What to Pack for a Hiking Wedding

As both an avid outdoors-person and a wedding photographer, a highlight of my career happened when I photographed my first hiking wedding. While it wasn’t quite as straightforward as a traditional wedding at a larger venue, the payoff was incredible. I got to witness two amazing people proclaim their love for each other in a location that was super special to them in the mountains. They brought along a group of 11 of their very closest friends and family and celebrated afterwards at a brewery in the closest town. I realize this type of wedding isn’t for everyone. For mountain-lovers not wanting to make a big fuss out of their wedding day, a hiking wedding just might be the answer.

A bride and groom have a hiking wedding ceremony next to an alpine lake along the Pacific Crest Trail. Photographed by adventure wedding photographer Amy Galbraith.

A hiking wedding is an amazing way to get married, but comes with some extra logistics and planning. Who will come? How far will you hike? What type of gear do you need to bring? I find that the biggest challenge is figuring out what to pack when planning a hiking wedding. It’s easy to forget some of the emergency stuff that you might typically have in your car or purse.

An elopement along the Pacific Crest Trail near Mt Rainier National Park by mountain wedding photographer Amy Galbraith

Below I’ve put together a list of what you should bring for your hiking wedding. This list covers basic hiking basics like the “10 essentials”, but also things you might not even consider you’d need when you’re getting married in the great outdoors.

A trail near Mt Rainier National Park filled with fall color by mountain photographer Amy Galbraith.

Special considerations for planning your hiking wedding packing list:

– Will you wear your wedding clothes on the hike?
– Do you need a new pack that will fit all everything you’ll need? Get fitted by a professional for maximum comfort.
– If you want to get new hiking shoes or boots, be sure to break them in well before your wedding day. Nobody wants to deal with fresh blisters on the most special day of their life!
– What kind of wedding dress will you wear? I find that the best wedding dresses for hiking weddings are flowy, without boning or corseting. You’ll need more room to move and want to be as comfortable as possible.

A bride shows off leggings underneath her wedding dress at their backcountry wedding in Washington by mountain wedding photographer Amy Galbraith.

The Hiking Wedding Packing List

The 10 Essentials

NavigationGPS, map & compass, personal locator beacon
Headlamp – This applies especially if you’d like sunset photos as you might end up hiking out in the dark.
Sun Protection – Bring sunscreen and a hat, even if it’s cloudy!
First Aid – I really like the ones made by this company.
Knife – many uses!
Fire Starter – In case of emergency, or perhaps you’d like to make s’mores for your wedding dessert 🙂
Shelter – such as an emergency bivy, if you’re not planning on camping
Food – a given, and lots of it, especially on your wedding day
Extra Water – Always bring more than you think you’d need
Extra Clothes – You never know when you might need extra layers, especially if it rains


Hiking Wedding Essentials

A Well-Fitted Backpack – Look for one that distributes the weight on your hips. Backpacks fit different for everyone so head to REI and try on a bunch!
Layers for under your suit or dress – I like nude-colored leggings for under wedding dresses and wool base layers for under suits.
Hand-warmers, toe-warmers, body-warmers – You’ll likely be wearing a little less than you typically would. The mountains are always colder than you’d think.
Traction – In case of icy trail conditions, you’ll want some type of traction to put on your shoes.
Gloves, mittens, and warm hats – For hiking at dawn, dusk, or during colder seasons.
Rain Gear – An absolute must. You’ll want to be able cover up your own clothing and also your backpack.
Extra clothing – If you plan on hiking in your wedding attire, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for the hike out or drive home
A Water Filter – This is helpful if you are doing a longer hike on your wedding day.
Thermos – I always love filling a thermos with coffee or hot tea when I hike. There’s nothing like a warm beverage when it’s chilly in the wilderness. Bring along a couple of cute mugs for some great photo opportunities as well.
Backpacking Stove – If you’d like to make a meal while out on the trail, a lightweight stove is your best bet. Don’t forget fuel!
Trekking Poles – I always love hiking with poles. They take the weight off of your knees and keep you stable on all types of terrain.
Bathroom – Be prepared for a #2 if you are out on the trail. A shovel and wipes are recommended. Pack out any trash.
Blankets – Wool blankets will not only make you feel cozy, but are a great option for taking photos in cold weather.
Champagne and drinking vessels. Be sure to bring something you can pack out afterwards.
Dessert or other wedding treats. Macarons, s’mores, or other portable desserts work well for this.

A bride and groom toast champagne near an alpine lake along the Pacific Crest Trail on their elopement day. Photographed by adventure elopement photographer Amy Galbraith.

Are you planning a hiking wedding? I’d love to hear more about it! Please contact me if you’d like to hear more about my adventure wedding photography services for hiking weddings.

Hiking Wedding Packing List by Mountain Wedding Photographer Amy Galbraith

  1. […] to plan for a regular hike, but you have to bring all of your wedding stuff! Check out my list of What to Pack for a Hiking Elopement to help with your […]

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