Why consider an bit more of an adventure wedding vs traditional? Well it doesn’t get more romantic than standing somewhere breathtaking, looking into the eyes of the person you adore the most in the world, and saying your wedding vows to one another.
For some adventurous couples, that breathtaking location might be the top of a mountain at sunrise or Lapland under the northern lights or under an Asian sunset.
More couples are opting to skip the big traditional wedding in favour of an adventure wedding or elopement, spending a day together or with a small group of friends and family, and choosing a location and activity that will be an unforgettable experience.
What is an Adventure Wedding?
An adventure wedding is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a wedding that either takes place outdoors in a location that’s a bit more off-the-grid than your standard wedding venue.
Adventure weddings usually incorporate the stunning natural environment as a natural backdrop and focus around the overall experience of a day rather than the smaller details.
Many adventure weddings involve some kind of outdoor pursuit in order to reach a location, such as hiking, or flying in a helicopter, or could involve a dramatic ceremony exit such as skiing or paragliding.
Sounds like fun, right? If you’d like to plan an adventure wedding but are not sure about where to start, here are some tips to help.
How To Plan An Adventure Wedding
When you’re planning an adventure wedding, traditional wedding checklists won’t help you very much.
Adventure weddings are generally much easier to plan, because there are a lot fewer things to add to the to-do list. But knowing how to get started can sometimes be a challenge.
Below are 5 easy steps to help you getting started planning your adventure wedding:
Image Credit: Wild Connections Photography
1. Brainstorm Your Adventure Wedding Vision
The first part of planning your adventure wedding (and probably the most fun part) is to sit down together and brainstorm what your perfect wedding day (or days) might look like.
- What sort of scenery would you like to see?
- Do you have a favourite location or a place you’ve always wanted to visit?
- What time of year can you imagine getting married?
- What sort of activities would you love to do together on the day?
- Who (if anyone) would you like to have there with you?
- How do you want to feel on your wedding day?
Great places to go for inspiration are niche wedding blogs, Instagram and Pinterest.
2. Research Your Short-List Locations
Once you’ve got an idea of the sort of adventure wedding you want (or narrowed it down to a few options), do some initial location research into the general areas you want to visit.
Look at the weather statistics for different months, and also consider when the high and low tourism seasons are.
For example, if the Italian Dolomites is your dream location, and you’ve narrowed it down to summertime, you’ll need to know that the Dolomites have a rather short summer season, from late June until late September, and that August is by far the busiest month (so one to avoid).
3. Book Experienced Local Vendors
Hiring local vendors will make a huge difference to your adventure wedding.
Research online can help you find lots of information, but local vendors will have knowledge and connections.
For an adventure wedding, you’ll want to book an elopement photographer who specialises in adventurous weddings and knows the area well. They will be able to help you find the best locations for your incredible wedding photos, as well as helping you understand when is the best time to visit each location and creating a timeline for the day. Most photographers can also connect you with any other vendors you might need too.
4. Decide On What Type of Ceremony You Want
Did you know that most adventure weddings outside of the USA don’t include a legal marriage ceremony?
Many countries outside of the USA don’t allow legal marriage ceremonies to take place anywhere. In most cases they need to take place in a registered venue. Then there’s the additional admin of filing paperwork and getting translations of your documents if you’re hoping to have your wedding in a non-native English speaking country.
Lots of couples who opt for a destination wedding outside of the USA sign their marriage licence before they travel (or on their return) and choose to make their adventure wedding day a day of celebration of their relationship, holding a private vow reading or small symbolic commitment ceremony.
5. Be Flexible
Adventure weddings can sometimes mean compromising, from the choice of location to changing plans last minute because of weather.
It might be that the location you’re dreaming of is super busy in reality and not as quiet and serene as it looks on Instagram. Do you really want to say your private wedding vows with an audience of strangers watching and listening, or are you ok with considering more private, alternative locations?
Adventure weddings primarily take place outside, and that means being at the mercy of the elements. Sometimes you might be forced to change your plans at the last minute due to adverse weather. Talk to your photographer and any other vendors about what your backup options are, and be prepared to just go with the flow if you do end up changing plans.
Having a vendor team with in-depth local knowledge means that they will be able to suggest some incredible alternatives for you.
Are You Ready For Your Adventure?
Planning an adventure wedding doesn’t need to be a daunting task. In fact, it should be fun and exciting. After all, isn’t that the reason why you’ve chosen to have an adventure wedding over a traditional wedding anyway?
Where is your wedding adventure going to take you?
Cat Ekkelboom-White is a multi-award-winning adventure wedding photographer and hiking guide specialising in intimate weddings and elopements in the Alps and Dolomites.