urban elopement couple in austin texas

How to Make Your Elopement Unique

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:

Read my guide to ultra-unique elopement and small wedding venues! 

rock climbing during an elopement in Moab, Utah

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

wedding couple standing near an airstream

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. 

Check out my steamy session guide here! 

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!

bride wearing a blue wedding dress during an elopement at the bonneville salt flats in utah

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. 

bride wearing a white bridal suit with colorful bridal bouquet

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!

Check out my comprehensive guide on how to choose your perfect elopement outfit!

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.

elopement couple getting ready together

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!

bridal details during an elopement

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.  

couple being serenaded during their elopement in Moab

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.  

couple popping champagne on a beach in Martha's Vineyard

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).

Tangled Sage 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.

Let's get this elopement (engagement/wedding/etc) party started! I'm your go-to gal for creating an unforgetable experience! Reach out with the contact form to get started.


  1. Chelsea says:

    Okay, this info is gold! I love all of the personal ideas to include in your day to make it even more special.

  2. Excellent resource with stunning images. I’ll be taking some of these ideas on board!

  3. Sormma says:

    Totally agree that every wedding is unique. Thanks for bringing attention to this!

  4. christina says:

    this is an awesome resource! there are so many good ideas and beautiful images

  5. Monica says:

    What a great resource for planning an elopement! So many great ideas!

  6. Ann Marie says:

    Love this so much!! I love how you divided out the different areas of an elopement and then specific ideas for each and beautiful photos! This is such an inspiring blog post – love it!

  7. Dakotah says:

    Such a fun guide with so much helpful information. Crafting an elopement that is unique to the couple is so important and all of your ideas great. Beautiful photos!!!

  8. Marla says:

    Absolutely nailed all of this advice!! Really incredible ideas here for how to make your elopement unique.

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hey, i'm molly!

This ain’t an all-day photoshoot, I’m not here to get you to grin at a camera all day long, that would suck. I’m here to capture all the natural and organic moments of a beautiful day filled with things you two love to do the most together. Whether that’s hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, sailing, biking, exploring cities, or sipping on microbrews; whatever your heart desires. 

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