Okay, we honestly LOVE winter elopements! Everyone wants to elope in the summer, which we totally understand–it’s warm, there are more accessible trails, and different activities to do. But people often don’t realize that there are so many perks to eloping in the winter. For example, there are often less people who adventure outdoors in the winter. So, your location might be more private or secluded. There are also some really epic locations that look particularly special during the winter! I mean, snow capped mountain peaks and frozen lakes? C’mon!
Anyway, we’re here to help you plan your winter elopement (or convince you that you should definitely elope in the winter). Here are some tips, tricks, and things you should know!
Layers – Make sure to always, always, always have layers! You want to make sure you’re comfortable throughout the day, and believe us, it’ll be chilly when we aren’t moving.
Nude Leggings – These are bomb diggity if you want to keep your legs warm under your dress! And if they’re nude, then you don’t have to worry about them showing up in any pictures (if that’s something you’re concerned about).
Hand & Toe Warmers – Okay, we’ll definitely have some of these with us, but make sure you have extras, too! Hand and toe warmers are super helpful when we’re taking photos or during your vows.
Food & Water – This one may seem obvious, but we often forget to bring enough nourishment. We’re so worried about everything else that we need to pack, that sometimes we forgo taking care of our bodies. You need to make sure that you always have enough water, even if it’s cold outside. And packing filling snacks is a great ideas! We like beef jerky, bananas, dried and fresh fruit, peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix, nuts, and seeds.
Extra Makeup – If you’re eloping in the winter, you’re going to want to make sure that your makeup is waterproof. This will prevent any running of your mascara, eyeliner, or foundation. Make sure to also pack some chapstick so that your lips aren’t dry.
Good Footwear – Insulated hiking boots or snow boots are essential for a winter elopement. You’ll want to make sure that the boot is at least above your ankle.
Thick Socks – Thick and warm socks are needed for a winter elopement. No one wants cold toes!
Gloves – Lightweight, yet warm gloves are also an essential. While we’re walking around or in between taking photos, you’ll want to warm up your fingers!
Traction Aids – There are different types of terrain that you might experience in the winter, and it’s extremely important to be prepared. Some examples of traction aids are microspikes, snowshoes, yak traks, and poles.
Okay, so there are obviously a ton of epic locations to have a snowy adventure elopement in, but here are just a few ideas to get you started in your planning.
Mount Rainier National Park – Mount Rainier is the perfect location for snow-capped mountains, epic snow-covered trees, and beautiful views. The only entrance to the park that is open during the winter is the Nisqually Entrance that leads to Longmire and Paradise Visitor Center.
Mount Baker – There are a lot of epic spots with views of Mount Baker, but one of our favorites is Artist Point. You can snowshoe and have panoramic views of Mount Baker and the Cascades all to yourself.
Olympic National Park – The Olympics are probably the most underrated mountains in Washington, but wow are they incredible! It’s a great place to see deer, black bears, and the epic mountain range.
Rocky Mountain National Park – Even though we haven’t been to the Rockies in Colorado yet (we’ve only been to the Canadian Rockies), they are on our bucketlist! It’s definitely one of the best places to elope in the winter, not only because of it’s beauty, but also because there is so much to do. You can go snow tubing, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and ice fishing just to name a few. Talk about elopement adventures!
Telluride – This is one of Colorado’s many epic mountain villages. It’s a cute town with the most massive and epic mountain backdrops. If you want to elope closer to a town, this is a great spot! You can explore the mountains, and still have the cozy feel of staying in a local town. Maybe you can get hot cocoa with Irish Cream for afterwards (;
Breckenridge – Another great place to elope is near the town of Breckenridge. This town is located basically in the middle of Colorado, and there are a lot of fun things to do in the winter! It’s also hard to beat Colorado because even when it’s cold and snowy, there are a lot of sunny days.
Glacier National Park – Ahhh Glacier National Park is one of our favorite places in Montana! It’s so beautiful. If you’ve never been before, you have to add it to your Bucketlist. The only thing about Glacier is that there is only one main road throughout the whole park. It’s called Going To The Sun Road. So, that makes the park a bit more difficult to access during the snowy months. However, you can either explore right outside the park, find plowed roads, backcountry ski, or snowshoe! Check out this resource to learn more about Glacier in the winter.
Flathead National Forest – The Flathead National Forest is home to beautiful trees, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. It’s a great place to explore the beauty of Montana and an even better spot to elope!
Mount Hood National Forest – Okay, Oregon is our next-door neighbor, so you bet your butt we love adventuring there! And honestly, Oregon is pretty similar to Washington in the winter with the scenery and the weather. We definitely recommend Mount Hood and hikes with views of Mount Hood. Back in college, Hannah did a snowshoe hike with some friends from school and they were able to explore a frozen lake and see panoramic views of Mount Hood, Mount St Helens, Mount Adams, and more! It was magical. So, this is definitely a great place to explore and even say your vows!
Crater Lake National Park – This is the only National Park in Oregon, and it’s located near the southwestern part of the state. One of the coolest things about this park is that Crater Lake is actually the deepest lake in the entire United States. It’s just absolutely mindblowing, and it would be super an epic backdrop for your winter elopement!
Death Valley National Park – This is a great place to have your epic elopement if you’re looking for a more desert landscape, but something that is completely unique. Death Valley has incredible mountains with huge crevices between them. It’s incredible, but during the summer it’s almost too hot to even consider visiting. That’s why winter is better! It’s still warm (in the 60s – 70s), but it isn’t too hot to handle. The peaks are covered in snow, too, which just makes it even more gorgeous! The best time to visit is right after Thanksgiving, but before Christmas.
California Coast – The California Coast is a great place to elope during any time of the year, but it’s less crowded in the winter! You can check out places like Big Sur for your coastal elopement.
Some other epic places to elope during the winter months to avoid snow would be Patagonia, Thailand, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Iceland. You could even go to Hawaii and explore the beaches or the jungles! Your options are seriously endless. Anywhere that is either tropical (close to the equator) or has the opposite seasons of the northern hemisphere would be good places to visit during the winter months if you want sunshine!
Getaway House in Atlanta, Austin + San Antonio, Boston, Charlotte + Raleigh, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Pittsburg + Cleveland, Portland, Seattle, Washington D.C.
There are so many fun things to do for a winter elopement adventure! Some examples include snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing, backcountry skiing, and ice skating!