If we’re putting an unofficial definition on elopements, it’s that this sort of wedding celebration is special (and honestly, still a unique kind of affair). But around here, it’s all about making things feel extra special!
It’s your big day, after all, so why not throw caution to the wind and ramp up the razzle dazzle?
As an elopement pro (I photograph eloping couples on their big day AND I eloped with my husband in Joshua Tree), I’ve got a ton of ideas you can steal to make the occasion feel fresh, fun, and sentimental.
Want to keep things intimate with only you and your partner present? Open to the idea of adding traditional wedding elements like a guestlist or reception into the mix?
Whatever you’re looking for, I’ve got 9 unique elopement ideas that you’re bound to reminisce about forever.
Idea #1: Do Dinner Differently
When you’ve got a belly full of wedding nerves, it’s hard to think about eating. But trust me, as soon as those vows are done, it’ll feel like you’ve never eaten a meal in your life. Suddenly, you’re starving!
And a traditional sit-down meal is fine, but you can flip that on its head.
One way to instantly elevate your elopement is by doing dinner a little differently. Try hiring a food truck to park at your ceremony location (not only is it more fun than a sit-down, but you’ll also get to save on fancy flatware and place settings).
Another awesome option is to hit up a more casual spot for burgers or pizza…or maybe even a local diner. A stack of fluffy pancakes for dinner? Yes, please.
Idea #2: Shine Up Your Dancing Shoes
In the eternally wise words of David Bowie, let’s dance! There’s nothing quite as fun as having a good boogie to some incredible tunes with your loved ones.
Switch up your wedding disco by hosting a seriously epic dance party — spice it up by throwing a few light-hearted competitions into the mix (think themed dance battles and team challenges).
Another way to make your elopement special is by turning the reception into a silent disco, where everyone chooses their own playlist and wears headphones to listen.
This kind of jam always results in some hilarious moves…and what’s more fun than dancing the night away with all your fave people?
Idea #3: Get Wine Drunk
If you feel like getting a little (or a lot) tipsy in a *classy* way, a private wine tour for your elopement is ideal. Most tours will take you and your partner (and guests if you got ‘em) for a quick journey around the vineyards where you can stop and sip a generous amount of expensive wine!
You can take it a step further and book a private chef to whip up a feast for after all those beverages — nothing says luxury like a culinary masterpiece created just for you.
Idea #4: Wedding Day Hike
You might be rolling your eyes at the thought of doing exercise on your own wedding day, but hear me out!
Make your elopement special by inviting good ol’ Mother Nature along for the ride. Pop on your hiking boots and head somewhere beautiful, whether that’s a breathtaking summit with panoramic views or a bubbling forest creek (both perfect for photos, just sayin’).
Take a picnic feast and some bottles of bubbly along with you AND if you’re inviting family and friends, ask everyone to bring a different dish. Like a big potluck, but in nature.
Idea #5: Make It a Game Night
Because a little friendly competition never hurt anyone! Make your elopement a day to remember by hosting a game night after you’ve tied the knot.
Hit up a local restaurant or an Airbnb after your ceremony, armed with all your favorite board or lawn games. Split your guest list into teams and let the fun truly begin with heated games of Monopoly to over-enthusiastic cornhole.
More of an arcade loving couple? Rent a machine to set up at your venue and spend the evening playing your faves (I’m partial to Pacman, but you do you).
Idea #6: Think Outside the Box
The beauty of having an elopement over a more traditional wedding celebration is that it can take place wherever your heart desires. Without a big guestlist to accommodate, couples are able to make the most of the freedom by thinking outside the box when it comes to location.
If you’re an adventurous kind of couple, I recommend working that into your big day by saying your vows somewhere mind-blowing like the top of a mountain or the base of a waterfall.
Of course, your destination doesn’t have to involve crazy heights or water for it to be considered stunning – a natural landmark or romantic candle-lit terrace are also interesting ways to spice up your location.
Idea #7: Ride the Rollercoaster
One of my fave fun elopement ideas is to take your wedding crew on a day out they’ll never forget. Ditch the meal and speeches, grab some comfy sneakers, and head straight for the theme park.
Riding a rollercoaster in your wedding attire not only makes for some *amazing* photos but sounds like a total blast!
Other awesome ideas might include the zoo, a day at the aquarium, a safari park, laser tag or even an indoor trampolining park. Doesn’t get much better.
Idea #8: Incorporate a Theme
And no, I’m not talking Halloween costumes (although if that’s your vibe, don’t let me stop you)!
Picking a theme for your elopement day can feel like a risky move, but if you fully commit there’s nothing cooler. Chuck everything but the kitchen sink at it: costumes, decor, food, music — do it all.
Opt for a classic theme like fairy tales, horror movies, 80s characters or think outside the box and use the Netflix series you love for inspo. A romantic Bridgerton-themed elopement anyone?
Idea #9: Throw in Traditional Stuff
Who says you can’t have a first dance at an elopement? Remember, this day is for you and if you want to incorporate some traditional elements into the celebration, do it!
You’re allowed to have a wedding crew, a dinner and dancing reception, your loved ones there for the moment…it’s all totally on the table. Boxing yourself into one idea of “eloping” is silly when the possibilities to make it uniquely yours are endless.
If you’re planning your big day and need a wedding pro and photography whiz wrapped into one, let’s talk! I offer a variety of services to help you thoughtfully capture your celebration.