Elopement Planning 101: Hiking On Your Elopement Day

Jul 8, 2021

Elopement Resources


bride and groom hiking with their dog in lake tahoe for their adventure elopement


Welcome to Elopement Planning 101: a series where we’ll dive into how to plan your elopement with 8 key steps and considerations.

Each of these blog posts is also a podcast episode. You can listen to The Elopement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play.

Hiking On Your Elopement Day


Today is week 7 of the Elopement Planning 101 series, and I’m so excited to share all my thoughts and tidbits about hiking on your elopement day! If you are not local to Lake Tahoe, I recommend reaching out to your vendors for location-specific advice when it comes to planning an elopement hike, but in this post we will cover some general helpful information and tips for what to expect, how to plan for hiking on your elopement day, and the logistics of having an adventure elopement.

Hiking on your wedding day may seem daunting, but who doesn’t love a little extra spice? If you are just dying to add some adventure to elopement day and hike to epic views, or you prefer to elope in a more private location that’s off the beaten path, then you’re in the right place!

bride and groom hiking to their elopement location in lake tahoe

First and foremost, consider how far you’re willing to hike, and how intense of an experience you’re willing to have.

A lot of times, couples come to me who hike regularly at sea level or do nature walks often, but forget to think about the extra energy it takes when a wedding day is thrown into the mix. Some couples don’t love the idea of getting sweaty on their wedding day, and some are all for it! Also, not all hikes are created equal. If you have your heart set on a panoramic view far away from crowds of people, it likely won’t be a quick jaunt to your ceremony location. Remember, if you can find the location easily on Google or AllTrails, you will likely find yourself with a bit less privacy than if you’re willing to hike a bit further.

After you consider how far you’re willing to hike, you can start thinking about logistics such as attire.

When it comes to dresses and suits, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Will you hike in your wedding attire or bring a change of clothes?

  • Is your dress or suit easy to hike in?

  • Is your clothing heavy?

  • Does your outfit restrict your movement?

bride and groom hiking to their elopement location in lake tahoe

Something I’ve learned over the years of shooting adventure elopements is that tulle dresses pick up EVERYTHING along the way. Pinecones, sticks, branches, you name it! I recommend planning to carry your dress or hold it up during the hike, just a little pro tip to consider.

For men, give yourself the option to take off your dress shirt while hiking if your suit is tight or restrictive, trust me! Your wedding day self will thank you for having an undershirt or extra shirt with a garment bag on hand. When it comes to ties, convenience is everything! Many of my couples bring clip on ties for that can be easily clipped on and off.

The final piece of a hiking elopement outfit that often gets overlooked and misunderstood is shoes. Shoes are the most important piece to the puzzle! You’ll want to have shoes that give you stability and traction to prevent you from slipping in the mud, dirt, or snow. My favorite boots for wedding days and elopements are Kodiak boots. They are a Canadian company, amazing, and super comfortable! The first pair I ever had I ended up hiking in them for 10 miles in one day. They are waterproof, and have men and women’s styles – I highly recommend. If you have a basic gym shoe you like to work out in and that has good tread, that will work great too! There’s no need to buy a brand new pair of hiking boots for your elopement day just for the sake of wearing them once. Make sure your shoes are functional and can be re-worn time and time again. If you prefer a more formal pair of shoes that has less of a rugged look, I also love Cole Haan’s Zero Grand hiking boots! There are a great option for a more aesthetic (but also functional) look.

Hiking boots and elopement details - vow books, flowers, invitations


A few more tips to consider when hiking on your elopement day:

  • If you are changing at your elopement location, make sure to bring a towel or blanket to stand on – changing your outfit while standing on pine needles is the worst!

  • Bathroom breaks are inevitable and it’s very important to plan ahead. I personally bring some bath tissue and a Ziploc bag with me, just a little bit of preparation goes a long way.

  • Nothing is worse than hiking while you’re hungry, especially when it’s your wedding day! Bring your favorite snacks, and consider planning a post ceremony picnic when you reach the top.

  • It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to bring plenty of water and hydration tablets. If you are going to be hiking in elevation, the best time to hydrate is yesterday. Really!

  • A makeup touch up kit is handy to have with you if you think you might get sweaty. I recommend bringing a cloth to dab your face, and some extra makeup for touch ups when you reach your elopement location.

  • If you plan to hike back in the dark, bring some sort of light or a headlamp.

  • Last but not least, leave no trace. If you are planning to enjoy the great outdoors, it’s imperative to respect and take good care of the land you’re hiking on. Don’t leave anything behind (champagne corks, flower petals that aren’t native to the area, rice, confetti) and pay attention to fire risks.

I hope you’ve found these pointers helpful! I love hiking on elopement days, it holds a very special place in my heart. I think hikes are a beautiful metaphor for marriage — there are ups and downs, peaks and valleys, gorgeous vistas to enjoy… I know it’s cheesy, but I believe it doesn’t matter how far or fast you’re going, as long as you’re with your person.

hiking on your elopement day - ruthanne z - lake tahoe elopement photographer_0003.jpg

Don’t forget to check out the full Elopement Planning 101 series on the podcast, and head to the blog for more elopements, tips, and resources. Still in need of a photographer or help planning your elopement in Lake Tahoe? Reach out!

Ruthanne is an Elopement Photographer & Expert based in Lake Tahoe, California. She specializes in elopements inspired by the beautify and elegance of the High Sierra mountains, but you can find her all over the west at any time. She lives in Truckee, California where she was born & raised, with her husband Demetri & Australian Shepherd, Sasha. 


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