October 8, 2021
If you’re planning an all-day elopement, you might be trying to figure out what to fill up the time with! What do you do besides get ready, say your vows, and hang out with your loved ones? I’ve got 10 elopement ideas & fun activities for you to do on your elopement day, from adventurous outdoor activities to cozy ways to end the day.
Keep in mind that these ideas completely depend on where you’re eloping, the timeline of your day, and what’s most important to you. Choose activities that will make your elopement day feel like you, be the most special day ever, and help you make the most meaningful memories!
1. Go hiking/backpacking
This is an obvious one if you’ve looked through my website at all – I love nothing more than hiking in the outdoors, so I always have to recommend it to my couples!
Hiking doesn’t have to mean we go on a 3-hour hike to get to your ceremony spot. It can mean we go on a 1-mile hike to a beautiful lower location, or a 5-mile hike to get to your dream views. It’s completely up to you and your abilities, level of comfort, and how much you desire to exercise on your elopement day.
Keep in mind that you’ll be carrying your wedding attire, so you’ll have a bag or two to carry on this hike. Weather is also completely unpredictable (especially in the PNW). So only plan a hike if you’re down to be flexible & adapt to whatever we might get hit with.
I recently photographed a Backpacking Adventure Engagement Session at Mount Townsend for Kyrie & Austin, and it was one of the most epic sessions ever. We backpacked up to our camping site, stayed the night, then shot their engagement at sunrise. We can absolutely re-create that scenario for an elopement if you’re into backpacking!
Washington is full of incredible hiking opportunities, especially at Mount Rainier. Check out this guide I put together on the Best Places to Elope at Mount Rainier National Park for tons of location + hiking ideas!
2. Have a picnic
If you’re celebrating with an adventure elopement, it’s harder to hire a caterer for a fancy dinner like you would for a more traditional wedding.
So why not bring along a picnic on your elopement day?
Pack a bag with your favorite finger foods, sandwiches, a bottle of champagne, whatever you’re into. If you wanna get a little fancier with it, you can hire somebody to make you a beautiful charcuterie board, and eat it in your car or at a spot where you can sit down!
3. Go kayaking
If you’re eloping in the summer near a body of water, go kayaking! Kayaking is such a fun elopement day activity, because it gets you out in nature, doing something active, and lets you relax for a while. You could totally go kayaking at sunrise, then head off to your elopement location to say your vows – or vice versa!
4. Book a seaplane
I know this one seems a little random, but hear me out: I photographed a wedding recently on the coast. The bride’s dad legit hired a small airplane to land them on the beach for their arrival at the ceremony site. Is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever seen? Check out the epic photos here!
If you’re getting married on the WA or OR coast, hire a seaplane to get some amazing ocean views!
5. Go for a swim
If you’re near a waterfall or body of water on your elopement day, and it’s warm enough, go for a swim! Say your vows in front of a waterfall such as Marymere Falls, take off your wedding attire, and change into swimsuits to cool off. Nothing more fun than swimming in a beautiful location after promising forever to the love of your life, yeah?
6. Hit up local spots
An easy way to get to know the location of your elopement (whether you’re familiar with it, or you’ve never visited before) is to hit up local spots! Find local breweries, bars/pubs, restaurants, cafes, you name it. Go out for brunch in the morning, say your vows, take some epic photos, and head to a brewery to get your favorite pub food & drinks to celebrate.
It’s fun to find a spot that you can bring your guests to, as well! If you have a small enough guest list, reserve a table in advance. Or if you want to bring more people along, see if you can rent out the spot you’re interested in. Then, have the whole place to yourself!
7. Curate your dream menu
The best part about eloping is that you get to curate the entire day to be about you. So why not put together your dream food menu for the day?
Pick out all of your favorite foods & drinks, and plan out how you can make all of that happen.
- Make a homemade picnic to bring along with you
- Hire a food truck to privately cater you – whether it’s pizza, BBQ, sushi, snacks, etc.
- Hire a private chef to come to your Airbnb
- Find local restaurants to visit for the day’s meals
- Have your family/friends help cook meals at your Airbnb
- Hire a bar cart & bartender to bartend just for you
8. Sleep under the stars
Maybe you’d rather sleep under the stars than in an Airbnb, feeling that fresh air and being present out in nature. Go camping the night of your elopement or the night before, instead of sleeping in an Airbnb or hotel that night!
The PNW has a ton of beautiful spots to go camping, including Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. If you want to camp somewhere where you can have a bonfire, make sure to look into the campground’s rules beforehand, as some campgrounds prohibit fires!
Make s’mores and drink your favorite drinks by the fire to celebrate the day. Cross your fingers for a clear night so you can look up at the sky!
9. Book a helicopter tour
If you’re eloping somewhere like Denali National Park in Alaska, or somewhere with high mountain elevations that are hard to get to by foot, book a helicopter tour! This is the best way to take in all the epic views at your location and get you to a spot you might otherwise not be able to get to. Truly one of the coolest ways to travel on your elopement day!
10. Chill with your loved ones at your Airbnb
Finally, find some ways to end the night at your Airbnb, especially if you’ll be staying with friends or family. Cook a meal together. Play board games or drinking games. Have snacks around a campfire. Relax in your Airbnb’s hot tub or out on the deck.
In short, be sure to choose an Airbnb that provides an atmosphere you love. One that you’ll be able to truly relax in & enjoy together. Pick a cozy place in the woods if you’re a fan of being out in nature, or maybe an apartment in a small town if you’d rather explore the best local spots!
If you loved this article & these elopement ideas, make sure you check out my blog for tons more ideas, free elopement resources, and elopement inspiration!