There are a lot of reasons why couples choose to elope, but one of the most popular is that they just don’t want all those people looking at them! Having a private, intimate ceremony is just one perk of eloping. But what if you arrive at your gorgeous outdoor elopement location, only to realize that you’re surrounded by strangers?
Unfortunately, that’s often the reality of so many popular locations. Spots that were once secluded are now popular and crowded as a result of geotagging and social media. While it’s amazing that more and more people are getting outside and seeing these gorgeous spaces, there’s no doubt that it’s much more pleasant to experience the outdoors in its quiet, serene state without a bunch of other people around – and this is especially true on your elopement day!
So, what can you do to avoid crowds when you elope? Luckily, it’s totally possible to elope outdoors and get the whole place to yourself – or, at least get most of it to yourself. Keep reading for my top tips for avoiding crowds on your elopement day!
Waking up before the crack of dawn may not be what you imagine for your elopement day – but hear me out! Most people aren’t too keen on waking up early, so even the most popular spots are likely to be empty! If you plan your elopement ceremony for sunrise, you’ll have a lot more privacy to say your vows.
Not only that, but you’ll also have the most beautiful photos! Harsh sunlight is the enemy of photographers, because it creates stark shadows and uneven light. But, during sunrise and sunset, the lighting is the absolute best it can be. The soft, even light paired with the beautiful hues of pink and orange is perfect for photos. And there’s something so magical about getting to your elopement location and being able to watch the sun come up, especially when no one else is around!
Because most people are off work on weekends, Saturdays and Sundays tend to draw out the most crowds as people use their days off to go explore and get outside. Eloping on a weekday, especially Monday through Thursday helps you avoid crowds and ensures that you’ll have at least a little more privacy on your elopement day.
Be careful to avoid holidays as well – people often plan trips over holiday weekends or take time off of work, so when you choose your elopement date, make sure that it isn’t a holiday!
Most places have one part of the year that’s especially popular. Most of the time (except for desert locations), the most popular time to visit a location is summer. In mountainous areas, summer is the only time when the trails aren’t covered in snow and all roads are open. For places like Mt Rainier National Park, summer is also the time when wildflowers bloom, drawing more crowds and visitors.
The most popular time to visit a park or natural area always coincides with when the best weather is in that location. But, eloping in the off season can have its perks as well. My recommendation for my couples is to elope during shoulder season.
Shoulder season refers to the time right before and right after the peak busy season. You’ll still be more likely to get favorable weather, and while it might be a little colder, the crowds will be much thinner. Pack some warm base layers and a jacket, and enjoy the privacy of eloping!
Those locations we see all over Instagram are definitely beautiful, but places that get posted to social media over and over are bound to get more and more popular as time goes on. When you’re looking for the perfect spot to say your vows, try to stay away from the popular social media spots.
As a photographer who specializes in elopements, part of my job is finding gorgeous spots and locations for my couples that aren’t overrun with crowds and visitors. Finding those off the beaten path locations ensures that you’ll have more privacy when you say your vows. And, you can always have your ceremony in one spot, then go to the more popular locations for photos!
While there are tons of overlooks and easily accessible spots that are absolutely stunning, those places are always more crowded because of how easy they are to get to. By hiking, even just a short distance, on your elopement day you’ll be able to avoid a lot of the crowds. A good rule of thumb is that the longer the hike, the less likely you are to run into a ton of people! And usually, the best views are the ones that you have to work a little bit harder for.
All of these tips are amazing and will help you avoid crowds on your elopement day, but the best way to ensure that you’ll get to say your vows in a totally private and secluded location? Do all 5 of these! If you’re ready to plan your epic, crowd free elopement, get in touch with me! I’m ready to help you with off the beaten path locations, and to build a timeline that will give you the perfect, crowd free day. What are you waiting for?!