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How to Plan a Hiking Wedding or Elopement: 12 Tips!

How to Plan a Hiking Wedding or Elopement: 12 Tips!

Planning a hiking wedding or hiking elopement may seem like an intimidating task at first glance, but with these hiking wedding tips, you are sure to have the day of your dreams.

A lot of couples want the romanticism of hiking to their wedding location, but don’t know where to begin when it comes to planning such a big event.

If you are an adventurous couple looking to plan an adventurous wedding day, these hiking wedding ideas will be perfect for sharing your epic love story with your family and friends.

Whether you are hiking up to a mountaintop or hiking down from one, this guide will help make the planning process of your epic hiking wedding day as successful and non-stressful as possible so you can enjoy the best day of your life!

Don’t forget to use these hiking quotes to caption your beautiful hiking wedding photos!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Don’t forget to grab your hiking log before you go to document all your favorite hikes!

hiking log book

Don’t forget to pin this post for later!

Choosing a location for your hiking wedding

When choosing the perfect ceremony location for your wedding hike, it is important to think about your vision for your epic wedding day.

Are you looking for a backdrop with mountains in the background for epic sunset photos? Do you picture snow-topped mountains for a winter wonderland wedding, or rolling hills? Are you looking for a lot of trees and autumn leaves, or a vast open area?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you can narrow down your location options and find the perfect location with incredible views.

Additionally, consider searching for hiking wedding packages in your area. There may be mountain wedding packages already planned out for you in a stunning place that match exactly what you are looking for, especially in popular mountain areas like Colorado!

Try searching terms like “adventure elopements” or “hiking wedding locations” near me to help you find the perfect location for your hiking wedding!

Choosing a trail for your wedding hike

Choose trails with paved walkways if possible!

First, you need to determine the length of hike you are willing to take. This is important because hiking for four hours in the sweltering heat can cause some serious problems if it’s not taken into consideration beforehand!

Hiking to a wedding location may seem novel and adventurous, but it is important to remember that you will be hiking with people who might not be as accustomed to longer hikes as you are. Most guests are probably not an experienced hiker, so an easy level hike or a quick hike about a mile long is doable.

Check-in with guests to ensure their comfortability and ability level. This will help you choose a trail that all your guests will be able to complete.

If you have older guests that you want to attend your wedding, consider finding a trail that has a parking lot nearby. This way, guests that are physically unable to hike far have the option to drive close to the wedding location. They may still need to walk a bit, but this can be a better option for them than hiking for miles.

If you are looking for hikes in Colorado or the Colorado Springs area, check out these hikes that can be a great option for your wedding!

Additionally, choose a trail that is well marked so guests don’t get lost! The trail should also be as clear and flat as possible so that guests can make their way to your wedding location easily and safely.

The last important factor about hiking for a wedding is making sure there are bathrooms on the trail (or at least nearby) so all guests can use them before and after the ceremony. If not, consider a porta-potty near your ceremony site.

These tips are also important if you plan on going on a hike for a first date!

Planning your Hiking Wedding Day

You should also consider what time of day you want to get married. Is there enough light at that hour to hike up or will you have to hike in the dark?

You will likely want to have daylight left after your ceremony to keep everyone on the trail safe on your wedding day! Consider how much time the hike will take, plus the length of the ceremony, and the hike back to determine the best time for your ceremony.

If hiking during a busy time of year or in the summer months, a morning hike might be better. The hiking trails will be less busy and the sun won’t be as hot.

Additionally, take into consideration how long you will need before the ceremony to get ready, such as getting your hair and makeup done, taking pictures, etc.

Lastly, you will likely want a reception after the ceremony. Consider how long it will take guests to climb back down, re-group, and get to the reception site.

A good rule of thumb is an hour to get to the ceremony spot, an hour for the ceremony, and an hour to hike back down. Give guests (and yourself!) at least a couple of hours in between the ceremony and reception to rest, clean up, and arrive at the reception venue.

Looking for budget friendly ideas? Check out our budget hiking guide!

What to wear for a hiking wedding: The Bride(s) and Groom(s) Wedding Attire + Wedding Dress

No hiking wedding day is complete without the perfect hiking attire! Make sure you and your partner have dressed appropriately so that both of you can enjoy hiking up to or down from your big day.

A traditional wedding dress and suit are definitely not the best hiking apparel. It is important to look for hiking clothes that will keep you cool yet protected from potential sunburns or scrapes on your hike up/down the mountain in place of your wedding clothes.

Choose clothes that are comfortable, yet easy to change out of once you get to your wedding location. Yoga pants or shorts and a t-shirt make great hiking clothes.

Wool hiking socks are also very useful, as they will keep your feet dry and avoid blisters, which you definitely don’t want on your wedding day!

Be sure to break in your hiking boots before the wedding day. New hiking shoes can give you blisters and hurt your feet, so make sure you wear them a handful of times before your big day!

While you could wear hiking attire for the ceremony itself, many couples want to wear the traditional white wedding dress or suit for their special day. Bring a pop-up changing shelter to change into your wedding dress and wedding attire once you reach your wedding location. Be sure to check out these hiking hairstyles as well!

In the next tip, we will discuss changing shelters for guests. Make sure you have a changing area for only you, so you can get ready and change into your wedding dress without anyone seeing you before you walk down the aisle!

This way, you can hike up to your location comfortably, while still being able to wear your beautiful wedding dress or suit for the ceremony! Be sure to change back into your hiking clothes for the hike down so you don’t ruin your wedding outfits!

What to wear for a wedding hike: The Guests

Guests will have a difficult time hiking if they are in their dresses, suits, and heels. To make hiking easier on them, recommend that they bring extra clothes to change into.

Once guests get to the wedding site, have multiple pop-up changing shelters for them to into their wedding attire. You can use individual shelters, or set up tents that are tall enough for guests to stand up in. Don’t forget to add mirrors so guests can check themselves out!

You can also have guests give you their wedding dresses before the ceremony, and have them all hung up in the tents for when they arrive. This way, guests won’t need to worry about hiking with their wedding dresses and other wedding attire!

Consider placing small bins in the tents full of items that guests might need to help them freshen up, but forgot to bring. These items might include perfume, deodorant, body wipes, hairbrushes, washcloths, bandaids, lotion, oil blotting sheets, tissues, zip lock bags for personal items, etc.

You want guests to feel and look their best on your wedding day, so make sure you give them everything they need!

Additionally, provide a place for guests to store their hiking clothes, hiking boots, and anything else they might have brought with them. This can be as simple as a plastic bin in tents with labels for guests to write their names on.

These small details can truly make all the difference!

Hike the trail before your big day

Like any wedding, couples likely want to do a trial run or a rehearsal before their wedding day. Always hike the trail yourself before the big day to make sure everything is going to go as planned.

Make sure you know how long the hiking trail is and also make sure there are no surprises or hazards en route that will be difficult for guests during your hiking wedding day.

Practice taking the trail with your partner to ensure you know exactly how to get to your wedding site without any complications or confusion. Clear away any large branches, logs, or rocks that could get in the way on the trail.

It is recommended to hike the trail close to your wedding date- the day before if possible. This will ensure that the trail is fully safe and ready for your guests to hike the next day! This is also a good time to set up any lights or trail markers you plan to use for the big day!

Have an alternate plan

The mountains are unpredictable, so you’ll need a plan B. The weather might say it will be a perfect 75-degree sunny wedding day, but mother nature might have other plans and decide to thunderstorm an hour later. Because of this, it is always a good idea to have an alternate plan for your hiking wedding day.

This could mean having the ceremony inside at your local church or country club, then hiking up afterward with your bridal party if the weather clears up! Typically, rain or snow doesn’t last the entire day in the mountains, so you will still have a chance to get some pictures in the great outdoors!

Or, find an indoor location with a scenic mountain view to have your wedding ceremony at. This is a better option for big weddings, so you don’t have to organize hundreds of guests to a new location outside.

Additionally, hiking in the mountains doesn’t come without risks. A guest (or you!) could take a stumble and fall, and get injured. There could be a wildfire nearby that requires evacuations.

You could run into some wildlife that refuses to move away from your wedding location. There could be a mudslide that is running through your area or a high risk for an avalanche that day or other crazy weather events.

Whatever the case, always have a backup plan and a different location in mind so you aren’t left clueless on what to do on your special day!

What to pack for your wedding hike

Don’t forget your wedding bands!

When packing for your hiking wedding, there are a few things the bride(s) or groom(s) should pack. First and foremost, you need your wedding attire! It can be a great idea to bring a change of clothes with you to hike up and back down in!

You can always enlist a guest such as a maid of honor or your best friend to be in charge of carrying your dress to the wedding site.

Second, make sure you have your wedding dress shoes, jewelry (especially the rings!), makeup, and other important things you need to get dressed for your special day.

Also, make sure you pack some snacks. You don’t want to be hungry during the wedding ceremony, and hiking can burn a lot of calories, so be sure to pack something to eat.

Additionally, don’t forget to pack your marriage license! This is very important so your officiant can sign it and make your marriage official!

You should also consider packing sunscreen, a first aid kit, extra layers in case the weather changes unexpectedly, and bug spray.

Consult this list of things to pack for a day hike for more ideas on the right gear for any hike!

Put together hiking kits for guests

An old or rustic-looking suitcase can add a beautiful touch!

One of my favorite hiking wedding ideas is to prepare hiking kits for guests. To help keep your guests comfortable, consider making hiking kits or hiking baskets for your guests for your wedding day.

You can place one at the beginning of the trail, one in the middle of the trail, and another one at the end of the trail so guests have everything they need for a successful and safe hike! This is a good place to put some hiking wedding favors too!

Here are some things to put in the hiking kits:

-Extra clothing such as a rain jacket, hiking socks, or hiking boots for guests that might have forgot

-First aid essentials, especially blister bandaids from blisters from hiking boots or sneakers

-Water bottles and snacks like protein/granola bars

-Sunscreen and bug spray

-Hiking or trekking poles

-Handheld fans for summer hikes

-Handwarmers or toe warmers for cold weather hikes

-Sunglasses and hats

Garment bags for wedding dresses and suits

Additionally, consider having snacks or light appetizers once guests arrive at the wedding site. Hiking can burn a lot of calories, so guests might get hungry!

Put together a table with small finger foods for guests to snack on and refuel before the ceremony begins. They will surely appreciate a quick bite to eat as they freshen up, mingle, and get ready for your big moment!

You can even designate a wedding party member or hire someone to walk around and offer guests the snacks to make your party fancier on your epic day!

Dealing with Altitude Sickness

Additionally, keep the altitude of the trail in mind. If guests are coming from different areas across the country, the higher elevations can become a lot for their bodies to handle!

Consider these altitude sickness prevention remedies, and opt for a lower altitude location if you think this will become an issue for guests.

Remind guests to take it slow when hiking if they are not used to the air changes, and have hiking poles on hand in case they feel too tired or need extra support.

Remember to give guests plenty of time to reach your wedding location so they do not over-exert themselves! If possible, encourage guests to arrive a day or two before your wedding day to give them time to adjust to the elevation gain.

Use trail markers or signs

You can even post your own trail markers or signs for your wedding along the trail. This is a cute and special way to make hiking to your wedding feel like an adventure.

Consider using string lights if guests will be hiking in the dark to light up the way. You can also use battery-powered paper lanterns to line the trail with!

Not only do these add a personal touch to the trail, but they will help keep guests from getting lost or making a wrong turn on the trail.

Hire Vendors for your Epic Hiking Wedding

Our last tip for planning a hiking wedding is to get some extra help! Planning hiking weddings or a hiking elopement isn’t easy. Planning traditional weddings is hard enough, so get yourself some help!

Consider hiring local vendors such as a hiking elopement photographer or an adventure elopement photographer that is skilled in taking wedding photographs in this type of environment.

Hiring adventure wedding photographers will also help capture those authentic moments as you and your soon-to-be spouse hike the trail and spend intimate moments with your family and friends! A wedding photographer is well worth the cost to capture some of your most cherished memories!

You can also consider hiring a private chef to cook up some delicious appetizers for your guests to enjoy at your ceremony location.

Many elopement packages will include vendors such as the elopement photographer, chef, and even a makeup artist to help you get ready on-site, so make sure you take a look at what is offered in the area!

Make sure to check out our guide for taking the best travel pictures and selfies!

Want more?

Your hiking wedding may be over, but the memories of your special day will last for many years to come. We hope you’ve found this article helpful in planning your hiking wedding! You can even go glamping after your wedding day!

In case you missed it earlier in the blog post, here is a copy of our hiking log template that can help make planning and remembering your wedding even easier!

hiking log book

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