How to Make Your Elopement Special - Courtney Lynn

How to Make Your Elopement Special

As an elopement photographer part of what I do is to help my couples plan out their day and I absolutely love doing so! One thing they wonder is how they can make it more special and unique. I mean, eloping by itself is pretty special and unique, but I totally get that most couples want to add some type of personalization to their day to make it extra special! The amazing thing about elopements is that they make it so that you can get married exactly where and how you get married. So, if you are wondering How to Make Your Elopement Special keep scrolling for some tips and ideas!

How to Make Your Elopement Specialhow to make your elopement special

1. Make it a WHOLE day!

This is YOUR wedding day! This is the day that you’re going to look back and celebrate for the rest of your life. I believe that you deserve to have elopement documented from beginning to end. Think about this – Couples who have a traditional wedding will usually have their photographer there for 8 plus hours so that they can capture the whole day. I take this same approach to elopements! Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean that you deserve any less than someone who has a traditional wedding. Why shouldn’t you enjoy the entire day and celebrate the two of you in the same?!

After all, elopements are an extremely intentional way of getting married! They’re all about crafting an experience that about the two of you and having a day that you’d actually want to do all over again.

Definitely don’t overthink this! I can’t speak for all elopement photographers, but for me as an elopement photographer my job is to document your day and to tell your story. So, when you think of an all day elopement definitely don’t think of it as an all day photo shoot. That wouldn’t be fun for anyone!

I love to help paint a picture to my couples. So, answer these questions below!

What would be the best day that the two of you could create from start to finish? What do you want the view to look like when you wake up in the morning? What do you want the weather to be like? What do you want to wear? What type of adventure do you want to go on? What would be the backdrop of your dreams for your vows? How do you want to celebrate that? What type of adventure do you want to go on together?

Once you start to imagine all the possibilities of how your elopement day can go, you won’t want anything less than that! All of the activities that you think of and how you start to envision your day can easily take up 6 plus hours!!

You can spend time exploring multiple areas, checking out different views and enjoying multiple activities to celebrate.


Every timeline is crafted specifically for each couple around their desires. When you look at this timeline view it as inspiration only, because your day will most likely look completely different! Every day has a different look, because every couple is different has a different vision for their elopement!

Here is an example of a 10 hour consecutive elopement timeline!

  • 1:30pm: spend time getting ready–hair, makeup, getting fancied up
  • 2:45pm: send groom off to first look location while bride finishes getting ready and puts dress on
  • 3:00pm: have a romantic first look and a few portraits
  • 3:30pm: hop in jeep for off-roading adventure and head to ceremony location, stop and get out along the way for epic portraits
  • 5:30pm: arrive at ceremony location, explore and adventure around, find the perfect ceremony spot
  • 6:30pm: enjoy a picnic with cheese, crackers, wine–whatever you want!
  • 8:00pm: ceremony and vows, enjoy a first dance
  • 8:30pm: sunset and final portraits
  • 8:45pm: head back to Airbnb
  • 10:00pm: arrive back at Airbnb and enjoy a bonfire with s’mores
  • 11:30pm: photo coverage wraps up!

I hope this timeline helps you see how a full day elopement could go! There are so many different ways to plan out your day. There are no limitations!

Check out this article to learn What Elopements are Really About!

how to make your elopement special

2. Have a first look!

I personally love first looks for elopements, because they add such a special moment to your day. They will also add a traditional element to your elopement day and make you both feel so special. Plus, it always makes for great pictures! A lot of times couples will arrive at their location together and then finish getting separately like putting their outfits on or whatever it may be to add an element of surprise. I have also seen couples rent out separate AirBnb’s if they are having a more intimate wedding with a few guests and get ready totally separately. So, it’s all about what works best for the both of you and what you guys want to do!

Check out How to Include Your Favorite Wedding Traditions During Your Elopement!

how to make your elopement special A couple is making their elopement special by hiking in the mountains.

3. Get married in that epic location!

I don’t think there could be a better way to start off your lives together than having a grand adventure in a gorgeous place! Consider having your honeymoon wherever you get married to save yourself money and from being tired from all the traveling as well. I totally get that planning a destination elopement could be a bit daunting with all the legal logistics, but there are so many different ways to go about this. You could get officially married where you live and have your destination elopement ceremony be more symbolical! The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few ways to help you get started thinking about the type of location that’s perfect for you!

  • Decide whether you want to elope domestic or internationally! This will be the first deciding factor and help narrow down those location options.
  • Think about the type of scenery you love! Do you want mountain? Do you want to be in the middle of a forest? On a cliff overlooking the ocean?
  • Choose a place that will have meaning to you! This can be a place that you’ve already been to before and loved or it can be a new place that you both would love to explore together for the first time!
  • Hire an experienced elopement photographer who helps with planning! I personally help location scout for my couples and help plan out their entire elopement day. I kinda double as a coordinator!!

Get some epic location ideas!

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

Washington Elopements: A Complete Guide for Eloping in Washington State

The Best Places to Elope in Utah

Best Places to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park

Best Places to Elope in Oregon

10 Best Places to Elope in the PNW

Beautiful couple eloping in the mountains to make their elopement special.

How to Make an elopement special

4. Do a first dance and add other personal touches to your elopement experience!

This is another traditional element you could add to your elopement day if you wish! A lot of the couples I work with have a first dance right after they say their vows and finish their ceremony or when they get back to their Airbnb! It creates such a sweet moment for them. All you got to do is bring a small Bluetooth speaker and dance away!

You can also add as many personal touches to your day as you want. There are to rules to eloping and you can add whatever is special to you! For example, if you’re both big foodies hire a private chef to cook you dinner to celebrate. If you both love kayaking then go kayaking down a river or on a lake! You can customize your elopement day to make it as special and personalized as you want!

how to make your elopement special

5. Spend your money on what matters to you!

Eloping will give you more financial freedom than a traditional wedding and will allow you to spend your money on what you want to splurge on. Why not spend that money on your dream dress? Why not hire your dream photographer? Sure, things like that will cost you money, but in the end you’ll be drooling over whatever it is and you simply won’t regret it.

Should I Elope?

If you have an adventurous spirit and desire to have an special, unique and meaningful experience on your wedding day then eloping is a great choice for you! Eloping is all about having a stress-free, laid back and incredible experience that you’ll actually want to do all over again. It is about starting your lives together on an epic adventure and committing your lives together in a place you’ve always dreamed of or in an extremely meaningful place to the both of you.

If you are looking for an elopement photographer who will be by your side and help guide you through planning your dream elopement then I would be so honored to be a part of your special day! I take my elopement expertise and your vision and turn it into an epic day that you’ll never forget.

However you want to celebrate and spend your day, I’m going to help you make that happen. You can contact me >HERE< and I cannot wait to talk to you about your elopement!

These are only a few ideas and there are seriously a million ways for you to make your elopement extra special and unique!

Check out these related blog posts!

How to Avoid Crowds on Your Elopement Day

The Ultimate How to Elope Guide

How to Plan an Elopement Timeline

Tips For Eloping in a National Park

Adventure Elopement on Mount Baker


How to Make Your Elopement Special | Courtney Lynn

comments +
  1. Brianna E says:

    YES! You’re already ditching tradition so why not make it all about whats most important to you? SO important to spend money on what’s important to you. Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Lauren says:

    These elopement tips are PERFECT! I couldn’t agree more by making a whole day out of it, and splurging on whatever you want because it’s your day! 🙂

  3. Gabrielle Van Wyck says:

    These are such great ideas!!! Sounds like you have elopements down (: I love the idea of making it a full day!

  4. These are all such great tips for couples wanted to elope! If I could marry my husband all over again, I’d totally have a Colorado Elopement. Maybe a vow renewal?!

  5. Kayla says:

    Such great tips!! Making your elopement a whole day makes sure you have all the time in the world to celebrate. When I elope I am definitely doing that!

  6. Jodi says:

    Aww yes – I love the part about a first dance! It’s so easy to forget that you don’t have to get rid of every tradition if you want to eschew most of them!

  7. Maddie Mae says:

    I love every point you’re making in this post, but I especially love that you chose to lead off with making an elopement an entire day. I love to see this happen, and often, the couples who pick an all day elopement (or a two-day elopement) love how much they get to savor every moment. Wonderful post!

  8. What great elopement tips! Love all of your elopement articles!

  9. I love your reasoning and the images here! Great job!

  10. Such wonderful tips! Thank you for this, I’ll be saving it to keep in mind for my own planning!

  11. SO much amazing info for anyone looking to add something truly special to their elopement day!

  12. Yes, great tips, especially spend your money on what matters to you, not someone else! And have fun!!

  13. […] How to Make Your Elopement Special […]

  14. […] Check out How to Make Your Elopement Special! […]

  15. […] How to Make Your Elopement Special […]

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Courtney made the process SO easy! She does more than just photograph your day. She cares about you having the BEST elopement experience possible! I'll never be able to thank Courtney enough for making our dream day happen!

Contact me about your Elopement!

You probably have a million thoughts running through your head making you a bit overwhelmed.

How does this work? What can I do during my elopement? How do I choose my location? Is the ceremony legal? Can I elope with family?

One of the reasons you're probably eloping is because you want to have a stress-free day, but with so much uncertainty on how to plan an elopement how is it even possible?!

No need to stress, you're in the right place! This is where I come in and do the heavy lifting for you.

I'm Courtney, and I specialize in documenting adventurous elopements for couples who love the outdoors, but role is so much more than just an elopement photographer.

I'm here to guide you through every single step of planning your elopement and to give you a clear path tossing that stress out the window!

So, if you're ready to have a unique elopement experience that's actually focused on you, then let's friggin' do this!!

You know you want to elope,

and you know you want it to be meaningful and adventurous, but where do you start?!

trusted by & seen in

"When my now husband and I started planning our elopement, we were confused to the max. We didn’t know where to start or how to go about planning anything. 

COURTNEY MADE THE PROCESS SO EASY! She is organized, professional, sweet, and so so funny!! She does more than just photograph your day, she cares about you having the BEST elopement experience possible!

She helped us plan EVERYTHING! Even down to the little details! She helped us narrow down where, giving us her informative opinions on each of our options! She gave us cool ideas that we could incorporate into our special day. No idea was too big! When the day came, we had the absolute best time exploring and getting married!

Our elopement was an absolute DREAM COME TRUE! I will never be able to thank Courtney enough for making our dream day happen. 

So, for anyone on the fence, swaying back and forth about whether or not work with Courtney, SWAY NO MORE! You’ve found your person!! My day couldn’t have been any better and my pictures are beautiful and capture the fun we had!!! I can’t wait to work with her again!"

Taylor & andrew

"Planning for our day and the day itself would have been completely different without Courtney. We only knew that we wanted to share our vows in the Tuscan countryside and have beautiful photos, and Courtney planned the perfect agenda for that to happen.

She coordinated our timing around sunset, and not only were the photos breathtaking, but the actual evening was too. I remember looking out over the vineyards as the sun set, the view becoming more and more stunning by the minute. There were no moments that felt forced or posed, every shot was comfortable and fun and full of love.

Courtney is such a sweet, kind, fun person and we truly enjoyed spending the day with her. Courtney helped us to turn our dreams into reality, and we hardly had to do a thing. She allowed us to be in control of our day but gently took all of our wants and needs into consideration while making everything happen. Lastly, our pictures are just magical. Courtney is an incredibly talented photographer, and I feel so lucky that we were able to work with her. I would recommend her over and over again to anyone eloping."

Ellie & Zac

"Let. Me. Tell. You. It's not the technical aspects of photography that are the most difficult. It's the human aspect. Remembering that as a Photographer, you may be behind the lens but you are still a human, in front of other humans, in some of the most raw and intimate of moments.

Courtney balances both of these necessities (but rarities) with poise, great direction, and an overall kind calmness that just makes you breathe a sigh of relief. If you've come across Courtney's page and see what you like already, BOOK HER NOW. Don't spend another second looking for another Photographer that doesn't bring anywhere near the amazing light and spirit that this girl brings right here. Thank you again Courtney for allowing my husband and I to marry each other all over again! The images are stunning and I can't wait to blow them up and hang them in our home."

Shannon & Brandon

"Working with Courtney was an extremely easy experience, seamless, positive and obviously fun. My wife and I went on our honeymoon and wanted to surprise her with a surprise honeymoon adventure session.

Courtney worked with me to make that dream gift for my wife a reality. Meeting and posing for a photographer for the first time can be intimidating, but with Courtney it was anything but that.

Courtney is extremely positive and helpful and made us feel very comfortable in front of the camera. She played some of our favorite songs and before we knew we were just having fun and she was catching them every second. Perhaps the best part of our session was that Courtney knew all the characteristic and peaceful places of where we were, which made our photos even more extraordinary.

She kept the focus on my wife and me. When we shared our images with friends and relatives, everyone complimented on Courtney's aesthetics and the emotion she was able to capture. I can't thank Courtney enough for exceeding all our expectations with this photo shoot!!"


"Pick her -- she's the best! Courtney is amazing! Seriously! If you're thinking about eloping you should snatch her up to capture your day. She makes the entire experience fun and relaxed plus the pictures just blew us away. I will never forget our magical time in Venice and I'm obsessed with the gorgeous photos Courtney took of us. She's so so good!"

Jami & Tim

Courtney is not only a talented photographer, but she makes you feel so comfortable even though being in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking! She did such an amazing job with our day and if I had to pick my favorite photo it would take FOREVER, because I love so many! Definitely consider her if you want adventurous and beautiful photos coupled with an amazing experience!

walker & mac

Don't just take it from me, Take it from my past couples!

You’re in the right place!

I’m here to guide you through EVERY. SINGLE. STEP.

Let’s toss that’s confusion out the window and focus on how you want to get married!

Let me relieve those feelings of being lost, save you time, tell the story of your day and let’s get started creating a day that you’ll never forget!

So, if you know you want to elope,
but feel unsure on where to start, 

contact me & let's get starting creating your dream elopement!

...and you want an amazing storyteller to document your day


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Let's freaking do this!!