10 Unique Ways to Stay Present on Your Wedding Day




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Your wedding day is a whirlwind of emotions, joy, and love, and in the midst of it all, it’s easy to lose sight of the present moment. As an elopement photographer who specializes in adventure weddings in Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon (and beyond), I’ve had the privilege of being an observer to countless couples on their special day. From my lens, I witness every intimate moment that unfolds, capturing it in time so that my couples can relive the magic of their day whenever they choose. It’s such an honor to be a part of these moments and capture them so my couples can reflect back on those moments for the rest of their lives!


While these photographs become a timeless keepsake that they can treasure forever, I always encourage my couples to stay grounded and fully immersed in the experience of their wedding day. Cherishing every step, every breath, and every shared glance, so when they revisit these images years down the road, they remember exactly what it felt like to be there in that moment. The slight caress of the wind through their hair, the warmth of the sun on their faces, and the sheer joy in their hearts. Being truly present on your wedding day enables you to fully absorb and embrace every sense.


To ensure you capture every sensation of the your wedding day, here are 10 unique ideas to help you stay present and savor every moment:


1. Enjoy a Slow Morning

The first few hours of your wedding day can set the tone for the entire celebration. Instead of rushing through the morning rituals, consider starting the day with a slow and intentional pace. Prepare and enjoy a home-cooked breakfast together. Share laughter, reminisce about your journey, and relish in the calm. Set the mood with your favorite music playing softly in the background, creating an atmosphere that allows you to connect with each other in a meaningful way.


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Check out more of Alex and Bonnie’s slow morning and full day elopement in Maui.


2. Practice Mindfulness

In the midst of your wedding day, finding moments of mindfulness is essential. Consider incorporating meditation or yoga into your pre-wedding routine. A serene spot in nature offers tranquility and a chance to ground yourselves. Take deep breaths, feel the earth beneath you, and let the calming sounds of nature guide you into a state of mindfulness. This intentional practice will help you stay centered and fully present as you step into this significant chapter of your lives.


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3. Get Ready Together

Traditionally, couples get ready separately, building anticipation for the grand reveal. But opting to get ready together is a trend that not only breaks away from convention, it also strengthens the bond between partners. This shared experience allows for genuine moments of connection, providing emotional support and shared excitement as you both prepare for the day ahead. It’s a chance to share the nerves, the laughter, and the anticipation, creating a foundation for the beautiful memories to come.


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adventurous latourell waterfall elopement in columbia river gorge oregon

See more of Sarah and Chris’ getting ready photos and full day elopement at Latourell waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge.


4. Share an Intimate First Look

Whether you get ready together or not, the first look is a moment of pure magic and vulnerability. Consider having an intimate first look session before the ceremony, allowing you both to share your emotions in a private setting. This not only eases pre-ceremony nerves but also creates a genuine, heartfelt experience. As an elopement photographer, capturing these unfiltered reactions is one of my favorite parts.



5. Unplug and Disconnect

In our digital age, it’s easy to get caught up in capturing and sharing every moment instantly. To truly immerse yourself in the present, consider having an unplugged wedding day and ceremony. Put your devices away and encourage guests to do the same so they can be fully present with you. This not only ensures a more intimate atmosphere but also allows everyone to experience the joy of the moment without the distraction of screens.



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6. Incorporate a Symbolic Act

Adding a symbolic act to your ceremony is a beautiful way to infuse meaning into your wedding day. Lighting a unity candle, planting a tree together, or creating a personalized ritual that holds significance for you both can deepen the emotional connection of the day. These symbolic gestures serve as lasting reminders of the commitment you are making to each other.


romantic elopement in redwoods national park and samuel boardman state park

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Check out Brit and Steven’s romantic Oregon elopement in Redwoods National Park and Samuel Boardman State Park.


7. Write Personalized Vows

Crafting personalized vows is an intimate and powerful way to stay present during the ceremony. Share your promises and commitments to each other in your own words, reflecting the unique journey you’ve takenas a couple. These vows become a genuine expression of your love and provide a timeless snapshot of your relationship. As an elopement photographer, capturing the raw emotions that surface during these personal exchanges is a privilege and a joy.


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8. Connect with Nature

Nature has an inherent ability to ground us in the present moment. Whether you choose to exchange vows in a secluded forest, on a windswept beach, or beneath a mountain peak, being surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors can enhance the significance of the day. The natural elements become witnesses to your love story, and as an elopement photographer, I’ve seen how these settings create a backdrop that is not only breathtaking but also deeply meaningful.


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9. Include a Post-Ceremony Activity

After the ceremony, consider incorporating a post-ceremony activity that allows you both to unwind and savor the moment. A hike to a scenic viewpoint, a quiet picnic as the sun sets, or a leisurely stroll through a picturesque location — these activities provide an opportunity to reflect on the day and celebrate the beginning of your new chapter.


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10. Remember to Breathe

Throughout the day, amidst the whirlwind of emotions and events, take intentional moments to breathe. Pause, inhale deeply, and exhale. Let the significance of the day wash over you. As an elopement photographer and yogi!, I’ve observed how these simple breaths become anchors, allowing couples to stay present and fully absorb the beauty of their wedding day and each other.


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Weaving these unique elements into your wedding day can transform it into a celebration that is deeply resonant with meaning and connection. As an elopement photographer, my goal is to capture these moments — the laughter, the tears, the smiles — and freeze them in time so that you can reconnect with the magic of your wedding day for years to come. By staying present and embracing these unique ideas, you’ll not only capture these beautiful memories in pictures, but also in your hearts.


Ready to book your adventure elopement or small wedding in Alaska, Oregon, Hawaii, or anywhere else in the world?! Contact me today and let’s start planning!


I love this so much!!! And such great reminders for really making the most of the experience, being in the moment and for that age-old question – what will we be doing for X number of hours? This! Yes!! Beautiful photos also. 🙂

I love this so much! Wedding days go by so fast and can honestly be such a blur so these are definitely great ways to make the day slow down and actually take in the moments!

I did so many of these for my elopement such great suggestions, I really suggest that people write their own vows too and I love a slow morning with coffee and getting ready together! Great post!

A unique take on wedding day tips. And such an important one and often overlooked. I agree that staying present on your wedding day is such an important aspect and these ideas really give couples good ideas of ways to make sure they do!

This is such a unique list to share, and very helpful with those who feel it goes by in a flash. Great ideas, Naomi!

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