Top 10 essentials for planning an elopement

March 4, 2022

What are the 10 essentials for planning an elopement and why do I need them?

So what are The 10 Essentials? From the National Parks website here’s a quick definition: “The 10 Essentials are a collection of first aid and emergency items that can help you in the event of minor injuries, sudden weather changes, or unexpected delays. The 10 Essentials are the basic items you should have with you. You may need additional items depending on the activity in which you participate.”

Because adventure elopements take place outdoors, often on hiking trails, I always encourage my clients to pack The 10 Essentials and I always pack them for myself. Safety and comfort are at the forefront of mind when helping my clients plan adventurous outdoor events. Keep reading to check out my elopement specific 10 Essentials list.

Let’s Make a 10 Essentials List for Your Elopement


I’ve got y’all covered on this one. I carry a Garmin InReach Satellite Device during all of my elopements in case of an emergency. I also download offline maps using an app called Gaia.

Paper maps of your elopement location can be helpful to have and they also make a great addition to detail photos. Consider purchasing one from REI for your elopement day. Click here for Washington and Oregon Maps from REI Co-op

Sun Protection

This cannot be overstated. Sunscreen Sunscreen Sunscreen. Let’s not start your marriage with gnarly sunburns. You might also consider packing sunglasses and a hat if you’re planning to hike on your elopement day. 

My favorite sunscreen: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion – 3 fl. oz. | REI Co-op


One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about spending time outdoors is that nature is unpredictable. The Pacific Northwest is known for sudden drastic weather changes.

When you’re packing 10 Essentials for your adventure elopement make sure you toss a puffy jacket, a rain shell, and gloves into your pack.

Trust me when I say the combination of a puffy jacket, a wedding dress, and an epic PNW landscape looks badass.


Hiking to your sunrise ceremony at dawn and/or hiking back to the trailhead after your sunset photos will definitely require some added light.

I’ve got y’all covered. I have a collection of headlamps for my clients to borrow. I also have some really cool lanterns for photos at dusk.

First-Aid Supplies

I always carry a backpacking first aid kit for adventure elopements. But I highly recommend you put together a small kit as well. Bandaids, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Pepto Bismol, hand wipes, safety pins, electrolyte tabs, and bug spray are my top suggestions.

This is a great pre-made kit that I’ve taken on tons of trips: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit | REI Co-op


Keeping this one short. It is highly unlikely we’ll need to be starting any survival fires but I’ve always got a small kit with me.

Repair Kit

This one is my favorite to make elopement specific! Carrying a kit for attire repair and beauty touch ups is definitely essential on your adventure elopement day.

Here’s a mini checklist:

  • Multitool
  • Mini Sewing Kit
  • Safety Pins
  • Fashion Tape
  • Bobby Pins
  • Mini Hairspray
  • Chapstick
  • Oil Blotting Sheets
  • Waterproof Ziplocks
  • Battery Pack for Phone


This is my favorite part of planning and packing when I go hiking haha! Snacks are SO important for an enjoyable day outdoors. They’re also essential to safety and energy levels.

You know yourself, your stomach, and your needs best, so I won’t give too much advice. Simply put, pack snacks you love. Don’t feel like you HAVE to pack trail mix and meal replacement bars. Feel free to pack treats, such as cookies and chocolate. Or feel free to pack apples and jerky if sugar upsets your stomach. It’s your day! Eat what makes you happy and energized!


Last, but certainly not least. Actually, probably the most important. Water!! Always always always pack water!! I suggest at least one 32oz Nalgene for each person. If you’re feeling extra you can order custom Nalgene bottles for your elopement:  Nalgene Custom 32oz Wide Mouth Sustain Bottle

I also personally carry a hydration pack for easy access to water while I’m hiking and photographing.  10/10 recommend this one (click here)

Are your 10 Essentials Packed for your adventure elopement day?

There is a lot of thought, planning, and packing that goes into any outdoor excursion, but make that excursion an outdoor adventure elopement and you can count on even more preparation and planning.

Aim to have your bag packed at least one week before your elopement day. I can assure you that stress packing the day before a trip is not an enjoyable experience. This one week time frame will also give you buffer time to purchase any last minute items. 

When you’re safe, comfortable, hydrated, and happy on your elopement day, you’ll know that all of the effort was worth it.

Bonus Material: Full Day Adventure Elopement Downloadable Checklist

You may be thinking, “surely I’ll need more than these 10 essentials for my elopement?”.

And you would be correct in that assumption.

So as an added bonus, I’ve put together a complete adventure elopement packing list that you can download here (this is an automatic download link).

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all.

Looking for more elopement planning tips? Browse past blogs:




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