I believe your wedding should be as adventurous and genuine as you are. If you are avid hikers or backpackers and value adventure, solitude, intention and astonishing, once in a lifetime views, a hiking elopement might be right for you.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks about how to pack for your hiking elopement. These tips are focused on making sure your elopement experience is the best it could be and covers everything from simple tips for feeling fresh instead of sweaty after hiking, to how to pick flowers that will last on a hike through the backcountry.
This may be one of the most practical, informative posts I’ve ever written, and I hope this makes your hiking elopement that much better.
My Top 10 Hiking Elopement Tips
Tip #1 Order faux flowers so your bouquet doesn’t wilt.
Faux flowers have really stepped up their game in the last few years. Gone are the days when faux flowers simply look fake and barf worthy. Nowadays, the same amount of money you’ll spend on real flowers can instead be a beautiful bouquet that causes no stress on the day of your elopement.
There are so many benefits to ordering a silk flower bouquet, especially for your hiking elopement, and here’s why:
First, it COMPLETELY erases any worry about your bouquet wilting, dying, or being damaged on your hike. Less stress on your elopement day? That’s what I’m all about!
Second, you can keep this bouquet FOREVER. Many of my brides take them home and put them in a beautiful vase in their bedroom to serve as a special, everlasting reminder of their epic hiking elopement day.
Third, a faux flower bouquet offers you COMPLETE control over your bouquet. I recommend ordering more flowers than you need, arranging your bouquet with your best friend, sibling or parent over a glass of wine. Then return what you don’t use!
Fourth, cost. The cost for a faux bouquet can often be cheaper depending on what you pick, without sacrificing beauty! I recommend ordering 3-6 stunning stems in the color and variety that you love, and then pack the rest with beautiful filler such as eucalyptus, pine tree sprays, or berries.
Fifth and finally, faux bouquets honor the Leave No Trace Principles of any wilderness exploration by not bringing in “non-native” flowers into your elopement location which could potentially drop seeds and become invasive. Please note: FAUX flowers are different from DRIED or PRESERVED flowers. Dried and preserved flowers are real flowers and are not ideal for an elopement because of their fragility, they tend to crumble very easily. Not to mention, dried flowers often still contain seeds that could easily fall and sprout in non-native locations.
I recommend these incredible faux flower options:
P.S. I recently helped a local bride build her faux bouquet and this is what we learned:
It’s worth it to order your big show stopper flowers from one of the sites listed above because the colors and quality are so on point. But when it comes to your fillers and accent flowers we found that craft stores with fake flower sections were cheaper and had a good selection.
Tip #2 Pack a Battery Powered Curling Iron or Straightener, yes, that’s a real thing.
I “style” my hair about…twice a year, so I didn’t know this was a thing until a bride REALLY wanted beautiful curls after a hike to their elopement location. So, I got to work figuring out how we could make that happen. One Google search later, I discovered cordless battery powered curling irons and straighteners! WHO KNEW?!
I have the butane powered mini curling iron listed below and it’s incredible. It’s hiking sized, heats up in less than 60 seconds and creates perfect wavy curls. I highly recommend this for touch ups on your elopement day.
Tip #3 Pack body wipes for a “backcountry shower”
This is a game changer. I pack these for every hiking trip. With just one or two of these body wipes you can feel as close to fresh out of the shower as possible in the backcountry. I don’t pack the whole package, I simply put 2 towelettes per day in a resealable plastic baggie. If they dry out because of the heat, I just put a little water in there and they spring back to life! Little things like this can help you refresh and rejuvenate and celebrate more freely on your big day. These are my favorite.
Tip #4 Pack sample size perfume and cologne.
Hiking size and anti…hiking smell! Win win. Two excellent (and affordable) options are:
- Go to Sephora and ask for a sample of your favorite scent
- Order a tiny spray bottle and put 10-15 drops of your favorite scent inside
Tip #5 Pack Boxed Wine or a Flask to toast your union
A friend and I discovered Bandit Boxed wine last summer on a girls’ hiking trip and now I drink it at home, even when I could drink regular bottled wine. Am I saying it’s comparable to a $25+ bottle of wine? Not at all. Am I saying it’s pretty damn solid, yes. It’s cost effective, allows for a lighter hiking carry, and contains a full liter of wine vs the measly 750 ml you get in a regular bottle, (so ABSOLUTELY YES). I prefer reds myself and can personally recommend the Red Blend and the Cabernet.
If you aren’t into wine, bring a flask of a nice whiskey, gin or tequila! Whatever your drink of choice, it is always nice to enjoy a special toast after your vows!
Tip #6 Pack a small portable speaker for your first dance
Planning a first look or a first dance is absolutely possible for hiking elopements! Most of my couples download a few favorite songs on their phones and bring a portable speaker to enjoy a first dance in the great outdoors. I have this speaker, it’s easy to clip onto your pack and the sound quality is incredible.
Tip #7 Have your family and friends meet you at the trailhead for a party upon your return
Want the privacy of a hiking elopement but still be able to celebrate with your loved ones when it’s done? Have them meet you at the trailhead when you arrive back! Most areas have some sort of overnight camping or lodging options near trailheads. All you need is a foldable table, some cold beers and snacks to have a celebration!
Tip #8 Bring your dog!
If you’ve got a furry friend you love, there’s no reason not to bring them along with you to! Many hiking areas are trail friendly for dogs, and there’s nothing like having one of your most special loves accompanying you on your epic hiking elopement. I also have a knack for taking epic dog portraits as my German Shepherd is my subject when hiking on my own. 🙂
Tip #9 Roll your dress(es)and suit(s) in waterproof bags inside your pack
Nothing can be more nerve wracking than figuring out how to protect your beautiful clothing for a hiking elopement into the elements. To put your mind at ease, I’d highly recommend checking into waterproof bags. I use an Ospry Ultra Light Dry Sack for my camera gear and they work great for dreses and suits too. They can easily fit a nicely rolled up elopement dress or suit in them.
Tip #10 Splurge in the food department and bring your favorite snacks and treats
Packing favorite treats for your loved one is also sure to score some MAJOR points. Protip: M&Ms won’t melt in your pack, even on a hot summer day. I’ve personally tested this many times, as my husband is a chocolate fanatic. Peanut Butter M&Ms will last about 3 days in a pack without melting, unless the above stated husband eats them all on the first night.
Here are some other special treats I’d recommend that are great to have out on the trail and can be easily managed for a hiking elopement:
- Hard cheeses, Crackers and Bread
- Summer Sausage
- Nuts and Dried Fruits
Bravely choosing to elope is taking the road less traveled.
Questions like what will my family and friends think, are valid – but you can love and honor your family and still know in your heart that eloping is right for YOU. Choosing to celebrate your love, your way, whatever way that is, brings freedom. And that, my friends, is what I stand for.
There you have it, my best hiking elopement tips. If you have any questions about planning a hiking elopement, don’t hesitate to reach out!