DESTINATION ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER // ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT
“Where’s the best place to elope?” A question I frequently get asked and one you may be pondering yourself right now. The best place FOR YOU as a couple is one that speaks to you, is exciting, feels comfortable, and will bring you joy when you look back on it years from now. That can be cascading waterfalls, expansive gardens, tropical oases, or rugged mountains. Maybe culture and architecture is a priority over outdoor adventuring. Or perhaps you already have a time of year in mind and restrictions on how far you want to travel. There are so many factors – so consider this your destination inspiration. I’ve compiled this list of unique and jaw dropping elopement destinations, with a little bit of everything for everyone. Let’s kickstart your imagination of, “Where is the best place for YOU to elope?”
Location: Ubud, Bali
Best Time: February – April
Features: Rainforest, rice paddies, and markets
Imagine saying your vows amongst sloping rice paddies as the morning sun peeks through the surrounding rainforest. Lush, spiritual, and vibrant — Ubud is located in the heart of Bali. You can look over the temples and paddies while you enjoy lunch at a nearby cafe, as most restaurants overlook the expansive rice terraces. You can spend the afternoon at the Ubud art market where vendors sell jewelry, rattan bags, textiles, and other hand crafted goods. Luckily there is no shortage of ridiculously beautiful villas to stay at; often having open floor plans marrying the outdoors and indoors (not to mention private pools are a staple).
Location: Reynisfjara, Iceland
Best Time: June – August
Features: Black sand beaches
Talk about DRAMA, holy smokes! The glistening volcanic sand is drafted by enormous basalt rock columns. It is one of the most cinematic and moody scenes on Earth. Plan to get to Reynisfjara before 10 to beat the crowds! Just beyond the shores you’ll find expansive lush valleys and showstopping waterfalls. It is a scenic two hour drive from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. What better place to elope than the second happiest country in the world? Not to mention, if it was good enough for Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, then surely it can deliver a cinematic elopement!
Location: White Sands National Park, New Mexico
Best Time: September – November
Features: Sand dunes
If black sands aren’t your vibe, then how about glistening snow white sand dunes? The White Sand Dunes National Park is a gem in New Mexico, quite literally, as the sand is mainly made up of the mineral gypsum. If you’re ready to be transported to another universe go in late September to catch the cottonwoods changing colors. The yellow leaves against the white dunes looks as though it’s been plucked from a dream world. Only a 1.5 hour drive from El Paso, Texas and you can’t go wrong spending sunrise or sunset at the park.
Location: La Pointe, Wisconsin
Best Time: June – August
Features: Bluffs and island channels
Yes, this amazing island is located in Wisconsin of all places! Cheese and natural beauty– what can’t this state do!? Madeline Island is located in Lake Superior and only a 25 minute ferry ride from the mainland. Big Bay State Park offers endless choices for your wedding day: sandstone bluffs, caves, calm lagoons, and island channels. This island is the size of Manhattan and from one shoreside to the other is filled with natural beauty. Snag a cottage in the charming and fun town of La Pointe on the island for your elopement stay!
Location: Karpathos, Greece
Best Time: March/April or September/October
Features: Coastal village and beaches
There will forever be something special about Greece (thanks to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.. kidding.. kind of). The Island of Karpathos is relatively calm Compared to its bustling counterparts, Crete and Mykonos. A quick flight from Athens will land you in one of the most picturesque islands Greece has to offer. Wander around the cobblestone streets of Karpathos, an amphitheater of colorful homes overlooking the soft beaches. Dip your toes in the crystal clear water and enjoy as the island blooms in the spring or the serenity as tourists leave in the fall. Post nuptial dolmas, anyone?
Location: Mallorca, Spain
Best Time: June – August
Features: Coast, architecture, and gardens
Although the surrounding Mediterranean Sea is showstopping, this Spanish Island has made it onto the list for it’s showstopping botanic gardens, exquisite architecture, and citrus farms. There are countless botanic gardens boasting biodiversity you could normally only get on a worldwide trip. Meanwhile the architecture is rich with historical meaning and infused with the vibrant culture. Imagine wandering around this city on your elopement day searching for the perfect spot — the perfect moment — to say, “I do”.
Location: Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy
Best Time: June – August
Features: Mountains and nightlife
Prettier than a postcard, these extraordinary limestone mountains rise above this town in Italy. The Dolomites is perfect for mountain lovers that are looking to travel out of the United States and experience Europe in a unique fashion. This valley is surrounded by impressively high peaks. Everywhere you turn in this area you will find a backdrop from your elopement that will not disappoint. You can spend the day hiking up to Lake Sorapis, an intensely turquoise alpine lake, then relax in the evening at one of the popular bars in town. An absolute summer dream only a two hour drive from Venice.
Location: Ouray, Colorado
Best Time: June or Late September
Features: Mountains, wildflowers, and fall foliage
The mountain town of Ouray, Colorado is referred to as the Switzerland of America, because of the natural rock amphitheater of the San Juan Mountains that surround it. I dare you to Google-search Ouray and not fall in love. This area has everything to offer for your elopement day: hot springs, waterfalls, hiking, 4×4 trails, skiing, & general amazement at how freaking beautiful it is. Visit in late spring to catch the color parade of alpine flowers or during mid fall to peep the aspens turning gold. This area is unlike anywhere else in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and has something for every level of adventurer!
Location: Misiones, Argentina
Best Time: December – February
Features: The largest waterfall in the world
If you want your elopement to be a total adventure, then Argentinian Patagonia will blow your mind. This area is at the southernmost tip of South America, so as you can imagine, it is a TREK to get there. After 20+ hours of travel time and hopefully a really good night’s sleep you’ll be greeted by an impossibly beautiful and one of a kind experience for your elopement. It’s hard to imagine anything more powerful than committing your lives to one another in front of the largest waterfall in the world. Patagonia is an endless array of diverse landscapes from glaciers to desert; anything you could want is there.
Location: Haight Township, MI
Best Time: Late September
Features: Waterfalls, forest, and fall foliage
Compared to the 8,858 ft wide Iguazu Falls, the 100ft wide Bond Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula seems very modest — however, it’s magical in its own right. This waterfall cascades down volcanic rock into a dense forest. Although spring is a great time to see these falls flowing high, the autumn foliage simply cannot be beat. The leaf peeping here is out of this world! This is a great location for couples looking for privacy, accessibility, and lush forests. Imagine unwinding in a cozy cabin with some warm cider — the perfect way to end a fall elopement day.
Okay WOW. I know – I put this list together, but still!! What a wide and wild world to live in! You are lucky enough to have countless show stopping places to choose from when it comes to planning an adventure elopement and this list only scratches the surface. Do you feel like you’re any closer to answering, “Where is the best place for YOU to elope?” If you’re feeling inspired and want to talk logistics or feel even more torn on where’s the right place and need some guidance – I’m here for you! 2022 is already starting to sneak up on us, so let’s get planning for the perfect elopement now! I cannot wait to capture the beginning of the wildest adventure of your life together.
Please note that not all images in this post are mine; however, I have the permission to use them for the informational purposes of this blog.