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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!

Elopement Dresses | The Ultimate Guide To Picking The Perfect Adventure Elopement Dress

Have you decided that eloping is just right for you and your partner? You know you want your wedding day to be a beautiful adventure, but what do you wear? What you need is the perfect elopement dress that will work for your elopement journey.

Eloping is not your typical wedding

A bride who is getting married in a big church and going for an elegant and grand wedding won't consider elements like the weather or location. These brides also don't worry about how they will hike up a hill, climb rocks, or adventuring by snowboarding in their dress.

Eloping involves adventure and travel. You could be climbing up a glacier to explore an ice cave or hiking in the Grand Canyon. You will need to consider how to do these activities in your dress, the terrain you will be exploring, and the weather – you wouldn't want to be wearing a thin-strapped dress on a cold winter's day.

Couple kayaking in wedding attire

Expect to get dirty

Just as you are about to take this journey of eloping – so is your dress! The desert will give your dress a dusty red ombre and the woods a dark brown or black one. You may even consider trashing your dress after the ceremony and get spectacular photographs. Jump off a small waterfall, swim in the ocean, hike a mountain – whether you choose to trash it or save it, there is no avoiding getting some dirt on it.

There are some excellent ways to trash your dress:

  • Share a kiss under a rushing waterfall

  • Get snow on it and slide down the slopes with your love

  • Frolic with it on your hiking trail

  • Jump in a lake or run into the ocean

  • Take it out onto the red trails of Utah to give it that desert ombre

If you have your furry best friend with you, there may even be some pawprints on your dress! Consider it their blessing on your union.

Let's take a look at some tips to help you choose the perfect adventure elopement dress:

groom helping bride over some red rocks in arches national park


How you move in your outfit is very important. You may have a beach wedding or somewhere it snows. How about hiking in Hocking Hills. Adventure elopements are outdoors, and you need to move freely and comfortably while looking like the perfect bride.

When choosing your adventure elopement dress, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can your knees bend, and will you be able to step up high on a rock?

  • Can you lift your arms comfortably?

  • Will you be able to sit down on the floor or lay down for a photograph?

  • Can you comfortably grab and pick up the skirt of the dress?

Take a twirl, run and play around – how does moving in the dress feel? Don't let your dress put limitations on your movements. Your clothing will need to suit the unique environment you’re planning on eloping in and accommodate the activities you want to do.

The Weight Of The Dress

Adventure elopements have just that – adventure! That's why you need to pick a dress that isn't going to weigh your down. Imagine standing next to a waterfall saying your vows to your partner, and all you are thinking about is taking off the heavy wedding gown you are now stuck in!

Here are some lightweight and breathable materials to consider when picking your wedding dress:

  • Chiffon

  • Organza

  • Taffeta

  • Charmeuse

  • Batiste

  • Dotted Swiss

Lightweight dresses made from these materials usually have a whimsical look and allow you the freedom to move around with ease while looking like the perfect bride.

Just like lightweight materials to look out for, there are some you should try to avoid:

  • Silk

  • Satin

  • Brocade

  • Damask

Heavy materials will weigh you down, cause you to sweat if it's warm out, and make you uncomfortable. Other items to avoid are boning and corsets, as they make it difficult to move around in.

Tulle, for example, is a dirt hoarder! Don't make picking out twigs and leaves from your dress's skirt a habit on your big day. If you want a beautiful lace, perhaps add it to the top of the dress and not the skirt, so it doesn't tear from the terrain.

bride in dusty pink wedding dress and groom in tux running on the cliff of their dead horse point elopement in Moab Utah

Color and Style

Many eloping couples love to style their outfits according to the location they have chosen. For example, black dresses in the red rocks of Utah pop because of the color contrast.

Some brides will prefer a dress that will be windswept. If the location you're eloping in is windy – you can expect incredible photos with the shapes your dress will make. These dresses tend to look dull on a hanger, but they are spectacular once they are worn!

Don't be afraid to be bold with your choices and stand out in the landscape you chose!


Choosing accessories for your big day is also essential. It is dependent on the environment and weather of where you plan to elope. Here is a list of weather-based accessories:

  • Winter – Elopements in cold areas can require the right accessories such as skin-colored fleece leggings to keep you warm. You can wear a shawl, cardigan, jacket, or sweater to make your outdoor elopement more comfortable.

  • Spring – Layering during a spring morning is vital because you can remove them as the day warms up.

  • Summer – Now that you have chosen a lightweight, breathable dress, you can accessorize with a beautiful chin-length veil or hat to complement your dress.

  • Fall – Just like those crisp spring mornings, you can wear layers during the fall and remove them as it gets warmer.

Other accessories like jewelry, scarfs, hats, hair pins or even a head wreath or flower crown are great ways to spice up your look!

To Hike In Your Dress Or Not To

Do you hike in your wedding dress or change at the destination? Well, that would depend on how far you have to walk and your schedule for the day. Hiking less than three miles is doable in your dress, but any more than that might not be very pleasant. You may feel hot and get your dress dirty – although some brides like the way a dirty dress looks at the ceremony in their photographs.

If you decide to change at the destination, be sure to ask me for some assistance. I can help with covering you for privacy, tightening your dress and the buttons! Anything I can do to make this journey more comfortable.

Curious to know how you even hike in your dress? Here's the best tips for hiking in your dress on your elopement.

The Alternatives

There are a few alternatives to wearing a wedding dress:

  • Two-piece - Don't you love a good skirt and blouse? Brides tend to gravitate toward a two-piece dress because of the movement it allows you. It is perfect for elopements where there is a lot of climbing and hiking involved. You might even choose to switch things up and wear a different color on top or bottom.

  • Jumpsuits – Not only are jumpsuits comfortable, but they are so cute. Jumpsuits are multifunctional, and you can wear them during your ceremony, hike in them, or wear them before and after the ceremony.

  • Suits or tuxes – These are especially popular for our LGBTQ+ couples! A lot of women are not comfortable in a traditional wedding dress. Remember there are no rules to what you wear at your adventure elopement! Be yourself and wear whatever you want. Your comfort is a top priority in elopement attire. The lightweight materials tips also apply to your selection of a cute suit or tux too.

Out of everything you're taking away here today, the most important is that it is the right dress for you.

Before you make the final decision on your elopement outfit, ask yourself if this is you. Pick a dress that suits your character and the type of elopement you and your partner have decided to have.

The dress is right for you if you are comfortable and you feel beautiful!

Final Thoughts

Don't let choosing your adventure elopement dress stress you out. Make a list of all the things to consider helping you make the right decision. What will the weather be like, what does the terrain look like, and will I be hiking long-distance? Consider the materials of the dress and the beautiful layers you can pair it with. You have to love your dress, so you look back and remember how you felt in it.

Today is your and your partner's big day! Wear the perfect adventure elopement dress and enjoy every moment of this unforgettable journey.

Interested in suits instead? Check out this guide.


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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