Raise your hand if this sounds familiar:

(1) you’ve officially ditched all traditional wedding plans,
(2) you couldn’t be more excited to elope,
(3) you’re completely overwhelmed by the question of WHERE to elope.

The possibilities are endless, and we understand how daunting that may seem – you could literally say “I do” ANYWHERE in the world. So how do you know when you’ve found the perfect location? We asked real couples to share how they chose their epic elopement locations, and now we’re passing their stories on to you!

Amanda from Australia shares…

My advice is [this]: know exactly what you want to see in your photos and start from there… Work out your budget, stick to it, and then just make it happen… I work for an airline in Australia so… eloping overseas was a no-brainer. We travel often, [which] brings us closer and keeps us grounded. As we live along what we believe [to be] the best beaches in the world, a beach setting was out. I wanted something different, somewhere spectacular as our backdrop. We [had] always wanted to go back to Greece and the most romantic and ‘postcard’ location is Santorini. It’s cliche but for good reason. We wanted the backdrop to be unique, [and] our photos are a million times better because of it… My photographer [was] local, [and had] shot many times in the area and scouted locations for us… [It was] absolutely perfect and was a great start to our three-month honeymoon!

See more of Amanda’s elopement HERE

2. Easily Accessible & (Relatively) Few Restrictions

Amy Bluestar Photography

Cheryl from Cody, Wyoming shares…

It was important our immediate families were there, so this was a major factor. After that we chose a place I had been to many times, so I was familiar with the surrounding area and activities… [but] we needed a lot of permits! We needed a permit for the wedding, we needed a permit for the photographer, and we needed permits and guided tours for the slot canyon where we chose to do a photoshoot. These added up quickly, and it was not always clear how we needed to get the permits, which became frustrating. I like to have everything planned way in advance, which sometimes seemed to make things more difficult… I had originally wanted to get married at the Grand Canyon, but truth be told, they had way too many restrictions and limitations. I also looked into Zion and then thought of Horseshoe Bend… After looking into limitations and brainstorming with our photographer, I knew it was the place to have the wedding of our dreams… despite my anxiety when I realized it had grown from an unknown spot on the side of the road to a place where buses of tourists now visit, the whole wedding was everything I had dreamed of and more.

See more of Cheryl’s intimate wedding HERE

4. Childhood Memories & Family Ties

The Scobeys

BobieJo from Vail, Colorado shares…

We got married at the top of Vail mountain at sunset overlooking Mount of the Holy Cross. This was the only location we ever seriously considered. Both of our fathers were ski bums in Vail in the 1960s, and we both grew up skiing there… Both of our families are originally from Colorado, and my husband’s grandfather was in the Army 10th Mountain Division that trained at Camp Hale, right outside of Vail. He was in the battle at Riva Ridge that the ski run in Vail was named after. [We eloped] during ski season, which left a lot of things up in the air: weather, whether the spot we wanted was going to be occupied, etc. We lucked out on all fronts, but we did have multiple backup plans. We actually flew out to Vail two weeks ahead of when we got married in order to get our license, and while we were there, [we did a mockup of] the whole evening and then came up with two very specific backup plans in case of a blizzard or crowded mountaintop… There [have been] a lot of serendipitous coincidences in our relationship, and the fact that the most meaningful place to each of us was Vail meant it was the only possible place we could think of when it came to choosing where we got married.

See more of BobieJo’s intimate wedding HERE

3. Pet-Friendly & Available on Short-Notice

Angela Hays Photography

Taylor from SLC, Utah shares…

We knew we wanted it to be in Moab, because it is so special to both Dan and me, but we had a lot of difficulty choosing our location. Moab gets really busy in the spring, and we didn’t have a clear idea of what we wanted our wedding to look like until probably December. We wanted it to be outside, but it needed to be accessible. It [also] needed to be pet-friendly, so many campsites and the national parks were out. It was kind of by chance that we found our spot and that it had one open date in our time frame. My advice would be to try to have a clear idea of what you want but to also be flexible. Our ceremony was on a Thursday, because that was what was available. And while it wasn’t ideal at first, it actually ended up working in our favor – hotel rooms were less expensive, the town wasn’t as busy, and our photographer wasn’t booked

See more of Taylor’s intimate wedding HERE

5. Intimate & Close to Home

Bernadette from Southern California shares…

We began by brainstorming local getaway destinations where we had already created some special memories. We were between Bishop, CA [and] Laguna, CA. Our first getaway with his family was in Bishop, and we thought the mountains would be a perfect and unique scenery for pictures. Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna was our first romantic weekend getaway, just the two of us, so we had a lot of special memories there as well. The overall goal was to make sure the elopement felt intimate and romantic, so that’s why we chose Laguna. It was also the closest location to us, which made it even easier for us to drive to.

See more of Bernadette’s elopement HERE

Thank you to Amanda, Cheryl, BobieJo, Taylor, and Bernadette for your insight!

Ready to start planning your elopement or intimate wedding?

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