August 19, 2022

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Annie Louise is a photographer and storyteller of life, love, and adventures. She specializes in elopements and micro-weddings. She resides in San Diego County, but can be found adventuring all around the USA searching for stories destined to be told.

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Planning Your Elopement

A bride and groom on their elopement day at Big Bear California in a forest of large pine trees

Top 5 Things To Consider When Planning Your Elopement

Are you recently engaged and starting to think about planning your elopement but have no idea where to start? There’s a good chance this blog will help you get started! Keep reading to learn about 5 things you should consider when planning your elopement.

1. Permits

When planning your elopement, always consider needing park permits

Oooof.  Permits.  Often this is the last thing you’re thinking about when you want to have a secluded, intimate elopement on a mountainside or amidst the tall redwoods. Most National and State Parks require permits for any commercial activity – and by commercial activity I mean having a photographer and an officiant conducting business for pay. Most permits for elopements require you to have your paperwork submitted no later than three weeks before your big day.  To find out if you need a permit, visit the state park or national park website to get more details.  Or you can give them a call. Personally, I like to call and talk to a park ranger just to make sure I’m receiving the right information and going about the process correctly.

Another thing to consider is how many guests the park allows for your permit.  This should be pretty clearly noted on the permit application, but it’s always good to confirm this information with a park ranger or from information gathered on their website.

2. Weather

Planning around the weather on your elopement day

When searching great places to elope, it may sound super obvious and simple, but my number one recommendation is to make sure you research what the weather typically is like during the month you want to elope.  For instance, winter months in Hawaii often bring LOTS of sporadic rain, monsoons, and mudslides that often lead to last minute changes.  The desert in Southern California + Arizona gets SUPER hot in the summertime (115 degrees in not unusual).  Winter months in Northern California areas like Lake Tahoe, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Mammoth Lake, and Big Bear tend to bring lots of snow resulting in possible road closures. If you’re one to play it safe, be sure you’ve got a good idea of what to expect! Your photographer (aka ME) will help you out with choosing the best location for your elopement!

3. Altitude

Always consider altitude adjustment when planning your elopement

Depending on where you are from and where you are wanting to elope, altitude may or may not get the best of you.  For those of you who have lived at sea level your whole life, traveling up 7000 feet, and hiking up another 1500 or so may hit you harder than you think.  If you tend to get altitude sickness, consider driving to your elopement destination a couple days before to adjust.  Also be aware that altitude sickness doesn’t just happen on the way up…it can happen on the way down has well. Reverse altitude sickness is a thing! Be sure to let your photographer (aka ME) know if you get altitude sickness so that they can plan for more time if you are hiking to a destination.

Here’s a helpful article to help you cope with altitude sickness.

For all of you mountain dwellers…sorry you just had to read that lol.

4. Officiant

Yes or No to having an officiant on your elopement day?

One of the most popular questions I get – Do we need an officiant? Is it weird to not have an officiant?

No, it’s not weird at all! It’s totally normal to not have an officiant present during your elopement. However, this is more so the case if you are wanting to have an adventure elopement where you will be hiking to your destination to have an intimate moment reading your vows to each other.  If you choose to not have an officiant present, just be sure to take care of the legal marriage paperwork before or after!

5. Elopement Dress + Attire

What kind of dress is best to wear on your elopement day

Elopement dress shopping can get a little overwhelming with all the options out there these days! The big question is what type of dress is best for an elopement?

My number one recommendation here is to keep it light and watch out for fabrics that easily snag! Although I absolutely LOVE beaded and sequined wedding dresses, they aren’t very practical if you intend to be doing a lot of walking and hiking to your elopement destination.  Lighter is always better. Choose fabrics that don’t easily leave bold water stains, such as silk.  Look for dresses that are made up of a more forgiving fabric like polyester, lace, chiffon, and tulle.


Another obvious but very necessary tip is to make sure your elopement dress is comfortable! This kind of goes along with keeping it light.  But you also don’t want to be constantly tugging at the straps, pulling it up, making sure your girls aren’t flying out, tripping on it while hiking, etc.  

Comfort always wins!

Let’s Wrap It Up…

There’s lots of things to consider when you are planning your elopement. These top 5 tips to consider when you are eloping is a great place to start! If you are recently engaged and interested in eloping, I would love to chat more about how I can help you out along your journey! Contact me here to learn more about my elopement photography services.

Xoxo – annie louise

August 19, 2022

Written By:

Annie Louise is a photographer and storyteller of life, love, and adventures. She specializes in elopements and micro-weddings. She resides in San Diego County, but can be found adventuring all around the USA searching for stories destined to be told.

SHARE TO:

PINTEREST

Facebook

Twitter

ANNIE LOUISE

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