Adventure elopements have completely different logistics involved, and getting married outdoors means there are some things to think about. This guide is all about what to wear to elope - we’ll talk about elopement dresses, elopements suits, shoes, accessories, and everything you need to know!
Your elopement isn’t like a traditional wedding (that’s sort of the point!), so when you’re shopping for wedding attire, it may not be as simple as walking into the bridal shop and choosing any outfit.
Before you start shopping, here's what you need to know about elopement attire!
This is probably the most important consideration when it comes to what to wear to elope - you’ve gotta be comfortable! You may be able to get away with flattering-but-uncomfortable attire at a traditional wedding, but you’ll be moving around a lot more on your elopement day. Whether you’re hiking, kayaking, or even just relaxing on a beach or having a picnic by a lake, you’ll need to make sure you can walk, move, and sit easily. If you aren’t comfortable, you won’t enjoy the experience nearly as much - when something’s pinching or poking, it tends to become the only thing you think about!
Another thing to think about before you go shopping is where you’re eloping. If your location is in the chilly mountains of Colorado and you’re tying the knot in winter, your outfit choices might be different than if you’re getting married on a Hawaiian island. Consider the weather in your elopement location, and whether you’ll need to be prepared for cold, heat, rain, snow, or anything in between!
Different locations often make sense with different elopement attire. For example, light, boho dresses look great on the beach, and so does a more casual outfit with dress pants and a button up. If you get married in the forest, an elegant gown and a three piece suit will give it an ethereal feeling - so think about your location, the vibe you’re going for, and how casual or dressed up you plan to be.
You can also coordinate the colors of your elopement attire with location - usually this works for suits, but elopement dresses can incorporate fun colors too! If you’re getting married somewhere with warm tones (a red rock desert, for example), cool colors like blue will really pop. If your backdrop has cooler tones (like a blue alpine lake), wearing warm colors like red or yellow can make you stand out.
When it comes to what to wear to elope, another important factor is what you plan to do. If you want to go hiking, a big ballgown will be pretty heavy and hard to wear or carry with you. You might also want to pack your attire with you instead of wearing it while you hike, so wrinkling of the fabric and the weight of your attire will make a big difference!
Shoes are part of your elopement attire too, so think about what you’ll be doing - do you need hiking boots, or are you planning more casual activities? Is the terrain rough and rocky, or will you go barefoot in the sand?
The most important rule is that there are no rules! You can go with a traditional gown or suit, but you can also get creative with it and choose something outside the box. Don’t be afraid to play with colors, try on different styles, maybe opt for a jumpsuit instead of a dress, or do anything and everything that feels right!
Elopement dresses tend to be more complicated than suits, with tons of options! But, here’s what you need to know about choosing a wedding dress for an elopement.
Remember, one of the most important things on your elopement day is comfort! So when you’re shopping for elopement dresses, stay away from anything too constricting. Mermaid and trumpet dresses, and other styles with tight skirts, are notoriously difficult to move around in, and they aren’t so good for adventures. Opt for dresses with loose, flowy skirts - these will be more comfortable, and usually much easier to walk, stand, and sit in!
Fabric makes a big difference, for both dresses and suits. For an elopement dress, when it comes to fabric there are two main things to consider - weight (warmth), and how prone to wrinkles it is.
Lighter fabrics will help keep you cool, on a hike or in warm weather, while heavier fabrics are great for staying warm in cold weather or at high elevations! If you plan to pack your elopement dress for traveling or hiking, choosing a fabric that’s more wrinkle resistant can help keep it looking great. Lace is the best option because it doesn’t wrinkle at all, but tulle and chiffon are wrinkle resistant as well.
Suits don’t have quite as much variability in styles, but there are still some decisions to be made! Suits with a jacket are great for layering, and will be amazing for staying warm, or for cooling down when needed. You can keep it casual with a button up and nice pants, or get fancy with a three piece tux!
Fabric will also make a big difference - breathable, lightweight fabrics (like cotton or linen) are better for warm weather or when you’re moving a lot, and heavier fabrics lille flannel or tweed are great for staying warm. Wrinkles can also affect a suit, and wool or synthetic fabrics are best for that!
And there's no rule that you have to even wear a suit or a dress! It's your elopement - wear whatever makes you most comfortable.
After you’ve got the main pieces of your elopement attire picked out, you’ll also need to think about shoes and other accessories.
When it comes to shoes, remember - comfort is key! High heels or dress shoes probably won’t be great for walking a lot, so opt for some sturdy hiking boots or comfortable sneakers or sandals if you don’t plan to hit the trails. No matter what you choose, make sure that they’re broken in before the big day!
You can also personalize your elopement attire with hats, ties, or even fun socks! For warmth, you can add a jacket, cape, or shawl, and if it’s going to be especially cold, I recommend some base layers. Thermal leggings or shirts make a huge difference, and they can go under your attire!
For some tips and advice specific to your elopement location, don’t hesitate to ask your elopement photographer! I may not be a fashion guru, but I’ve got the lowdown on what photographs well, what colors will look amazing with your backdrop, and how to stay warm in the mountains. Contact me if you’re planning an adventurous wedding!