There are a ton of factors that will affect your elopement day, but picking your location is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle that will determine the experience of your elopement day.
Your location should feel right for you—it should be somewhere you feel overwhelmingly happy, somewhere you feel absolutely alive, somewhere you know you and your partner can focus on each other and truly be in the moment.
Scenery & Views
What type of scenery do you and your partner feel connected to? What views fill you with a sense of happiness, inspiration, and peace? Where would feel the most “you” to say your vows? Remember back to your brainstorming stage of the process and what you two determined about your vision for your day. What scenery would fulfil that experience that you’re dreaming of?
Seasons & Weather
Some types of scenery and landscapes really shine at certain times of year—so consider the season you’ve chosen to elope, and what types of scenery are best at that time of year. If you’re getting married in the spring, waterfalls tend to be flowing there best, there’s usually a lot of snow at high altitudes, and the desert can be quite pleasant. If you’re eloping in the middle of summer, you could go somewhere with blooming wildflowers and high-elevations are more accessible. If you’re eloping in the fall, consider where the best fall colors may be.
How accessible your location is will greatly affect your elopement-day experience. What types of transportation are you and any potential guests willing to take to get to your spot? A long car ride? A bumpy 4×4 road? A bush plane, float plane, helicopter, gondola, or ferry? Are you (and any potential guests) excited about hiking to a location? Make sure you deeply consider what experience would be the most fun, relaxing and totally “you.” How accessible you want your spot to be can help you narrow down your location options. Also keep in mind any other guests that might be attending and their capacity to travel or hike.
In a perfect world—your elopement location would ideally have world-class postcard scenery, super easy accessibility, and total seclusion—but most of the time you usually have to prioritize two out of those three. Some locations that are easier to access usually have less privacy because of it. The general rule of thumb (although not a set rule) is that the further you are willing to travel, the more secluded your spot will probably be—so ask yourself how many people you would be comfortable having around or how much privacy you would be willing to give up for a Instagram-trending view. You can also find great seclusion at “hidden gem” locations that are just as gorgeous as the Instagram trendy spots—just less well known. Eloping at sunrise is another way to get more privacy at a typically busy spot.
Be intentional about the place you decide on and the significance it has to you now or could have to you in the future. Maybe it is a favorite place to travel to with your partner, a place you’ve always wanted to go, or a place that you could travel back to every year to celebrate your anniversary.
Experience & Activities
Beyond saying your vows and taking portraits, what else do you want to do on your elopement day (or weekend or longer)? Whether you want to relax in a hammock between the trees, take a helicopter or float plane ride, go sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, skiing, paragliding, wine tasting, or stargazing—some locations will lend themselves better to certain activities. When you are planning these activities as a part of your day and your overall trip, keep in mind realistically how long they will take and how long it might take to get from one to the next (with a buffer just in case)! If you have your heart set on a particular activity—this could help you narrow down where you choose to elope.
Do you want others to be involved in your elopement or just you and your partner? If you do opt to invite guests, be intentional with how many people you invite, aware of any accessibility or travel needs, and decide on how much of the day they will be involved in. Figuring out the number of guests involved is an important component of choosing a location since some locations have very specific limits on the number of guests that can be in attendance—but don’t be discouraged because there are gorgeous places out there that can accommodate more guests! Just be certain that you are setting realistic expectations with any guests in attendance about how much traveling is involved and how much they are going to be involved with your elopement day.