So you’ve decided to forgo a traditional wedding and elope! Firstly, congratulations! And second, I know that now that you’re in full-fledged planning mode, you’re asking yourself “how the heck do I make my elopement unique??”
The beauty of eloping is that there are literally no rules (well, except for the marriage ones but that’s beside the point). You can curate an extraordinary day that speaks most to you and your partner. There is no one else to please here.
In this post, I’ll cover some of the most unique and creative things you can do to really make your elopement special.
Plan a Unique Elopement by Choosing an Epic Location
The easiest way to create a unique elopement? Choose a unique location! So much beauty is at your disposal, and you can travel as little or as much as you want. Just make sure to look up the marriage license laws and permit information in the state or park that you choose.
Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Death Valley National Park, Nevada/California
- Rhyolite Ghost Town provides an incredible backdrop of desert ruins!
- Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
- Joshua Tree National Park and surrounding desert (California)
- North Cascades National Park (Washington)
- Mt. Rainier National Park (Washington)
- White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)
- Point Reyes (California)
- Big Sur (California)
- Hoh Rainforest (Olympic National Park, Washington)
- Garden of the Gods (Colorado)
- The summit of Colorado14ers Mount Elbert or Huron Peak
- Olympic Hot Springs (Washington
Elope Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted to Go
It’s usually recommended that you pick a special place you’ve been to, but what about picking somewhere new? Choosing the location at the top of your travel list will make your elopement so unique and special!
Make Your Elopement Epic by Planning an Epic Adventure
Elopements are conducive to adventure. And a proper adventure can make your elopement day absolutely unforgettable. You can even time your ceremony with your adventure to create that one-of-a-kind feel.
Here are some adventure ideas perfect for your elopement:
Gift Each Other a Once-In-A-Lifetime Elopement Day Adventure
- Sunrise hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley, California
- Horseback trail ride through scenic Sedona, Arizona
- Sky dive in Oahu, Hawaii
- Base jump in Moab, Utah
- Paraglide through the mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho
- Take a private surfing lesson on the beaches of San Diego, California
- Ski at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyming, one of the most scenic ski resorts in the United States
- Book a Northern Lights Tour in Fairbanks, Alaska and spend the night in a luxury iglo
Make It a Multi-Day Adventure
Who says your elopement has to just be one day? Plan a day around your ceremony, a day around an adventure, and another day to start your honeymoon. This makes it so that you don’t have to overload your ceremony day, and you can take your time. At Nomadic Weddings, I offer multi-day elopement packages so that the memories of your adventure will be captured through and through!
Skip the Hotel
Instead of staying in a hotel, opt for some more uncommon accommodations.
- Filter your Airbnb seach by “Unique Stays,” where you can look at treehouses, airstreams, yurts, and more, like this Mid Century Modern Treehouse in Washington, or this absolutely incredible Airstream oasis in Joshua Tree, California.
- Rent an aesthetic campervan from Outdoorsy.com or Go Camp Campervans so that you can make your elopement a vanlife adventure.
- Go backpacking! What could be more unique than a spot you can only access on foot?
If a hotel is more your speed, stay at a local boutique hotel!
Have a Steamy Photoshoot
A steamy session is a sexy photoshoot that captures you and your partner’s physical chemistry and makes for an amazing pre-elopement or elopement day adventure.
Wear Something Different For Your Unique Elopement
An awesome way to make your elopement unique is by challenging the norm of wedding attire. After all, there are no rules for your elopement, as long as it’s the day that only you and your partner want to have!
Choose a Non-White Wedding Dress
Stand out by eloping in a dress that isn’t white. Me? I eloped in a black dress, and it looked incredible against my red-rock backdrop.
Opt for a Bridal Suit or Jumpsuit
Bridal suits and jumpsuits are SO chic and easy to accessorize however you want. Choose any color, have it tailored exactly to your body, and add a hat, cape, or crown for a truly unique look.
Add a Flair with a Pocket Square
Spice up your suit with a floral pocket square, floral or colorful dress shirt, or patterned and colored pants and jacket.
Wear your Favorite Shoes
Love Doc Martens? Converse? Vans? Wear your favorite kind of shoes on your elopement day!
Alternative Wedding Ideas
By definition, elopements stray from the status quo. So why keep it traditional?
Here are some memorable, non-traditional ideas for your elopement:
Personalize your Vows
Delivering your own vows is guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye, and make for an amazing audio backdrop to your elopement video. If you’re not comfortable writing your own, consider hiring a professional vow writer to help you.
Get Ready Together
Getting ready together is non-traditional and intimate as can be!
Write Each Other Special Letters
The day before your elopement, write and seal a letter. You can either read each others’ letters on the day of your elopement or open them on your first anniversary.
Choose Your Favorite Dessert Instead of a Cake
Is cheesecake your favorite dessert? Maybe ice cream, or cookies? Have your favorite dessert at your elopement instead of a cake. It’ll not only save you some money, but it will be much more personal!
Create a Special Scent
You know the old saying, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?” Well, creating a custom perfume, cologne, candle, soap from your elopement day is the perfect “something new.” Hire a perfumer or custom candle creator to turn your wedding scent into reality.
Bring In Intimate Live Music
Just because your wedding is small doesn’t mean you can’t have a live soundtrack. Use freelancing sites like GigSalad to find a solo guitarist, cellist, or harpist to play for your first dance.
Pop Sparking Water Instead of Champagne
Thinking of eloping in a National Park or on public land? Then save the champagne for later and pop sparking water to adhere to the seven principles of Leave No Trace. You will still achieve the excitement of popping a bottle without disturbing the ecosystem.
Decorate with Succulents Instead of Flowers
Elegant flower arrangements are stunning, but you see them in practically every wedding or elopement. Instead, opt for succulents! Succulents make gorgeous, one-of-a-kind bouquets and arbor decor (if you choose to have an arbor).
Succulents for Hire is a vendor I absolutely adore. Even if you don’t wish to have a bouquet or arbor at your elopement, a succulent flower crown will go perfectly with any elopement outfit!
Create Custom Elopement Decor
Love to DIY? Love to thrift? Then make or thrift your own elopement decor! It will be unique and ultra-personal. Find a rug and lights, make a centerpiece, and craft your own elopement arbor.
Jump Into the Water
Opt for a spot on the water. It could be an alpine lake, the ocean, a hidden swimming hole, or a hot spring. After your vows, jump into the water for an amazing adventure and photo opportunity.
Include your Pets
Make your elopement a true family affair by including your pets! I know you miss your dog when you’re away (I say this from experience, I have 3!) so why not bring them along? You can even have your pet “sign” as your witness in states that require zero or one witness.
Declare Yourself Married
Did you know that you can legally declare yourself married in Colorado? Self-solemnizing creates such an intimate and private experience with just the two of you and your photographer. Just imagine - you’ve said your vows on a mountaintop, and you’re getting ready for your first dance with no one else in sight.
Make sure to read all the marriage and self-solemnization laws in the state you wish to declare yourself married! Or you can check out my quick guide to marriage laws in all 50 states!
Start Planning Your Wedding with Nomadic Weddings!
Ready to start planning your unforgettable elopement!? Nomadic Weddings proudly offers complimentary planning assistance from start to end, customized packages and timelines to fit any needs, and an experience that will make this adventure your best one yet! This thing won't plan itself! Reach out today to get started.
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