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Hiking Wedding Ideas Unlocked

Elopements

Hiking Wedding Ideas Unlocked for the Ultimate Adventure Wedding

Strap on those hiking boots and prep for your hiking wedding!  As Kalispell Montana Photographers who guide couples through hiking elopements year after year in some of the most gorgeous places in the US, we wanted to put together your ultimate hiking wedding guide with endless hiking wedding ideas to help you navigate where to have your hiking wedding, how to actually get on the trail and be prepared for your elopement and an epic hiking trip all at the same time!  We’ll cover the best hiking wedding locations, what to wear, what to pack, and how to make your elopement meaningful!

Benefits of Your Hiking Wedding

If you’re thinking through hiking wedding ideas, you’re already a special type of person!  You know the value of the Great Outdoors and the peace it can bring you.  Why wouldn’t you want that to be a part of your wedding day?  There are so many benefits of choosing a hiking wedding over a traditional wedding or a “pull the car up and hop out” elopement, but we’ll try to stick to 10 benefits of a hiking wedding.

10 Benefits of a Hiking Wedding

  1. Gorgeous, natural, varying scenery
  2. Boundless adventurous opportunities
  3. Increased mental health and focus on your wedding day
  4. Year-round eloping opportunities
  5. Provides a memorable adventure only you two (and any treasured guests) will share
  6. Completely customizable and flexible to your needs
  7. Includes your favorite hobby into your wedding day
  8. More cost-effective than a traditional wedding
  9. Can include meaningful relationships (and pups, amirite?)
  10.  Rolls your wedding and honeymoon into one epic adventure

These are just the beginning, and we can’t wait to show you how to plan to live out these benefits of your hiking wedding!  Let’s get started with what it takes to plan a hiking wedding!

How to Plan a Hiking Wedding

Like a lot of folks adventuring in a new way (even if you’re an experienced hiker), you’ll need someone to help guide you along the way.  A hiking wedding will take a lot of skills that are necessary for general adventuring but adding a meaningful and exhilarating wedding into the middle of it requires a new skill set and an experienced planner.

Your wedding day deserves to be more than taking a quick hike, saying some things, and calling it a day.  An elopement is meant to be a meaningful and intentional down to the last detail as it reflects who you both are.

Here are 9 quick steps to planning your Hiking Wedding:

  1. Determine why you’re eloping.
  2. Brainstorm elopement locations.
  3. Research elopement photographers and hire your favorite (aka, I’d love for it to be me!)
  4. Nail down your elopement date and location.
  5. Handle the legalities to elope legally during your hiking wedding.
  6. Do (or don’t) tell your fam about your hiking wedding.
  7. Finalize meaningful details for your day.
  8. Show up to your adventure wedding prepared!
  9. Rock your elopement day!

There are many nuances in these steps to planning your hiking wedding, and we’ve written them all out in our How To Elope Guide!  Contact us if you’re ready to hire your hiking wedding photographer, planning assistant, and guide or keep going to see the best hiking wedding locations and what to bring along!

Couple backpacks during Montana elopement
couple hikes in Montana during hiking elopement

The Best Hiking Wedding Locations

There are all kinds of different hikers (and all kinds of different eloping couples), so in this list you’ll find some variety too!  These are all places we love to take eloping couples that showcase different types of landscapes!

There are a few things to look out for when choosing your hiking elopement location:

  • a landscape you love
  • trails with varying accessibility
  • desired weather and season

That being said, here’s your list of some of the best hiking wedding locations!

Hiking Wedding Locations in the US

#1: Montana // Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the top hiking wedding locations due to its dramatic jagged peaks and high elevation opportunities.  The Going to the Sun Road is an amazing starting point when searching for hiking wedding locations, and you’ll love the surrounding cozy mountain towns.

Check out our Glacier National Park Elopement Guide to plan your elopement or Eloping in Montana to see where to elope all over the state of Montana!

#2: Washington // Mount Rainier and North Cascades

The Pacific Northwest will boast some of the moodiest mountain landscapes for your hiking wedding!  Mount Rainier (site here) and North Cascades National Park (site here) have some of the most amazing high elevation trails (and some even are dog friendly bc we love pups)!

A Mount Rainier hiking wedding will showcase Rainier’s beauty while North Cascades will give you boundless views of (you guessed it) cascading mountains!  The Cascade Range extends over 700 miles so you know you will have no shortage of hiking wedding trails!

#3: Oregon // Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast

Oregon can offer you hiking wedding varying scenery!  You will have access to mountain vistas, the US’s densest concentration of waterfalls, and mega views of crashing waves and black cliffs.  Not to mention, Oregon has its own version of the redwoods, and you’ll be in good shape to drive down to California if you feel like a road trip!

Check out Elope in Oregon to see the best locations and how to elope there legally!

These are just 3 of the most amazing states for your hiking wedding, but all of these Best Places to Elope in the US will provide trails on trails for your meaningful wedding day!  

How to Choose the Best Hiking Wedding Trail(s)

As mentioned above, choosing your trail based on accessibility is key.  We can find gorgeous settings all over the US, but we’ll need to discover your physical capabilities and the capabilities of any potential guests.

If you’re up for adventuring with just you two during your hiking wedding, then you will have more options to explore during your elopement!  You’ll also want to consider the elevation at which you currently live and the elevation of the adventure you’re seeking to do!  Preparing for altitude change is important, and we’ll love giving you all the extra tips.

Generally speaking, we recommend couples choose trails they can easily accomplish as adding the weight of wedding supplies will make any hike a tad more strenuous.  You can get crazy and go for a backpacking wedding!  The sky is the limit when it’s just the two of you!

When you choose to bring guests along, you’ll want to choose hikes less than a few miles if your guests are physically active.  If your guests aren’t active or are older, you’ll want a photographer that can help you scout some quick “hop out of the car” spots for your hiking wedding so your guests can get there easily.  This isn’t the end to your adventure though!  You can easily utilize half the day for your guests and spend the other half adventuring somewhere that’s not as easily accessible for your hiking wedding.

Research differnent national parks you love and the trails within.  Alltrails is one of our favorite ways to check out potential hiking wedding locations for our couples, and be sure you choose a service that will allow you to download maps offline.  You’ll want to have a couple (or a few) versions of the trail map downloaded offline for your day!

Now that you’ve researched and thought about which specific trails you’ll need, let’s get going into finding your hiking wedding attire and how to pack it!

 

husband and wife climb mountain
couple elopes in the mountains

Hiking Wedding Attire

Just because your day will be in the Great Outdoors doesn’t mean you won’t get to wear something fabulous!  We love helping our couples discover what to wear for their hiking wedding.

Most couples decide to wear flowy, billowy dresses and snazzy suits!!  There are, however, a few considerations to think through when choosing attire for your hiking wedding.

You’ll need to decide if you want to hike in your wedding attire or if you want to change into it once you arrive at your ceremony.  This really depends on how dirty you’re willing to let your hiking wedding attire get and how comfortable your wedding attire is!  We’re game for helping you get your dress muddy while you hike, but we’re also game to bring a transportable changing room for you to change into your gear later! 🙂

We help our couples prep for exactly what they’re wearing based on the landscape and the functionality they will need, so we’ve got a long list of options up our sleeve.  Some of our favorite online options are Lulu’s, ASOS, Express, and (believe it or not) Amazon.  Not to mention, thrifting from places like Poshmark is a more sustainable way to find wedding attire that is outright gorgeous for your day!

How to Pack your Wedding Attire in your pack

You’ve probably never imagined taking your gorgeous hiking wedding dress and suit and shoving it in your favorite backpacking pack.  We have oodles of experience helping couples packing them so they are most likely to be pristine once arriving to your hiking wedding ceremony site.

You can either roll your attire and slip it into the bag or leave it in a garment bag and drape over your bag for the hike.  Rolling it and putting it in your bag is definitely the best option for hikes over a mile or so, but don’t worry, we’ll help you pack your bag the morning of so it’s less likely to wrinkle on your way up the trail.

eloping couple hugs at avalanche lake
couple hugs during montana elopement
groom looks through binoculars in montana

How to Prep for Your Hiking Wedding

You’ve already discovered what to wear, but there’s still a bit more to do!  To prep for you adventure wedding, you’ll need to know what to pack and how to prepare for the Great Outdoors!  First, you’ll need to plan to Leave No Trace, pack for your actual elopement, and pack for your adventure.  Don’t worry-we love lists around here!  So here are some lists to help you prep for your hiking elopement!

If you’re unfamiliar with Leave No Trace, it is a set of of ethics to help adventurers properly steward their experiences outdoors and preserve the land on which they adventure.  Leave No Trace is most know for their 7 Principles, and we’ll help you implement these into your day.

Here are the 7 Leave No Trace Principles:

  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

We even have a Leave No Trace guide for our couples so you can show up prepared for your elopement with the best possible plan in place to have a blast and preserve the environment.

But let’s keep going to see what to pack!

What to Pack for Your Hiking Wedding

Elopement Packing List

  • Wedding dress(es)
  • Suit(s)
  • Safe, yet adorable, footwear
  • Bridal accessories like jewelry, suspenders, bowties, veils, etc.)
  • Thermal layers for underneath if you’re in a colder climate
  • Rings or other symbolic elements
  • Vows if you need them written
  • Florals like bouquets or boutonnieres
  • Ceremony celebratory funsies (like champagne, yummy snacks, etc.)
  • Special notes and/or videos from loved ones to make a part of your day
  • Wedding documentation and any neccessary permits

These next items we bring for all of our couples in case they forget and need an extra.  However, we recommend bringing your own so we have two of everything for really fun worst case scenarios! Lol

  • mini sewing kit
  • mini hair spray and dry shampoo
  • comb or brush
  • deodorant (bc don’t nobody wanna snuggle with BO)
  • bobby pins
  • safety pins
  • stain removing pen
  • pasties
  • extra socks and gloves
  • cute, tiny mirror

Finally, these items are your adventure items you’ll need to ensure your day is enjoyable AND safe!

Adventure Packing List

  • compass or GPS
  • headlamps with extra batteries
  • sun protection like sunscreen and sunglasses
  • first aid kit
  • bug spray/repellant
  • snacks (and more snacks)
  • water (and more water)
  • mini water filtration system
  • secondary change of clothes
  • rain layer
  • miscellaneous medicines

Above all these things you’ll want to pack 2 things: preparedness and flexibility.  We’ll help you plan ahead of course!  We give our couples personalized packing lists that caters to their day specifically, but… flexibility is equally as important on your day!  Mother Nature sometimes has a mind of her own, and couples who are most satisfied with their elopements are the ones who can roll with the punches and enjoy fun twists and turns on their day! <3

 

Hiking wedding photographers

Yo.  You need a hiking wedding guide and photographer.

Imma be so honest.  We love hiking weddings, and we love helping couples plan their elopement days to be full of meaning and intention.  Kick that tradition crap outta here, and let’s plan something magical together!

You deserve for your wedding day to bring you peace in the great outdoors, and this is only a taste of how we help our couples.

All of our elopement packages come with professional elopement photography, two photographers, and unlimited planning assistance.  We think this is the best way to serve eloping couples, and we can’t wait to chat!

Contact us about photographing your elopement!

Bride and groom portrait for elopement photos

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Hey, it’s us!

We’re Des & Dan! Husband & wife elopement photographers, planners, and officiants! We help couples like you create elopement days full of meaningful details, authentic moments, and creative experiences because we believe you deserve a wedding day where you are truly heard—a wedding day you can truly remember.

We’d love to help in any way you can, so check out our other free planning resources or send us an email by hitting contact! We’d love to hop on the phone and see what you’re envisioning for your elopement day.

You deserve this.

Des & Dan

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