We are a husband & wife team. Based in the mountains of Montana & Washington State, we’ve been photographing and filming couples since the start of 2021.
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One of the biggest questions we get about all day elopements is “what do you do after the ceremony?” It’s kind of a loaded question because in our minds, we think “well, what CAN’T you do after your elopement?!” There are so many epic post elopement celebration ideas that you can include on and after your special day!
Elopements aren’t just running away to get married in a courthouse anymore. They can be that, and so much more! It truly is a celebration of you and your love. It’s a day to do all of the things that make you both so extremely happy. And if for some reason you’re having a creative block (which is totally normal), we’re here to help give you some fun ideas! We want you to have an incredible day, no matter what that means. So, we wanted to give you a ton of epic ideas for what you can do after your elopement ceremony!
READ ME FIRST: We’re going to categorize our ideas in 3 different levels (kind of like the hiking levels of difficulty). The three categories are going to be easy, moderate, and difficult. Easy ideas are ones that you can either delegate to other vendors or that require little planning! Moderate ideas are ones that require a bit more planning or maybe include reservations. Difficult ideas are the ones that are going to require the most preparation. They aren’t difficult in the literal meaning, but they are difficult in that you’ll need to plan a bit more for them.
Remember: “Easy” post-elopement celebration ideas are ones that you can either delegate to vendors or requrie very little planning!
So when it comes to post elopement ceremony celebrations, picnics are our TOP recommendation! They can be the easiest way to enjoy your elopement, whether you have us for 4 hours or all day. Picnics can take place after a sunrise ceremony (umm breakfast and mimosas, yes please), midday ceremony (lunch is a necessity), or even after a sunset ceremony (bring on the hot cocoa and warm meals). We have tons of epic examples of elopement picnics that we’ve done with our couples. Your picnic can be anything from heating up MountainHouse packs after a long hike at sunset to making a cute charcuterie board with your favorite snacks to hiring a picnic vendor to create everything for you! It’s 100% up to you. We have some epic vendors to recommend, along with packing tips if you want to bring your charcuterie board and snacks along for the hike.
After a full day of exploring and getting to celebrate marrying your best friend, what’s better than star gazing?? This is an effortless and super fun idea! The only planning you’ll need to do is maybe bringing some warm layers and a blanket. You also might want to check the weather for clear skies and get an app to help you locate constellations or track meteor showers. But other than that, it’s such an easy idea and a fun way to relax with your new husband/wife.
Okay, let’s say you pitched a tent to celebrate the first night of marriage with your best friend (how freaking romantic?!), so what better way to celebrate than with a campfire and some campfire food! If you’re going to do this, just make sure you’re eloping in the early months of summer. By late summer, there is often a burn ban in a lot of states. You’ll need some wood and kindling, a fire starter, maybe some camp chairs, good food, and tunes!
Our personal favorite tunes for camping is country music, but you can listen to whatever you both like! Maybe you can make a specific post elopement celebration playlist! How freaking cute would that be?! Anyway, you then just need to pack whatever food and drinks you enjoy. When we’re camping, we like to make burgers or hot dogs and either mac & cheese or Rice-A-Roni packets. Getting some local brews would also be a fun addition. Again, this is a super easy idea, yet it’s such a fun way to celebrate together.
If you’re visiting a new area or staying local to your hometown, you could try a new-to-you brewery or restaurant. If you’re a huge foodie, this might be a really fun option for you and your partner. You could end your night there or stop somewhere during your elopement day. And if you want to be even more creative, you could have the restaurant order for you or you could each order something for your partner without them knowing. Or maybe you get your favorite dish or drink to try it out at this place. It’s up to you, but this idea is effortless and can be done basically wherever you go.
Remember: “Moderate” post-elopement celebration ideas are ones require some extra planning or maybe include reservations.
Something that we try to do on our vacations is look for unique places to stay, whether that’s a local hotel or a fun Airbnb/VRBO. This can make a vacation that much more exciting! The cool thing is that there are so many unique places to stay all over the world, so no matter where you are eloping, you can find something awesome. You could stay in a yurt, glamping tent, or treehouse. You could book a stay with a sauna, hot tub, or infinity pool. You could a cabin on a farm or by a river. You could book a vintage Airstream or a modern house.
Almost all of our blogs have Airbnb recommendations, but here are some of our favorites:
Underground Hygge (basically a Hobbit house) in Orondo, Washington
Peaceful Rainforest Treehouse Retreat in Volcano, Hawaii
The Box Hop in Rockbridge, Ohio
Converted WWII Train Car in Maryville, Tennessee
Desert Dome in Joshua Tree, California
Rustic Cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Morganton, Georgia
A lot of couples choose to elope not only for the intimacy of eloping, but also for the experience. So, why not book a super unique and fun experience that you and your partner will remember forever? One option is an off-roading tour led by a guide. This isn’t a super hard post-elopement celebration because all you have to do is make the reservation. You don’t need any experience with off-roading! You just have to come ready for an adventure.
This also doesn’t have to be a post-elopement celebration. This can be something that you do in order to get to your ceremony spot! This is an especially good option if you want your ceremony to be private, but you and your partner don’t really want to hike a ton. Off-roading is extremely fun and it can be a great experience.
Some Jeep 4×4 off-roading tours include:
Off-Road Jeep Adventures in Scottsdale, Arizona
Whitefish, Montana Jeep Tours and Rentals
Idaho Falls Jeep Tours (Greater Yellowstone area)
Another pretty effortless celebration could be a dinner party with family and friends! Of course, you could make this more intense by having a huge party with lots of vendors, food, drinks, games, etc. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you don’t want it to be. You can use a family/friend’s house or backyard and invite your people over. Or maybe you all meet up at a local restaraunt. You can either hire a caterer, make the food yourself, or you can even have it be a potluck! That way, everyone is bringing their favorite dishes, and it means you don’t have to plan too much.
Celebrations with family and friends are awesome because you get to share your elopement experience with them, and they feel included. They get to celebrate you and your marriage. You can do this the day after your elopement, a month after your elopement, when you get your elopement photos/film back, or a year later! This option is awesome, and it can be as involved or not involved as you want it to be.
Remember: “Difficult” post-elopement celebration ideas are ones that require the most preparation. They aren’t difficult in the literal meaning, but they are difficult in that you’ll need to plan a bit more for them.
The reason that this is considered a more difficult post-elopement celebration is because you probably should train for an all day strenuous hike. There could be a number of reasons as to why a hike is labeled “strenuous.” Some reasons include: elevation gain, overall altitude, trail conditions, and length of hike. Hiking is awesome and it’s usually one of the top elopement celebration choices!
Couples hike to find an epic ceremony spot, to picnic, to take bridal portraits, and more. But doing a more strenuous hike is a big deal. You need to be prepared, mentally, physically, and with the gear that you have. You’ll need more then just tennis shoes and a water bottle. Strenuous hikes take a lot out of you, but they can also be extremely rewarding.
One hike that’s extremely tough, but can be done as an all-day thru hike is The Enchantments in Leavenworth, Washington. This hike is not easy. It’s ~20 miles one way, so you have to park a car at the end of the hike. It starts with an incline of over 2,000 feet in 4 miles. Then, you hike up to Aasgard Pass in less then a mile and gain another 2,000+ feet in elevation. Yup, you heard us right. You can over 2,000 feet in less than 1 mile! It’s a really hard hike, and you can’t just do it on a whim. That part of the hike is also a scramble up loose rocks, so a lot of people come prepared with helmets.
Anyway, our point is that strenuous hikes are awesome, challenging, and a great adventure to have! But you need to properly prepare yourself if this is something you want to do for your elopement.
Just like we mentioned above, if you want to overnight backpack, this is going to take a little bit more planning than a picnic! You’ll need all of the correct gear, clothes, and preparation in order to go on a backpacking trip for your elopement. Don’t get us wrong, though, you don’t have to be super experienced in order to backpack. We all have to start somewhere, right? This option just takes a bit more effort to plan! You might need to do some research about gear, go to a local outdoorsy store to get fitted for good overnight packs, secure backpacking permits, and research the trail. This is a fun option, though, if you want privacy, or if you want to catch sunset and sunrise for your elopement. We can backpack with you and capture the whole adventure! We usually have extra gear, too, and we supply all of our couples who want to backpack with a packing list to make sure that we’re all prepared and organized. This isn’t a hard option, it just requires more planning usually!
We have yet to capture a couple rock climbing or canyoneering, but what a FUN way to celebrate your elopement! We are not certified guides for rock climbing or canyoneering, so we added this to the “difficult post-elopement celebration ideas” because you will need to hire a professional in order to do this. But we are more than happy to document it for you! We’d love to learn how to do this as well, but for safety reasons, we can’t be your guides. Also, if you’ve never done this before, it could be a bit scary! But it’s definitely something you’d never forget doing, right?!
A helicopter tour would be such an awesome way to see more on your elopement day! You could either plan a helicopter tour to a private location for your elopement ceremony or for photos! There are a lot of helicopter tours in places like Hawaii and Alaska that take you to more secluded locations. Or you can just do a helicopter tour to get an overview of where you’re at! For example, Seattle offers helicopter tours over the Cascades, so you’d be able to see more of Washington and the mountains (including Mount Rainier). But they don’t land anywhere along the way, it’s just a tour to see Washington.
Booking a helicopter tour might be more difficult because it would require a bit more planning, as well as making reservations. It’s definitely not a hard thing to do, just like overnight backpacking, but we’d need to build it into your timeline differently, and flying can be nerve-wracking sometimes. This is definitely an option for couples who like adrenaline rushes!
We mentioned helicopter tours, jeep tours, and rock climbing/canyoneering, but there are also a ton of other adventure tours that you could do! Tours can be more expensive and sometimes it’s hard to find a good date/time for the activity. They require a bit more planning, and it’s another thing for us to build into the timeline. That’s the only reason we put tours in this category! They’re not always difficult, but they also aren’t always super easy. If it’s something you’ve never done before, it might be scary.
The first time Hannah went on a white water rafting tour, she was so anxious the day before and the day of. She had an absolute BLAST, but it was difficult to get her to feel comfortable with the unknown. So, you sometimes have to mentally and physically prepare yourself. Adventure tours could be anything from white water rafting, for example, to paragliding in Ecuador or ice climbing in Alaska.
The really cool thing is that the sky’s the limit! You can literally do anything that you want! And with elopements, what’s awesome is that you have the ability to allocate your wedding budget towards the things that are actually meaningful to you, like going on adventures and creating new memories together as a married couple!
So, what’re you waiting for?! Reach out to us and we can help you start planning your DREAM ELOPEMENT, including planning your post elopement celebration! Contact us here!
Hannah and Adam are a Montana and PNW-based Elopement Photographer + Videographer Team traveling across the US and abroad to capture couples' special days. They firmly believe love is love, Black lives matter, and in respecting our planet.
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