One of the most important decisions you will make when planning your elopement is your elopement location! Choosing where to elope should be a fun process. I encourage all my couples to spend some time together dreaming about their ideal elopement day. After all, this experience only happens once so why not make the most of it and choose an elopement location that you love?
Once you’ve begun to narrow down your locations, there are a couple things to consider to prepare for your wedding day.
Keep Your Elopement Day Focused on What Matters Most
Chances are you decided to elope because you wanted an intimate day that was focused on you and your partner. Or maybe you simply didn’t want the stress of planning a wedding. Whatever your reason, always keep your elopement day focused on what matters most to you and your partner. Try not to get sidetracked by Instagram, Pinterest, and what everyone else is telling you to do. You decided to elope to make the experience special and all about your relationship so don’t feel pressure to do the longest hike or visit the most epic location just because the internet tells you to. This day is all about you!
Consider Several Elopement Locations
The beauty of eloping is that you have more flexibility. You’re not tied to any agenda or one specific location. If you’re stuck on choosing just one location to elope, why not pick a few? Nobody said elopements have to just be a one-day event or that they have to take place in a single location.
Here in Washington state, there are so many beautiful elopement locations to choose from. Olympic National Park is one of my favorite places for elopements and it has some amazing options for a multi-day elopement. Why not explore Hurricane Ridge or Lake Crescent on day 1 followed by a hike in the Hoh Rainforest on day 2? And maybe you also want to include a sunset evening on the rugged coast! No matter what you envision for your elopement day, anything is possible!
Don’t Forget a Backup Elopement Location
I can’t stress this enough! Having a backup location (or two) is so important when planning your elopement. Several of my couples have had to completely pivot their plans due to unforeseen circumstances that were out of our control. Wildfires, road closures, and weather can all impact your elopement location. You don’t want to get to your elopement day only to realize that the location you picked is not available so do your research and make sure you have a plan A, B, and C!
Obtain the Proper Elopement Permit for Your Location
Most public land locations (Forest Service, National Park, BLM) will require you to obtain a special use permit for your wedding. Sometimes you may also need a film permit for your photographer or videographer as well. The best way to check and see if you need a permit is to directly contact the special use permit department for the location you are looking at. They will be able to provide you with application forms and fee information. They will also be able to advise you on any restrictions for decor, group size, etc. Obtaining the proper permit for your elopement location is very important and ensures your elopement location is both legal and safe.
Leave No Trace
No matter where you are recreating or getting married, it’s important to follow the Leave No Trace principles. These 7 principles act as guidelines to help you protect nature and wildlife. I practice these principles on all my elopements and encourage my couples to do so as well. By leaving the space as you found it, you help make it ready for more people to enjoy in the future.
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Elopement planning is a fun process and one that I love helping my couples with! If you’re looking for the best places to elope in Washington State check out my blog post here! If you’ve already decided on your elopement location and are ready to start planning, contact me to get started!