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I'm Shanmari - elopement crafter and photographer here at Avonture. I'm based out of Ohio and travels worldwide to help couples plan their dream elopement that values their beliefs and authenticity. Reach out anytime if you'd like to chat about yours!

How to Elope in the Winter | Tips to be Prepared on a Winter Elopement Even During a Snowstorm.

Bride and groom walking through the snow and holding hands on their winter elopement day

A Snowstorm Elopement

Some couples really love the idea of having a winter wonderland surround them as they commit their lives to each other and although that beautiful image can be amazing to witness there’s truly so many important things to account for in order to have a safe and fun winter elopement day – especially when there’s an unexpected snowstorm.

This past winter, snowstorms were a trend on my couples’ elopement days and for that reason I can now say that I am an expert in this topic ever since! 😂 So here’s a few things I learned and really want couples to take in mind if they were to plan for a winter elopement day and what to do when there’s a snowstorm on your winter elopement day!

Winter Elopement Ideas

Let’s start off with some ideas first, how can you spend your winter elopement day together and make it super fun? So here’s a quick list of winter elopement ideas before we dive deeper into being prepared for a winter elopement day!

  • Snowmobile to a complete remote area.

  • Enjoy a breakfast together in your lodging before heading out into the cold.

  • Ski, snowboard or keep it lowkey with snowshoes!

  • Hike to a frozen waterfall, talk about fairytales come true!

  • Go ice skating on an outdoor ice rink!

  • If something like ice fishing is your thing, why not?

  • Have a snowball fight! I mean, who can resist this?

  • Build a snowman together or make some snow angels, ugh how cute.

  • Are you climbers? Why not try out ice climbing for the first time together or if it’s something you already do together, what better activity then the one you already love to enjoy together.

  • Grab a warm coffee or hot cocoa at a local shop.

  • Warm up around an indoor fireplace! Make sure to rent lodging that has one ahead of time. You can enjoy a picnic or play some boardgames during this time too. Or you two can relax in rocking chairs in front of it and read a book to each other.

  • If taking baths together is something you love, why not run a hot bubble bath for the two of you?

  • End your day in a warm spot, this can be a local restaurant or a romantic picnic inside your cabin!

  • Okay, what about chilling in a local hot spring? Or ending your day in your hot tub at your rental?! UGH now I am talking, right?!

Honestly you’re probably thinking - what the heck! There’s actually so much to do during a winter elopement, and yeah you’re right – I can keep going with ideas overflowing my mind. In the end I always want to make sure that the two of you choose to incorporate activities and moments that truly means something to you and that you will genuinely enjoy together! It is your day, and you only have this one opportunity so make it awesome!

Preparing for a Winter Elopement

Preparation is truly key here, you don’t want to try and hit the stores in a small mountain or remote town for extra layers, hand warmers or things like gloves etc on your elopement day. So, if you are planning to elope during the winter and know that the area you are eloping in get snow during winter months then pack 👏 those 👏 layers! 👏

Base layers are super important, opt for moisture wicking layers and wool socks, then you’re going to need those mid-layers, sometimes this can be your suit or dress or jumpsuit, this layer is key to keep you warm though, so if you can maybe pop on another fleece layer under or over your clothes it will help you a lot!

The last layer is just as important, if not most. You will need layers that are waterproof! Not water wicking or water resistant. It needs to be waterproof. So, your shoes need to be waterproof, and you’ll need snow pants and a shell coat to stay dry. You can opt for any other type of waterproof pants too.

The thing is, you might cross ice-cold creeks or snowmobile up a mountain pass, you want your clothing underneath to stay bone dry throughout your winter elopement day!

Then you are going to want to take extra care of your extremities! These are your face, your hands, and your feet. If you are doing an activity like a snowmobile elopement or a snowboarding elopement, you want to make sure you bring that extra gear. Goggles, extra face and neck coverings and waterproof gloves – if you can throw in an underlayer glove that would be super smart!

If you plan to hike on your winter elopement you want to consider a few other things, the trail, or creeks you might cross could have ice! And honestly, I am super big on not playing around with icy trails or walkways. You can get seriously hurt! But there’s awesome ways you can combat this easily! Bring crampons, they are also known as cleats, micro spikes, and a few other names. I really love a pair that digs onto the ice or ground because you never know when you need to go up or downhill and you can truly dig your spikes into the ice to hold you well. So, if you buy a pair, check how big or pointy the spikes are. They also usually go by shoes size so check the measurements when you buy them.

Bride and groom wearing micro spikes on their winter hiking boots on their winter elopement day

How else can you keep yourself warm while looking great on your winter elopement day?

Honestly your options are endless, and your creativity is what you’ll need here. If you hate the idea of a full hat or beanie on your head, you can choose to do a fleece or wool headband instead, or cute earmuffs. You can even have a cape with a wool hoodie, that will guarantee look epic!

Groom kissing his bride next to a frozen waterfall covered in snow

Bride and groom embracing each other in front of cathedral peak on owl creek pass in Ouray Colorado on their snowmobile elopement day in the winter

If you’re not sure how you feel about getting photographed with a shell coat, pop a gorgeous shawl, poncho, or cape in your bag that you can throw over your layers, this way you will stay warm but also look classy AF!

Gloves can look bulky and weird sometimes, if you want to opt for an underlayer pair of gloves in a color you like this way you can easily pop off those bulky waterproof gloves but keep your hands warm while taking portraits or reading your vows.

Your feet might get wet regardless of how great your shoes are, so I always recommend that you bring an extra pair of really warm socks.

Gear for a Winter Elopement

I am not done listing out some great gear for your winter elopement day, while everything I mentioned above is very important to have a really amazing winter elopement while staying safe and warm, there’s definitely a few more other super important things to keep in mind here.

Water and hydration are important on a winter elopement day, you will be cold at some point and being hydrated helps your body regulate its temperature. If you traveled into a higher elevation, you would need even extra hydration to prevent elevation sickness and dehydration. I also really recommend not drinking alcohol the days leading up to your elopement day and keep it for the day of, this is to prevent dehydration and help you stay hydrated.

Bride and groom enjoying a picnic in the snow on their winter elopement day

If you are hiking or doing a snowmobile elopement or any other activity like skiing or snowboarding, you might want to leave your hiking bladder at home. Instead, bring bottles of water that can stay inside your pack. The tubes of your hiking bladder will freeze fast, and you really don’t want to not be able to drink your water while in a remote mountain or trail during a winter elopement!

Hand warmers is your very best friend of all! Seriously you cannot bring enough of these. There’s feet and body warmers too and you can make use of all of them during your winter elopement. Many body warmers have a sticky glue on them so you can stick them inside your coat or cover! Cool right? Hand and or body warmers are easy to find online or in stores as well, and to pack into your bag, always bring more than you think you’ll need. If you want a non-disposable option, you can find those as well! There’s rechargeable ones and the ones that has some science behind them, just make sure they will last long enough, test them before hand and still bring enough for your winter elopement day.

Bride and groom holding hand warmers to keep their hands warm on their winter elopement day

Winter Wedding Dresses, Jumpsuits, Tux and Suits

Bringing all this gear and extra layers is great and all but there’s one more tip I would like to give regarding your clothing on your winter elopement day.

Simply opt for warmer wedding attire, this can look like a long sleeve wedding dress or jumpsuit. It can also be a layered skirt with a sweater type of long sleeve top where you can have extra layers underneath and still look amazing! There’s truly so many beautiful options out there and sometimes it just takes a little extra effort to find what you’ll absolutely love!

Bride tossing her blush color wedding dress while standing in front of a frozen waterfall on their winter elopement day

Fleece skin color leggings underneath a dress is also a super awesome option, even for a winter elopement that is in a warmer area, this tip will take you a long way through your winter elopement.

There’s a lot of thicker tux and suit options out there as well, some are even made of wool and this will be the perfect mid-layer for your winter elopement day. You can also layer up underneath but make sure when you go for your fittings that you bring those layers so you don’t accidentally can’t fit in your suit on your elopement day with those layers underneath or worse – rip it during your winter elopement day! That would be a not so fun experience, haha. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be super warm and toasty on your winter elopement day!

A groom holding his bride in the snow on their winter elopement day

Where can you get some unique winter accessories for your winter elopement day? I always recommend Etsy for this, you can search any of these unique clothing options I mentioned here and find quite a lot of really beautiful pieces! Don’t be afraid to ask me to help you search if you’re one of my couples reading this, I got you!

Hire an Experienced Mountain or Adventurous Activity Guide

If you are planning to travel to a remote area during the winter in any mountain region, I cannot stress how amazing it will be if you decide to hire a local mountain guide. This will take a tremendous amount of stress off you and not to mention, they might know some really awesome local secret locations too!

A mountain guide will know exactly what steps to take if there’s an avalanche and they also will be able to provide important safety gear like avalanche beacons and shovels or extra layers.

They are also super helpful and wonderful to have around, they can teach you some local history or fun facts about the trees or mountains you are surrounded by, and they can help you up if you fall in thick snow too! (Totally had a mountain guide YEET me up with my backpack when I got stuck in the snow holding my two cameras in my hands 😂)

Just make sure that you thoroughly read their contracts and policies and understand those rules and regulations as well. Hiring any expert guide will make a huge difference on your adventurous winter elopement!

Make sure your elopement photographer knows how to navigate photographing objects in snow, and stay warm during your winter elopement day.

They need to know how to keep their batteries from draining in freezing temps and how to keep their camera bodies from dying or getting too wet from the snow. Lenses can also fog up super fast if they enter and exit extreme opposite temps like exiting a warm car into freezing temps. But there’s ways to combat this for sure.

Your photographer also needs to layer up like how I mentioned above, gloves will be super important since their hands will be out the whole time! They need to know that it is harder to focus with a camera when the camera wants to focus on all the snowflakes! And navigating this takes extra effort.

If you are going on a snowmobile on your elopement day or doing an adventurous snow activity on your elopement day, make sure they are open to do it as well and know how to if it requires any skill!

Many elopement photographers I know are absolutely amazing and know exactly how to navigate a winter elopement or be on top of their toes when there’s a snowstorm in the forecast. So, these are just a few things for you to make sure your photographer is able to handle well and if they aren’t sure, I hope they won’t be shy to ask other elopement photographers and learn what they can before your day!

How to Navigate a Snowstorm on Your Winter Elopement

Okay, here’s the thing. This CAN happen, more often than you’d think! Seriously, this happened more than once on my couple’s elopement days this past winter. And there’s honestly so many things I am about to mention here that you can expect to happen during a snowstorm.

Your car will probably get stuck, more than once. So will your photographer’s or any other vendor that day! But here’s the thing, don’t panic. Seriously don’t. No amount of panic will make any situation easier.

If a car slips or gets stuck in snow on your elopement day just try to stay super calm and handle the problem together. I have helped my couples dig out snow around their car before even though it took 20 minutes to get their car out, we got it out and was able to continue with the day’s activities. My wonderful couples’ have helped me remove my snowshoes and even help me brush the snow off my car too! I must admit, teamwork is key here!

Besides teamwork and helping each other throughout the day, you’re going to have to be flexible and be able to roll with the punches that the day brings and if you are as prepared as you can be (like everything I mention above) you can seriously still have one of the BEST days of your life!

Making sure that you factored in enough time for error into your timeline for your day is another huge way to not have to stress when things doesn’t go exactly according to plan on your winter elopement day – if you are one of my couples, building your timeline to be super stress free is one of my secret skills!

Road closures can happen so the key here is to come prepared with back up winter elopement locations. Think something much closer to where you are staying and shorter trails. If the weather is so bad and dangerous, I do recommend pushing your day out a day or two if your vendors are able to, but my best advice is to try your best to embrace what mother nature brings!

Don’t expect all the stores to be open, so make sure that you have all the gear, food, and water you need with you before your elopement day. I recommend going over your list of needs the day before to make sure you have everything you need.

Eloping couple embracing each other next to a frozen waterfall on their winter elopement

Embrace your Winter Snowstorm Elopement Day!

Choosing to elope is truly choosing to expect literally anything to happen on your wedding day, from raining to snowstorms. It can happen. But choosing to elope also means that you chose this adventure and trust me when I say, a snowstorm or rain can make for some of the most beautiful photos and most fun experiences you will ever have in your life. If you are ready to roll with the punches and make the best of every situation, your elopement day WILL BE EPIC!

Eloping couple running in the snow on their winter elopement day that had a snowstorm on their elopement day

Move Indoors on Your Winter Snowstorm Elopement Day!

Another thing to keep in mind is that some of your outdoor activities might have to be moved indoors. I always tell my couples to try and rent a beautiful place to stay during their elopement days, think cute A-frame cabins, rentals overlooking the mountains or scenery, cabins with huge windows for tons of light or cute places like treehouse cabins, unique stays or more modern focused chalets or cottages. This will create for not just a fun experience but also beautiful photos. And in this case if you must move your picnic or first dance indoors, you can!

Flowers for a Winter Elopement

Flowers are not best friends with extreme temperatures, whether that’s cold or hot. Many remote forests or parks rarely even allow real flowers on these public, sacred lands. If you are open to it, opting for faux or dried florals is going to last you much longer in freezing temps. You also don’t have to worry about how it looks and if it’ll be droopy at some point.

If you are super into real flowers (I mean who isn’t anyway) and the locations you will go to allow real flowers, then I would highly recommend discussing this with your florist. Make sure you ask for flowers that will thrive better in freezing temps or getting wet. And not only that, if you will hike or adventure in any way on your winter elopement day then you’re going to want to ask your florist to make sure they put your bouquet or set of flowers together well and strong, so it can handle rough handling or attach into your backpack easily and last all throughout the day. Florists are amazing and they will usually know exactly what to do and offer for you!

So there you have it, I am pretty sure after reading this you will be well on your way to having a seriously amazing winter elopement even if there’s a snowstorm on your elopement day! Below is a breakdown list of gear for your winter elopement. So whether you want to walk into the woods and spend time around a frozen waterfall or snowmobile into the mountains and adventure on snowshoes, nothing is stopping you now, I am ROOTING FOR YOU!

Ouray Colorado Elopement Photographer

Are you thinking about eloping in the winter months? Secretly hoping for snow on your elopement day? ❄️❄️❄️

As you can see I definitely know the world of snowy elopements and would love to help you plan and prepare for your winter elopement day. Documenting these memories is my favorite thing to do every time, reach out and we can chat about your winter wonderland elopement day!

List of Winter Elopement Gear

  • Base layers underneath your wedding attire. (Wool and/or fleece under layers.)

  • Fleece skin colored leggings.

  • Warm wool socks and an extra pair.

  • Warm mid layers. (Your winter wedding attire or another layer that is fleece, insulated puffy or a warm material that keeps heat inside.)

  • Waterproof shell outer layers. (Shell coat, winter snow pants, waterproof shoes.)

  • Waterproof shoes. If you can find a pair that is also insulated and have a higher ankle support - that will be perfect!

  • Waterproof gloves and glove liners or a second pair in a color of your choice for better photos.

  • Wool buff or fleece scarf. Neck and face coverage is also very important.

  • Head cover like a fleece head and face cover or wool/fleece headband and beanie.

  • Ear muffs is a cute alternative.

  • All your adventure gear;

  • Snow shoes.

  • Winter goggles.

  • Hiking poles.

  • Crampons/ Microspikes/ Cleats.

  • Warm blanket, poncho, shawl or large scarf to look good in photos. Any types of extra layers that you can bring could be a lifesaver!

  • Water bottle instead of a hiking bladder so your water doesn't freeze.

  • Insulated bag for food so they don't freeze.

  • Hand, toe and body warmers. (Disposable or rechargeable, but always bring extra.)

  • Shovel and snow brush for the car.

  • Enough food and water. (Stores could be closed.)

  • Rain/ waterproof cover for you backpack.

  • Clear ponchos.

  • Clear umbrellas.

  • First aid kit - always keep one in your car and hiking backpack.

  • Back up winter elopement locations and a back up plan.

  • Avalanche beacons and or a Garmin in reach, if you are going into the mountains during a snowstorm.


Elopement Photographer | Avonture Elopem



I'm Shanmari - elopement crafter and photographer here at Avonture. I'm based out of Ohio and travels worldwide to help venturing couples like you plan their dream elopement that values their beliefs and authenticity.

Need help crafting your own elopement day?

 If you'd like help planning your dream elopement day with a ultimate elopement planning guide, personalized location idea list just for you, vendor recommendations, planning and traveling tips and tricks, my never-ending help and guidance and an authentic, documentary approach to photographing your adventure - I would love to help you plan your day from scratch and make all your wedding dreams come true and more.

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