Are you dreaming of a wedding that’s a little more adventurous than the typical ballroom affair? If you’re an outdoorsy couple who loves nature and wants a wedding that reflects that, consider having a camping or glamping elopement. Here are some of the best places in the U.S. to tie the knot in the great outdoors.
Planning a camping or glamping elopement requires a bit more preparation than a traditional wedding, but it’s well worth the effort. Let’s explore some tips to help make your adventure elopement a breeze and some great places to elope!
It’s so important to make sure your vendors are on the same page as you – while this goes for any wedding, it’s especially true for adventure, and backcountry elopements! You want vendors who not only match the vibe you want on your wedding day but are experienced in this type of elopement and can help guide you in the planning process. Here are some reasons that you want to hire the right vendor for your elopement:
Because of how involved the vendors can be in planning your backcountry elopement, it’s so important that you find and hire your vendors early!
In general, unless it says otherwise, you can camp almost anywhere. You can camp front-country (on an established campsite) or backcountry (in the wilderness). If you’re camping in a park, you will want to be aware of their rules about weddings. And, you’ll want to make sure you’re camping/hiking within the appropriate town limits of your marriage certificate/permits.
I love an intimate elopement! There is something so special about quietly getting married with only the love of your life. However, if you’re eloping without friends and family, I suggest hiring a videographer in addition to a photographer, to help capture the moment and share it with your loved ones.
If you’re planning to invite friends and family to your elopement, you’ll want to find a campsite that has space available for all of the tents and campers you may need. You will want to consider the accessibility of the trails and elopement spots for people of varying hiking capabilities. There are some campgrounds that you can rent out and have a summer camp theme wedding.
Knowing how long/far you want to hike will help you narrow your location options. Are you planning on dressing at your campsite? If so, I would recommend camping as close to your elopement site as possible. If you’re planning to hike more than a mile from the campsite then I suggest changing into your wedding attire trail-side (you can use a pop-up tent for privacy).
When planning to elope, if you don’t have a specific date in mind, you’ll want to consider a few things:
If you want an epic elopement experience, look no further than America’s national parks. From Yosemite to the Grand Canyon to Zion, these iconic locations offer breathtaking landscapes that make for incredible wedding photos. Camping and glamping options are available within many national parks, so you can wake up to stunning views every morning of your elopement trip. Insider tip: consider scheduling your elopement on a weekday or during the off-season to avoid crowds and have a more intimate experience.
If you’re looking for a romantic beach elopement, consider camping or glamping on the coast. Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina and El Capitan Canyon in Santa Barbara are just two of the many beach camping and glamping destinations throughout the U.S. You can exchange vows with the sound of waves crashing in the background, and then spend your honeymoon exploring nearby beaches and attractions.
If privacy and intimacy are what you’re after, consider a secluded camping location for your elopement. Redwood National Park in Northern California and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia are just a couple of the many secluded camping destinations throughout the country. These locations offer stunning natural beauty, as well as a sense of seclusion and intimacy that’s perfect for couples who want to celebrate their love in a private setting.
You can pack your dress or tux in a garment bag with tissue paper, then fold and attach the garment bag to your backpack. If you need to, you can roll the garment bags from bottom to top. Bring some wrinkle-release spray or a portable steamer if you’re concerned about wrinkles when getting ready!
If you have the room, you’ll want to hang or lay out the garment bag inside your tent, camper, or cabin the night before your elopement!
This is by no means an extensive or complete list of what to bring on your camping elopement, but it’s a good starting point for you to work from. You may need more equipment depending on the location and the time of year.
In addition to bringing water, and nourishment to enjoy on the hike, and camping – a picnic is a great, and relaxing way to celebrate your elopement! For this, you may want to bring:
Note: you should set up your picnic in designated areas, and double-check the rules of the area you’re celebrating in.
Leave No Trace (LNT) is the practice of minimizing your impact on the outdoors, leaving the environment as you found it while still enjoying all that it has to offer. The seven principles of LNT are:
To learn more about Leave No Trace, use this link here.
For couples who want a more luxurious elopement experience, glamping (glamorous camping) is the way to go. Imagine saying “I do” under the stars while enjoying amenities like comfortable beds, hot tubs, and gourmet meals. Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California, and The Resort at Paws Up in Montana are just a few examples of unique glamping locations that offer an unforgettable elopement experience. Keep reading for more great examples of where to have your glamping elopement!
Stargazing Bubbledomes like this one in Joshua Tree would be a dreamy space for your glamping elopement!
Under a canvas tent or in a unique spot like the Glamping Wagons at Zion Wildflower Resort offer intimate glamping options for you and your partner!
Renting an RV or Camper van is a fantastic option for your elopement. Not only is it a fun background and theme for your portraits, but you can take it on an adventure for your honeymoon!
Autocamp has adorable canvas tents, airstream campers, and cabins for you to choose from, with locations across the country! Each location also has a central building for meals and small events.
In addition to the glamping spots listed above, I’d also recommend checking out these:
Huttopia has locations all over the United States (and Canada) with options of canvas tents, or cabins. This is a beautiful venue for your glamping elopement! Plus, it offers amenities like swimming pools and food trucks.
Lumen is an NH glamping venue that offers different styles of tents and lakeside cabins that are perfect for your front-country elopement.
In conclusion, camping or glamping elopement is a unique and adventurous way to celebrate your love. From national parks to secluded campsites to beachside glamping resorts, there are countless breathtaking locations throughout the U.S. to choose from. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you can have the wedding of your dreams in the great outdoors.
Contact me to learn more about how I, as your elopement photographer, can help you plan the perfect camping/glamping elopement!
I’m Lexi! I am passionate about documenting eloping couples all over the globe, in a place that’s special to you. My approach to your day is as honest as you experience it + less of the stiff stuff. I’d love to hear what you’re dreaming up for your wedding day!