Elopement Planning

How to Hike with Your Wedding Attire

Your elopement day is going to be an amazing experience for you and your partner! You’ll experience an array of emotions like excitement, nervousness, and sheer joy. But there are a few logistics involved that are different than traditional wedding planning. One such hurdle, is packing up your attire for a hike.

One of the most common questions I receive from my eloping couples is: how do we carry our wedding clothes during our hike? Trust me, it’s easier than you think!

Let me share the secret to packing your wedding attire like a pro, so it arrives safely and ready to wear for your mountaintop elopement. 

Choose the Right Packing Materials

To ensure that your wedding attire stays safe and secure during the hike, it’s super important to choose the right packing materials. 

If your attire came in a protective garment bag, keep it packed in that for your elopement. If it didn’t, make sure to purchase one. Look for one with some level of protection from the elements and will close securely to keep your garments safe.

If you’re planning to pack your wedding attire for a mountaintop elopement, you have three main options for actually carrying it along the trail. Each option has their own pros and cons, so it’s up to you in deciding which is the best resolution.

Option One: Attach Your Clothes to Your Hiking Backpack

Attaching your dress to the outside of your hiking backpack is a perfect option if it’s too large to fit inside your daypack.

To do this, start by packing your clothes into its original garment bag with the hanger sticking out the top. Then, either fold in half or roll up – still with the hanger accessible. This will keep the clothing safe from dragging on the ground and collecting any dirt during the journey. It’s also less likely to wrinkle, get rained on, or become damaged if it’s in the garment bag.

Next, attach the folded/rolled garment bag to the outside of your backpack, with the hanger looped into your backpack top loop. Then, wrap the two bungee cords around the backpack (between the back of the pack + your back) and around the attached garment bag.

Again, this option is great for shorter hikes or for dresses with fuller skirts that may not fit well inside a backpack. If you’re looking for a more compact option, folding your clothes into your hiking backpack may be the way to go.

Option Two: Fold the Dress into Your Hiking Backpack

If you prefer to have your wedding attire safely tucked into your hiking pack, rolling it is a great option – as long as it’s small enough to fit inside. Voluminous skirts/dresses may not be able to be rolled, so this may be something to take into consideration when you’re dress shopping for your elopement.

If you want to reduce wrinkles, I suggest rolling your dress around a rolled towel or blanket. This way you’re not crushing either the top or bottom of the dress, but it still can be rolled and keep a relatively tight rolled shape. Carefully place the rolled dress into an unscented garbage bag, plastic bag, or dry bag, and then directly into your hiking backpack.

Remember that this will likely mean you need to place essential hiking items in your partner’s pack. But with a little bit of planning ahead, this is a super simple and common option for getting your wedding clothes to the top of a mountain.

When you get to the top, simply pop open a portable changing tent and change into your wedding clothes with an epic view.

Option Three: Hike in Your Wedding Attire

If your hike isn’t too long, or too strenuous, hiking in your wedding attire may be an option! This option allows you the freedom of packing a few extras in your pack (like a picnic setup!), while getting some amazing photographs of you and your partner in nature together on the hike.

This option only really works when the hike itself is on the easier side (e.g. no rock scrambling, or steep elevation gains) and it allows for a more relaxed pace to your ceremony locaition. A lot of couples find themselves super excited to reach the summit and tend to hike faster than they normally would. Wearing your wedding attire may force you to slow down and really enjoy what nature has to offer.

If you’re wearing a dress, I strongly suggest investing in some flesh colored leggings or tights! This will help keep you warm (if hiking during cooler months), and give you a bit of protection in case of a slip or fall.

How to Hike in your Wedding Attire

This is honestly the most common choice that my couples opt for when including a hike in their elopement day experience.

When it comes to weddings, some couples get caught up in the stress of keeping everything spotless. But for many of my couples, they choose to fully embrace the experience, letting the day unfold without worrying about dirt and grime. And in the end, it’s the imperfections that often tell the most beautiful story. Imagine the delicate lace of your train accented with little pawprints, a stunning ombre effect created by the desert dirt, or ocean spray clinging to the hem of your dress. These unique touches are a testament to the adventures you’ve experienced on your special day.

But if you’re not too keen on getting your wedding dress dirty but still want to wear your wedding dress for the hike, something like a Bridal Buddy can potentially help you! It’s easy to “install” and makes it relatively easy to let down the skirt of your dress for any photo-ops along your hike.

Have a “hiking outfit” for your elopement

Some couples choose to have a dedicated wedding outfit for the adventure part of their day, much like a reception dress for a traditional wedding. This is a great option if your dream wedding dress or outfit isn’t something that you want to hike in, but you still want to fit in a full adventure in your wedding clothes. You get to have fun in two different outfits (or more if you’d like!) for your wedding day. This option is great for couples who want to do something crazy on their day like jump in the ocean, dance in the rain, or 4×4 through the mud, but want to be clean and dry later on in the day.

Remember to Pack Layers

If you’re an avid hiker, this is a no-brainer. But if you’re hiking and you’re not someone who hikes regularly, bringing along layers is absolute key. You’ll want to have things like a jacket/coat, gloves, hat, earmuffs, or full change of clothes to ensure maximum comfort. If you have me as your photog, I’ll send over a customized packing list of things you should have with you based on the time of year and location of your elopement.

Don’t forget about footwear

Hiking over loose rock, mud, or sand isn’t going to be fun or safe in six inch heels. Don’t buy a brand new pair of boots specifically for your elopement unless you plan on breaking them in prior to your elopement day. Be sure to pick something that matches your terrain and activity (consider things like grip, support, waterproof features, toe protection, etc.). If you have shoes that you would like to wear for pictures that aren’t suited for hiking, pack them along and wear a reliable pair of shoes for the more adventurous parts of your day.

Here are a few of my favorite hiking shoe/boot brands:
+ Danner || Women’s | Men’s (offers boots and trail runners)
+ Merrell || Women’s | Men’s (offers boots and trail runners)
+ Inkkas (camping boots)


Let's adventure