The decision to elope can be a little intimidating; the idea of telling family and friends:
“Surprise, we defied tradition and had this monumental life moment without you!”
The truth is you have to do what is right for yourself and your partner. We are facing the very real reality of a pandemic. The restrictions on travel for family and friends, along with the safety concerns for a group event, all played into our decision.
Another (common) influential factor was the relief of pressure and obligation which often comes with a more traditional wedding. Instead of stressing about the needs, wants, and expectations from the guest list, we kept things completely authentic to us. Heck yes it’s selfish, but it’s your wedding and you should be selfish! I’m here to tell you, whatever your reasoning may be when deciding to elope, there isn’t anything wrong with it.
Today I’m sharing some deets (and a little advice) from our intimate camping elopement.
This is an obvious tip. Whether you’re having a traditional wedding or choosing to elope, deciding on the perfect location is crucial. For us, the perfect spot was in the mountains of Colorado. We did our due diligence when looking for a perfect place to exchange vows. If I’m being completely honest, we were even luckier than Google led me to believe. Our camping spot had a private, secluded path down to the water – that is where we ended up having our ceremony.
Wherever you decide, just make it special for the both of you.
Prepare for the weather – don’t forget the weather can change at any moment. On our special day it rained off-and-on, but honestly this didn’t negatively impact the ceremony in any way (thank the luck of great timing). Plus, I’ve heard it is good luck for rain on your wedding day so that’s a thankful nod to Mother Nature.
We kept things private, private – no photographer (because I am a photographer). We ordered a remote for my camera and captured all the photos ourselves. This choice was ideal for us.
If you do decide to hire a photographer there are plenty out there who will cater to your elopement ceremony needs.
It’s no secret that weddings can be quite the expense. When you decide to elope the cost drops significantly. I think because we had less pressure to accommodate a large group of people we were able to spend more on things that were really important to us.
In the end, the cost is completely up to you.
One of the best things about the decision to elope is the amount your stress level with decrease. You can truly do whatever you want without fear of disappointing others. For us, that meant a menu completely unique to our cravings.
Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods were our caterer – we purchased hatch chili mac & cheese, farmers market fresh salsas, savory seed crackers, rosemary olives, pepper jelly spread, and fancy fruit infused cheeses. Really all the fixings for your favorite plant-based charcuterie feast. Because that’s what we wanted!
One thing that can bum people out when they’re considering elopement is the potential (or lack there of) for the ceremony itself. Weddings are incredibly personalized, based on who you are as a couple; the same thing goes for wedding elopements. I have seen couples who invite small groups of witnesses, have full wedding parties, some need an officiant (you don’t in Colorado) , and others keep it supper intimate with just the two of you.
With our choice to keep the wedding elopement between the two of us (and of course our fur baby, Max) I wanted to make sure we incorporated elements that made the wedding feel like a wedding and not just a photo session in the woods. So, here’s some of what we did:
Because we didn’t have anyone officiating our wedding, we wanted to have some sort of official transition into the wedding mood. I decided to write a sage smudging prayer that we could use to begin our ceremony, cleanse the space, and signify a New Chapters beginning. After all, the ceremony is largely based on energy.
Taking the time to meditate together, especially in an outdoor space, can be a healing and bonding moment. For us, we followed our sage smudging ceremony with a quick meditation before exchanging vows. It helps the mind and body to be present in the moment.
I mentioned this earlier but I’ll say it again, weddings are PERSONAL!, or at least they should be. Writing personal vows can make the moment that much more sentimental.
This was a nice touch to our very intimate experience. Before heading to the woods I purchased a little keepsake box. In it, we wrote letter to each other that we will open on our first anniversary. We also put a few small mementos from the day.
Okay, this one is obviously very personal but flowers, flowers, flowers! Uhh… they are so beautiful.
We picked up my bouquet from the Highlands Farmers Market in Denver. The flowers themselves are from Pastures of Plenty.
End it all with some s’mores. You are camping after all.