How to plan an Elopement



Will and I  specialize in helping couples plan the photography and timeline for their best days ever. In our 5 years as wedding photographers we have seen a trend rise up in elopements and intimate weddings.  Why is this just now blowing up?  Eloping is not a new concept. 

The answer lies in the fact that this is the most self-aware generation to date, and self-awareness goes hand in hand with happiness.

I will disclaimer this post and say that people who have weddings that are traditional are still wonderful, and still amazing and there is SO much joy had in weddings, no matter what they look like! I am in no way bashing those who hold traditional weddings! 

This post is mainly to show that couples should be allowed to hold the wedding they want, not what their family or friends decide for them. The happiest couples are always the ones who are the truest to what THEY want on their wedding, and my job is to help couples achieve that truest form of happiness, no matter how it manifests! 

If you have ever given thought to wanting to have an elopement, but are unsure how to make that happen, here is a great resource on how to plan one! We SO hope it helps you! 




The location sets the mood and the vibes for your day. What do you want for your Wedding?


For many, picking a location for their wedding comes from accommodating the number of guests they are having along with having a space that fills their decorative desires. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this and it is a great way to begin your journey! 

In planning an intimate wedding, you have no limits, no barriers, no restrictions, you can literally get married *almost* anywhere. 

For those who are in the beginning stages of planning  their wedding, think about your story, and what makes sense for the tempo of your relationship and use that as the foundation for dreaming your Wedding location. 

Last September one of our intimate weddings showcased at Smith Rock State Park, which showcased their love of rock climbing. It perfectly made sense for this interest that became such a foundation of their relationship. Another one of our couples both met  during snowboard season, and thus  getting married on a mountain was the perfect way to tell their story with those they loved. 

Once you have identified that narrative and what makes sense for your location, you can start dreaming up what is possible! With a limited guest list, can you travel to your dream location? Are you preferring to keep it close to home to showcase what you love about where you live? 

When you start framing it in terms of what makes sense for your relationship, your journey can begin with purpose. You are beginning with the end in mind, and it takes the guess work out of planning. 



Being Okay with what YOU want for your day

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I am a self-professed people pleaser by nature, so I feel qualified to share that if you are worried about what your family thinks you are truly not alone! It is easy to say "oh just do what you want, it's your day!" but telling those you care about that you are keeping it limited or private can be a really hard thing to do! 

As you are planning out who you want in attendance, or how you are going to break it to those who you know you DON'T want attending, know this:

-Most of the time, at the heart of it all, people want to be able to show you support in your happy time and be included.  If you don't have them at the ceremony, that doesn't mean you can't include them in the selecting of your dress, or in the form of a celebratory dinner after the fact or before. Be ready to come with a way that you DO want them to be included. Bonus points if you can appeal to their love language. If they express their love verbally, ask them to share a small toast at a dinner, or if they enjoy quality time, consider throwing a "Family & Friends Wedding shower" where you can spend time with them before hand. 

Once you have thoroughly identified how you can include those you love in your big day, you can give yourself full permission to feel and experience on your wedding day, and truly be OKAY with being fully present on your wedding day. 



Planning your Ceremony 

Get rid of any pre-concieved ideas about what your ceremony should be. Abandon the experiences that you have had that tells you a ceremony has to be a certain way. Now. Refocus. In what way would you want you and your love to share your commitments? Do you foresee exchanging gifts? Sharing thoughtful words? Sharing your commitment non-verbally through actions? What does commitment look like to you? How does commitment manifest itself in your relationship? What would it look like if you had never seen a wedding or been to a wedding ever? 

THIS is a beautiful place to start with your partner and a fantastic way to make sure the day is authentic and meaningful for YOU. 

Unique ideas in Leu of traditional ceremonies:

-Hiking to the peak of a mountain together 

-Building something together, or creating a piece of art together to have in your home

-Planting a Tree/Seed together in the earth at a meaningful spot (with proper permissions/permits of course) 

-Playing/Performing a song together or to each other

-Opening a bottle of a special drink that you both can enjoy/share together



Describe your perfect day. No really. Do it! 

Stripping it down to its basics. Your wedding should encapsulate things you enjoy, and be a cumulation of what you both consider to be the best day for you ever. Start to finish, what does your perfect day together look like? 

Don't judge me, here is mine: 

Wake up and early morning Kayak together on the Columbia River

Come back home, cook up a quick breakfast 

Get ready in a beautifully clean space, wear our best outfits

Go downtown and eat at the Portland food carts, sampling a little from each cart

Shop for my flowers, shop for the perfect tie for will. Find a gift for each other. 

Drive to my FAVORITE hiking spot, Saddle Mountain! 

Hiking to the top of Saddle Mountain, listening to our favorite songs at the top. enjoying a cake made by (Sweetheart St. Johns) 

Throw my bouquet off the edge in my own version of a "bouquet toss"  ;) 

A first dance at sunset to Cavalier by James Vincent McMorrow 

Finish the day with a dip in the hot tub at a modern Air BbB we booked 


Everyone's perfect day is going to look different, but truly try and integrate that into your elopement! 



Let us make your day

Schedule a consultation to see how we can take your day from good to spectacular!