Elopements have become an increasingly popular choice for couples because of the intimate and personal experience you can have. As a photographer specializing in elopements, I’ve had the privilege of capturing some truly unique and beautiful moments. If you’re planning an elopement, you might be wondering how to make your day even more memorable. Here are some elopement activities to consider for your elopement day that will not only add to your experience, but also create amazing photo opportunities.

1. Scenic Hike to Your Ceremony Location

Start your elopement day with a scenic hike to a stunning location for your ceremony. The journey to your ceremony spot can be an adventure in itself. Not only will this provide a stunning backdrop for your vows, but it also allows you to enjoy some quiet, reflective moments together before your ceremony.

Tip: Choose a hike that matches your fitness level and the amount of time you have. Also, consider the time of day for optimal lighting and fewer crowds.

Yosemite elopement activities

2. Picnic with a View

After your ceremony, celebrate with a romantic picnic. Out of all elopement activities, this is one of the easiest to incorporate into your day! Pack a basket with your favorite foods, a bottle of champagne, and maybe even a small cake. Find a spot with a beautiful view and enjoy your first meal as a married couple. This is a perfect time to relax and soak in the moment.

If your location allows, hire a catered picnic service to make the experience even easier. There are also companies that can do a full picnic table setup, complete with chairs or cushions and decor. Some companies do both the food and the setup!

Tip: If you’re not hiring someone for this, bring a cozy blanket, some comfortable seating, and maybe even a portable speaker to play your favorite music.

Elopement picnic setup

3. Adventurous Options

If you’re an adventurous couple, why not incorporate some thrilling activities into your elopement day? Activities like rock climbing, zip-lining, or even more extreme elopement activities like paragliding or a helicopter ride, can add a unique twist to your celebration. Imagine the incredible photos of you two scaling a cliffside or soaring through the sky together!

Tip: Ensure you choose activities that you are both comfortable with and that safety is a priority. Make sure you hire a photographer that is comfortable capturing these things as well! It’s your elopement day, and you want to enjoy it to the fullest.

helicopter elopement activity

4. Boat Ride or Sailing Adventure

For couples who love the water, a boat ride or sailing adventure can be a perfect way to celebrate your elopement. Whether you’re boating on a lake in the Northwoods of WI, or sail boating on the ocean or Great Lakes waves, being on the water offers a unique experience. These activities also provide a beautiful setting for photos and an adventurous element.

Tip: Consider booking a private boat tour to make the experience easier and stress-free. Many places offer sailboat rentals that come with a captain. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a light jacket for cooler weather.

5. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Take your elopement to new heights (literally!) with a hot air balloon ride. Floating above stunning landscapes, you can enjoy amazing views. This elopement activity will be sure to make your experience unique.

Tip: Plan your ride for early morning or evening for the best lighting and to avoid the heat of midday. Book in advance!

6. Stargazing

End your day with stargazing. Find a quiet, dark place away from city lights, lay down a blanket, and look up at the night sky. Reflect on the day and talk about your future together. This is also a great time for astrophotography photos!

Tip: Bring a telescope or download a stargazing app to identify constellations and planets.

night sky in Yosemite

7. Cooking Together

If you and your partner enjoy cooking, spend part of your day preparing a special meal together. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, cooking side by side can be a fun experience. Plus, you get to enjoy a delicious meal that you created together.

Tip: Choose a recipe that has special meaning to you both or try making something completely new and exciting. Whatever meal you plan on cooking together, I recommend you do so before getting into your wedding attire, this would usually be breakfast or lunch. If you’d like to cook a dinner together, maybe cook that together as your night before the elopement meal!

8. Horseback Riding

For the animal lovers, consider going horseback riding. Riding through beautiful landscapes, whether it’s along a beach, through a forest, or across open fields, can add a fairytale-like quality to your elopement day. It’s a unique way to explore nature and enjoy some peaceful moments together. Plus, horses are such amazing animals and this is one of my personal favorite elopement activities!

Tip: Make sure to book with a reputable stable. If you’re planning a Southern Utah elopement, The Ranch at Wild Rose was amazing to work with. You don’t have to have prior experience with horses, but if you want to have an easier time, maybe take some riding lessons prior to your day.

Horseback riding elopement

9. Water Activities

If you’re eloping near a body of water, take advantage of it with some fun water activities. Kayaking, paddle boarding, or even renting a boat for a leisurely cruise can add an adventurous element to your day. The water also provides a stunning backdrop for your photos.

Tip: Wear appropriate clothing and bring a change of clothes if needed, especially if you plan to get wet.

10. Personalized Ceremony Elements

Incorporate personalized elements into your ceremony to make it unique. Write your own vows, include a symbolic ritual like a handfasting or a sand ceremony, or have a close friend or family member officiate. These personal touches can make your day feel even more special and meaningful.

Tip: Think about what represents your relationship and incorporate those elements into your ceremony.

handfasting elopement ceremony

11. A First Dance

Just because you’re not having a big wedding, that doesn’t mean you can’t share a first dance together! Put on a meaningful song that you both really enjoy and dance away.

Tip: Remember to bring a speaker!

Joshua Tree Elopement


Your elopement day is all about celebrating your love in a way that feels right for you. Whether you choose to hike to a beautiful overlook, enjoy a picnic, or include an adventurous activity like sailboating, the most important thing is to create moments that matter to you. As a Wisconsin + destination elopement photographer, I’m here to document your moments in a way that’s unobtrusive and genuine. Are you looking for a photographer to document your elopement? Let’s chat! Inquire here, or learn more about the elopement experience here.

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