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Elopement in the Mountains

Your exhaustive list of mountain elopement locations and all the how-tos!

Your official Elopement in the Mountains guide!

You know your elopement in the mountains will satisfy all your wanderlust, but there’s a few vital things to nail down first!  As elopement photographers, we know all too well how to guide couples towards their perfect elopement in the mountains, and we’d love to help you too!  Here we’ll cover inspirational examples of which mountains you should choose, which season is best, costs, your packing list, and potential timelines for your elopement in the mountains!  There’s also a nifty elopement in the mountains FAQ we included below all this juicy info, so stick around to get everything answered!

Which state has the best mountains for your elopement in the mountains:

When looking for the best mountains for your elopement, you’ll need to carefully consider your season, if you’re bringing guests, and your personal abilities and preferences.  For example, you wouldn’t want to choose a trail like Dawson-Pitamakan in Glacier National Park if you do not have the hiking ability in the first place or if you were planning on bringing grandma along with you to watch as you express your vows. You might be looking for rolling green mountains, which would make North Carolina or Virginia a great option!  However, if you want grand jagged snow capped peaks, you’d be better off going with the Tetons or the several ranges in Montana we’re fond of!

A desire for tropical lush mountains might send you to Hawaii for your elopement in the mountains!

No matter what type of mountains you choose, we’ll be stoked to guide you on finding the perfect location and planning logistics for your elopement in the mountains!

As Kalispell Montana Photographers and Elopement Gurus, we’re stoked to bring you this list of the best elopement in the mountains tips!

 

Finally–what you came for!! 

Here are the best states for your elopement in the mountains in the lower 48:

The Best Contiguous States for your elopement in the mountains

Montana & the Rocky Mountains: 

Montana is included in the Rocky Mountains and has an abundance of high alpine views for your wanderlust-enducing elopement in the mountains.  Whether you choose a Glacier National Park Elopement or one of our favorite local spots in the Cabinet Mountains, you’ll be in good shape for crazy gorgeous views!  There are also great locations in GNP that are easily accessible for you and any potential guests for your elopement in the mountains.  Check out our Glacier National Park Elopement Guide to see all the gorgeous possibilities in this park!

North Carolina & the Blue Ridge Mountains: 

The Blue Ridge Mountains are trending upward in the elopement game as couples like you are discovering their advantages.  The Blue Ridge Mountains has an assortment of plateaus that allow 360 mountain views with trails being less than 3 miles round trip.  Plus, these mountains truly look like none other in the US with their blue tones almost all day long, giving them the name the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Asheville is a popular mountain town nearby the Blue Ridge Mountains and has gorgeous lodging and unique food options.  It’s truly an artist’s paradise!

Colorado & the Rocky Mountains:

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are similar to the aforementioned Montana ranges for your elopement in the mountains, but has been long established as the most popular state for mountain elopements and for good reason!  Colorado is not new to elopements and, thus, is well equipped with easy to access locations and outdoor activities for every season.  What sets Colorado apart is the ability to have a mountain elopement in any season with the right planning.  You’ll need an elopement photographer who can help guide you, and you’ll be in good shape for your elopement in the mountains.  Colorado is also high on our list of the best winter elopement locations, so you’re set up for a great elopement year round!

Washington, Oregon, & the Cascade Range: 

The Cascades is a massive mountain range for your elopement in the mountains and covers the span of multiple states.  If you want a little bit of Pacific Northwest mood added to your mountain elopement then this range in Washington or Oregon would be a great fit.  The Pacific Northwest also has an abundance of mountain views for your elopement in the mountains, so even if you don’t choose this range you’ll still have out of this world views.  Bonus: the Cascades have a lot of low elevation areas that are easily accessible for you and your guests.

New York & the Catskill Mountains: 

New York is a bit of an underdog in the elopement world, but we think it’s time to change that.  The East Coast doesn’t get enough love for this gorgeous range of mountains.  Choosing mountains that are equally as gorgeous but less known means double the beauty because you won’t be sharing your elopement day alongside dozens of other eloping couples.  There’s a reason you hear of everyone venturing to the Northeast in the Fall!  The Fall colors in the Catskills is unmatched compared to any other mountain state and those colors would look great at your elopement in the mountains!

These mountain locations are epic, but there’s more to be told!  Click below to keep searching potential elopement locations or keep scrolling to plan your elopement in the mountains!

 

Here are the best mountain elopement locations for Hawaii & Alaska:

These elopement in the mountain locations require a bit more travel, but they’re totally worth it for your mountain elopement!!  Here you’ll find the potential for tropical climates, glaciers, volcanoes, wildlife viewing, and so much more!

The Best Destination Locations for your elopement in the mountains

Alaska & the Kenai & Brooks Range: 

These mountains are always snow capped and always easily visible.  You’ll have to pay special attention to when you’re planning your elopement in the mountains as there is a very small window of opportunity for these beauties, but we believe their drama is worth it!  Plus, if eloping isn’t unique enough for you, eloping in Alaska will certainly turn heads!

Hawaii & the Ko’olau Mountains: 

Do you recall those pictures of Hawaii where the mountain ridges are covered in lush green and shoot straight up?  Well, that’s the Ko’olau mountains, and they would be perfect for your elopement in the mountains!  Several trails are on the opposite side of the most picturesque section meaning every picture you take will be full of this gorgeous scenery after a nice elevation gaining hike!  Plus, no one is going to say no to paying for airfare to your elopement in the mountains if they know they’re headed to Hawaii!

What season is best for my elopement in the mountains?

If you’re not accustomed to mountain weather, this will greatly affect your expectations for your elopement in the mountains. You’ll need to account for your mountain experience and comfort in navigating different seasons and various terrains. We’ll cover each season and pros and cons of each starting with a spring elopement in the mountains!

Spring for your elopement in the mountains:

Spring is not an optimal season for ranges further north in the US, but mountain elopement options open up in places like Utah and Southern California!  This is due to the unpredictable weather that is customary of most mountain ranges in the spring.  Most ranges with high alpine views experience lots of rain and wind in the spring.  Not to mention the added increase of meeting newly waking predators in the trial in the spring as they hope to find their first meal of the year.  Lol not to scare you, but it is something to consider if you’re not experienced in hiking in bear territory.  We’d recommend a Utah or California elopement for the spring time if you’re set on a spring date.

Summer for your elopement in the mountains:

Summer is the most popular season for a mountain elopement!  A lot of ranges have an increase in wildflowers and enough snow has melted from the trails so that you can reach locations with panoramic mountain views!  If you’re particularly adventurous, summer offers mountaineering opportunities that you will find no other time of the year.  Summer is popular for mountain elopements, but it’s also popular for those who like to vacation to the mountains regularly.  You’ll have to consider peak visiting season for your particular range of choice for your elopement in the mountains and work around it so you’ll have the seclusion and peace you’d want for your mountain elopement.

Fall for your elopement in the mountains:

Fall is the second most popular season for mountain elopements!  Most couples choosing to elope in the mountains during this time of year is looking for a dramatic change in the leaves to follow and be visible in their photos!  Fall provides stunning colors across many mountain-scapes and shoulder season crowds which are way better than the summer crowds.  If you’re searching for Fall colors for your elopement in the mountains, you’ll need a photographer who can best research the predictions for your chosen mountain range as they vary greatly by year, state, and range.

Winter for your elopement in the mountains:

Winter elopements are not for the faint of heart, but they often provide the biggest pay off if you’re looking for snowy views and crisp, cool adventures!  Not all ranges are good for winter elopements, but ski towns are usually adept at providing a great elopement experience as they are accustomed to visitors traveling through year round.  They typically provide other winter experiences for when you can’t bear the cold much longer such as cozy spots to hang out during the day or a vibrant nightlife.  Again, you’ll need to consult your photographer to help research which ranges are best for winter elopements and have flexibility in mind should a severe snowstorm plow through your elopement plans.

What time of day is best for my elopement in the mountains?

Whether you’re a mountain local or traveling to your elopement in the mountains, you’ll need to consider the time zone difference (if there’s any) & the best time of day for your mountain elopement.

The best time of day for your elopement in the mountains:

There are 2 optimal times for your elopement in the mountains: sunrise & sunset. Both have advantages, but if you’re looking for the best light you’ll need to hike or travel in the dark for either one. 

For example, we love a hidden gem trail in Montana that takes about 3 hours to hike up to! If we were making it to a sunrise elopement there, we’d need to leave the trailhead at 1:30 AM to arrive around 4:30 to get ready for the actual sunrise at 5:35 in June! We’ve had couples more than willing to wake up shortly after midnight to meet us for their elopement in the mountains because they know it’s going to provide the best temperatures, pictures, & added adventure of getting to experience the mountains under moonlight. 

If we were doing the same trail at sunset, we’d need to leave the trailhead at 3:00 PM to arrive by 7:00 PM to give us ample time for your elopement in the mountains to be finished by the 10:30 sunset time! 

Light is finicky in the mountains as those audacious peaks can hide the sun for quite some time so you’ll need a photographer who has all the tools and experience to guide you in choosing the perfect mountain location and time for your elopement in the mountains.

When thinking through your elopement timeline, you’ll need to account for things like the best lighting for photos as well as how to fit all your elopement activities into your photography timeline.  We always encourage couples to choose a sunrise or sunset time for their photos and/or their ceremony.  Then we help you craft the rest of your elopement timeline around that time block so you can know the most important parts of your day will be captured beautifully, and you can have a blast the entire day without worrying about getting that unruly midday haze as you adventure!

FAQ’S on your Elopement in the Mountins

How much does it cost to elope in the mountains?

Planning an elopement in the mountains is a lot like planning one of your favorite vacations.  The average wedding in the US cost $33,000 in 2019!  And thankfully, the average cost of an elopement was much lower!  We help guide couples through the eloping process day-in-and-day-out, and we’ve found they spend an average of $4k on their elopement packages for a one day elopement experience for photography.  Aside from photography, you can choose what other vendors you’d like to complete your elopement experience.  These can range all over the board from florals and hair and makeup all the way up to adventure guides or helicopter tour pilots! Choosing vendors for your elopement in the mountains is entirely up to your creativity, but we also love to give vendor recommendations so our couples have a great start!  Including photography, hair and makeup, florals, wedding attire, and the officiant, our couples usually spend $8k total for their elopement in the mountains!  Which is only ¼ of the $33,000 spent on the average wedding in the US that isn’t anywhere as gorgeous as an elopement in the mountains.  If you’re interested in a detailed breakdown of the costs, we’ve written a guide on how much does it cost to elope as well!  Check out our elopement packages or keep scrolling to see the best time of year to elope in the mountains!

What are your elopement in the mountains photography package offers?

The mountains are simply our favorite place to take eloping couples and guide them on their wedding day.  Every package includes photography, officiating (if your elopement is in a comliant state), and planning assistance.  We can’t express enough how much we love to be involved in your process and help you make the most educated and creative elopement in the mountains that reflects who you both are.

Here is our base elopement in the mountains package:

includes all contiguous elopement locations

6 hours of elopement photography with 2 professional photographers

unlimited planning assistance

personalized full vendor referall list (so you hire folks you can trust)

elopement timeline assistance and drafting

unlimited, online high resolution gallery

ceremony officiant included

permit assistance if applicable

personalized elopement location scouting and referal list

personalized packing list

online, personalized print store for your gallery

print credit

all photographer permit and travel fees included

All of this comes to $3500, not to mention you get our undying love & support!  Our mountain elopement packages to Hawaii and Alaska are based on this package and then we add a bit for travel.  So let’s chat about your elopement in the mountains!  Contact us to see if we’d be a great fit for ya!

Who can officiate my elopement in the mountains?

Short answer: almost anyone you want!  Long answer: it depends on which state you choose!  States like Colorado allow you to self-solemnize so you don’t need an officiant.  Montana, Washing, Oregon, and Alaska allow you to have an officiant who was ordained online.  You can have a family member or close friend officiate your day, or (BONUS) we are ordained and would love the opportunity to officiate if you want a “just us” elopement experience.

What do I need to pack for my elopement in the mountains?

Maybe you’re a planner like I am!  Or maybe not and that’s why you’re needing a packing list!  The truth is your packing list will depend entirely on the mountains you’ve chosen and the season you’ve chosen for your elopement in the mountains.  However, there is a bare minimum we can recommend to pack for your elopement in the mountains.

Here’s the minimum of what you should pack for your elopement in the mountains:

  • Wedding attire for you both
  • Comfortable hiking clothes if you’re not hiking in your wedding attire the whole time
  • Hiking boots that are well broken in
  • A rain layer for your person and your pack and gear
  • A warm outer layer like fleece
  • A warm inner layer like thermals
  • A navigation tool that you are capable of using like a compass or SAT GPS
  • Emergency kit
  • One and a half day’s worth of water per person
  • Small water filtration system
  • Plenty of snacks ranging from sugars to carbs to protein
  • Rings & other ceremony supplies
  • Sunscreen & bug spray

Check our Full How To Elope Guide so you can have a step-by-step planning guide with more in depth planning lists!

What do we actually “do” during our elopement in the mountains?

You might be choosing to elope because you want your day to be a little more carefree, but it also essential that there is a semblance of a scheduled timeline for your elopement experience so you can fit everything you love into your day.  We help eloping couples craft their personalized timelines depending on their preferences, interests, and celebration plans, but here are some more general timeline examples to spark your mind!

We’ll craft some sample timelines for different types of couples, so stick around and check out an elopement in the mountains timeline that might fit you and your relationship best.

Relaxed timeline for your North Carolina sunrise elopement in the mountains:

4:15 AM | Meet at trailhead and hike to view

6:00 AM | Arrive at view, take in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and change into wedding gear

6:15 AM | Begin portraits to warm up and get comfortable being in front of the camera

7:00 AM | Begin elopement ceremony and exchange vows (aka the best part!!!!!)

7:20 AM | Take time to soak in your new marriage and relax together checking out the view

8:00 AM | Eat elopement breakfast picnic we hiked up the mountain to celebrate complete with mimosas and breakfast charcuterie 

9:00 AM | Watch video compilation of your friends and family congratulating you!

9:30 AM | Pack up and hike down the mountain!

 

Scenic timeline for your Loveland Pass sunset elopement in the mountains:

12:00 PM | Meet family and friends for picnic and paddle boarding at the Dillon reservoir

3:00 PM | Retreat to airbnb for showers and rest

5:00 PM | Meet at restaurant with family and friends for pre-ceremony dinner

7:00 PM | Drive to Loveland Pass and change into wedding attire

7:30 PM | Begin portraits with family and friends

8:00 PM | Have couples portraits while family and friends explore on their own

9:15 PM | Exchange vows at sunset surrounded by family and friends!

9: 30 PM | Celebrate elopement with family and friends by popping champagne!

 

Leisurely timeline for your Glacier National Park sunrise elopement in the mountains:

5:00 AM | Meet at St. Mary’s Lake dressed in your wedding attire

5:30 AM | Take couples portraits until you feel the time is right to exchange vows

6:15 AM | Exchange vows with just you two! 😀 You’re married!!

6:45 AM | Hop back in the car and begin to drive the Going to the Sun Road towards Logan Pass to enjoy the scenic drive

7:30 AM | Find a scenic location on the Going to the Sun Road to take husband and wife portraits

8:30 AM | Continue the drive to Logan Pass and hike the Hidden Lake Trail while capturing photos

12:00 PM | Return to car to head back to the airbnb and nap!

8:00 PM | Meet at Virginia Falls trail and hike to the falls for more couples portraits and exploring Glacier National Park

10:30 PM | Say goodnight and keep celebrating your elopement!

Check out our resource on How Does an Elopement Ceremony Work to get ideas on how to make your ceremony a meaningful time during your timeline!

When it comes to creating your elopement timeline, these are great examples, but they don’t do justice to what you can create yourself!  The key to an amazing elopement timeline for your elopement in the mountains is taking adequate time with your elopement photographer to figure out what might truly suit you and your boo the best!  Whatever activity you two love doing normally is something beautiful to insert into your day!  Or conversely, whatever new activity you’d both love to try is something gorgeous to add in there as well!  Your elopement in the mountains should not be limited by timeline restraints.  You deserve for your day to be captured in its entirety!

Anything else I need to know?

There are many reasons to choose an elopement in the mountains, not the least of which is an appreciation for the Great Outdoors.  In order to best prepare for your elopement in the mountains, you’ll need to plan to Leave No Trace.

If you’re unfamiliar with Leave No Trace, it’s a system or code that nature lovers try to follow in order to best preserve lands.  Check out more on what the Leave No Trace principles are here to prep for how your day will need to look practically.

Here is a quick summary:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
  4. Leave what you find.
  5. Minimize fire impacts.
  6. Respect wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of others.

Woah, that was a lot. 

Let’s simplify your mountain elopement a bit.

 

 

As elopement photographers, we’ll be pumped to help you plan and figure out all the answers to any questions while keeping it stress free and exciting!  We love mountain elopements so much that we’ve dedicated our lives to guiding couples just like you to the most meaningful, authentic, and creative mountain elopement experience.  We’d love to chat about your mountain elopement!  Contact us or keep scrolling for even more planning goodness!

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