When it comes to adventure elopements, there are many different activities and itineraries you can explore to make your special day unique for you as a couple. Elopements offer the chance to break free from traditional wedding norms and infuse your celebration with experiences prioritizing your happiness. Whether it’s an adrenaline-pumping endeavor or those everyday delights, your elopement is an opportunity to step off the beaten path and create beautiful memories that reflect your love story.
To shed light on the endless possibilities, I sat down with Cass (she/her), owner of Narrowleaf Adventure Photography. She offers some excellent ideas and advice to help you savor the magic of every moment on your big day.
Cass was first introduced to adventure weddings when she stumbled upon an Instagram post. In their wedding attire, a couple stood thousands of feet above the ground atop a mountain. What could be more breathtaking than that? She began thinking about streamlining her business toward adventure, activity-based, and experience-based weddings and elopements. And then she made it happen.
After traveling far and wide, Cass started zeroing in on adventure elopement packages in the Midwest. “One thing that I really love about the Midwest being an option for people is that it’s more accessible.” It’s accessible because it has a more straightforward permit process and is less crowded than places experiencing big photography booms, like out west.
“The Midwest has so many beautiful places,” she continues. “We have 300-foot cliffs, the Great Lakes, and the sand dunes out in Michigan.” Minneapolis and St. Paul are also excellent metropolitan hubs for easy access to your adventure. “You can just get in your car, drive, find seclusion, get lost in the forest, or go to cool harbor towns.”
As a photographer also based in the Midwest, I can second Cass’ statements. When planning the activities for your elopement, keep this region in mind — you’ll find that the diverse landscapes and places will not disappoint in accommodating your ideas!
Time is one of the biggest considerations when planning your elopement activities and ideas. “You’re adventuring and exploring and getting married, so everything’s going to take a little bit longer than you anticipate,” says Cass.
It’s best to plan anywhere from 6 to 12-hour days with your photographer or media team. That way, you can capture all the little moments leading up to the big one. This includes everything from getting ready with your partner and having breakfast together to walking to the location and exchanging your vows.
When you budget more time, you “allow more time and space to be in the moment and be intentional about it.” Many people choose to elope because it’s less stressful and more relaxed and intimate than traditional weddings. By giving yourself extra time and space, you cater to this “less-stress” nature and honor the moment and love between you and your partner in a much more meaningful way.
Keep in mind that it may also take some time to warm up to your photographer. In most cases, your media team consists of newer people in your life. Taking your time together and getting to know each other will help build a strong foundation for the real emotions and genuine moments that come out a few hours later.
When Cass works with couples in the planning stages of their unique adventure elopements, she asks three questions that help identify the types of activities they can incorporate:
This question opens a window to reflect on core memories and the activities that fire you up. “If we can tap into that and bring some element of that into your wedding day, that’s where the magic happens,” says Cass.
You can think of “adventure” in a traditional sense, like hiking, helicopter rides, and skydiving. But keep in mind that “little micro adventures and activities” can be just as powerful. Whether stopping at your favorite coffee shop or brewery or taking time to paint if you’re an artist, these little things can make your elopement experience even more meaningful.
This can be as simple as making a cup of coffee in the morning or playing cards or video games. Reflecting on this question also helps you think about using these everyday moments to your advantage and infusing them into your wedding day to bring out more of your character and identity.
Again, this question opens up the opportunity to explore what inspires you. “Everybody has a different idea of adventure,” says Cass. It’s essential to understand your level of adventure to tailor your big day to what is most authentic to you.
As mentioned above, there are many ways to experience an adventure. It doesn’t always mean going on a thrill-seeking journey. Whatever “adventure” means to you as a couple, all that matters is that it’s meaningful and captures the essence of your love. Here are Cass’ ideas to consider while planning your elopement:
These unique ideas veer away from “adventure” in the traditional sense but are just as special and can add lots of meaning to your day:
Choosing an activity that speaks to you is already an excellent way to showcase and honor your identity. There are also some other things you can do to enhance the adventure and add your own creative touches:
Sometimes thinking outside of the box is hard. It’s easy to get hung up on what you “should” do according to society’s standards. For many people, there will be lots of external influence trying to dictate who you invite, what you should do, and how you should spend your money.
“I always encourage people to think about the best day they’ve ever had and infuse that into their wedding day. Think of all the things you would love to do and see how you can make it happen,” says Cass. By tuning into this “ideal day,” you can uncover different ideas to work into your elopement day and make it memorable.
If you’re an LGBTQ+ couple looking for a photographer who will support all your ideas of adventure, reach out to me today! Together, we can build on your dreams to create the perfect day and capture all the moments that matter to you.
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