It's freezing. You both have on your favorite jackets. You in that red down feather one they bought for you on your first winter trip to Canada together. Smiling as you reminisce that all you had was a hoodie, thinking it was enough. "Not today little rock," you mumble under your breath as you walk past that stupid rock you always hit on that last half mile of the trail. Today your extra vigilant, rather a little more nervous than usual. Your bag is a is heavier and bulkier than you're used to. You know in about 15 minutes you'll becoming to the end of the trail. You'll change into your wedding dress you bought at a vintage store that you've been eyeballing months. Hugging your jacket a little tight, you push on a little harder, thinking of all the things that brought you and your partner to that very spot so many years ago.
Every elopement is unique, by unique, we mean it. When it comes to the outdoors, Mother Nature is in charge. It's crucial to understand that during certain types of year, some locations may be less accessible than others.
For example, until the later parts of the summer, higher altitude lakes and mountains may still be inaccessible unless climbing equipment and snow equipment are utilized. Early spring brings lots and lots of cold rain and cloudy days to the Oregon Coast. Even early summer can be extra hot in the California and parts of Nevada.
Have a place that's on your list? We have experience in multiple regions, ranging from the PNW, all the way down to the Big Island of Hawai'i.
With a location in mind, you'll want to think of a few key things.
+ Is this a place that requires a permit?
+ How many people can I bring along, does the area allow for more than 2 people?
+ Do they allow for an archway or props? Can I have love flowers or fake ones?
+ Do I need to stay at a hotel or can I stay at a cool airbnb? Is the place I stay determine on the location I pick?
Lot's of questions, and that's ok! This is where we come in with our questionnaires so we can narrow down to the perfect location(s) and follow-up with the most up-to-date answers.
Eloping is thought to be a trend for only adventurous couples or those who want to run away and have a small intimate ceremony between two partners. While the trend might be true, what's awesome is eloping can be for anyone. To put it simple terms, eloping are for those who want to for-go the large weddings and traditional ceremonies and create a more intimate, authentic experience, whether that is hiking to a mountain at 4 a.m. or eloping at the courthouse!
We consider an adventure elopement to be one that is outdoors, away from the city. This usually consists of early morning hikes to mountain tops, or sun set sessions on a beach somewhere! Urban is usually within the city limits, whether in a courthouse or city arboretum. Intimate weddings are when a couple elopes and a few of their entourage, join them on their special day, usually 3-15 people. So go ahead and book that trip to Vegas and get married by Elvis, or that cute beach you met three summers ago, your wedding day is your wedding day, no label needed!
The hard part (also the most fun) is finding the perfect place TO elope! Gah, ok, so like where to begin? When we consult with our clients, we usually have them write down their TOP 5 places they can imagine themselves on their wedding day. Some brainstorming tips, start big and work your way down to more specific places (or leave that to us! We can help narrow down places)
Desire a beach wedding? Some questions could be East Coast? West Coast? International? Do you prefer warm + sunny, or do you want that Pacific Northwest moody look?
Mountains? How about hiking a volcano in Washington? Not much of a hiker, are there any mountains with easy access to epic views? You bet!
Live in the city, parking garages and arboretums make excellent backdrops and fun places for your elopement photos + film!
You've both decided that a top of a mountain at a fire lookout or an Oregon Coast secluded beach is the place. Our expertise not only ranges from photographers and filmmakers, but also assisting with planning, vendors recommendations, and your overall guide during your elopement day. Did we also mention we are ordained ministers through the Universal Life Church, add officiant to the list! Our job is to ease the planning of an elopement, while capturing and creating a unique experience on your wedding day.
Once you and your partner have a decided on a location (can be as general or specific) we get to work by
Gathering location data, this may include access during certain periods of the year
Permits required (Most National Parks and Nation Forests require not only film permits, but also wedding permits
Elopement planning guide to PNW Elopement clients
Marriage license requirements
Leave no trace
Customized location and planning
It’s your elopement day – who you invite is entirely up to you!
At PNW Elopement, to keep our elopement experiences as intimate as possible, we don't generally photograph any elopements over 10 people, most keep it between 2-10 people all together.
Plenty of elopement spots are easily accessible, so if bringing a family member or two, or three, there are definitely ways for your loved ones (even your dog) to experience your day with you! Plus, some states require witnesses during your ceremony, why not include them!
The short answer- pretty much anything you can think of (plus the legal stuff!) You can decide to have vows only, or have an officiant (we totally can officiate) tell a beautiful love story that you craft together. It can be as customized as possible to be as authentic and intimate as you both want!
Depending on the state where your elopement is taking place, will determine if you need an officiant or not! The act of marrying each other with no witnesses is called Self-Solemnization, and several states recognize this!
Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. allow the marrying of couples by themselves. You still need to fill out required paperwork for the state, but that totally means you can also have your dog sign as a witness!
B.S.U -> A.S.D Before sun up, after sun down. In a nutshell, an all day elopement can consist of a morning elopement ceremony, a day full of activities, with a sunset adventure session. Our couples sometimes opt for a sunset session, allowing our couples to enjoy spending time with their family and friends, or just themselves!
We here at PNW Elopement take our couples ideal elopement day and curate a timeline that allows for optimizing your day.
Leave No Trace is a set of ethics that everyone
who recreationally uses the outdoors should
strive to practice in order to do their part in
protecting the environment. It is made up of 7
principles that guide decisions to leave the least
amount of impact possible on outside spaces:
• Plan Ahead and Prepare • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces • Dispose of Waste Properly • Leave What You Find • Minimize Campfire Impacts • Respect Wildlife • Be Considerate of other Visitors
To best follow Leave No Trace, you should do research beforehand so that you can make a plan to stick to trails and other durable surfaces, be ready to leave everything you find and pack out everything that you bring in, and be prepared in case you encounter any local wildlife. Following the Leave No Trace ethics helps preserve outdoor spaces and our access to them by making sure that we use them sustainability and responsibly–so that you can return to whatever location you choose to have a vow renewal or anniversary session and still have it be as pristine as the day that you got married.
We have all of our clients fill out a contact form with the basics of name, date of elopement, locations(s), number of people, and if you are looking for photo, video or both.
This allows us to provide prompt communication if we are booked for your desired date(s) and what locations may be accessible during specific times of year.
We also will send samples of additional wedding galleries and wedding films to see the complete flows of the day.
We can't wait to here from you! Send us a message to day and let's start planning your wedding or elopement!