what to wear for your elopement

Filed in elopement, Guides, wedding advice — January 24, 2022

What to Wear for Your Elopement

The Best Dresses to Wear for Your Elopement

The Rules of Wedding Wear for Eloping

I’m so glad you’ve come here to learn exactly what you need to wear for your elopement! I get asked about this all the time. Whether you’re hiking in private up the cliffs of Yosemite, or literally paddling out to sea (scroll down for our paddle-board elopement), there’s one thing you need to know in order to make your elopement a success. There’s one BIG rule all elopers must abide by! What’s that one rule? There are no rules!!! But I’m sure on some level you already knew that.

Who cares if it’s just the two of you, or maybe you and a few close friends? It’s still your day, and a day you’re going to remember and cherish forever. So why put yourself in a box when it comes to what to wear?

One Dress for All Occasions

Sometimes, though not always, couples choose to elope for the weight it takes off their shoulders not having to organize and throw a massive party. Maybe lots of bells and whistles just aren’t your thing, and the privacy of your own ceremony is what you value most. It’s often the case that this “no frills” attitude extends into every detail, right down to the dress.

If this sounds like you, I recommend an outfit that you can wear for multiple occasions. Morgan’s stylish and simple dress (above) featured in Wandering Weddings is a perfect example of an outfit that can be used time and time again: engagement photos, the ceremony, the party (if you’re having one), etc. Then you can bring it home, hang it in your closet, and wear to future special occasions when it feels right.

All… I Mean, NO Eyes on You

I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings and elopements, and there’s something I’ve noticed about my eloping couples that always stands out. I don’t know if it’s because of the confidence gained from such a badass decision to elope; or maybe it’s because of the knowledge that no one (except maybe a very few close friends/family) is watching.

At elopements, there’s no concern about judgement. No fear of tripping on a floor runner, or having to answer for the 100th time “Oh my gosh, where did you get your dress?” Whatever the reason, I just love how eloping couples seem to behave in their own skin, and attire(!), now that they’ve already thrown the rule book out the window.

Red, White, or Blue… It’s All Up to You

Whether you’re someone who has dreamt of your wedding day since you were 10, or someone who never thought you’d be saying the words “I Do,” there’s one thing that almost everyone thinks about when they think of weddings: You’ve got to wear white! Well in case you needed someone else to say it out loud, “No you absolutely do not!!!”

It’s your day, your marriage, and your style. White or no white, it’s still your big day, and it should feel like you every step of the way. So throw out any ideas you have about “should,”, and open your mind to any colors, bring, or patterns that may be catching your eye.

Rules of Practicality

As an adventure photographer, I often shoot couples that have taken their elopement to extreme heights… Literally. We go on guided hikes, climb rocks, run on the beach- often at the break of dawn. Many of my clients ask me about the practicality of their attire. Now, don’t get me wrong; braving Yosemite in stilettos is not something I would want to see anyone do. But when it comes to keeping things safe and practical, I find that there’s almost no outfit we can’t make work. As long as you’ve got the right shoes for hiking, and a proper jacket for covering up when need be, don’t let the elements steal your sparkle. Tule is just as easy to hike up as cotton!

Who Says You Can’t Go Traditional?

Eloping certainly means that you get to set your own rules, but it doesn’t mean you can’t embrace tradition wherever it may appeals to you. I’ve photographed just as many elopements adorning traditional attire as those without. Just because there’s not a big crowd, doesn’t mean that that couture gown- train and all- that you’ve dreamt about all your life isn’t the perfect gown for your big (even if it’s small) day!

Keeping it Casual

Some people like to keep it casual, and if so, there’s still lots of ways to add that “wedding” flair. An all white bathing suit is made into a wedding day get-up with a simple over shawl, and flower headband. Or maybe you and your spouse-to-be have a favorite color, and choose to simply show up in the same shade of blue. You can even switch it up halfway through your day, starting in a casual or intimate outfit, and then dressing it up for a party later. If comfort is your goal, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some pizazz that helps you shine.

Final Thoughts

The last thing I want to share about your elopement attire is that when it comes to answering the question “what should I wear?” there really is only one answer: wear. whatever. YOU. want. I just can’t say it enough. It’s a day to let your love run wild, and showing up feeling supported (not constricted) by what you wear is all that matters. If it makes you smile, it’s the right pick!

If all this freedom to choose is overwhelming, or you have too many options you love, try this: step back, and look at your wedding as if it’s already happened. Imagine, it’s 25 years from now- or 50- and you’re picking up your wedding album to reminisce on the happiest day of your life. What do you see? Really do it. Close your eyes and pick up that album. The answer to what to wear lies in there.


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