No matter what you’ve got planned for your elopement day - a trek through the backcountry, a kayaking trip, a scenic drive, a picnic by the lake - I can guarantee that you’ll be doing more adventuring, exploring, and moving around than you would at a traditional wedding. That means that any ol’ wedding attire won’t cut it for your elopement! Any elopement dress can be a wedding dress, but not all wedding dresses are elopement dresses - and the same goes for elopement suits, shoes, and anything else you’ll wear on the big day!
You’ll have some extra factors to think about when you tie the knot outdoors, like comfort, weather, and more - so this guide will help you figure out what to wear when you elope!
Things to Think About When Deciding What to Wear
Before you start shopping, it’s important to have a game plan - having a rough idea of what you’re looking for will help you narrow down your options! Here are some things to consider before you commit and decide on what to wear when you elope.
This is Your Wedding Day!
A small ceremony absolutely doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dress up and feel your best! While it’s totally okay if you’re feeling something a little more casual, don’t downplay the importance of this day. Choose something that you feel amazing in!
Unlike a traditional wedding venue, the great outdoors doesn’t have a thermostat! Make sure you know when and where you’re eloping, and what kind of weather you should be prepared for. Especially in higher elevation areas, where the weather can change quickly, it’s important to bring layers!
You definitely don’t want to spend your elopement day feeling uncomfortable, shivering or sweating all day, so make sure when you decide what to wear when you elope that you think about the weather.
What You’ll Do
Every elopement is different, so the attire that works for one may not work for another! Think about where you’re eloping, and what you have planned - is the vibe more casual, like a beach elopement? Or do you want something more formal? If you’re doing a lot of hiking, a heavy dress or a thick suit might make things more difficult, but if your elopement location is a little chilly, keeping warm with added layers would help!
If you’re shopping for an elopement dress, here are my tips for finding the right one!
Elopement Dress Styles
The biggest thing to think about with your dress and deciding what to wear when you elope is comfort! Pulling at your clothes or feeling like you can’t breathe all day is no fun, and it’s especially no fun when you’re getting married to the love of your life and all you can think about is how difficult it is to move.
Opt for elopement dresses with looser skirts - something that’s easy to move around in! Mermaid and trumpet styles aren’t ideal, and huge ball gowns can be pretty cumbersome. A-line, princess, and empire dresses are always a great choice - they’re comfy, and won’t get in the way of your elopement adventures!
Elopement Dress Fabrics
There are two huge considerations when it comes to the fabric of your elopement dress - weather and wrinklability.
For toasty weather or strenuous hikes, lighter fabrics will be helpful in keeping you cool. Batiste, organza, chiffon, and tulle are all examples of lightweight fabrics perfect for warmer elopements - they allow for much more airflow, and as an added bonus, a lightweight dress will be easier to pack if you're hiking. These fabrics also create a gorgeous “airy” look - think elegant, twirly skirts that you can hold up!
If the weather is colder, a heavier fabric will do wonders in keeping you warm. Moire, satin, velvet, and brocade are pretty heavy, making them ideal for winter elopements. These dresses typically aren’t as “flouncy,” which makes for a more elegant elopement look. For additional ways to stay warm, you can add base layers - thermal leggings under a dress can work wonders! Capes and shawls make for a regal way to keep warm, and denim or leather jackets are a stylish addition to an elopement outfit.
When you’re figuring out what to wear when you elope, think about the fabric and how easily it’ll wrinkle. This depends on what you’ve got planned too - if you want to hike and are packing your elopement dress with you, the wrinkle factor is more of a concern than if you’ll be wearing your dress all day. Keep in mind that it’s totally okay if your dress isn’t pristine and perfect - elopements are all about adventure, and nothing says adventure like a well-loved wedding dress!
Fabrics made from natural fibers have the advantage of being more breathable, but synthetic fabrics tend to wrinkle less. The best wrinkle-free fabric option is lace, but polyester, crepe, and tulle hold up well too!
Where to Get an Elopement Dress
You can head to any traditional wedding dress shop to find what to wear when you elope, but there are also some alternatives. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to eloping - and that includes your dress!
Don’t be afraid to branch out from the traditional white dress and check out some other options! You can often find some simple styles in the bridesmaid section, and if you’re going for something more casual, you can even look for mini-dresses at your favorite clothing store. Lulus has an incredible wedding dress selection that’s way more affordable than a traditional wedding shop, with different styles perfect for any elopement!
Whether it’s a casual jumpsuit or a three piece tuxedo, here are some tips for finding the perfect suit for your elopement!
Elopement Suit Colors
Suits give you an opportunity to get creative - there are so many fun color options out there! If you know where you’re tying the knot, choosing complementary colors for your elopement suit can really make your photos pop. If your elopement location features a lot of cool tones (like blue lakes or forest greens), a warm color for your suit - like maroon, yellow, red, or tan - will stand out well. And if your spot has warmer hues (like a red toned desert), a cooler color - navy, gray, or purple - for the suit will complement your backdrop. Don’t stress about coordinating with your landscape too much though, the best suit is one that you feel good in!
Elopement Suit Fabrics
Just like with an elopement dress, your suit fabric should work with the weather and work against wrinkles!
For the warmer months, linen and cotton are a few of the best fabrics you can choose. If you’re going with a jumpsuit, Lulu’s usually has a few lace ones that are guaranteed to keep you cool! If your elopement look is more casual, like a beach elopement, nice pants and a button up shirt can be enough.
Luckily, most suits lend themselves to layering! But if you elope when it’s colder, tweed, flannel, and herringbone are a few examples of thicker fabrics that will keep the frostbite away. You can also add base layers or an overcoat!
When it comes to wrinkles, think about what you’ll be doing on your elopement day. If you’ll be wearing the suit the entire time, this likely won’t be a concern. But if you pack your suit for a hike, wool and polyester wrinkle the least. Rolling your suit (as opposed to folding) can help too!
Where to Get Elopement Suits
The most important thing is that you’re comfortable! So when you get your suit, make sure you can easily walk, run, lift your arms, and move around without any Superman-like wardrobe malfunctions.
If it’s not something you’re likely to wear again, you may not want to break the bank - but make sure your suit is comfortable, the material is good quality, and that it fits well. Lulu’s is great for jumpsuits, and Bindle & Keep offers gender neutral suits!
This might be the most important part of deciding what to wear when you elope - because there’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable pair of shoes, and you definitely don’t want any blisters on your elopement day!
I definitely recommend avoiding heels to avoid any heel-in-the-dirt-ankle-injury disasters. Hiking boots are usually the best option if you’re doing a lot of hiking or a lot of walking around - and there’s something really badass about pairing wedding attire with hiking boots. If you aren’t planning on walking on too much rough terrain, any comfortable shoes will work - whether it’s your favorite pair of sandals or you get some new kicks for the occasion. Just make sure to break them in first! And hey, if shoes aren’t your thing, I’m all about running barefoot on the beach ;)