Wedding Traditions to Include in Your Elopement* (if you want!)

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I'm a Colorado-based destination elopement photographer who helps couples have unforgettable elopements in the Rocky Mountains and destinations worldwide.

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two brides drinking champagne at Colorado hiking elopement

Ok, first thing’s first – I realize that you’re probably eloping in large part because all of those wedding traditions DON’T speak to you. And I totally get that. I also think wedding traditions aren’t ALL bad and maybe you do too? The beauty of eloping is that you get to pick which ones you keep and which ones you toss! So with all that in mind, here is a list of 7 wedding traditions to include in your elopement (but only if you want!)!

WEDDING TRADITIONS TO KEEP FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT:

 

1. Do a First Look at Your Elopement

I’m a big fan of first looks for both elopements and traditional weddings. While the pressure of that “walk down the aisle” moment is VERY different for an elopement than it is for a traditional wedding, I still just love giving my couples that magical moment together where they get to see each other all gussied up!

Wondering how to do a first look at your elopement?

When it’s just the two of you (and probably a photographer!), the logistics of doing a first look can be a bit of a challenge. After five years, though, I’ve figured out several ways to make it work! The easiest way is to just do your first look at wherever you are staying – this makes it really easy for everyone to just pile into one car and head out from there. But what if you have a different location in mind? Taking two cars to your first look location (one member of the couple rides with the photographer, the other drives separately) works well too as does blindfolding one or both members of the couple in the same car! My couples are lucky because I often bring our giant camper van to elopements – it has a curtain between the driver and shotgun seats and the seat in the back which makes things super easy!

two brides doing first look at Colorado elopement

2. Do a First Dance

If you like to dance, dance!! While some couples are not at all into having all those eyes on them for their big first dance at their big traditional wedding, doing a first dance at your elopement can be a really sweet way to make things feel extra special. Bring a little bluetooth speaker and go for it!

3. Pop Champagne

If you’d be celebrating with some bubbly at your big traditional wedding, why not do it at your elopement? Not only does it taste delicious but it also makes for really fun photos! If you are bringing champagne (or any beverage) to a backcountry location I always recommend Lexan or plastic glasses instead of glass. Also, please do your best to pack out the cork if it goes flying. Leave no trace, y’all!

champagne toast at elopement

4. Walk Down the “Aisle”

So maybe your aisle is a little trail lined with wildflowers instead of a bunch of family and friends but it still counts! I’ve seen couples walk down trails, across rocks, through sand, and across bridges to get to their elopement spot. If it fits the two of you and the vibe of your day, do it!

bride walking down aisle of wildflowers at Colorado elopement

5. Cut (and more importantly, EAT) the Cake

Everyone loves cake and there is NO reason you can’t have one for your elopement! Many bakeries will do small cakes (or you could just pick up a small Chantilly cake at Whole Foods – which I may or may not do for normal occasions because they are SO GOOD!) and with a little bit of ingenuity you can figure out a way to get it anywhere you’re going. I have carried many a wedding cake up many a mountain!

 

cutting the cake at colorado elopement

(Fun story: These two hikers came by RIGHT when these two were cutting their elopement cake – so we offered them cake! It turns out that it was the woman’s birthday – it couldn’t have been better luck!)

6. Have Some Guests at Your Elopement

While most people think of elopements only being just the couple, there is no reason you can’t bring a few close friends and family along if that will make things extra special for you! In a lot of ways, modern elopements are more like tiny destination weddings (often with zero guests!) so why not invite a few of your nearest and dearest? Just make sure they are people who will support your decision to do things in a VERY non-traditional way!

intimate colorado wedding in the snow

It goes without saying that all of these things are COMPLETELY optional but if you’re looking for ways to add a few more layers to your day, these are some ideas for wedding traditions to keep for your elopement!

If you love these ideas and need some help figuring out how to incorporate them into YOUR elopement, get in touch!

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