You know I’m a huge proponent for making your elopement day your own. It’s important to get rid of expectations, societal pressures/norms, and saying a big fat “no” to traditions that don’t feel right to you. It can be hard to figure out how to do that when we’re so used to the wedding industry telling us what to do, what’s “trendy,” and how we should celebrate. Here are 10 funky + unique elopement ideas to help you craft a one-of-a-kind elopement day for you & your love!
1. Get ready for the day together
I bet we’re all pretty familiar with the wedding tradition of getting ready separately, yes? According to Brides, this tradition actually comes from a time when arranged marriages were the most common way to go. Therefore the bride & groom weren’t allowed to meet before the ceremony. Now, that tradition has stuck because many couples like to build up the excitement of seeing each other at the altar, and appreciate that intimate time with their loved ones before seeing their partner.
But did you know that getting ready together is an option for your elopement day? You can absolutely, 100% see each other before your ceremony by doing a first look or getting ready together, I promise it won’t be bad luck (despite what “tradition” says)!
I often see couples thinking that they have to choose one of two options. They either have to get ready together in private or get ready separately with their own fam & friends and that’s absolutely not the case. You can get ready alongside whatever mix of loved ones is the most meaningful to you!
Morgan + Michael got ready for their wedding together at the Camano Island Inn. They spent time blow drying hair, doing makeup, and getting their elopement attire on not only with each other’s help, but also with the help of their family. That morning is a wonderful example of how if you decide to get ready together, that doesn’t mean your family & friends can’t be included!
2. Mix up your meal(s)
A super fun way to make your elopement day as enjoyable as possible? Get creative with your food! Big weddings often restrict you to hiring a caterer to feed all your guests, but those limitations don’t come with elopements. Since your day is focused more on you & potentially your closest loved ones if you invite them, you can choose to eat whatever the hell you want on your big day without worrying about feeding a huge group! Sit down with your partner and make a big list of allll your favorite foods that you enjoy eating, and figure out how you could bring each of your top favorites into the day somehow.
Here are some ways you could incorporate delicious food that you love into your day. No matter if you want fast food in a park, brunch at your cabin, or a luxurious multi-course meal at a local restaurant:
- Hire a food truck (for lunch, dinner, and/or late-night snacks)
- Hire a private chef to cook for you
- Have your family put together a potluck
- Cook a meal with your loved ones in your cabin
- Rent out a local restaurant/brewery for you & your guests
- Pack a picnic
- Pay someone to create a beautiful charcuterie board for you
- Order pizzas
- Make brunch + drink mimosas in your cabin before your ceremony
Natalie + Anthony hired a legit burger food truck (Frugals Mobile Food Truck from Auburn, WA) for their elopement. It’s safe to say I’m now absolutely obsessed with fast food trucks on elopement days. The truck brought along a full burger menu, drink options, and plenty of condiments, so these two had it allll. They sat on a picnic blanket & ate burgers + fries and drank soda — do they not look like they’re straight out of a rom-com that takes place in the 50’s?! Take the hint from Natalie + Anthony and remember that you can do whatever the hell you want on your elopement day whether you want an elegant, 5-course meal or a truck with your favorite midnight snack.
3. Think outside of the box with locations
Location plays such a huge role in the vibe of your celebration and the atmosphere you create. It’s important to choose a location (or multiple locations) that you absolutely love & will be able to have fun with. You’re not limited by location as much as you would be if you had a large wedding with 100+ guests, so you’re able to get creative! Don’t feel like you have to limit yourselves to one location, either — you can absolutely move locations throughout the day and hit up a few different spots for different parts of your celebration.
Here are some fun, unique location ideas you could incorporate into your day, depending on the mood you want to create & your guest count:
- A haunted (or simply spooky) house
- A treehouse
- A yacht/ferry
- An alleyway with unique architecture/walls
- A lighthouse
- In the rainforest
- On a beach
- In a garden
- In a unique Airbnb/cabin
- At a mountaintop fire lookout
Jen + Kirk ended their elopement day by heading to the beach after sunset with lanterns in hand. I love when couples realize that there is SO much potential for incredible photos & a beautiful atmosphere even once the sun goes down – just look at how spooky and romantic they look strolling in the sand!
Travis + Brandi really thought outside of the box for their vow renewal: they held it at a lighthouse! The lighthouse provided a clean white aesthetic for the backdrop of their vow renewal and made for super unique ceremony photos + portraits of the two of them. Think about doing this at twilight in October – what’s more fun than being inside a lighthouse at night during spooky season?
On their wedding day, Kate + Nate set time aside to dance with their dance students, in their dance hall. How fucking cool of an idea is that? The dance hall was a beautiful atmosphere for their ceremony, and including their students on the big day was so meaningful + personalized – plus it made for some pretty rad photos!
Tessa + Jordan made the best of a classic rainy PNW day and held their elopement ceremony right in the middle of the Hoh Rain Forest. Instead of letting the rain ruin their plans, they fully embraced it and felt the drops fall on their skin as they said their vows & promised each other forever. It was nothing short of magical!
Finally, Madelyne + Zach spent the afternoon of their elopement having a picnic on the lake, creating the most picturesque scene you could imagine. All dolled up in their elopement attire — Madelyne in a simple dress with chunky white boots, and Zach in a gorgeous burgundy suit — they truly looked like they two lovers in the middle of a Nicholas Sparks movie. You can’t tell me I’m wrong 😉
4. Book an epic Airbnb
Airbnb’s are the perfect way to incorporate that home-away-from-home vibe into your elopement. Whether you book an Airbnb solely for to get ready in, or you spend your whole day there from getting ready, to your ceremony, allll the way to your evening celebration, you’ll be able to stay cozy and feel like you’re right at home. Sit by the campfire and roast marshmallows, drink beers, & tell stories with your loved ones, or soak in the cabin’s cedar hot tub in the trees. There are tons of unique Airbnb’s available to rent in the PNW, so take advantage!
One of my favorite, funky Airbnb’s in the entire PNW is the treehouse that Natalie + Anthony eloped at. Choosing this treehouse as their elopement location allowed them to not only say their vows smack dab in the middle of the trees, but gave them a private spot out in nature to enjoy the intimacy of their special day.
Gregori + Alyssa rented out a treehouse for their elopement as well, but they weren’t alone — these two enjoyed the private, nature-encompassed location alongside their closest family members & friends. At the Emerald Forest Treehouse in Redmond, WA, these two said their vows under the trees and enjoyed the insulated yurt, fire pit, and tipi groomsmen suite. Truly a fairytale elopement location for any couple looking to elope at a unique location in nature!
5. Get creative with your transportation
If you thought you had to drive a car around on your elopement day, think again! There are truly so many ways to get creative with the transportation you use on your elopement day depending on the activities you’ll be doing + what you value. Dreaming of a full-on fairytale wedding? Why not ride on horseback to your ceremony & hire a horse-drawn carriage to carry you off into the sunset? If you love being out on the water on a sunny day, hire a boat to take you out into the lake for some fun portraits, hold your ceremony on the ferry ride to your evening destination, or rent out a yacht for a party with your loved ones.
Blanking on ways to get around? Consider picking one or a few of these to incorporate into your day depending on the locations you visit:
- Boat (ferry, speedboat, yacht, catamaran, etc.)
- Golf cart
- Party bus/van
Since Travis + Brandi eloped right by the water, they took advantage of the location and rode a boat just for fun on the day of their vow renewal!
6. Take steamy evening photos
Taking photos after your reception when things get steamy is one of my faaavorite ways to end the night with couples. It can be such a fun way to wrap up the day and enjoy each other’s company in an intimate, special way. Getting photos of that private time to hold onto will be something you won’t regret. This is especially doable if you’ve got a cozy Airbnb to stay in the night of your elopement. Try to find one that has a hot tub, fire pit, a couch to snuggle on, you name it!
Andrea + Owen are the perfect example of how beautiful & special the more private moments can be. They took advantage of the hot tub at their cabin and we ended up with the most steamy, intimate photos to keep those memories (and that spark🔥) alive forever!
7. Jump in a lake
What’s more fun than jumping in the water spontaneously with your clothes on, on a hot day (or even a chilly one)? If you’re eloping on a lake or by the ocean, take a swim at the end of the day to end things on a childlike, joyful note. You can keep your elopement attire on, change into cozy casual clothes for the rest of the night, or put on swimsuits. Whatever you feel like doing in that moment, embrace it, my loves!
I love that a few of my couples have taken this suggestion to hear & jumped in the water on their wedding day. Just look at the fun that Gina + Jerry and KT + Seth had. They sure made a splash 😉
8. Hire a mobile drink bar
If you’re a big fan of yummy drinks & stylish cocktails, hiring a mobile drink bar is the way to go. You can hire a super cute truck, bus, or van to come along to serve you and your guests and cater to your every drink desire! I love it when couples choose their favorite cocktails & mixed drinks to serve as specialties alongside the typical liquors and vodka-cran’s you’d get on a regular night out.
Taylor + Keller hired a whole damn drink bus! Sarah + Justin hired Hitched Mobile Bar, and Jorden + Eamon hired yet another adorable AF mobile drink bar. I’ve never seen a cuter way to down some drinks & have a good time!
9. Do a day-after in-home session
If you’d love to have some cozy, intimate photos together but would rather keep to yourselves once your guests leave, you can do a day-after session instead of steamy evening-of photos! This is super easy if you’re staying in an Airbnb, or if you elope close to home & are heading back to your house the next day. Scheduling this session is such a beautiful way to capture you and your love soaking in all the post-marital bliss!
Check out some beautiful in-home inspiration below! I guarantee you’ll be dying to have your own day-after session of the two of you.
10. Take a sunset shot
Last but absolutely not least, keep it simple & take a shot at sunset together! Find a moment to escape from your guests (if you have any) and choose a private location to take a shot at while the sun goes down. Bring along your favorite whiskey, vodka, tequila (or all of the above – no judgement here!). You can make it even more special with personalized or commemorative shot glasses of some sort.
Jessica + Colin wrapped up the day with not just a champagne pop on the water. Plus they had shots of their fave hard stuff on the dock at sunset. Take a look at their full Olympic National Park Lakeside Wedding here for more stylish outdoor wedding inspo!
More Washington Elopement Tips & Ideas
If you liked these unique elopement ideas, I know you’ll looove these related blog posts!