Table of Contents:
Y’all I am SO excited about this one!! Today I’m giving you something that’s going to be sooo helpful in the weeks & days leading up to your elopement day, and that will help make sure you don’t forget ANYTHING: welcome to the ultimate adventure elopement packing list!
I have literally photographed more elopements than I can count, so I know what couples tend to forget in the midst of the craziness of elopement-planning. And when it comes to outdoor, adventurous hiking elopements, it’s even more important to pack thoughtfully, to ensure that you have a fun AND safe time exploring.
This list is divided into sections, and has a few extra tips here and there for you to keep in mind as you pack all of your adventure elopement essentials. I hope it helps you feel confident that you’re not forgetting anything important when the big day arrives, and you can simply ENJOY it + have the best day of your lives!!
I highly doubt you’ll forget any of your main outfit pieces, but you never know – the stress of the days before an elopement gets to some people!!
If you’re hiking to get to your ceremony location, you can either fold up your dress & put it in your backpack, or put it in a garment bag & attach it to the outside of your backpack with some sort of carabiner or bungee cords.
Pro Tip: Bring a small, pop-up changing tent if you want to hike in normal clothes, then change into your elopement gear at your ceremony location with some privacy! Or if it’s a short, easy hike, you can hike in your elopement gear if it’s comfortable for you.
Don’t forget to pack those gorgeous detachable sleeves you picked out, or that badass cape you’re going to attach to your shoulders for your ceremony!
If you’re wearing a tux or suit, make sure you bring ALL of the layers and don’t leave anything at home: jacket, lapel, studs, undershirt, etc.
I def recommend hiking in comfortable hiking boots/shoes, and then changing into more stylish shoes for your elopement. Or you can just wear your hiking boots the whole time and really embrace the adventurous look!
Accessories play a big role in your elopement day look, and they can be a lot easier to forget when you’re anxiously packing the night before your ceremony. Here are some accessories you’ll want to remember to stick in your backpack or have on you during your adventure elopement!
I’m guessing you won’t want to wear your veil as you’re hiking up a mountain and getting sweaty (especially if it’s windy – we don’t want it flying away before you say your vows!). So make sure you fold up your veil carefully to pack in your backpack!
Whether you’re wearing a bowtie, necktie, or bolo tie, put it away safely in your backpack so you don’t risk it falling off while you hike. If you are hiking in your tux or parts of your tux, you can bring an extra tie just in case, if you’re worried about losing it along the way!
Don’t forget your cufflinks, especially if you’ve bought ones specially for your wedding day or they’re meaningful in some way. Put them in a little jewelry pouch or small box so they don’t get lost inside of your backpack.
If your hat (be it a baseball cap to protect your face from rain while you hike, or a cute fedora you’re going to wear during portraits) has any sort of loop on the outside or inside, you can attach it via carabiner to your backpack. You can also wear it on your way to your ceremony spot, or carefully place it at the top of your backpack once it’s packed so it doesn’t get squished/the shape doesn’t get ruined.
Pack all of your jewelry into a designated jewelry pouch or bag, because you bet those pesky earrings will get lost otherwise in your hiking backpack no matter how hard you try.
Here are some jewelry items not to forget (whether you wear them on your hike or put them on for your ceremony):
If you had a florist create boutonnieres for you/your guests, or you bought some at a flower shop, keep them in the box you received them in & carefully place that box in your backpack, or carry it yourself.
If you have a custom floral piece that you’ll be adding to your hairstyle, also keep it in the box you got it in so that the flowers stay moist and don’t get squished before you put it on.
Onto a list of items you might need for your ceremony!
I always recommend reading your vows from vow books instead of off your iPhone, simply because it feels more personalized & like you can be more present in the moment than if you’re staring at your phone screen. Definitely have a backup copy of your vows on your phone, or even printed on a physical piece of paper just in case you forget your vow books, though!
You don’t want to get to the top of the mountain after an hour-long hike, only to realize you forgot your actual rings down in your car😅 Either pack your ring boxes in a designated pocket of your backpack, or wear your rings on your fingers if you’re extra worried about forgetting/losing them before your ceremony!
Make sure your officiant brings your marriage certificate along so you can sign it right after your ceremony as you pop a bottle of champagne!
I can’t even tell you HOW many times I’ve seen couples bring their marriage certificate & all the important stuff, but forget to bring a pen to actually sign it with😂
Lastly, if you’ll be holding any sort of unity ceremony before, during, or after your vow exchange, make sure to pack any items you’ll need for it.
E.g. if you’re doing a handfasting ceremony, don’t forget the rope you actually need for it!
Now if you’ll be hiking to get to your ceremony location, here are some items you might need – if the hike is short or fairly easy, you might not need all of this. And what you need will also depend on the weather conditions, of course!
Everybody likes to hike in their own way, so wear whatever hiking clothes you feel most comfortable in, and whatever will be appropriate for the terrain + weather conditions!
If it’s going to be cold during any part of your hike, or has the potential to be cold, decide what piece(s) of outerwear you might need to bring along.
Here are some to consider:
Your shoes are seriously one of the most crucial parts of hiking comfortably, so make sure you have a solid pair to wear! You’ll want it to fit the weather conditions, the type of terrain, and the length + difficulty of the hike.
Pro Tip: If you buy new boots for your elopement, break them in BEFORE the day of your elopement! Trust me, you don’t want to have to wear stiff shoes that make your feet hurt on your special day.
Duh! Make sure your socks are comfy and that the thickness is appropriate for the type of shoes you’re wearing + the temperature outside.
Bringing an extra set of clothes never hurts, especially when you’re outdoors & never know what type of weather you might come across.
Same with shoes – bring an extra pair just in case if you can!
Never underestimate the power of LAYERS! If it’s going to be chilly, bring layers and accessories that you can add/remove as needed, such as:
Nobody’s getting eaten alive by mosquitoes on their elopement day, no way!! Bring some sort of spray or repellent to ensure those annoying af bugs stay away from you while you’re exchanging your vows and enjoying the gorgeous scenery around you.
If it’s going to be sunny, or even if the sun will be behind clouds, bring sunscreen! If you’re wearing makeup, ask your makeup artist if they can apply any moisturizer/foundation/hydrating cream to your face that also has SPF in it.
Definitely bring a roll of toilet paper, even if there’s a bathroom or pit toilet near where you’ll be hiking/saying your vows (it probably won’t have toilet paper anyway tbh)!
To use right after that toilet paper!
If there’s a chance of rain, it’s worth investing in a couple of clear umbrellas – they’ll protect you and are also SO much cuter in romantic photos in the rain!
Make sure you pack for them, too!
Bringing a light source (or multiple) is incredibly important, even if you’re not planning on being out in the dark. You never know if you might get stuck somewhere, or simply end up running late & having to hike down a mountain in the dark. I recommend bringing headlamps, lanterns, and/or flashlights.
Bonus points if they’re stylish + can be worn in some of your elopement photos for fun!
First, make sure your makeup artist knows you’ll be outside, and hiking – then bring along extra makeup for touch-ups before your ceremony such as lipstick, mascara, & concealer.
If your location requires you to have a physical copy of your parking pass or permit, don’t forget to print it before the big day & put it on your car dashboard.
If your location requires you to get a Special Use Permit for your ceremony, and have a hard physical of it on you, fold it up in a flat pocket of your backpack.
This is soooo important no matter if it’s summer or winter. Stay hydrated!
And stay full by bringing light snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.
If you’re going to be having a meal of some sort during your hike or before/after your ceremony, bring along any items you’ll need for it, such as:
Need some inspiration to help you come up with what to eat on your elopement day? Check out these 10 Unique Meal Ideas for Your Elopement Dinner!
And finally, if you want to have a little fun once you’ve officially tied the knot, bring a bottle of something bubbly to POP & celebrate with!
Moving onto some items to ensure you stay safe, whether you’re hiking 1 mile or 5!
Keep it old-school and bring a paper map, OR download your phone maps for offline use. This is a super important step for both trail maps & road maps in case you don’t have any service at your elopement location.
And make sure to have either a physical compass or one on your phone, and that you know how to use it, just in case!
It’s always important to have some sort of First-Aid kit if you’re hiking or exploring the outdoors. Make sure it has:
Lots of backpacks nowadays have safety whistles built into their clips, so either check to see if your backpack has one or buy a separate one to carry with you.
Emergency blankets are especially important to have if you’re in a cold climate, or somewhere where it even gets a little chilly at night & in the mornings.
If you’ll be in a forest/mountain area where bears are common, bring bear spray to make sure you’re protected if one happens to come along and try to interrupt your ceremony.
Let’s wrap this list up with the items you’ll need to make a DIY Adventure Elopement Emergency Kit! These are all items you can buy in small/compact forms, and can combine to make a kit of all the last-minute things you might need in a pinch on your big day.
You made it to the end – I hope that this adventure elopement packing list was sooo helpful and that you now feel confident that you’ll pack all the essentials that you need when the big day arrives.
For more elopement planning tips + resources like this, be sure to check out my blog – or take a look at a few of my all-time faves below. Happy planning/packing!