How to Plan an Adventurous Elopement

What could be better than jumping on an airplane to one of your bucket list places with your lifetime love?  Eloping and honeymooning in that unforgettable destination too!  Today we are super excited to share with you the topic every engaged wanderlust-ing couple is dying to know more about… How to Plan an Adventurous Elopement!

What is an Adventurous Elopement?

First step on how to plan an adventurous elopement… Will do you a traditional wedding, destination, adventurous elopement?  Initially you may be wondering what is an adventurous elopement or an “adventure wedding?”  We have a fantastic section of our Your Adventure Wedding website devoted the topic of what is an adventure wedding!

Other couples, might also classify an adventure wedding as a hiking elopement.  And in that case we would like to share with you some levels we put our clients into according to your comfort  and adventure level:

6 Levels of Hiking Elopements:

  1. Short Elopement Hike = Less than 25 minutes
  2. Medium Elopement Hiking = 30 to 90 minutes one way
  3. Long Hiking Elopement = 1.5 to 2.5 hours one way
  4. Intensive Hiking Elopement = 2.5 to 4 hours one way
  5. All Day Hiking Elopement = 4 to 8 hours one way
  6. Extreme Hiking Elopement = 8 to 10 hours one way

But know hiking could be across sand dunes, up a mountain, down a sheep path, through a river, or on a glacier, who knows!  Also keep in mind these levels are through rain, shine, or any inclement crazy weather conditions so please keep that in mind too.  There is no shame in saying you are only game for a one!  Plenty of amazing hiking locations around the world fall into this category!   Second step in how to plan an adventurous elopement is deciding how big of a “hike” you’re up for in your wedding attire.

History of Adventure Weddings:

Destination weddings have been a growing trend since circa 2001.  But back then it was all about warm locales with all-inclusive packages, hoping to provide your guests a “vacation” while also experiencing your epic wedding day somewhere they normally wouldn’t go.  You still had a ceremony to reception type of day.  So basically we traded in one cookie-cutter experience for another, just in a prettier location than your hometown.  Fast forward to 2007, where some super cool destination wedding photographers (Photos by Miss Ann included) start talking their brides into having a post destination wedding hiking day (or some may remember it as a “Trash the Dress” session).  This was a session that was just a couple and they were able to embrace getting dirty and getting EPIC destination wedding photos in the process.

Then our favorite thing ever happened… From 2007-2012 the latest generation of engaged couples, abolished the norms of “keeping up with the Jones’s” concept and refocused their time and hard earned money to spending their money on experiences.  This fabulous group realized  wedding days should be all about THEM and their LOVE for each other, not inviting the entire family and parents friends, etc.  The world of planning an adventurous elopement and weddings was BORN!  For example, our team saw this coming and began planning and photographing weddings in the mecca of the adventure world, Iceland.  Our Iceland Wedding Planner brand specifically began in 2011-2012 and focused on crafting full day adventure weddings for couples who were not traditional and looking to have a #badass EXPERIENCE, not just a wedding day.  Our team thrives on adventure and love.

Choosing an Adventurous Elopement Location:

Third step in how to plan an adventurous elopement… After you get engaged your mind likely starts twirling around about adventurous wedding locations or how to plan an adventurous elopement and you get overwhelmed by Google, right?  Then you start visualizing the seven continents and all the different types of landscapes…  Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America!  Deep Breath… You’re suddenly consumed by the amount of options and beauty this freaking planet has!

Here are some tips as you begin to plan an adventurous elopement on narrowing down the type of locations that you most enjoy:

– 1 –

The time of year that is ideal for you and your schedules.

Is it having a winter, spring, summer, or fall elopement adventure that suits you?


Honing in on specifically the type of the climate you both enjoy most can be an easy way to start narrowing the list.  Depending on your desired month, that could mean you wait for wintertime to head to Iceland to experience ice caves and Northern Lights, go south to Patagonia to hike incredible mountains, adventure to the thousands of remote islands around the world.


What is your adventurous elopement focus?

Do you want a location with lots of hiking, remote locations via super jeeps, self driving adventures to tourist locations, off the beaten path journeys, waterfall hunting, caving, climbing, surrounded by water, etc.  It’s best to narrow the types of landscapes and activities down as you venture through the road of how to plan an adventurous elopement.


Likewise finding your destination wedding adventure country can be daunting without the help of the right folks.  Which is why our Your Adventure Wedding team are experts on creating custom adventure wedding itineraries in all of the countries you find yourself interested in.  It’s our focus to stay more “off the beaten path” so that you and your soon-to-be have a more intimate experience with your country of choice.  Feel free to go back to our previous blog post entitled, “Top 10 Destination Wedding Locations for Avid Travelers and Adventure Seekers.”

Choosing your Adventure Wedding Dress…

Fourth step in how to plan an adventurous elopement… Selecting wedding attire!  Our Iceland Wedding Planner team crafted a lovely blog post how to choose an adventurous wedding dress. If the dress can work in Iceland, it’s durable enough to go beyond!

Adventure Wedding Vendors

Fifth step in how to plan an adventurous elopement… People that make it happen for you!  Choosing your adventure wedding vendors can be a time consuming feat (yet again another reason to hire an experiences Adventure Wedding Planner).  After all, trying to plan it yourself, you don’t really know if (let’s say hair, makeup, florist, or the celebrant) they are going to show up, the quality (and staying power of their work), and it could be a serious hit to your budget because they may need to add in travel costs.

Alternatives to this could be bringing your own “A-Team” of vendors to create the exact experience you were counting on.  Or taking the time to craft it yourself (IE, take lessons before you go on hair / makeup, do a vow reading instead of formalities in country, bring a silk bouquet, etc).

Your Adventure Wedding clients find that “A-Team” flawlessly executes by fully understanding the dynamic of an adventure wedding day so they ensure the experience is smooth and lasting from the beginning to the end of the day.  Example, our hair and makeup team use products and styles that have staying power from 6am-11pm, easy where you are only touching up your lip gloss because you’ve kissed so much!

Our adventure wedding photographers are all also fully skilled (and with rugged gear) in shooting in all weather conditions and embrace challenging lighting conditions (remember our winter Lapland elopements?).

Embracing the Weather:

Sixth step in how to plan an adventurous elopement… Unfortunately you are never guaranteed good weather on your adventurous elopement day, so it’s best to plan for the worst and be prepared for it.  Which means as you plan your adventurous elopement, you need to look at the country’s seasonal history according to the month you will be visiting.  Then picture yourself in the worst weather to you possible… Is it hail? Sand storm? Sideways rain?  Freezing temperatures?

Think about how you can plan to be comfortable in it… A few ideas to consider: Will you plan to take warm up breaks in the super jeep / car?  Wear long underwear under your dress / suit?  Wool socks?  Muck boots?  A big parka?  Gortex rain gear?  Bring clear umbrellas?  Have a second dress or hiking clothes as a backup?  Being prepared in advance for the worst allows you to relax and have fun during your elopement adventure no matter the country you choose.

Hiking During Your Adventurous Elopement

Seventh step in how to plan your adventurous elopement… More often than not, the best offbeat adventure wedding locations are at the end of a super awesome hike!  The pay off is your adventurous elopement photographer creating incredible images of you running around in the dynamic landscape turning your wedding day into art!  Hello hiking elopement, you’re FUN!

Having good hiking boots is key.  You want to have your ankles supported as you traverse over uneven rocky terrain or embark on a hike longer than 30 minutes.  Some adventurous brides may find packing their dress in a backpack and then hiking with it in there is easiest.  Otherwise we suggest to “tie” the bottom up if you are hiking up a mountain or any steep terrain.  Hiking also with a “go bag” is also important to be able to touch up your makeup, hair, have a snack or water on the way.

We hope today has provided more in depth knowledge on How to Plan an Adventurous Elopement!  Stay tuned next time for a continued post on Creating the Perfect Timeline for Your Adventure Wedding Day!

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