Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It’s a day that you’ll remember forever. So, it’s no surprise that you want everything to be perfect. One of the most important things to consider is your wedding dress. You want a dress that is stylish, yet comfortable. And, if you’re having an adventure elopement, you want a dress that will travel well. In this blog post, we’ll share everything you need to know about finding the perfect adventure elopement dress. We’ll share where to find the best dresses, things to consider, and adventure elopement fabrics that work best. We’ll also share how to travel with your elopement dress so you can enjoy your big day worry-free!
Not only do you want to dress with your wedding vision in mind, but you want to dress for the kind of elopement you’re having. Are you able to get ready in a salon, Airbnb, or home? Or will you be getting ready trailside or waterside on an adventure elopement? Are you eloping at a venue, or off the beaten path? These are things you’ll want to consider when picking out your perfect elopement dress!
An adventure elopement is “one that takes a traditional elopement to the next level, as couples travel to say “I do” in far-flung destinations that are, you guessed it, an adventure to get to.”Brides.com
This adventure could be anything you want! Perhaps it includes an experience for you and your new partner such as snowboarding, skiing, hiking, climbing, paddleboarding, boating, and so much more! The adventure could take you to the mountains, beaches, glaciers, waterfalls, and gardens, to a far-off country, or to a remote meadow. This can absolutely be anything + everything you want it to be!
Along with your elopement being whatever you want it to be, your elopement dress should be everything you want it to be! Comfortable, able to move, easy to get ready, and beautiful! You’ll want to love it and love how you look in your pictures!
Think about where you are eloping and let the space help you choose your dress! You’ll want to consider if you’ll have a designated space to get ready or if will you have to change trailside or hike in your wedding attire. You may also want to consider that will be naturally occurring colors that will be the backdrop of your elopement. If you’re eloping to the mountains in the summer you’ll want to count on the greenery of the trees. Eloping in a garden, what color are the blooms during the time of year you’re marrying? These may have an effect on the colors, styles, and fabrics you wear.
When choosing the perfect elopement dress you’ll want to think about the space your ceremony is in, and where the portraits are taken. Will you be hiking to your elopement location? Even a short hike should be taken into consideration when planning your outfit. You want to be able to breathe and move without hindrance. Are you eloping in or near water? If so, you’d want to consider how your dress looks against the water. Does your train flow over the rocks? Do you want it to? Or, are you getting married in a more urban setting, and your dress will be juxtaposed to straight, harsh lines of city skyscrapers? This is when you may want to consider having a train on your dress or finding one without. I personally, love the dress trains against the rugged nature that surrounds you on your elopement day!
Maybe! Hopefully! I think this is a sign of an elopement well adventured! I love it when couples are willing to get down and dirty, explore, and try different things during their portraits. Showing some dirt on the train of your dress is a testament to the hike you took to get there. Eloping to a beach or lake, what’s stopping you from stepping into the water for some stunning shots? Your elopement is 100% yours – get dirty, have fun, and enjoy the adventure!
You’ve thought about the venue and the general lay of the land. Now, you need to consider the weather – something that weighs on the minds of most brides and grooms. Weather is not something you can control, but it’s something you can plan for and be prepared for. When choosing your elopement dress think about the weather in broad strokes – what is the weather generally where you are getting married? For example, you won’t necessarily where a heavy long-sleeved dress in the summer in Florida, you would opt for something lighter. In New England in the spring or fall, long sleeves would be appropriate, as would layers of accessories.
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, and thought about the venue, the terrain, and the weather (+ your personal preference of style), you’ve likely narrowed down some styles for your perfect elopement dress based on where you are getting married. Next, you’ll want to prioritize comfort.
Remember you will be hiking, climbing, or walking on your elopement day. In your dress, you’ll want to be able to breathe, move, climb, hike, and get a little dirty! Whether you plan to buy your dress online or in a boutique – be sure to try on dresses! And when you’re trying them on at home or in a store, move around. Can you dance in it? Lift your arms over your head? Sit comfortably? Stand and walk around without tripping over the dress? You want to find a dress that fits your body well.
The most common wedding dress materials are point d’esprit, chiffon, organza, lace, satin, crepe, and dupioni. Each has its pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for. If you are planning on hiking or traveling with your wedding attire, you want tulle, chiffon, or silk. These are lightweight, moving in the breeze (beautiful in photos), and have some structure for being packed and traveled with (keep reading for tips on traveling with your wedding attire). Lace is also versatile and great for disguising any wrinkles that may come from traveling/hiking.
You’ll dress to not only fit your body, and align with your venue, but match your personality and the vibe you want for your elopement! Remember this is your day, and your perfect elopement dress should reflect that! If you always dreamed of a ball gown but are getting married atop a mountain – if there’s a will, there’s a way! And, if you’re just not feeling the white dress, choose whatever color you want! Feel free to match your dress to your color scheme, or make it floral. It can be long, short, pants or a full skirt. You being comfortable in your wedding attire, and confident in your choice, will make the pictures and your memory of the day just that much more brilliant!
Jewelry adds richness, another layer in the storytelling.Kelly Fremel
I think this quote can go beyond the jewelry you choose to wear on your elopement day. The accessories that make the ensemble, the shoes, the additions, they all add layers and add to the story of your love!
If we’re hiking to your elopement spot, you’re probably better off wearing hiking shoes at least for the walk. You’re welcome to wear hiking shoes under your dress, or to change into different shoes when we get to your ceremony spot (you may also be changing your outfit when we get there if you hiked in other clothes). I do highly suggest wearing shoes that are comfortable and safe for wherever you’re having your ceremony + portraits.
If you’re hiking or traveling great distances to your elopement – be conscious about how much you’re packing and what you’re bringing. That being said, if there is a string of pearls or a hairpin you cannot imagine getting married without, bring them and wear them. Jewelry and accessories can be a great connection to loved ones on your elopement day.
Each season has classic elopement and wedding looks. These can be attained with accessories such as adding a fur coat or shawl in the winter. This can also be the flowers you choose to include in your elopement look. The options are endless, and a great way to personalize your elopement!
P.S. Nude leggings under your dress will help keep you warm if you’re getting married outside in the winter!
You have a lot of options for where to get your perfect elopement dress! Should you buy your dress through a bridal store/boutique, remember to ask how long it will take for the dress to be ordered, and note if alternations will be needed. These can be timely aspects, that may not fit in your elopement timeline. If you purchase or borrow a used dress, I suggest bringing it to a trusted seamstress or cleaner to make sure it’s fresh for your special day!
Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your dress. This will help determine where you are shopping and may affect the style you’re looking for. Remember the types of fabrics you want for traveling with your elopement attire, and if you’re shopping online be sure to read the reviews and notes! Many wedding retailers have trunk sales and major events that discount the price of stunning dresses and suits. If this works in your timeline, you may consider attending one of these events. They’re super fun to try on all different styles of dresses!
Perhaps you don’t want to spend significant money on a dress you only wear once, whether it be for environmental reasons, space-saving, or whatever your reason. You may want to consider renting your wedding dress. Check the fine print of the rental site – but generally, you won’t be able to make alterations or clean the dress if needed, and the dress is meant to be returned soon after the event.
Antique shops often have stunning vintage dresses and wedding attire on hand. These are often high-quality, beautiful pieces that were built to last and are in need of a loving bride or groom. Check out some of your local shops or online wedding consignment shops like the ones below, if you love the vintage flair or want a designer brand!
Did you love a dress that a friend or family member wore to their wedding? Ask to borrow it! There is no bigger honor than sharing your wedding attire with a loved one. And the comparison photos just squeeze my heart!
Or, maybe you’re particularly crafty and fashion-forward – you can make your own wedding dress like __ if that’s what calls to you!
Once Wed offers used designer dresses + these are STUNNING! I love that with this site you can see the dresses on real people, not just models!
Nearly NewlyWed sells used designer dresses – jaw-droppingly gorgeous designer dresses! These dresses were bought and worn by other brides on their special day, and that’s something unique to bring to your elopement day!
REVOLVE has many dresses to choose from and maybe a great place to get ideas of the style you want to wear for your elopement. The downside of this vendor is the dresses are not customizable when you order, you’ll need to find a local seamstress to work with to make the dress your own and make sure it fits properly.
BHLDN by Anthropologie is another great online resource to see what is in style for weddings and elopements. You can absolutely order the perfect dress from this site, but be sure to read the reviews and notes about the dress to get the right fabric and sizing!
Lucky Dress Atelier has stunning, opulent + perfect dresses for your elopement. With dresses for all elopement styles, these dresses are built sturdily and are customizable to your vision.
I highly recommend Penny Jane Bridal – this boutique bridal shop in Massachusetts offers gorgeous dresses for all of your elopement needs and the team is amazing – working with and for you!
State & Liberty offers the perfect suit and tux for your elopement. Not only will it fit well, but it’s made from athletic material and is meant for you to move around in it!
Now that you’ve learned about the fabrics, styles, and matching your dress to your elopement esthetic – let’s review. You want your dress to be a good match for your personality – it’s 100% encouraged to wear a dress that makes you feel like a goddess! That means it does not need to be a white ballgown unless that is what you want it to be! Your dress should fit your body – you should be able to move, breathe and enjoy yourself when wearing your stunning elopement dress. If you’re hiking or traveling, be sure to consider fabrics that hold the structure of the dress and release wrinkles. Think about where you’re wearing the dress, and how you want it to look in the venue.
Try on all the dresses! You may walk into a bridal boutique with a very clear idea of what you want to wear, and that’s great! BUT, keep an open mind, you may be surprised by what the bridal assistants come up with when you explain your vision and plan for your elopement. Dance around the room, and make sure the dress moves the way you want it to and is comfortable!
If you have space in your car, keep the dress in the garment bag and lay it across the backseat, or on top of your bags in the trunk. If you’re driving a camper van (fun!), try to hang the garment bag in the back! You want to keep your wedding attire dry, and relatively unbothered.
Traveling by train or plane? Make sure you bring your elopement dress or tux in your carry-on! You don’t want to risk it being damaged or lost with checked luggage. This goes for anything you cannot imagine your special day without! Ideally, to keep your dress or tux from getting too wrinkled, it’ll be the only thing in your carry-on suitcase. Some people opt to carry the garment bag onto the plane or train separately, but you risk the outfits getting smooshed in the overhead compartments. Have your dress or tux laid out in a garment bag with tissue paper under and over it. Gently, fold or roll the garment bag to fit it in your suitcase. If you have to put other items in the suitcase, be sure to pack them first so your dress or tux is laying on top of them.
If you are hiking more than 1 mile, then I highly suggest packing your attire and getting ready once we hike to your elopement location. This way you’re not sweating in your dress or getting it dirty or torn before the ceremony and pictures – though it’s completely up to you! Whether you wear your elopement dress or pack it – I suggest bringing a backpack with snacks, water, any required ceremony permits, makeup for touch-ups, and maybe some bubbly!
You can pack your dress or tux in a garment bag with tissue paper, then fold and attach the garment bag to a backpack. Bring some wrinkle-release spray or a portable steamer if you’re concerned about wrinkles when getting ready!
Similar to hiking with your dress, you’ll want to pin the garment bag to your backpack when getting to your campsite. 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!
If you’re comfortable, after hiking to your elopement spot you can change trailside either using a pop-up changing tent like this one or en plein air. Your photographer – me – is happy to help with any buttons, zippers, and ties needed! We can use a wrinkle-release spray and/or a portable steamer to help get out any wrinkles and crinkles that you’re worried about.
If you hiked to your elopement spot, or it’s a particularly warm day – bring blotting papers with you, along with setting powder and any makeup you may want to touch up i.e., lipstick or mascara, and a small handheld mirror. If you’re having your hair/makeup done professionally before your adventure elopement – be sure to let the stylist know of your plans so they can set your hair and makeup properly to last the adventure!
Shopping for the perfect elopement dress may seem overwhelming at the start, but can be such a fun experience! Keep an open mind when shopping around, and look for the dress that matches your personality and fits you! Look for lightweight dresses that will hold up for the adventure, and pack it up properly!
While you can use this guide to help you navigate the different fabrics, accouterments, and ideas that go with shopping for the perfect elopement dress, in the end, the perfect elopement dress is one that reflects you! Don’t let planning your elopement overwhelm you, the day is all about you and your partner, and I as your adventure elopement photographer am here to help you! Reach out if you need help getting started – I’m happy to help you plan every step of this magical adventure!
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!