Are you in the midst of planning your adventure elopement, and looking for the steps to do so in the most seamless way possible? First of all, how exciting! Not only are you getting married to the love of your life, but you're making it an adventure, and there's nothing quite like an adventure elopement. Elopements are so special, and I love that you're deciding to do something that caters to you as a couple.

Chelsea Kaufman Photography | Planning Your Adventure Elopement - A Step-by-Step Guide | Adventure Elopement Photographer

Step 1: First, Let's Celebrate!

Woooohooo! Celebrate, talk about all the amazing options, what you envision, and start dreaming of the where you want to elope. What does your dream adventure elopement look like? Do you want to wake up listening to the waves crashing on the beach or do you envision hiking through the woods to a remote mountaintop and exchanging your vows? What do you want the backdrop of your images to be? Don't know what you envision? Chat with an experienced adventure photographer, such as myself! ;) Id love to give you some personal recommendations based on you as a couple, and what you both love together!

Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

What's your budget? The average cost of a traditional wedding in the United States today is around $34,000. WHEW! While adventure elopements are definitely cheaper than your traditional big weddings, that does not mean they don't come with a price tag. While many choose to do a simple courthouse elopement and it is very cheap, most adventure and destinations elopements do have many pieces to consider. The average elopement will cost around $15,000. Of course, this number can be higher or lower depending on where and how you plan, and what you envision for your big day. Be aware of vendor costs, travel, outfits. overnight accommodations, etc.

To create your elopement budget, it's important to sit down with your partner and go over what the priorities are for you adventure elopement. Do you want to go all out on florals? Do you want to stay at a fancy getaway resort? Or maybe you want to go all out on photography and videography. Either way, talking with your partner about what's the most important to you and creating a budget prior to planning is key!

Step 3: Decide Who Will be Attending

Deciding who will be attending your adventure elopement will also go hand in hand with your budget. The more people that are in attendance, the more it will cost. Some couples choose to have a few close family and friends, and other couples choose to have a very private and intimate elopement with just the two of them. There isn't a wrong or right decision, it's all based on personal preference. I will say, do NOT make this choice on what other people desire for your wedding day. Do you have that family member that you just dread on inviting? Guess what, you don't have to! Remember, this is your day and should be only about what you and your partner envision. The amount of people you choose to come will also effect your location. Some areas have a limitation on the number of people that are allowed, so keep this in mind!

If you choose to not include many people on your big day, but you still want to celebrate with them, there are still ways to do this! You can have a friend or family member officiate the ceremony. This will help with your budget, too ;) You can also Zoom friends and family after your elopement, or even throw a big reception party for when you and your spouse return home!

Step 4: Choosing Your Adventure Elopement Location

This is the most exciting part in planning your elopement! There are so many beautiful locations across the world that would serve as the perfect backdrop for an adventure elopement. Check out these "The 25 Best Places to Elope for Jaw-Dropping Photos" by Green Wedding Shoes to spark up some ideas! If you aren't sure what location would be the best fit for you or your partner, then let's chat! I would love to get to know you better and help you embark on this journey together! As an adventure elopement photographer, I've had the opportunity to travel to many different places, and would LOVE to help you in your decision! 

Step 5: Choosing Your Adventure Elopement Attire

This is the second most exciting part of planning your adventure elopement in my opinion - finding those fits! The great thing about an adventure elopement is you're already breaking tradition. You can wear WHATEVER you want! Dreaming of a flowy dress, or adding a pop of color to your suit with a colorful boutonniere? Or maybe adding a spunky bolo tie or snazzy cufflinks? Get creative with your outfits, and let your personality shine through! You can find so much inspiration for outfits on Pinterest and Instagram as well. Just type in "adventure elopement" and let the inspiration begin!

It's very important that you consider the weather of your location when choosing your outfits! If you're going somewhere warm, opt for something a little more loose fitting and flowy. Somewhere cold? Maybe a long sleeved dress that pairs well with a fur coat! The same can be said when choosing a suit. If you're eloping somewhere warm, ditch the standard jacket! If you're eloping somewhere cold, opt for a heavier and warmer fabric. Overall, the most important thing is that you're happy and comfortable with your overall look! Looking for some recommendations? Let's chat, because I would love to help you choose the perfect outfit for your dream adventure elopement!

Step 6: Book Your Travel Arrangements & Lodging

I highly recommend you start looking into your travel and lodging arrangements once you decide where you're going to elope! Flights tend to be the cheapest when you book them mid-week and about 2-3 months before you plan to fly! Airbnb's are a great option for lodging as you can find many cute places that also serve as beautiful backdrops for photos and for great prices! I always recommend couples keep natural lighting in mind when searching for the perfect place to stay so that we can use that to our advantage for getting ready photos!

Step 7: Research and Book Your Vendors

If you decide to work with me as your adventure elopement photographer, I'll send you a custom vendor list for your desired location. If you want to find your own vendors, now is the time to start researching and booking your vendors! Many vendors tend to book out, even a year in advance. With that being said, its incredibly important to book your vendors in advance especially if you have certain vendors that want to work with and can't even dream of NOT working with them! Vendors that I recommend booking are hair and makeup, florals, an officiant, live musician, and a private chef! Four MUST HAVE vendors for your elopement are a photographer, florist, officiant, and hair and makeup, so I highly recommend booking these vendors first!

Step 8: Your Marriage License , Permits, and Fee's

Make sure to check the local state and or country guidelines for when and where to get them, and plan from there. Your officiant can be a big help here if they are from the area you are traveling to. 

If you choose to elope in a National State Park, it's important to note that most have entry fees in addition to application fees. Information on the permit process, event costs, and entry fees are generally available on the official park websites, so make sure you do your research before deciding if you're eloping in a National Park!

Step 9: Plan The Small Details & Amazing Adventures For The Day!

Now that you have all of the more important logistics of you adventure elopement planned, its important that you plan for the smaller details and adventures of the day! Do you have anything like elopement props you want to bring for photos? (i.e. a "we just eloped" sign) etc.? Make sure you plan for all of this before the big day arrives! Some couples like to plan for activities during their stay and in my elopement guide that I sent to couples, I include some fun activities you could include depending on where you go like skiing, helicopter rides, romantic stargazing, etc.! Options are limitless when you choose to have an adventure elopement!

Step 10: Prepare a Backup Plan

Being prepared is incredibly important, especially when you're traveling away from home. Plan for everything you'll need to pack, and pack what you can days in advance, if not more! Make a list of easily forgettable items in your phone notes and any last minute items you'll want to bring with you. I know you think you wont forget, but trust me, you probably will. Packing can be stressful! And don't worry, I'll send you a packing list that's custom to your location as well to ensure you pack everything you may need or want to bring with you!

Step 11: RELAX! Pamper Yourself Before You Leave

If you prepare in advance, you'll have time to relax, breathe, and maybe even pamper yourself for a bit before you have to leave! Don't leave the packing to last minute. You'll forget something important and stress yourself out more in the long run. Plan to take a few extra days off of work, go get your nails done, a relaxing massage, etc. You deserve it! Don't skip out on the nail appointment, were probably going to get some close ups of your rings at some point during our time together! ;)

Step 12: Enjoy Your Adventure Elopement!

Yay, you did it! All the work has paid off and you'll get to enjoy your adventure elopement. Soak in every part of the day and create the best memories with your partner! And the best part is that you'll have all of these memories captured through photos that you'll get to look back on for years to come, and share with future generations!

Looking For Your Adventure Elopement Photographer? Let's Go!

If you're on the hunt for an adventure elopement photographer who isn't just there to show up and take your pictures, but truly to be there every step of the way, then let's work together! I would love to be a part of your special day, from vendor recommendations, custom location recommendations, capturing one of the most important days of your life, and your new found friend! You can learn more about me here and check out some of my favorite elopement galleries. If I sound like the perfect adventure elopement photographer for you and your partner, then inquire with me here and let's create your dream adventure elopement!