How to Finish Strong When Planning Your Elopement

How to Plan Your Elopement

As your elopement day draws closer, it’s completely normal to start feeling overwhelmed by the logistics of planning your wedding. A few weeks before an elopement date, I often have brides asking questions like:

“Should we hike in to our location in our regular clothes, then change at the site?

“If we’re not inviting family, how do we find a witness?”

“What time of day should we plan our ceremony?”

These questions are important, and that’s where I come in: I’m not your average photographer. I’m not just here to take photos, I pour hours into scouting locations (crawling the internet and then scouting in-person), creating day-of itineraries (factoring in weather, when to leave, when to shoot, etc.), helping you brainstorm ways to add meaning to your day, answering questions (like should we hike in our wedding outfits or change there?) – all of this to make your dream of what you want your wedding day to feel like into a reality. Especially when it comes to finalizing important details and logistics for your elopement day.

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So to help you prepare, here are a few common questions I get from couples as they finalize logistics for their elopements:

“Should we hike in to our location in our regular clothes, then change at the site?

This completely depends on the length of the hike, and your comfort level! I love to spend the days before your elopement scouting any locations that we’ll visit so I can gauge the intensity and length for any hiking you’ll do on your elopement day. With some of my past couples, it’s been an incredible experience to hike in to elopement locations together in comfortable hiking clothes, and then my couples get dressed at the location. I’m always down to bring makeshift changing tents (aka blankets) to make that happen.

“If we’re not inviting family, how do we find a witness?”

If you don’t have family or guests attending your elopement, my husband Rich (and amazing second shooter) can come and be a witness, and I can be the other one too. He travels with me for all of my elopements regardless, so there’s no added cost or planning on your end!

 “What time of day should we plan our ceremony?”

This varies depending on your elopement location! Are you eloping somewhere with notorious fog, that would be better for a sunset elopement? Or is privacy a top priority, and you’re interested in exchanging your vows at sunrise? Regardless, I’ll spend time exploring your elopement site a couple days before your big day, to get a sense of peak visitor hours, best natural lighting, etc. Then I’ll work closely with you to plan your ceremony around what’s most important you with. For past couples, I’ve planned elopement timelines where the ceremony happens early evening, allowing ample time for a hike or an adventure where we burn out the light and have some time for just the newlyweds, while allowing enough time to get back to any friends and family. I’m all about whatever feels natural, and working with you to make sure all the important parts of your day are captured on camera.

“Can we plan a first look?”

Absolutely! Even if it’s just the two of you eloping, there’s something so sweet in the anticipation that builds as the two of you get ready, stand in position, and then share a moment of discovery together. I’m here to help scout first look locations and coordinate a seamless experience, so just let me know whether or not you’d like to have a first look be part of your elopement and we’ll make it happen.

 “What should we pack for our elopement?”

Again, this question is completely dependent on your elopement experience and location! Are you planning a multi-day hiking trip in another country, or are you driving half an hour from your home for a minimalist vow exchange? Your packing list will vary based on your elopement plans, but I always encourage couples to:

  • Make sure your rings, gifts, and mementos are packed and ready for your big day.

  • Consider the weather for your elopement location, check the forecast and make sure you’re prepared for every type of weather!

  • Pack notebooks and pens for you to write out your vows if you haven’t already transcribed you vows somewhere concrete.

  • Make sure your suitcase holds all of the clothing accessories, details, shoes, and you need.

  • And if you’re serious about lists, I highly recommend downloading Wunderlist and creating an “elopement prep” checklist to help you two stay sane as you work towards the finish line.


This is by no means a comprehensive list of elopement logistics questions. Each location, each couple is completely unique. So if you have questions about elopement logistics, shoot me a message and let’s finalize the details together.