Elopement Day Activities + Making The Day Special

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There’s no doubt about it – eloping is one of the most intimate, romantic, and meaningful ways a couple can start their marriage. However, because elopements allow unlimited freedom for creativity, many couples wonder how to plan an elopement day filled love and excitement while keeping the day meaningful. There are tons of fun + meaningful elopement day activities you can include to make the experience special and memorable.

Fun elopement day activities

Make Breakfast Together

Now I may be biased on this one because I’m the biggest fan of breakfast food, but I think starting with a homemade breakfast is the perfect way to kick of your elopement day. In fact, this is exactly how my husband and I started off our own wedding day – we sipped on coffee and enjoyed breakfast as a family with our cats. The entire day was designed with our “normal” in mind because our “normal” is our favorite part of our relationship.

Visit the Spa

What could be better than incorporating some well deserved relaxation into your elopement experience? Start off the day with a couples massage or steam in a sauna. For a little extra pampering, add on a pedicure or facial treatment.

Have Your Hair and Makeup Professionally Done

Whether you visit a salon or have some one come to you, hiring professional hair and make-up can be a game changer. Even if you feel comfortable doing your own hair and makeup, hiring a professional means no longer stressing about packing all of your supplies or researching products that will hold up against any wind or rain you may encounter during your elopement day.

Whatever you do, don’t convince yourself (or let anyone else convince you) that your elopement day doesn’t deserve the same treatment as a traditional wedding. No matter how big or small, your wedding day is just as important as anyone else’s!

Video Chat with Loved Ones

Before you head out for the day (and while you still have a reliable internet connection), pay a call home! This allows your loved ones to feel included in your day, if even for just a few minutes. Tell them how your travel has been, enlighten them on your elopement day activities, and let them know you’ll be thinking of them during one of the most incredible experiences of your life.

Journal Your Emotions

Unfortunately, there will come a day you no longer able to recall all the little sights, sounds and scents that made your elopement experience so special. If you’re someone who enjoys journaling, record a video or write down all the emotions going through your head. By documenting all these feelings in your own way, you’ll be better able to recall them and even share the experience with others even after the day day is long in the past. If you’re hiring a videographer, this could be something you work together to create, that way you’re able to look back on it for the rest of your lives.

Bride prepares for her wedding day with hair and makeup

Other fun elopement day activities:

  • Pack a picnic and go for a hike
  • Snorkel or scuba dive
  • Go horseback riding
  • Take a helicopter tour
  • Play a round of golf
  • Sip on cocktails at the beach
  • Read a book out loud together
  • Visit a local winery or distillery
  • Go to a show (perfect for big city elopements)

Commitment ceremony ideas

Have a First Look

Hands down, mine and my husband’s first look at our wedding was our favorite part of the entire day. You’ve separately spent years dreaming of this day, then together so much time planning and preparing for it… the suspension builds slowly then all at once. There’s just something so magical about seeing each other for the first time without any distractions or obligations – it’s just the two of you, your emotions, and a beautiful surrounding. You’re free to be vulnerable, knowing it’s just you in that moment. You can say what you want to say, hold each other, cry in each other’s arms.

One of the biggest reasons couples choose not to do a first look is because they think it’ll take away from seeing each other at the aisle. For us, nothing could have taken away from either of those moments.

In all honesty, I didn’t cry much at our first look (I was too busy comforting my fiance who WAS crying), but I bawled like a baby when my mom walked me down the aisle. All of our favorite people in one room, a meaningful song playing overhead, and my very best friend waiting to marry me… I couldn’t help myself. Both moments were completely different from one another but just as special, and we feel so blessed to have been able to experience butterflies more than once on our wedding day.

Even if you’re eloping without guests, there’s no reason you can’t have a first look! If you do choose to have one, I do suggest looking for a location that’s not only picturesque but also provides privacy.

Read Letters From One Another

I think one of the best ways to set the mood for your elopement is to read letters you’ve written for one another in private right before your first look or ceremony. These letters will have words different than those those you have written for your vows, and rather than focusing on your past and future, can instead focus on the emotions and excitement you’re feeling right before you make your upmost promises to one another. For an extra dose of romance, I suggest spending a few minutes apart once you arrive to your elopement location, allowing the scenery to influence your emotions as well as the words you write.

Read Letters From Loved Ones

One way to include your loved ones in your elopement day is by asking them ahead of the wedding date to write you letters to read during your ceremony. In their letters, your loved ones can recall stories, share words of wisdom, or maybe just words of encouragement. Whatever they choose to write, these words can easily me integrated into the rest of your elopement ceremony, or stand alone as a highlight of your elopement day.

Create an Anniversary Capsule

In a box, seal letters from loved ones and your hand-written vows which you can re-open at a future vow renewal or milestone anniversary. If you have children, this would be a great thing to one day share with them.

Incorporate Cultural Ceremony Traditions

Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you have to skip any meaningful cultural traditions you’ve always imagined including in your wedding day. Rather than a sunrise hike or yoga, feel free to kick off your elopement celebration with a tea ceremony or Mehndi painting. Or, during your unity ceremony, feel free to honor your heritage with a handfasting or lasso ceremony. Choosing elopement day activities that honor your culture + heritage can be a warm tribute to the bigger wedding you’re avoiding!

How to have a reception after eloping

I have to stress this point because it’s so important yet so overlooked in the “elopement community” – just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t include some of the traditions so often seen at conventional weddings. While some couples decide to elope to escape some of these traditions, other couples have been dreaming of their first dance or cake cutting since they were little, and can’t imagine their wedding day without those little touches. And that’s okay!! Elopements are amazing because they provide you the time and space to do whatever you want to do.

Have a Champagne Toast

Before your elopement ceremony, pack your backpack with a bottle of your favorite bubbly along with some plastic glasses. After your unity ceremony, break that seal and toast to your future!

One little teeny tiny disclaimer here… popping the champagne can be fun, but messy, and often not too healthy for the surrounding environment. Just be sure to bring along a towel for any clean up, and don’t forget to pick up the cork!

Cut a Cake

After your celebratory dinner or champagne toast, cut into a tiny two-serving sized cake (or a bigger one, I’m not judging). And the best part? Left overs for breakfast the next day… yum.

Have a Picnic

One of the best ways to truly enjoy your elopement location is to sit down and enjoy your elopement location. Whether on a beach or mountaintop, you and your elopement photographer have already spent so much time scouting a location that offers both privacy and insurmountable views, so why not spend as much time there as possible? So bring along a picnic and some music, and enjoy the view.

Have a First Dance

Okay, this is a tradition that I feel every couple out there secretly dreams about for their wedding day, and just because you decide to elope in nature, away from any event space or dance floor, doesn’t mean you can’t make it happen. I personally try to bring along my portable bluetooth speaker to every session I shoot because I find music to be the universal “chill pill”. When working with me, I’m happy to bring along my speaker for you to hook up to your phone, then of course step away to capture all the feels.

Feel like I missed something?!

I would to hear your ideas for fun elopement day activities! Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with me directly or leave them in the comment section below!

Other Elopement Planning Resources