional weddings, couples need to book florists months in advance. Some florists still prefer you book at least eight months in advance but since elopements typically need boutonnieres and bouquets, the booking time frame can often be shorter. “My recommendation is no less than two months before the event,” Revel Petals’ owner Marisa says. “Usually with an elopement, even if I’m booked for other events on the same weekend, I can do an elopement too. It’s why for me elopements are so cool! They have all the style and a lot less of the fuss, which makes them more agile in the planning process.”

What to Tell Your Florist

For bouquets, the color palette is EVERYTHING. After you’ve booked your florist, make sure to let him/her know about all the important details of your wedding. These could include your favorite flower(s), what you both will be wearing, and the elopement location. This along with any inspiration photos you have gathered will ensure your florist will create your dream bouquet.

1. Florals: Rusted Vase Floral Co. | Photo: Henry Tieu | 2. Florals: Revel Petals | Photo: Haley Lupinski| 3. Florals: Fire & Blooms | Photo: Molly Moormeier | 4. Florals: Fire & Blooms | Photo: Dawn Photo | 5. Florals: Summer Robbins Flowers | Photo: Christy Cassano

“Because I’m an eco-friendly florist, I only use in-season, locally grown flowers, so the most important thing to give me is the color palette – from there I create a flower palette of in-season blooms. The more freedom I’m given, the more fun I have, and the more likely the pieces will be extra special,” Marisa says. Remember, with any professional you’ve hired, you’ve hired them for a reason. Whatever it was that drew you to hire them, trust it and let them create something beautiful for your big day.

Wedventure Tip

Make sure your florist is not using imported flowers or toxic floral foam. That way you can spend the day knowing the impact on the planet is minimal and you have supported a local floral farmer with your beautiful bouquet of seasonal flowers!

Custom Signs, Decor and Accessories

Kalen Rivers Calligraphy
Photo by Kalen Rivers.

When to Book Signage and Decor

If you plan on eloping during peak season (June through October) then book your designer at least two months in advance for custom pieces. “I always suggest that they put down a deposit to reserve their spot in my calendar as things do fill up quickly. This is especially for the number of bridal jackets I take on,” Kalen, of Kalen Rivers, says.

What Your Designer Needs from You

Anything custom obviously needs to be planned out! So make sure you work with your designer on how you want the pieces to look. Give them some color or floral inspiration, along with the basics you want to be featured on the piece: names, date, location, preferred quote, etc. Then let them create for you!

Kalen Rivers Calligraphy Jacket
Calligraphy: Kalen Rivers | Photo: Bethany Small Photo
Calligraphy on Album by Kalen Rivers
Calligraphy: Kalen Rivers | Photo by Dawn Photo

Wedventure Tip

These custom designed pieces should hold memories of your special day, not just your names and date. And, it should be something that you love looking at as you might be hanging it up on your wall for years to come. “Also, do whatever the heck YOU want and not just what you’ve seen others do on Pinterest,” Kalen says. “Typically couples who elope understand the ceremony is in fact about them and not everyone else, which is my favorite kind of couple.”

Elopement Photography

Hurricane Ridge Elopement by Kylie Morgan Photography
Photo by Kylie Morgan Photography

When to Book Your Photographer

Since your photographer will be the third wheel at your elopement as some say, be sure to book the photographer you want as soon as you set a date. “Typically it’s best if couples reach out anywhere from eight to twelve months in advance for a weekend elopement,” says Kylie of Kylie Morgan Photography. “For weekday elopements, anywhere from three to eight months is plenty! But, of course, sooner is always better!”

Wedventure Tip

You might have certain shots you absolutely want besides the obvious, so be sure you communicate them to your photographer in advance. For example, maybe you want one of you sitting in the back of your car as the sun comes up. Or a piggyback photo on the top of a mountain. Or photos of you two with your fur babies. Tell your photographer all of that! Make a shot list and give it to your photographer before the big day. Often when you’re in the moment, all you can think about is, “Holy shit, I just eloped!” You might forget all about the piggyback ride photo you wanted. But a good photographer will always remember the shot list, so give them one to work with!

Kylie Morgan Photography of Hurricane Ridge Elopement
Hurricane Ridge Elopement by Kylie Morgan
Photos by Kylie Morgan Photography
Hurricane Ridge Elopement

Aside from that, this day is all about you two. It’s not posed or staged, it’s real. So let yourself live in that moment and don’t worry about getting the Pinterest-perfect photo. “The most important thing that I would ask from my couples, is for them to put 100% of their trust in me. And to be open and vulnerable. This allows me to do the best job that I can in capturing their day,” Kylie says. “If they put their complete trust in me and my creativity, I know that they want me for me. They want me to capture THEM, and that’s the best thing I could ask for!”

Wedventure Tip

Always do your research when hiring professionals.  Make sure you hire the ones that coincide with your vision. If you are planning an adventurous elopement, then make sure you hire a photographer that has experience shooting this style of wedding and loves to get a little dirty on the hike. You want to hire someone who will enhance your day, love it for what it is, and not try and change it. “Make sure that the person you are hiring isn’t based solely off of price, but rather experience. And someone who is willing to go above and beyond in making sure they capture your day for what it is,” Kylie says. “The photographer may not be the cheapest option but it will make a world of a difference!”

Cake for Your Elopement

When to Order Your Elopement Cake

The industry standard for planning and buying your custom cake is six months. Yep, six months. “This ensures that you don’t have any scheduling conflicts, especially if it’s during peak season,” Amber, owner of Sift & Gather, says. “Outside of that, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a baker to make you the cake of your wildest dreams. But once you set the date, order the cake!”

Wedventure Tip

Transporting a beautiful cake up a mountainside or up to a waterfall can seem daunting, and may make you second-guess even attempting to do such a thing. But, a good Tupperware can be a lifesaver. “The sturdiness of the Tupperware makes transporting and carrying the cake to your most adventurous location a breeze,” Amber says.

Sift and Gather Boho Wedding Cake
Cake: Sift and Gather | Photo: Lauren Nicole Photo

What Your Baker Needs

Don’t be afraid to get magical with your cake design. Dream big, you’ll be impressed at what a talented baker can create. Also, make it your own. This is a celebration for you and your wife/husband after all! “The cake is an opportunity for you to make a statement, a collaboration of your first piece of art as a married couple,” Amber says. “If you’re not sure what you want that to look like, find yourself a cake designer that can translate your vision. I promise, a little piece of a baker’s heart and soul goes into making sure your cake is perfect for whatever EPIC adventure you’ve got planned!”

Elopement Cake by Sift and Gather
Cake: Sift and Gather | Photo: Melody Stevenson Photography

Wedventure Tip

For so many reasons, always check the weather!! For cake, if it’s going to be warm, dry ice is your new best friend. Unless you have the A/C blasting, never ever (seriously, ever) leave a cake in the car unattended. It will melt into a pile of buttercream!

Adventurous Elopement Dress

Bespoke Bridal Dresses
Bespoke Bridal Dresses | Photo: Victoria Carlson

When to Wedding Dress Shop

The winter is always super busy for bridal shops, and it’s not because of winter weddings. The industry standard is to order your wedding dress a minimum of six months from your date. So summer wedding peeps, you better be out shopping now! “Most designers have a standard delivery time of four months and most seamstresses like to have two months for alterations,” Jenn from Bespoke Bride says.

What Your Dress Shop Needs to Know

Make sure you tell the bridal consultants that you’re having an adventure elopement so they can help guide you through what type of dress will be most comfortable when hiking to your destination! “For adventure elopements, having movement is so important!” Jenn says. “For dresses, less structured bodices that don’t constrict your breathing and flowy a line skirts with slits are our top choice. For menswear, we love the Coolmax suits – they’re still slim fit but have a stretch to them and cooling technology.”

Big Sur Elopement by Kylie Morgan Photography
Photo by Kylie Morgan Photography
Big Sur Bride by Kylie Morgan Photography
Photo by Kylie Morgan Photography.

Whether you’re eloping on a secluded beach, the top of a mountain, along a river, by a lake, or in a field, the main focus is that you two elope. But having pretty custom signs, a beautiful cake, a photographer that is just as excited to capture your elopement as you are to do it, a stunning bouquet that matches the scenery perfectly, and the attire to hike and still look stunning, makes it pretty damn near perfect. In case you might want to see some of our favorite adventure elopements check out our recent issues of Wedventure Magazine.

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