Congratulations on your upcoming outdoor elopement! It’s important when eloping, especially if you are planning to hike on a trail to a mountaintop, waterfall, or other outdoor location, that you are very thoughtful about what to bring along to your special day.
When it comes to your ceremony, you may also be wondering how to decorate the space without an arbor or arch, and the good news is that you don’t need one – mother nature is absolutely the best backdrop you could have. Instead, consider incorporating intentional items that hold special meaning to you and your partner.
As an Asheville elopement company creating intimate ceremonies in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we have seen what items are most functional and worth hiking up with.
Bringing a small gift for your partner is an awesome way to set the tone for the day and make them feel special. Some of our favorite ideas include making them a mix cd or playlist to listen to on the way or after the elopement, buying them a polaroid camera, or gifting a pair of walking sticks with your initials etched in them to use at the elopement.
Want more ideas for compact gifts for your partner? Check out all of our top suggestions in our blog “Meaningful Gifts to give your Partner on your Wedding Elopement.”
Hiking makes you hungry – that’s something we’ve discovered over the years!
That’s why we offer a custom cake from a local baker and a cute picnic setup with champagne for our couples in some of our packages. Who wouldn’t want a slice of cake at the top of a mountain while taking in the view?
But even if you are going at it alone without the help of an elopement company to supply and bring the cake, you can still bring a snack or small cake along.
Make sure to bring plates and silverware to cut and eat the cake!
For snack ideas, try to think of your partner’s favorite food – it can even be something far from glamorous like cheetos!
Whatever you choose,bring along a blanket for a nice picnic to take in the scenery and truly relax!
An item that has almost become essential at our elopements is champagne. It’s great not just for drinking but for popping, especially after the ceremony to celebrate being freshly wed!
It’s clearly an awesome photo-op when poppin’ the bubbly and it’s a lot of fun!
Many of our elopement packages come with champagne and glasses. But if you are going at it alone, make sure to wrap champagne glasses in napkins to buffer them and be sure not to leave any trace by being mindful of not throwing the wrapper on the ground. We usually keep the wrapper in our pocket or bag and dispose of when we return to civilization!
A cake topper that truly represents you is a sweet decorative piece to add to a cake.
Whether you decide to go the fun route or traditional, you can top your cake with something that means something to the two of you.
One of our favorites was a Power Rangers cake topper for “The Powers” and a bunny and vulture topper to reflect nicknames that a couple had for each other.
Sometimes it can be simple, like having your topper say your last names or both of your first names together – like “Sara & Ryan” for example.
Be creative or make it simple, but this is a sweet way to personalize your cake.
Is there a family heirloom like a watch, ring, or necklace you were given? Wearing this to your elopement allows you the opportunity to have it photographed and the significance can be infused into your day. It’s a nice way to allow a loved one to be there with you in spirit if they cannot be there physically and helps personalized your day.
A picnic blanket will definitely be used on your elopement day. Whether the two of you want to take in the view or eat cake on it, the blanket will provide you with nice luxury seating in nature.
A blanket can also double as a way to stay warm! Wrap up in it with your partner, snuggle and get the sweetest photos taken of you two.
Beyond that, you may have some guests coming like children or an older adult who might like to sit on the blanket during the ceremony, or they may even want to use it to stay warm.
There are so many styles of blankets from boho wool to checkered picnic style. Here are some awesome finds on Etsy!
“Just Married” or “We Eloped” signs provide a classic photo prop that makes for a great image for thank you notes or to share on social media.
Other essential options you may want to bring are functional items that help you deal with weather and changing temperature as sunset approaches.
Our top tip? Layers are essential, all year round!
For winter, consider gloves, a scarf, a warm blanket, and a hooded winter jacket to protect your ears and neck. For mountain elopements, a hat might be good if you are not worried about ruining your hairstyle on the way down back to the car.
In the fall, spring, and even summer, have at least a light to medium jacket to put on as needed throughout the experience. Some brides have a custom made leather or jean jacket, while others bring a shawl or coat to throw on between photos.
Bring a clear umbrella, especially one that folds up like this one.
Good hiking boots or warm shoes are also essential, especially if you will be outside in winter. But really, anytime of year you can run into rain or cold as the sun goes down, so be prepared.
Unless someone is injured or unable to stand for long periods of time, we do not recommend bringing tables or chairs. This is cumbersome and heavy to have to carry to your elopement site. The ceremony is usually less than 20 minutes long and guests are typically standing and grouped together to give plenty of space for the photographer to get your photos. This simple setup lets nature be the focus and also removes the setup time for putting out chairs and other items.
Pop-up changing rooms are one option to utilize when changing into your dress once you arrive at your elopement site. While this may be the preference for some couples, we typically recommend getting dressed ahead of time or in the parking lot in your car or outside your vehicle. This way, you are all set and ready to go and don’t have to hope you remembered all items when you get to the top. It wouldn’t be surprising if you got to your elopement site and realized undergarments were packed in a bag somewhere else in your car. We look to avoid
-an arbor, arch, or anything that requires a long setup or is heavy. Despite how simple they look, setting up an arch can take a florist hours and for elopements, there is no time built in to “set-up” the ceremony site. Keep things simple and remember that nature is the best background for achieving the ease of an elopement.
-platforms. No it is not a good idea to bring a wooden platform or anything similar to the top of a mountain or to your elopement site. It should be obvious that this is impractical, unnecessary, and can even be against the regulations of the site or park. I can’t even imagine why or how someone would want to hike up with a heavy item 1-2 miles on a steep mountainside! Be prepared to stand firmly on nature’s floor and get your shoes a little dirty! That is part of the experience.
-high heels unless you are ok with changing into them after your hike and really love the look. If your elopement involves hiking, the right footwear like hiking boots or sneakers will make your climb much more comfortable. You can always pack different shoes in a backpack to change into if you don’t want other shoes in your photos, but overall we suggest avoid bringing heels altogether and choosing functional footwear that is cute but practical so you can walk around easily for photos and exploring.
Remember, your elopement is about celebrating your love and commitment to each other. Don’t feel like you need to conform to traditional wedding decor. Instead, embrace the opportunity to create a ceremony that truly reflects your unique relationship.
At the end of it all, eloping is about marrying your best friend.
We are here to support you and make your dream day a reality!
Contact us today to start planning your beautiful nature wedding elopement.