2020 has been the year for elopements! Nearly every wedding I had booked for 2020 has opted to elope on their original planned wedding date and then will celebrate with friends and family in 2021. Many are even having a second ceremony next year. The beauty of eloping is it can be whatever you want it to be and can be completely unique and personal to you.
What comes to mind when you think of an elopement? A couple on some epic adventure? Maybe they're scuba diving. Maybe they hiked somewhere beautiful and remote. Maybe they're rock climbing or skydiving. Or, maybe they just drove somewhere private, beautiful and significant to them.
Elopements in 2020 have taken me to Iceland (before we were officially in a pandemic) Telluride, Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, couples' back yards, couples' front yards, and many other locations all over Colorado. Some have chosen to hike to a mountain top, while others have chosen one of the many mountain roads that we can use to drive up to a beautiful location.
There are a lot of logistics to think through to help you decide what your elopement style is.
-Are you up for embracing the elements?
-Do you want to hike in your wedding attire? If not, are you comfortable changing into your wedding attire behind a blanket, rock, trees, or in the open?
-How many miles and how much elevation gain do you want to hike for your elopement?
-Is the location you've chosen worth making it your wedding location?
-What time of year do you want to do this hike or snowshoe in?
-What type of hike is going to be most enjoyable for you and your spouse-to-be?
If you've lived in Colorado for any length of time, you know the mountain effect it just like the ocean effect. The weather sometimes changes with no warning. It's not unusual to experience all 4 seasons in 24 hours. It may be sunny and warm one day, then a blizzard the next day.
Choose a destination that is right for you. If you don't ever hike more than 3 miles, don't plan a 16 mile hike for your elopement unless you plan to prepare yourself appropriately for it.
Rock Climbing Elopement
-Was rock climbing a significant part of your relationship and your story before your elopement?
-Are you comfortable and able to climb in your wedding attire?
-Load up the dress tape if you don't have straps
-Don't forget your leggings
-Don't drop the rings!
-There are infinite ways to customize your wedding attire to make it work with a harness and while climbing, it just takes some extra planning and thought
-Who will you have belay each of you? In a way, the people who you choose to belay you will be your witnesses
Drivable Summit/Overlook Elopement
-There are countless destinations throughout Colorado that don't require a hike
-What part of Colorado do you want elope in?
-What type of vehicle will you be driving?
-What type of roads are you experienced on and comfortable driving?
-What scenery are you looking for?
-Do you want to be near a town where you could stay before and after your elopement?
-Do you want getting ready photos before your ceremony?
Driving to a summit, overlook, or just a beautiful spot certainly is can be an easier way to elope. If weather is variable, you can be prepared with all your layers in the car. If it gets cold at the summit, you can hop in the car to warm up or fix your hair between photos. If there are multiple spots in one area you want to go for photos, it can probably be done. Driving to sunrise or sunset means you don't have to hike up as early or down as late.
Other elopement activities
-Picnic somewhere special, or in a park
-At the summit of a 14er
-Backpacking or camping
-Snowboarding or Skiing
-Under the full moon and stars at night
-Under the northern lights in another location
-Truly any activity you love can be turned into an elopement!
Things to think about for any type of elopement
-Do you want your elopement to be an adventure or just a ceremony somewhere beautiful?
-Do you want the full adventure photographed or just the ceremony and portraits?
-Do you want an organized "first look"?
-Do you want an officiant or would you like to self solemnize?
-Do you want getting ready photos at a nearby location before your elopement?
-Why is this specific activity or location special to you and your spouse-to-be?
-Bring a bottle of champagne and a small cake, cupcakes, donuts or whatever desert the two of you love for a little something extra to celebrate with!
-Are you planning to wear your wedding attire more than for your elopement? (Reception or celebration with family on a different date)
If you know anything about me, you know I've been an athlete most of my life. I do a lot of activities from summiting the toughest 14ers in Colorado, hiking an average of 6-10 miles with my standup paddleboard and my 80 lb mutt to SUP on alpine lakes, triathlons, rock climbing, scuba diving, kayaking, snowboarding and more. I've even been solo skydiving.
When working with couples who want to hike for an elopement, I feel it is important for you to know that I am not only up for whatever adventure you want to go on, but I also prioritize my health and physical fitness so that I will be completely capable of joining you on your adventure and taking photos of you throughout it (also, it's just a lifestyle thing) Maybe you've decided what your elopement and adventure style is, but choosing the proper photographer is another important part to this.
Maybe you don't want to elope, but you do want photos in your wedding attire in an incredible location or doing some specific adventure - After the ceremony photos might be your thing. Some couples choose to have adventure photos taken the day after their ceremony or on a later date. This way, if your dress ends up in a little mud, or maybe it rips while you're snowboarding in it, the wedding has already happened! This can also be a great options for couples who want sunrise or sunset photos, but don't want to schedule their wedding around early morning or late evening photos.