Hiking elopements are such an adventurous and exciting way to celebrate your marriage. Although they can provide their own challenges, depending on the amount of adventure you are expecting or planning. When packing for a hiking elopement, not only are you bringing the essentials for a wedding ceremony, but also the practical gear for a hike in the great outdoors. Here's a guide to help you pack everything you will need for your hiking elopement.
Looking for more hiking elopement recommendations? Check out our post on The Best Mountain Top Elopement Locations In Vermont or How to Plan a Hiking Elopement.
How to Pack for A Hiking Elopement
One question that I get asked a lot is "Do people hike in their wedding clothes? How does it work?" There are a few options for sporting wedding attire on a hiking elopement. And it all comes down to personal preference.
Plan on Two Outfits
If you want your adventure to feel unique and celebratory, but your official wedding wear isn't quite flexible enough to hike in, plan on two outfits. A fun hiking outfit (ex: a shorter dress, a tutu, a tux t-shirt) can be a great way to keep you comfortable while still making the hike feel like the special event that it is. Once we reach the summit, you can then change into your official wedding attire.
Hike in Your Wedding Wear
Depending on the length and difficulty of your hike you may want to (and be able to) wear your wedding clothes the whole time. Yes, this means it might get dirty. But does it really matter? No. You are likely only going to wear this once, so why not make it a part of the whole day? Let go of the anxiety of getting your dress or pants dirty. You'll have so much more fun if you just don't worry about it and make it part of the experience. Just be sure that you're choosing an outfit that is comfortable to hike in!
Change at the Top
Maybe you'd rather wear traditional hiking gear for your hike and change once you get to the top. This works too! If you have a bouquet, we'll strap that to your backpack. Maybe even some "just married" signs tied to your pack, too. Whatever makes you more comfortable and excited about the experience, the better! Just remember whatever you pack you will have to carry up and down the mountain. Make sure to keep things simple and light for your own benefit!
For footwear consider choosing comfortable hiking boots or shoes with good traction. Don't forget to wear socks designed for hiking to prevent blisters. If you'd like, you can also pack along a special shoe to wear during your ceremony.
Bring along a small, comfortable, and waterproof backpack to carry your essentials. You will also want a water-resistant jacket in case of any unexpected weather. A first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers and any necessary prescription medications will also be a good precautionary measure to take. If you are hiking somewhere new, be sure to have a map or other navigation handy in order to ensure you stay on course. If you are hiking during the summer months, don't forget insect repellent, sunscreen and lip balm with sun protection!
There would be nothing worse than getting to the top of the mountain to discover you've forgotten important ceremony essentials. Be sure to make a list and pack your marriage license and any other required documentation (check with the national park or place you are hiking to make sure you have crossed your t's and dotted your i's), wedding rings, vows or other written words for the ceremony and an officiant or witness, if needed.
Water + Snacks
Don't forget to pack refreshments to enjoy on your hike! You will want lightweight snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and fruit. Pack plenty of water in a reusable container. If you are looking for something special to celebrate after the ceremony, pack a charcuterie board and small, portable champagne or wine bottles.
Seating won't be necessary for everyone, but if you aren't traveling too far and plan to sit down and enjoy yourselves for a while, try packing some compact camping chairs, lightweight cushions or a blanket for comfortable seating during or after the ceremony.
Decor and Personal Touches
Although a hiking elopement provides a setting beautiful in its own right, some like to bring along a few touches to personalize their setting. Try a flower bouquet or boutonniere and any other decorations you may want for the ceremony site, such as a small altar or symbolic items.
Come prepared with extra clothing for before or after the ceremony and extra layers for changing weather conditions.
Other Things to Consider for a Hiking Elopement
Leave No Trace
Make sure whatever you bring up the mountain, leaves the mountain with you. Bring along trash bags to pack out any waste or trash and follow the "Leave No Trace" principles by respecting the environment and minimizing your impact.
Permits and Regulations
Do your research in advance and check if you need any permits or have to adhere to specific regulations for your chosen hiking location.
If you are bringing any friends or family along with you for the hike, make sure they are also prepared. Give them a list and maybe even ask if they would be willing to carry certain items to help you out. Many hand make light work. But you can also hire an adventurous vendor who would be willing to set up a fancy mountain top picnic or special ceremony site for you (if permitted in your ceremony location).
Plan the timeline carefully to ensure you have enough daylight for the ceremony and return hike. In addition, plan accordingly for busy trails. If it's peak season and there are lots of hikers this might delay your trip and make the experience less intimate. Your photographer will have all the insider information on this to guide you through building a timeline that provides the experience you're looking for.
Remember that the key to a successful hiking elopement is being well-prepared and flexible. Check the weather forecast, and be ready to adapt your plans if necessary. Ensure you have everything you need, but keep it lightweight and portable. Most importantly, focus on the moment and enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding your special day. It is one you will remember forever!
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Adventure Elopements + Intimate Weddings
vermont, new england and the wild west