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Planning a Backcountry Elopement

8/26/2020

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So, you want to get married somewhere epic & away from the crowds. The backcountry is the perfect spot! Sure the amenities may be limited, but that’s made up for a thousand times over when you find the perfect overlook to exchange your vows without another soul in sight (other than your photographer 😉 ) So, let’s get started planning your backcountry elopement!

First things first…

What is the ‘backcountry’?

First, let’s clear up some vocab. The term ‘backcountry’ is mostly used when talking about mountainous areas, but it’s so much more than that. When I say ‘backcountry,’ I mean places that are off the beaten path, wild, undeveloped and undisturbed.

Pick your landscape

Whether you want to go to an area you’ve been hundreds of times, or you want to venture to somewhere totally new, the options for your backcountry landscape are endless:

  • Desert
  • Forest
  • Mountains
  • Beach
  • Jungle
  • A combination of a couple of those (helloo Pacific Northwest!)

Let’s plan!

Logistics

Planning a backcountry elopement involves a lot of logistics, since it usually (but not always!) involves getting somewhere that’s not accessible by car. When picking exactly where you’re going to elope, it’s important to think about how you plan on getting there.

Will you take a helicopter? Or maybe a snowmobile? Is it a two-day hike? Are you in good enough shape to hike there with gear on your back? (Side note: there are epic options for people of every adventure and fitness level, but it’s important to know your limits!)

Make it Legal

Once you decide on what backcountry landscape you want your epic adventure to be at, let’s make it legal!

Check the county, National Park, State Forest, etc. for what (if any) permits are required to get married there. If a permit is required, it’s usually called a ‘special use’ permit and involves a quick application and fee. I take care of getting the photography permit and am happy to help out with the special use permit if you need it!

Of course, you’ll need a marriage certificate for the county you’re getting married in too!

Let’s Pack!

Better safe than sorry

When you’re in the backcountry, you don’t have the luxuries of civilization. And by luxuries, I mean shelter, transportation, toilets, restaurants, etc. (why are we doing this again?! kidding. kidding!) That’s how we get the isolated, epic locations! But being prepared is crucial when you spend time in the backcountry, whether it’s for the day or for an overnight trip. The Ten Essentials are, well, the essentials.

For the wedding

When you wanted to get married in the backcountry, other things to pack include:

  • Wedding attire (doy)
  • Marriage certificate (and pen!!)
  • Makeup & hair supplies (if using)
  • Letters from friends & family
  • Champagne/other celebratory drink
  • Bluetooth speaker (for the first dance/dance party!)
  • My personal fav: twinkle lights for your tent

It may seem like a lot, but have no fear, my obsessive list-making will make sure you have everything you need 😉

Planning a backcountry elopement may take a bit more preparedness and forward-thinking than a typical elopement, but there’s nothing like marrying the love of your life at a special spot with just the two of you <3

  1. Kaely says:

    This is such great and concise information! Definitely super helpful and gives a lot to consider!

  2. This is super helpful for people planning and adventure elopement you gave so many good tips.

  3. Great post! This is so informative and a great resource!

  4. Liv Hettinga says:

    Such great tips! Backcountry elopements are some of my fav in my opinion! Just love em

  5. Super helpful and informative for planning a backcountry wedding! And I love how it didn’t have a lot of fluff, straight to the point and an easy read for anyone! Good stuff!

  6. […] And if you want to combine a your wedding day with a big adventure, check out my tips for planning a backcountry elopement! […]

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