How to Choose an Elopement Location- It’s Easier Than You Think
SWELL & STONE / ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER / UNITED STATES AND BEYOND
When it comes time to think about choosing an elopement location there are a number of factors to consider. In this case it really pays to hire your photographer first if you’re unsure about a location and they can help you pick a spot that meets your desires and makes for great photos. Keep reading for some other things to think about when picking an elopement location of your dreams!
CHOOSE A PLACE THAT IS MEANINGFUL TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP
My husband and I met in between years of college working on Lake Powell in Northern Arizona / Southern Utah. We had an amazing summer exploring the lake and the magnificent red rock canyons of the desert southwest. Eight summers later Craig proposed to me while we were back flipping off Lone Rock in Lake Powell. We've laughed and cried at Lake Powell, gotten stuck in the mud, had customers get angry with us when we worked in the restaurant as teenagers. We have so many memories there, and we still return often to explore a place we know so well. Do you have a place like this?
It can be in your backyard or across the country. You don't have to have spent a lot of time in the place. Perhaps you've made some of your best memories there, or maybe it's a place you have both always dreamed of visiting. There is still time, and there are great memories to be made!
Talk to your partner and about whether you want to soak in old memories in a place that means a lot to you, like your hometown State Park, or if you’d like to make new memories and discover a new place that neither of you have been to before.
LET YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITY GUIDE YOU
Whether you're an avid hiker or climbing rock walls is your style, let what you love doing be your guide. Maybe your adventure session or elopement should take place at the top of your favorite mountain, or perhaps in your favorite backcountry meadow. If you love canyons, we can find a gorgeous, secluded canyon to say your vows. Maybe you prefer an epic overlook while the sun is setting? The possibilities are endless for where your dream wedding could take place!
Sometimes couples come to me with a plan already hatched, but if you want to hike to a certain spot, rappel to a cliff and say your vows with only a waterfall as your backdrop, or get deep into a canyon, let me know and we can make that dream a reality. I will also suggest weather dependent alternatives, so no matter the weather on your wedding day you will have the experience of a lifetime. Being prepared for anything is most of that battle.
ASK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
After a decade as an outdoor adventure photographer, I've been a few places and know about some back roads with unbelievable and un-crowded views at the end of them. I love helping couples find the perfect spot to create their dream intimate wedding, elopement, or adventure engagement or anniversary session.
I was recently contacted by clients who thought they wanted to elope to the Grand Canyon... or maybe to the Great Smoky Mountains. They weren’t quite sure, but they were sure about how they wanted their day to feel. We worked together and after going over a few locations, they decided on Vermont- a place neither of them had been to before! Now they get to explore a new place together and make incredible memories on their elopement day.
And then there is the age-old Google consultation. But seriously, I've found some of my favorite locations of all time by Google Image searching, or typing in "waterfalls near me." Or if you know the general are you'd like to go, but want to get off the beaten path a little bit further, Google Earth is your best friend. You can see drop offs and drainages you never knew existed before, and you might even spot a 4x4 road that will help you get there.
Most of my adventures now are off the beaten path or at 6 AM, and that’s just because it’s a great way to be the crowds and have great photo light. Doing your research before is the best way to make the most out of your day- especially if you’re eloping in a place neither partner has been to before. Having a detailed timeline created with the help of your photographer is key.
Not everyone needs to summit a mountain on their wedding day, and that is more than okay. Decide what is best for you and your partner and what will be the most fun. If that means paddling your favorite river and stopping along the way, great! If it means walking a half-mile loop to a scenic overlook so your whole family can come too, that’s awesome. Some people want to pack as much as possible into their day, and others want to relish each moment and sit in it for a while. Determine which style of adventure you and your partner like the most and work with your photographer to make it happen!
It’s important to know what’s most important to you. The word “adventure” means something different to everyone, and it’s just as okay if you want to walk down a beach as it is if your idea of fun is summiting a mountain.
Decide What Time of Year is Best in Your Chosen Location
Some locations really shine in certain times of year more than others. For instance, I love going to the desert in the winter and spring, but don’t enjoy it as much in the summer and part of the fall. The Pacific Northwest is amazing in the summer and fall, and you might think that it wouldn’t be as great in the winter. However, I recently photographed a couple there in the winter, and although it was cold, they chose a location they could drive to and shoot in multiple different spots. So they would get out and shoot for 10 minutes and then warm up in the car for 10 minutes. The result was stunning photos of ice falls and gently falling snowflakes. The couple was blown away at the range of images we were able to get in a short amount of time because there were absolutely no crowds anywhere!
While there are so many things you can’t control or plan for your elopement, your location is something you can. Make sure to do your research, hire an expert photographer with prior knowledge and experience shooting at your desired location, and be prepared for weather based on seasonal conditions- This way you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way on your big day.