HOW TO MAKE AN ELOPEMENT SPECIAL:
10 AMAZING ELOPEMENT IDEAS
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT TO PLAN FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT DAY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY GUESTS?
Couples often think eloping is about having a short ceremony, reading your vows and a photo shoot afterwards - that’s it. But it doesn’t have to be! And it certainly shouldn’t be the only thing you remember from your elopement DAY.
Eloping means being in full control of YOUR wedding day.
Treat yourself to the most beautiful day(s) you could ever imagine.
I deliberately say DAY, because it is the day you get married, it is the day you will remember saying your vows to each other for the rest of your lives. Shouldn’t it be the most beautiful experience you can dream of?
Here are ten amazing ideas on what to do on your elopement day to make it special to you:
1. FIND THE MOST AMAZING AIRBNB OR HOTEL FOR AN OVERNIGHT STAY
And make it part of your elopement experience! What if your elopement could start right in the morning when you wake up? When you find yourselves in a secluded cabin in Iceland making coffee, hopping into a geothermal hot water pool and relaxing before even thinking about getting ready?
If you are anything like me, you are an Airbnb favorites list hoarder. Over the years I have accumulated a list of dream homes I’ve come across and some day want to go! Treehouse glamping in LA, a private houseboat in Charleston, campervan glamping in California, a desert Airstream in Joshua Tree or a colorful riad in Marrakesh are just a few of some amazing places that can be found on the internet these days.
Another awesome website to find and rent a dream home for your elopement (and guests, if you have any) is Nature House - which features houses, homes and gems in nature and secluded spots all over Europe.
Luxury airbnb in Puglia, Italy
2. ELOPE IN A NATIONAL PARK OR A COUNTRY YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE
Turn your elopement into an adventure and honeymoon at the same time. Travel to a national park, a country or city you’ve always wanted to go to and incorporate a day of exploring, sightseeing, relaxing or hiking (or all of the above) into your elopement day.
How DO we want this day to be remembered?
What do we want to see and experience?
Where have we always wanted to go?
What season do we want to elope?
Which landscape do we want to be in?
This way, you’ll remember your destination elopement not only for the intimate ceremony, but for the whole day of fun activities, the excitement of exploring a new place together and the wonderful rush of emotions that comes with it.
One of my most amazing memories from a backpacking trip to Vietnam in 2008 is chartering a private boat for 3 days, skipping through Ha Long Bay, fishing our dinner, sleeping on deck under the stars and jumping into ocean for a swim whenever we desired. The idea of renting a private boat for your elopement can be transferred to anywhere in the world. Australia, the French Rivera, Florida Keys, Hawaii or practically anywhere if you live near a coast or lake - you name it.
You could say your vows on deck of a private yacht, a houseboat or a sailing boat. You could even anker in a hidden bay and get married on a secluded beach and light a campfire (in the spirit of Leave no trace - be careful and make sure you are a) allowed to light a fire and b) the fire is out after you leave) afterwards for your first dance, have a picnic on the beach and watch the stars come out.
3. CHARTER A BOAT
4. HAVE A PRIVATE CHEF COOK DINNER FOR YOU
If you two are foodies and wine lovers, this one is definitely for you: You don’t feel like going to a restaurant, but want to have something really special for the two of you? Why not have your own private chef create the perfect meal for you with your favorite foods or local cuisine you have never tasted before?
Maybe some wine tasting? The options are endless and the privacy you get is, please forgive me the obvious pun, sizzling hot! Having a private chef cook for your wedding means you can enjoy your dinner anywhere, at any time and everywhere you want to without being in any rush.
5. PLAN A BACKCOUNTRY HIKE OR INCORPORATE A SMALL HIKE
This is for the wild ones, but I know you’re out there! What if you could plan your elopement as a hike with an overnight stay in a mountain hut to reach a unique spot, or, if allowed - even pitch a tent? This is perfect for any couple who loves to be active and incorporate their lifestyle into their wedding day. You love hiking, so why not hike to a unique spot?
True story: in 2007, while being on my exchange semester in Pensacola Florida, I met a student who met her fiancé on a mountain peak while being on a hike. The weather conditions weren’t great and it was a lonely trail - the odds of meeting someone (let alone your future husband!) were zero. Back then I thought: “wow, what an amazing story they have to tell anytime someone asks them “how did you two meet?”. Today my mind wanders even further: how special would it be to get back to exactly that mountain top to get married?”
For those of you who think: “I’d love to hike a little, but certainly not for a few miles”, the easiest way to get to a great elopement location with a view is to drive up a mountain pass road or start at a trailhead and walk for as long as you are comfortable. Especially mountain pass roads offer the best and most epic views for almost no hiking, but rather relaxed exploring and enjoying the view. You can most definitely enjoy the mountains without exhausting yourself - no need to be crazy into hiking!
In any case: always check if permits are required to elope and take care of the environment. Leave no trace!
6. CONSIDER A HELICOPTER OR JEEP TOUR
You are not so much into hiking but still would love to have a ceremony in the mountains or a glacier at the most secluded and breathtaking spots? Well, have you ever thought about booking a helicopter elopement? It is one of those unforgettable once in a lifetime experiences.
Have your pilot drop you at a mountain ridge for a sunset ceremony with a view to say your vows, explore the surroundings and just take in the scenery. Being the only ones out there amidst the stoic beauty of the mountains is a humbling and calming feeling. For a less rushed experience, make sure you get enough time (two hours minimum) and visit at least two different spots with unique views. One of my favorite Instagram accounts to peek and drool over is Wanaka Helicopters in New Zealand. These guys regularely fly out couples to the most amazing elopement locations - I just can’t get over the beauty of these intimate weddings outdoors. In Austria, the helicopter company Sennair does an amazing job with flying couples out to the most beautiful mountain tops for their helicopter wedding.
Certain places lend itself to rent a vehicle and drive dirt roads to get to spectacular, unique and more secluded places. Finding a dedicated driver with lots of experience and knowledge who will take care of the driving part, taking off any pressure of you in order to fully enjoy the surroundings is key. Driving off road in Iceland, the desert in Morocco or the US Westcoast like Moab for sunrise or sunset is going to make for a unique experience.
7. PREPARE A ROMANTIC PICNIC
Over the great door of an old, old church which stood in a quiet town of a faraway land there was carved in stone the figure of a large griffin. The old-time sculptor had done his work with great care, but the image he had made was not a pleasant one to look at. It had a large head, with enormous open mouth and savage teeth; from its back arose great wings, armed with sharp hooks and prongs; it had stout legs in front, with projecting claws.
8. INCORPORATE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVIES
Incorportate your favorite activities, something that you have always wanted to try or an activity that is typical for the location you are about to travel to into your elopement day.
Winetasting in Italy
Snowshoe-Hiking in Austria
Diving in the Carribean
Kayaking down the Soca River in Slovenia
Glamping in Croatia
HIKING IN NEW ZEALAND
Exploring Ice Caves in Iceland
Trekking in the Andes
Skiing in Switzerland
DESERT CAMPING IN MOROCCO
Multi-Day Horse Trekking in the Dolomites
9. GO ON A SAFARI
Have you ever dreamed of going on a Safari in Africa? If so, think about the possibilites of eloping at the same time. Africa is home to one of the most beautiful and diverse national parks and game reserves, you would be able to enjoy secluded and wild beauty, as well as privacy in one of the conservation camps or luxury lodges. One of these game reserves that put a lot of work into environmental conservation and protection of the wildlife population as well as supporting local communities are the Singita lodges in Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Rwanda. They focus on sustainable hospitality and wildlife proctection which really is the only way you’d ever want to go on a Safari.
10. TURN YOUR ELOPEMENT INTO A MULTI DAY ADVENTURE
If you are thinking: wait a minute, we’d love to do a few off of this list but one day isn’t gonna cut it! We want beach AND the mountains! Who says you can’t? Every elopement and every couple is unique. Remember: YOU are in full control of your elopement day, be as creative and dreamy about it as you want. Something hasn’t been done before?
Be the first to take the roads less travelled.