Ultimate Mountain Wedding and Elopement Guide

LAST UPDATED February 14, 2023

Why have a mountain elopement or wedding

There are few places in the world as majestic and awe-inspiring as mountains. You can explore mountains endlessly, in all seasons, and always see and experience something new. So when it comes to getting married, what better way to celebrate your love than to have a mountain wedding or elopement?

Saying your vows from a summit overlooking mountains, lakes, rivers, and all the world before you is a phenomenal way to represent your love – strong and transcendent.

When to have a mountain elopement or wedding

The mountains take no vacations, they ARE the vacation. Cheesy? Sure but that’s how we do. Mountains in different geographic areas will have different climates, but you can generally go by the four seasons in what to expect in most places (not including Hawaii. If you want specific info on Hawaii, check out this Ultimate Guide on a Hawaii Elopement):

Summer Mountain Elopement and Wedding

Summer months are the warmest and greenest! Days are warm to hot, and evenings cool. You can expect afternoon showers and thunderstorms. If you are thinking of being above treeline, you’ll want to take into account the thunderstorms and lightening strikes in the afternoon, which can be very dangerous. You’ll want to be below treeline and prepare for adverse weather. Depending upon where you get married, you may also be surrounded by wonderful wildflowers.

This is an ideal time for all the summer activities – hiking, climbing, water sports, camping and more! See below for a more detail list of all the things you can do. This is the best season for seeing the Milky Way Galaxy!

Fall Mountain Elopement and Wedding

Fall is one of the most glorious times to have a mountain wedding or elopement. The trees are changing colors, from delicious greens, reds, oranges, yellows and more. The temperatures are warm during the day and cooler at night. This is a very popular time to get married because of the natural beauty. Just be careful for the occasional snowstorm. And be aware that a snowstorm can remove all the changing leaves.

Winter Mountain Elopement and Wedding

Winter mountain weddings and elopements are a super fun playground for those who are ok with colder temperatures. If you love skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing this is the season for you. Personally, I think the mountains are more gorgeous when they are covered in snow. The only thing you have to really pay attention to is the temperatures and snowstorms. It is an absolute must to dress for the weather. You can still wear all types of attire, including white wedding dresses and snow clothes, but trust me, you’ll want to make sure you are wonderfully warm. This is also the perfect season to start a fire and snuggle close.

Spring Mountain Elopement and Wedding

Spring in the mountains can always be very tricky, and also very beautiful. It may take time for the mountain snow to melt, and for you to have a chance to get out on all the trails. Not to mention, the late season snowstorms and rainstorms. If you can be adventurous and flexible with the uncertainties, you can also find tremendous beauty with flowers and trees blooming. You may also find the perfect balance between lush greenery and mountains that are still capped with snow.

Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunrise and Sunset in the mountains are both beautiful. Depending upon where you are, the sunrise can be gorgeous and fast, while the sunset takes it’s time. You will also have to factor in that though the sun may rise or set at a certain time, it will probably be hidden by the mountains for a while, unless you are really high above all surrounding terrain. So really, it’s up to you! Do you want to wake up early to see the stars disappear and the moutains light up, or do you want to watch the day fade away and the stars come out?

One thing to note is that you are more likely to be able to experience Alpen Glow in the morning than at night. Alpen Glow is when the sun’s rays curve around the Earth, before the sun actually rises above the horizon, and showers the mountains with red beams and glow. It’s a gorgeous moment. In the afternoon and evening, weather systems can create clouds, fog, rain, snow and any other types of weather that may prevent alpen glow after the sun sets.

Where to have a mountain elopement or wedding

Here are the top ten places to have a mountain wedding and elopement:

  1. Colorado
  2. Washington
  3. Hawaii
  4. Alaska
  5. Oregon
  6. California
  7. Italy
  8. Switzerland
  9. Peru
  10. Colombia

Can guests come to my mountain elopement or wedding?

Guests can absolutely come to your mountain wedding or elopement! The first thing to do is figure out how you want to get married. Do you want to throw an epic private part with your friends? If so, you’ll want to secure a stunning mountaintop venue that can host all your family and friends. If you want to elope, consider how adventurous your day will be and if your family and friends can join you. If you go on a 5 mile hike, can people keep up? If you are just doing a picnic close to where your cars are parked, anyone can join!

How much does a mountain elopement or wedding cost?

The average wedding in America costs about $30,000 +. The average elopement varies but can be ⅕ the cost of a wedding! For more information on how prices break down, check out this blog post on how much it costs to elope or have a traditional wedding.

What’s Leave No Trace?

Leave no trace are principles that help everyone maintain the beautiful nature we all enjoy. You can learn more about the principles from the Leave No Trace Institute.

How can I prepare my guests?

Preparing your guests for a mountain wedding or elopement is really important. You’ll want to make sure that they are prepared for any type of weather you may encounter, which means possibly rain, snow, mud, hail, sun. Bug spray, sunscreen, and lots of water are a must! One of the most important factors, is to consider the altitude. Will you be high up? If so, you have to take into account possible altitude sickness. To prevent that, give your guests time to acclimate to the higher altitude, sometimes at least 1-2 days, and make sure they drink lots of water!

What can we do during our Mountain wedding?

The activities for a mountain wedding or elopement are endless! You can ski, hike, mountain bike, paddle board, canoe, raft, sky-dive, picnic, star-gaze, jeep rides, atv rides, snowmobiles, snowboard, dog-sled, helicopters, airplanes, ice-climb, parasail and so so so much more! For more ideas on what to do on your day, check out the ultimate guide to elopement ideas.

Can my dog or other pets join us?

Your dogs are 100% part of your family. So it’s important to check the rules for wherever you are and see if dogs are allowed. Some parks allow dogs, some allow dogs so long as they are on leashes, some don’t allow them at all. Colorado is a particularly unique place. You can actually have your pets sign as a witness for your marriage license! That’s right, just give them an ink pad and press their paws down, and wallah, your fur-baby has legally witnessed your marriage!

What do we wear for our mountain elopement or wedding?

Your wedding attire is a big part of your day. Not only do you want to lewk stunnnnning, but you also want to be comfortable. That means not too hot, not too cold, but just right. So when considering your mountain attire, think first to the season you are getting married and the weather you may encounter. If you may encounter colder temperatures, opt for nude color leggings and base layers. Gloves, hats, and shoes that will keep all your extremities cold. Trust me, if you get too cold on your day, you’ll be either in pain or miserable and then it’s no fun at all. If you are anticipating warmer temperatures, opt for lighter clothing like linen for suits as opposed to cotton or wool. You want your attire to breath.

As far as colors and style, that’s a personal choice! You can wear a gorgeous gown, a shiny red suit, a fanny pack, a romper, spandex, whatever is authentic to you and makes you super duper happy.

How do I plan a mountain elopement or wedding?

Step 1: Figure out if you want a mountain wedding or elopement (see all the above to determine if this is indeed for you).

Step 2: Figure out the type of mountains you want – do you want Colorado or Washington state mountains? Snow capped Alaska mountains? Italian Alps? Hawaiian lush green tropical mountains? 

Step 3: Reach out, talk to, and book your photographer (and /or planner if necessary)! That’s right, these people are the subject matter experts in what you want to do. If you book the right one (ahem ahem) they’ll help you craft the day you are looking for! You won’t have to worry about all the nitty gritty because they will make it super easy for you to handle and deal with.

Step 4: Start finalizing your plans. Make some decisions as to locations, dates, and activities.

Step 5: Finalize everything including last vendors.

Step 6: Elope!!

Step 7: Relive your magical day over and over and over again!

Meet Your Mountain Elopement and Wedding Photographer

Elopement Photographer stands next to a Jeep

Hey! I’m Adam and I live for helping couples just like you make their elopement dreams come true. If you want to learn more about how to plan the best winter elopement, I’m your guy! I can help you find the best elopement package and share all my tips to find the perfect location and activities for your day.

If you’re ready to start planning or just have some questions to decide if a winter elopement is right for you, I’d love to hear from you.




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