Time needed: 25 minutes.
The world is full of incredible places to see, but you already know that, don’t you? So how on EARTH do you pick? Grab your partner, crack open a bottle of beer or wine, and let’s go over the 5 fundamental points on how to choose an elopement location!
This is crucial in determining how to choose an elopement location because sometimes our wanderlust gets away from us. Maybe that Norwegian winter wonderland looks dreamy, but how well do you handle the cold and wind? It’s best to be very honest with yourself about the kind of weather, temperatures and latitudes you enjoy. There’s nothing worse than choosing a location, only to arrive and realize you hate the cold, or melt in the sun like a candle!
If you want warm, dry and sunny weather, be conscious that places like Scotland, Norway and Iceland aren’t reliable locations for that. More than likely, it’ll be overcast, rainy and chilly with more than a bit of wind!
If you want that Hawaiian or Moab elopement mid-summer, be prepared to sweat. Are you okay with your hair and makeup running? Is your suit cool enough to handle the soaring temperatures? Be realistic about the weather and do your research regarding climate and *especially* the time of year you’ve chosen!
Seasons and latitudes affect climate greatly, so before you pull the trigger on anything, look into what the temperatures and weather patterns are for that time of year.
Rule of thumb? Mountains in July, Deserts in March 😉
Not many people consider that elopement locations can be lumped into these two categories. When figuring out how choose an elopement location, you both need to consider which types of places are most authentic to you and your personalities. It’s easy to get drawn into the Hollywood narratives of large cities like Paris or Vegas, only to be disappointed to find they’re loud, crowded and often dirty. Likewise, couples can be shocked at the lack of amenities at remote wilderness locations.
Be realistic about what’s most important and comfortable for you. Choose locations to match!
Consider these questions:
Do you thrive in situations with a lot of people?
Do you find crowds, traffic and nightlife exciting, rather than overwhelming?
Do you vibe with consumer focused environments?
Do you prefer spending your Friday nights dancing and socializing in bars or clubs?
Do you gravitate towards you own city’s downtown area?
If you answered no to may of these questions, then fist bump, because you’re just like me and prefer the sounds of silence.
If you answered yes to many of these questions, then also fist bump, because an urban elopement may be for you!
For the former, consider elopement locations which are more nature focused, heavy on landscape and scenery and natural wonders. For example: national parks, public lands, natural wonders, deserts, oceans, mountains, jungles
For the latter, consider elopement locations which are urban, trendy and maybe even a bit glamorous. For example: Vegas, Barcelona, Paris, Milan, London, LA, NYC, Miami – or a medieval German castle
If you don’t have a date yet, no worries! Even just choosing a season is a big step in narrowing down how choose an elopement location.
Summer in Europe is extremely crowded and prices for hotels and services surge in July and August as the continent takes its summer holidays.
Summer in Hawaii is the best time to go due to less crowds, calmer surf and dryer weather.
Also consider the kind of weather you want to take advantage of. Summer in the alps is often very dry, with long days, meaning sunrise and sunset have long hours in between. Late September and early October in the Alps makes for incredible fall colors, while late May and early June often have colorful alpine blooms. Both can be chilly!
Remember that mountains and high altitudes can be chilly ALL year long (not just from October to May), and the southern and northern hemispheres have reverse seasons. Patagonia and Australia have winter in July, and Europe and North America have winter in January.
What do I mean by accessibility? I mean: how easy your location is to get to.
Not all locations are created equal in terms of ease of access, privacy and cost. You can usually only pick two.
For example: a jaw dropping view right off a highway, or a short 30 minute hike from a parking lot won’t be a great option for those who value privacy. It will be packed, likely from sun up to sundown. It’ll also likely be extremely chaotic with people literally lined up for the same shot. This is alright for a quick detour or photo-op, but not recommended for a commitment ceremony or vows.
In contrast, something very private with easy access will require a large up front cost with something like a private helicopter tour, chartered boat ride or bush plane. This option, while expensive, will get you to places most people will rarely ever see with little physical effort. If you can afford it, DO IT. We’re talking glaciers, waterfalls, plateaus and other rare sightseeing opportunities that you can cross off your bucket list!
For the physically fit and adventurous, I’ve got good news: those willing and able to put in work can give up ease of access for STUNNING views at no cost. For those who like to hike, welcome to the backwoods! You’re likely to be the only ones around and this is such a fun way to explore and spend the day looking for a vow ceremony location.
Even better news? An all day or 2 day elopement can incorporate all 3, making for an incredibly diverse elopement experience that few can compare with!
When choosing an elopement location, it’s super important to think about your timeline. For full day and 2 day elopement timelines, there is much more flexibility. However, with only 6-8 hours, you’ll find you need a location with a lot to see in a small area. Driving an hour or more between locations won’t be possible. In very mountainous or rural areas, this can be an issue if there are two or more spots you want to explore on a limited clock.
Island locations or archipelagos (think Hawaii, Mallorca, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Sardinia etc.) can have a lot of different geography packed into a relatively small geographical area. Keep that in mind when thinking about the kinds of stops you want to make!
I definitely recommend a full 10 hour or 2 day elopement for the most immersive experience. This will allow you to have a very stress free and flexible timeline and plenty of room to explore areas without stressing.
Remember, this is a once in a lifetime event and a great time to cross some things off your bucket list. Have fun with the process of narrowing down locations, and don’t be afraid to dream big!
Choosing an adventurous wedding is like charting unknown territory. Most likely, no one you know has done something similar, and the logistics and planning can feel overwhelming.
But don’t stress, I’m here to help.
Figuring out exactly where to get married or elope is easier when you know where to look. Therefore, hiring an experienced elopement photographer is crucial. I specialize in the type of wedding you’re bravely choosing, so don’t sweat! I totally get it, and I want to make your elopement the most memorable, joy-packed day imaginable.
If you find this article helpful, then let’s talk! I’d love to help you plan the most amazing elopement ever.
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You have enough to worry about, let me take some weight off. Here are the 6 crucial things you have to NAIL when planning your elopement day - PLUS: how tell your family, choose a location, find flight deals and more...free :)