How to Choose the Best Attire for Your Elopement

LAST UPDATED December 26, 2023

Your elopement day is a unique and unforgettable experience, and choosing the right attire can enhance the magic of the moment while ensuring comfort and practicality. Whether you’re hiking up a mountain, exploring a forest, or exchanging vows on a secluded beach, this guide will help you look and feel your best on your special day.

Dresses

The number one rule for an elopement dress is that there are no rules! You may envision saying “I do” in a traditional wedding dress, but if not, there are plenty of other options. Your dress doesn’t even need to be white! It can be any color you want, just as long as it feels comfortable and authentic to you. 

That said, there are a few things you’ll want to consider when searching for your perfect elopement dress: 

Comfort

No matter where you’re eloping, you’ll want to be able to move around comfortably. This requires you to test out some different scenarios to ensure that your dress won’t get in the way of your plans for the day. Some things to consider: 

  • Are you able to take a big upward step in the dress? Will you be able climb up on a rock or tree stump for a better view (and epic photos)?
  • Can you raise both arms up, dance, skip, and run? Make sure you can do any movement that might end up being a part of your day. 
  • Is the dress lightweight enough for all day wear? Leave it on for an extended period of time and make sure it remains comfortable. 
  • Can you sit down in a chair and on the ground (and get back up!) comfortably in the dress? 
  • Does your dress stay put? Can you move around without having to stop and constantly adjust?
Bride twirls in her elopement dress at her Colorado adventure elopement

Fabric

You’ll want to be sure your fabric choice is right for the season and your planned activities. 

A lightweight dress is generally best for elopements in warmer weather. Consider breathable fabrics like linen, chiffon, tulle, or organza. You’ll want to avoid heavier materials and elements like corsets, boning, and super puffy skirts. 

For colder weather elopements, fabrics like lace and satin might be good options to keep you warmer while looking great.

Silhouette

Choose a silhouette that allows for ease of movement. A-line, sheath, or bohemian-inspired dresses often work well for adventurous elopements, as they provide both comfort and a romantic look. To see how the dress flows, pick up the bottom fabric and mimic wind, twirl and spin to see how it responds to movement.  

Not looking for a dress but still want something sort of flowy? Try looking for skirts and sweaters. Maybe even a jumpsuit! 

Couple kisses in their wedding attire at their Colorado elopmenet

Accessories

Looking for something a little extra? Consider these accessories to take your outfit to the next level: 

  • Veils, capes, and shoulder shawls can add extra movement and add tons of drama to your photos. 
  • Consider layering options that will go with the dress. If your elopement might have colder temperatures—find some cozy shawls or jackets that coordinate with your dress and that you would be excited about being photographed in. 

Tuxedos and Suits

As with dress options, your suit or tux can be as traditional or unique as you want! There is no rule that says you need to dress in all black or even that your top and bottom need to match. Mixing and matching colors and materials for jackets and pants can be a fun way to add personality to your attire. Some other things to keep in mind:

Fabric and Style

For a traditional look, opt for lightweight and durable fabrics such as linen or lightweight wool blends. For something a little different, try out fabrics like corduroy or even leather.

While you should take into account your partner’s attire and your surroundings when choosing colors, that doesn’t mean you need to go 100% neutral. Don’t be afraid to stand out! Fun prints and patterns are a great way to show your personality and add interest to your photos.

Tailoring and Fit

Whatever your style, fit is key! Properly tailored suits or separates will provide ease of movement while maintaining a polished appearance. Ensure your attire fits well and allows for flexibility, especially if you plan on engaging in physical activities.

Accessories

Think beyond the traditional tie! Unique details like suspenders, vests, bolo ties, bow ties, neckerchiefs, scarves, hats, belts, belt-buckles, pocket watches, cufflinks, and pocket squares can be another way to inject a little personality into your attire. 

Footwear

Anyone who has ever limped through an evening or a hike in uncomfortable shoes knows that footwear choice can make or break your day! Here are some things to consider when choosing shoes for your elopement: 

  • For most locations, I personally recommend against wearing heels or dress shoes that are completely smooth on the bottom. Good tread and support means more options for exploring and moving around freely without worrying about tripping, falling, sliding, tripping, or twisting an ankle. 
  • Your shoes won’t be the focal point of your photos, and may not even be very visible under your dress or pants. It’s better to be able to comfortably and safely access those great photo spots that may require climbing or navigating other tough terrain. 
  • For hiking elopements, I recommend wearing the best pair of hiking boots you can find. You can choose to either keep them on for your ceremony and photos or change out of them, it’s totally up to you! (I personally love the look of a great pair of hiking shoes with more formal attire.) Just remember, if you opt to switch shoes, they’ll still need good tread if you want to explore around freely for your photos. 
  • If you purchase a new pair of shoes for your day, make sure you break them in ahead of time to avoid blisters and make sure they are comfortable for all-day wear. 
  • For winter elopements where locations may be snowy or icy, get a pair of traction spikes that fit over your shoes to make sure you won’t slip or fall. 
  • For warmer seasons, you can consider a supportive open-toed sandal, and if you’re getting married on warm sand, you may even want to consider going barefoot (or wearing barefoot sandals only) for part of the day.

Gear for Outdoor Adventures

Layering is essential to adapt to varying weather conditions during your adventure elopement. You’ll want to consider these layering options:

  • Base Layers: Choose moisture-wicking base layers made from materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics. These will keep you dry and comfortable, regardless of the temperature. You can even find base layers that match your skin tone that will blend in seamlessly for photos. 
  • Mid-Layers: Fleece jackets or lightweight down vests provide insulation and can be easily packed or removed as needed. They also offer versatility in case of unexpected weather changes. 
  • Outer Layers: Invest in a durable and weather-resistant outer shell, such as a waterproof jacket or windbreaker. Look for features like adjustable hoods, ventilation options, and sealed seams to ensure maximum protection.
  • Socks: Extra socks are a must, especially if you will be in cold or wet locations. Toe warmers are also key in cold weather to keep your feet toasty and comfortable! 
  • Accessories: Don’t forget accessories like gloves, hats, scarves, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sun, wind, or cold.
Couple smiles at their Colorado snowboarding elopement

Choosing the best attire for your adventure elopement involves finding the perfect balance between style, comfort, and practicality. Whether you opt for a dress, suit, or something else that reflects your unique style, remember to consider the environmental conditions, mobility requirements, and overall aesthetics. With the right attire, you can fully immerse yourself in the magic of your elopement while looking and feeling your best.