First, pick where you and your partner want to elope. Maybe you’ve narrowed it down to the East or West coast but you’re still deciding which National Park you want to pick. All National Parks in the United States will require a special use permit that will allow you to elope, and the price will vary. Make sure to schedule it months in advance, so that you can secure your location and your date.
Choose your photographer! Having a photographer that is down to go wherever you want is key. I specialize in elopements and intimate weddings and love to go on a good adventure! I’d love to be a part of your special day and share my advice. It’s always a good idea to ask your photographer what they think, as they have experience with what their couples wish they did or did not do during their adventurous elopement/intimate wedding.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. What you will need: A good pair of hiking boots/sneakers as well as the shoes you’ll wear for the ceremony, a cozy jacket (depending on where you are/what time of day you elope it can get chilly!), any portable props you and your spouse want to bring, and last but not least, an umbrella! You never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve and it is better to be prepared, although rain can make for some pretty dreamy photos!
Plan your day! While eloping is not like a typical wedding day schedule, you’ll want to have the logistics planned out. Make sure you factor in hiking time (if there is any), ceremony, when/where you want to celebrate afterwards, and how long you would like your photographer to be there for. Your photographer can be there to just capture the ceremony, or you could have them capture candids of the entire day!
Make your elopement curated to you and your spouse by adding fun elements like:
Have your guests capture candid moments on a disposable or polaroid camera.
Don’t have a traditional guest book? Get a wooden sign that all of your guests can write on and you can hang it in your house once you’re home.
Have your closest friends and family write notes to you and your spouse and read them on the big day!
Hire a live painter and have them paint your ceremony! It’s a great way to remember your day and have a memento to hang in your home.
And most of all:
Have fun planning it! Don’t sweat the small stuff, leave room in your timeline if anything needs to be adjusted, and remember that this is the start of a great adventure!
Eloping in a National Park: The Essentials
elopement + Wedding photography based in Utah, Virginia, + Beyond