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If you’re looking to plan an elopement instead of a traditional wedding, then chances are, you’re looking for those touches that will add something different to the celebration. Moments that are one-of-a-kind, and speak to the kind of love and journey you share with your partner. But with the world at your fingertips, narrowing down all the possibilities is daunting. In this guide, I’m going to give you some unique elopement ideas to make your day truly yours. We’ll go over some of my favorite elopement activities, vendor recommendations, and finally some details to consider to pull it all together!
Special Activities (and the Vendors I Love!)
The cool thing about elopements is that any idea you come up with is catered specifically to your interests, energy, and relationship with your partner. I know that lots of elopements you see online while searching for inspiration are epic adventures — and these are amazing, exciting, and so much fun! But, if this isn’t something that matches your speed, you can also give yourself a laid-back, relaxed elopement with some slower-paced things to do.
I recommend a mix of both if you’re looking for something epic — give yourself the adventure you crave, and then follow it with some slowed-down time to soak in the experience with your new spouse.
Elopement Ideas For the Adventurers
- Hot air balloon rides: if you’re afraid of heights, maybe skip this one. But, if you’re down for it, you could even exchange your vows in the air!!
- Helicopter ride:
- Off-roading: Get a true taste of the wilderness, and satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you with some off-roading!
- Adventure Rentals in Seattle can get you started.
- Tattoo artist: Matching or coordinating tattoos with your love are so cute! Reach out to your favorite artist to have them tattoo you both on your elopement day.
- Rent a fancy car: Eloping is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you deserve to treat yourselves! Look for specialized car rental services near you or find one on Turo.
- Ride motorbikes/motorcycles/bicycles: Whether you choose to ride through forest, desert, or mountains, taking a driving/riding tour around to explore and adventure together would be a blast.
- Skydive: What cooler way to get your hearts pumping on your elopement day??
- Horseback riding: There are actually lots of beautiful trails to ride a horse down in Seattle!
- Seattle: Equine Escapes is conveniently located and is a great experience!
- Skating: whether you decide to rollerblade in the outdoors, or visit a retro roller rink, there’s just something about skates that brings a smile to your face!
- Snowshoe, ski, or snowboard: For my winter sports lovers, there’s no better way to elope than to spend some time out in the snow. And you can get cozy by the fire afterward!
- Sledding/mushing: If you love Leavenworth and plan to elope there, you can take a dog sledding trip! Northwest Dogsled Adventures will take you on a 1-2 hour ride through the trees!
- Swim: You don’t have to take a dive in your elopement clothes, but on a really warm summer day, you might be tempted! Cute bathing suits (or your birthday suits!) are also totally allowed.
- Kayak/canoe/paddleboard: There’s nothing quite like the peace and quiet of being out on the water. This is another place I might even recommend exchanging vows!
- Stargazing: At the end of a big day is the perfect time to cuddle up with your partner and take in the stars.
Elopement Ideas to Savor the Moment
- Hire a private chef: After the ceremony, nothing is better than that first meal with your new spouse! Why not make it a step above another ordinary dinner?
- Go on a fancy picnic: You don’t have to be eloping anywhere “epic” to sit down with your love after exchanging vows. Share a bottle of wine (or something else!), eat some good bread, and soak it all in.
- Get cocktails at your favorite bar (or make your own!): if you’re eloping close to home, I love elopement ideas that incorporate a walk down memory lane for you and your partner. Visiting your favorite spots is a beautiful way to celebrate.
- Drive-in milkshakes: Not everyone is down for a super fancy meal! And, honestly, a good milkshake and burger after a day full of excitement really hits the spot.
- Blow glass: In Washington, the Seattle Glassblowing Studio is a great place to create a cool piece of art with your new spouse!
- Paint together: Another activity that could give you a tangible memento of your elopement day; check out Brushcapades and CANVAS.
- Cook together or bake your own desserts: Settling in for a meal you’ve prepared together is such a comforting, grounding experience. Try shaking it up and making something you don’t cook everyday to make it special!
- Plant a tree: I love the idea of your love lasting longer than your lives will. Planting a tree together is just one way to see that eternal connection last a little longer. This can be a native species in your backyard or even a bonsai tree to carry with you throughout your lives!
- Wine tasting: Does this even need an explanation? Go get your sommelier on and sip some red/white/orange/rosé all day.
- Washington: There are over 100 wineries in the Seattle area, some just a short drive away. Browse through the best ones here.
- Smoke a joint/puff cigars: If this is already something you enjoy together, it’s a great way to savor some quality time on your elopement day!
- See more 4/20 elopement ideas here
Low Cost Elopement Ideas
- Read letters from friends and family
- Have a first dance together
- Ask a friend to officiate your ceremony
- Write letters to each other to open on your anniversary next year
- Play with your dog
- Watch the sunset together at a scenic viewpoint or on a rooftop
- Go stargazing
Detail Inspiration for a Personal Touch
A personal touch can make any event more special. And when you’re already planning a celebration that’s personal and unique, you deserve to throw some flair into the decor! Here are some ideas to inspire your details:
- Ring box: These can be luxurious, affordable, on-theme…. I usually bring some to photograph your rings with but it’s also a great idea for you to have one on hand in your wedding colors!
- Elopement announcements: Announcement cards sent out to all your loved ones is one of my favorite things to include in an elopement. Not everyone is going to be present when you elope, but they still want to feel included. And you want to include them! Sending a special announcement card is the perfect way to do this.
- Polaroids: I know you’re already planning to have a photographer capture your whole elopement day! But there’s something about taking polaroids of each other throughout your elopement experience that makes the memories sweeter.
- “We Eloped” sign: This is a cute detail to incorporate in your portraits, and one that can live on after the experience is over! You can save it as a keepsake to hang in your first home together, a memento of your marriage day.
- Painted vinyl: You don’t have to be a music buff to include a painted record at your elopement. You can turn it into your “we eloped” sign, or paint it with something else meaningful to your relationship.
- I recommend The Veronica Scripts; Breidi painted a record for my own elopement!
- Personalized camp mugs: Double duty as a functional souvenir– bring it along on the adventure to toast champagne out of!
- Custom candles: This one is a bit extra, but I love it so much. Hand-painted taper candles add a fancy touch to any meal!
- I love these ones on Etsy by May20candles
- Custom cookies: Absolutely one of my favorite ideas!
- Map: This is especially great if you’re going on a big adventure for your elopement. Having a physical map of your elopement location, and saving it as a keepsake later, is a cute touch!
- Boots: Another great inclusion if you’re going somewhere more rugged! Practical, and adorable. There’s nothing quite as exciting and funky as formal elopement attire with your hiking boots.
- Heirlooms: This is a great way to include a sentimental touch in order to honor your family, or other loved ones that aren’t present. This can be a photo of someone you’ve lost pinned to your bouquet
Did these unique elopement ideas inspire you to create a celebration that feels more true to you? I can’t wait to hear all about it — I would be honored to serve as your elopement photographer and guide. You can reach out to me here to get started.