You’ve decided to elope, chosen an amazing location, found the perfect attire, and applied for your marriage license. The big day is almost here! But you may be wondering, what should I pack? Not to worry! I’m here to help ensure you have everything you need for your elopement day!
P.S. If you just need a simple elopement packing checklist, jump to the end of this post for a checklist of everything you should pack for your special day.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
When it comes to adventure elopements, a pair of sturdy hiking shoes or boots are a must. Even if you’re doing a short hike or just hopping out of the car, elopements typically involve some combination of walking on uneven ground or slippery surfaces, climbing, and rock scrambling. For this, you definitely want a well-fitting pair of hiking shoes with good traction. Trust me, doing this in high heels or dress shoes with smooth soles (for the men) will not be fun 🙂 You can always change your shoes for the ceremony or pictures if you want to!
To carry all the things you might need including water, snacks, your dress, flowers—whatever you may be bringing along with you! A good, lightweight hiking backpack is another must-have!
If you’re planning on a sunrise or sunset elopement, headlamps are not something you’ll want to forget. They’re definitely a necessity when it comes to hiking in the pitch-black morning to get to your ceremony location for sunrise, or when you’re hiking back to your car after you’ve enjoyed the most epic sunset. Headlamps allow you to easily see where you’re going while keeping things hands-free!
No matter where you’re eloping, you never know what the weather will bring that day, especially in Oregon and Hawaii where the weather can be unpredictable at times. But don’t worry, rain on your elopement day is nothing to fear! Why? Not only does it make for some epic elopement photos, but it’s a reminder to embrace what life brings your way. I think it’s really important to go with the flow and dance in the rain if that’s what is happening. You just have to roll with the punches and have fun! At the end of the day, whether it rains or not, you’re still marrying your person in the most amazing and authentic way.
If you’re eloping during a colder time of year or in an area that experiences cooler weather, a warm jacket is a must. You’ll be way more comfortable! Puffer jackets are a great choice! Not only will they keep you incredibly warm, but they’re also lightweight, easy to roll up and pack away, and won’t take up a lot of room.
For shorter elopement hikes, you should have no problem wearing your dress. If you decide you want to do a longer elopement hike, you may want to consider packing your dress in a backpack and rolling it up to best avoid wrinkles. And don’t forget to wrap it in a garment back to ensure it stays clean! If you’re still undecided on what kind of dress you want to wear, I highly suggest something free and flowy! These types of dresses make for the most beautiful photos. Just imagine your dress flowing in the wind on the edge of an oceanside cliff or mountain peak. Also, if you can, choose a dress that’s lightweight with not a ton of heavy or bulky fabric. It will be easier to carry and adventure around in! You’ll be moving around a lot and you don’t want to feel weighed down by your dress. At the end of the day, pick the dress you feel yourself in and one you love!
For the guys, a nice fitting suit is perfect for your adventure elopement. Depending on the season, you may want to either avoid a heavier fabric, opting for something lighter, or you might want it for added warmth. Just make sure you’re able to easily move around in your suit. Think tailored, but nothing too tight! You don’t want to be uncomfortable. Don’t forget accessories like a belt, cufflinks, a tie or bowtie, suspenders, and anything else you might need to complete your look.
Aside from your wedding rings, don’t forget to pack any jewelry you want to wear for your elopement—earrings, a necklace, bracelet, or maybe a special family heirloom. I definitely recommend wearing these before you head out so you’re less likely to misplace anything.
If you’re planning to wear your hiking shoes the entire day, then you’ve already got this covered! If not, don’t forget to bring along an extra pair of shoes to change into at your ceremony location. These can be heels, converse, cowboy boots—whatever your heart desires. You do you! For the guys, don’t forget to bring a pair of dress shoes if you don’t want hiking shoes in all your pictures! Ladies can usually get away with whatever. One of the perks of wearing a wedding dress 🙂
If you’re wearing a veil, bridal cape, or any fun flowy accessory with your wedding dress, don’t forget to bring it along. For veils, bridal capes, and anything that might wrinkle easily, I suggest wrapping it in a garment bag and hanging it from your backpack.
For the Ceremony
If you’ve chosen to write personal vows, I highly recommend writing your vows down on a piece of paper or in a vow book. There are so many amazing options for vow books on Etsy. Written vows are so much more beautiful than reading off your phone.
Marriage License (and a pen!)
This is a must-have! After all, you want to make sure your elopement is legal! Once you say your “I dos,” you’ll need to sign your marriage license along with your officiant and two witnesses, so you’ll want to be sure to pack a pen too!
You definitely don’t want to forget these! Before you head out to your ceremony, be sure you have your rings packed away. Keep them safe and secure in a ring box so they don’t get lost in your backpack or accidentally fall out of your pocket.
Although flowers aren’t necessary for an elopement (after all you’ll already be surrounded by the beauty of nature!), that doesn’t mean you can’t have them! It’s hard not to love a beautiful wedding bouquet or flower crown. If you’ll have flowers—whether it be a bouquet, boutonniere, or both—definitely bring along your backpack so you don’t have to carry them around the entire day. Bonus tip: Wrap the stems in a wet towel to keep them looking fresh all day!
If you’re planning to incorporate something sentimental like reading letters from loved ones or a handfasting ceremony, you’ll want to be sure to bring along any items you might need. See what other unique ideas you can incorporate on your elopement day!
Bringing along a blanket is a good idea for a few reasons. One, it’s a great way to keep warm while hiking to and from your ceremony location or in between taking pictures. Two, if you won’t be hiking in your wedding attire and need to change once you reach your ceremony location, it makes for a perfect makeshift changing room. Lastly, if you’re planning a picnic or just want a break from standing, you’ll definitely want to bring a blanket with you so you don’t have to sit on bare ground.
You may have already packed a rain jacket in case of less than ideal weather, but an umbrella is always a great option too. If you’re worried about the potential for rain on your elopement day, umbrellas are the perfect prop for epic rainy photos. I especially love the clear ones and bring along a couple of these to all of my elopements!
Quick Dry Towel
Speaking of rain, a quick dry towel is another great item to have on hand in case of wet weather. These towels are super lightweight, compact, great at soaking up water, and of course, dry quickly!
It’s never a bad idea to have a toiletry bag on hand with all your just-in-case items. A few things you might want to include: makeup (for touch-ups while you’re on the go), a compact mirror, tissues, wrinkle spray, bug spray, sunscreen, extra hair pins, deodorant, first aid items, hairspray, a brush, and anything else you might want to carry with you.
If you’re planning to elope in a national or state park and have a park pass, don’t forget to pack it! Did you know the America the Beautiful annual park pass not only gets you into national parks but national forests and other parks too?! If you live in Oregon, you can also get 12 month day use parking pass that gets you into all Oregon state parks!
Food & Drinks
It’s always important to stay hydrated! Water is a must especially if you’re going on a lengthy or strenuous hike to get to your elopement destination. Whether it’s a water bottle or a hydration pack, be sure to pack this in your backpack.
Whether you’re taking a short walk or a miles-long hike, having a snack to keep you well-fueled is always a good idea. We definitely don’t want any hangry bride or groom, and we certainly don’t want someone to get lightheaded or pass out from lack of substance. Chances are, even if you aren’t doing a long hike, you’ll be spending anywhere from a few to several hours walking around and exploring. You’re bound to need a snack to keep your energy level up. Snacks like trail mix, protein bars, and beef jerky are all good choices! You may even opt to go all out with a picnic basket or charcuterie board to enjoy post-ceremony.
What’s better than popping a bottle of champagne after you officially become a married couple?! It’s time to celebrate! If you choose me as your photographer, you can leave this off your list. I always bring a bottle of bubbly along for my couples. Not big on alcohol? No problem, I’ll bring along your favorite beverage, whatever it may be!
Leave No Trace
We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful world, and even more fortunate, to get to marry our best friends in some of the most beautiful places on this earth. But with that, comes responsibility. We owe it to these places to take care of it and ensure it stays beautiful for many years to come. No matter what you decide to pack for your elopement, just remember to follow Leave No Trace principles. If you pack it in, pack it out.
Adventure Elopement Packing List
- Hiking shoes or boots
- Hiking socks
- Lightweight backpack
- Rain jacket
- Warm jacket
- Wedding dress
- Wedding shoes
For the Ceremony
- Marriage license
- Wedding rings
- Ring box
- Sentimental items
- Quick Dry Towel
- Park Pass
- First Aid Kit
Food & Drinks
And there you have it! Everything you need to pack for your adventure elopement, except you might be missing one thing, a photographer! If you’re still looking for an elopement photographer in Oregon, Hawaii, or beyond to capture your special day, I’d love to hear from you.