How to Have a Mountain Elopement

How to Have a Mountain Elopement

because yes.. you can get married in the Mountains

bride looking out into the mountains on the morning of her elopement

Okay so you’ve probably seen those amazing photos of a bride and groom, on a top of a mountain, her hair blowing flawlessly in the wind, AND OF COURSE the sun is shining just perfectly to illuminate both of them.

‘Those people have to be models… there’s no way anyone actually has a wedding ceremony like that’ 

Well my friend, I’m here to tell you that…yes ...probably some of those people are models, BUT the majority of them ARE NOT! 

Couples are starting to celebrate their wedding day differently than the traditional ceremony. This type of ‘wedding experience’ is referred to as an elopement (and no that does not mean they’re just running away to Vegas to get married by cupid in some church). The term elopement has a whole different meaning these days. Learn more about elopements in my elopement guide here.

Couples are getting married on the top of mountains, in European towns, or in front of 90-foot waterfalls. They are choosing a wedding day that is different and exciting, because why wouldn’t you celebrate your marriage in a way that is as adventurous and unique as you two?

So if getting married at the top of a mountain sounds like the PERFECT day for you, keep reading, below you will the six steps to having an elopement in the mountain.

couple in wedding attire having their elopement in front of a mountain, groom is holding bride’s hand

Choose a location

When choosing a location for your ceremony in the mountains, there are a few factors to consider:

Hiking Level

Do you want a 6 mile long hike, where you change into your wedding gear at the top? Or would you prefer a short walk that is right off the road but still has the most beautiful view? 

Type of View

What type of view do you want during your ceremony? Are you a waterfall person or do you want to be completely surrounded by snow-capped mountains? (or maybe something else!)

Popularity of Location

Do you want a well-known trail, where there may be other people around? Or would you prefer a location that’s more ‘off the beaten-path’?

Now don’t be too overwhelmed by all these decisions, this is the fun part.

There are so many locations to choose from, and finding a spot can start with just a simple google search of ‘Most beautiful mountain ranges in the world’, that will get the inspiration juices flowing.

couple hiking in the mountains for their elopement day

Create a Timeline

Depending on the location you choose for your elopement, there is so much more to your day than just the ceremony. What time of day do you want to get married? Most photographers would recommend a ceremony at sunrise or sunset, depending on the location, trail, and time of year. 

A timeline can consist of when you’re getting ready, where you’re having a first look, what are you doing before the ceremony, what time you should leave for the hike, and how you’re celebrating after the ceremony.

A timeline is a great way to create a plan for the day so you don’t need to stress during your elopement.

Brainstorm ideas of what you would like to do after the ceremony. Whether it’s having your first dance and popping a bottle of champagne or maybe you want to do something more adventurous like cliff-jumping while exploring the area.

mountain elopement location ideas including yosemite

Decide Where to Stay

Once you have a location and an idea on what activities you want to do, you need a place to stay before and after your big day. You can choose to continue the adventure by ‘glamping’ in a tent near your ceremony location, or pick a huge sunlight-filled Airbnb with mountain views all around. 

Where you stay during your elopement is an important part of the experience. It can add to your adventure and set the tone of your wedding day. You want to be as relaxed and happy as possible, exploring this new journey you’re about to start.

couple in an airstream before their mountain elopement
couple planning their mountain elopement while they joke around with each other

Who to Include

It’s important to think about who you want with you on your elopement day. You should consider if potential guests are ‘able-bodied’ enough to easily hike to your ceremony location.

Although you may want your grandma involved on your big day, you might be worried the whole time about how she is doing and if she can make it up the hike.

There are so many other ways to include your family and friends in your elopement.

Couples have celebrated with their families by having a separate ceremony after they said their vows on a secluded hike. Other couples have had a big party when they came home, or some couple brought a few of their closest family members with them.

It all depends on what would make you happiest.

mountain elopement international destination ideas including italy three peaks

Ceremony Plan 

How would you like to get married? With elopements, this is completely up to you.

Exchanging rings, saying vows, having a religious ceremony, or being married by an ordained officiant are all traditional options to celebrate your commitment as a couple. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your wedding day. Your ceremony can include something unique such as creating a time capsule with letters to each other in a box that you open on your one year anniversary. The options are endless, from painting a picture together to having an Irish Sundial Ceremony.

If you want to legally get married in the state of your ceremony, it’s important to research the requirements beforehand. These state laws can range from needing witnesses to a required waiting period before getting married. 

Your ceremony should feel authentic to you as a couple.

Research unique wedding rituals or implement a new idea that you and your partner created. It’s all about celebrating your commitment to each other, the way you want.

elopement couple in the mountains having their ceremony right before their first kiss
mountain elopement couple kissing each other

Choose an Elopement Photographer

Okay, so I thought about not including this at all. To me it seems obvious (since I am an elopement photographer), but I wanted to make sure that you realize the benefits of including an elopement photographer on your day. 

There are two main reasons I HIGHLY recommend hiring an elopement photographer:

  1. You want this day to be documented forever. This is the day you decided to commit yourselves to each other, in a way that is 100% authentic to you two. THAT should be captured, your love story should be photographed and passed down for generations to come. Since not all your friends and family will be there, it is also a great way to share the adventures of your day with all those who care about you.

  2. An elopement photographer is SO MUCH MORE than just someone photographing your day. They are included in the whole elopement planning process. Basically, your elopement photographer should be helping you with everything I just mentioned. With my couples, from the day they decide they want me to capture their day, we are working together to help create the perfect adventure for them. This includes helping them choose a location, find a place to stay, create a customized timeline, and guide them through all the decisions needed for the perfect elopement day. 

“With my couples, from the day they decide they want me to capture their day, we are working together to help create the perfect adventure for them. This includes helping them choose a location, find a place to stay, create a customized timeline, and guide them through all the decisions needed for the perfect elopement day”


elopement photographer smiling at camera in the mountains

Hey, I’m Amanda

I’m an adventurous travel elopement photographer who believes in experiencing all that life has to offer. I do not see the value in objects, but rather in experiencing moments and developing relationships with others.

I truly believe your wedding day should ONLY be filled with things that will make you blissfully happy.

i believe YOUR WEDDING DAY SHOULD BE AS adventurous, as breathtaking, and unique as you want it to be.