Over the years I have helped hundreds of couples plan and execute their adventure elopements. I have learned a lot about the processes and what makes for an amazing experience. One of the biggest factors of the perfect elopement is choosing the right destination. Many couples just pick a place and go. That approach is fine, but when couples put more thought into choosing, the experience becomes infinitely better. Here’s a list of a few things couples should think about before booking their trip.
1. When to Go
One commonly over looked factor that greatly impacts your experience and the pictures you get back is the time of year you Elope. Landscapes can change dramatically depending on the time of year you visit. Why is this important? Well, take Iceland for example: during the summer months, Iceland’s vegetation is bright and vibrant, and the days last forever. Conversely, if you visit Iceland during the winter months, you will find snow, ice, and only a few hours of daylight. You could visit the exact same place in two different seasons and get completely different pictures. Couples often fail to consider what the final product will look like in their home. It would be a shame to have gorgeous pictures taken of your elopement only to find out the color tones in your pictures clash with your home décor and style. In short, consider what your dream location will look like depending on the time of year you go.
2. Physical Health
Another important thing to think about before committing to a destination is your physical health. Adventure elopements can be taxing on the body and some locations will require a bit of hiking to get on location. Knowing what you can handle should greatly influence your decision. If you know you don’t like to hike, a mountain location probably isn’t for you. Unless you have the budget for a helicopter then by all means go for it. If not, you might consider a place that doesn’t require too much effort to get to. Each person is different, and no one knows your limits better than you. Keep in mind that no picture is worth getting hurt over, so be realistic about what you can and can’t do. In some cases, it might be a good idea to check with your doctor before leaving on your adventure. They will give you the best advice and help you to make an informed decision.
Ok, it’s time to talk about it — everyone’s favorite subjects: money and budgeting. Before you get to put out you should know you’re already ahead of most couples by choosing to elope. Did you know the average couple in the United States spends over $34,000 on a traditional wedding? Pretty crazy, right? Couples that choose to elope can expect to spend between $8,000 and $20,000. That’s a savings of $14,000 to $26,000.
How much you spend really comes down to the destination and what is included in the adventure. For example, a domestic elopement will cost significantly less than an international elopement. Also, an elopement that involves simply driving or hiking to a location will be cheaper than one that requires a helicopter flight. Think about what is important to you as a couple, and then start saving. The cool thing about elopements is they can happen on literally any budget.
4. The Weather
Lastly, you should consider the weather in your desired location. Yes, the weather changes every day but a simple google search can provide the expected weather for any given location. You can also check previous years to get a pretty good idea of what to expect. Once you have done your research ask yourself the following questions. Can you handle being really cold (or really hot, for that matter)? Will the wind drive you nuts or do you love the way it blows your hair? Does the possibility of rain freak you out? Or are you willing to embrace what comes. These are all questions you should ask before you make your final decision. My favorite images as a photographer are those taken when the weather wasn’t perfect. If you know what to expect and plan for it your day will go infinitely better.