When is the Best Time to Plan a Winter Elopement?
In general, the best times to plan a winter elopement are from the end of December to mid-March. During these months, you’re more likely to find snow in most locations and can avoid holiday crowds if planned around those dates. This is also a peak time for most resorts, hotels and winter experiences to be open for yourselves or any guests you bring along on the adventure.
When planning for this time of year, you’ll want to confirm the sunrise and sunset times (if your elopement timeline would be built around these times) so that you can plan ahead accordingly. If you’re planning a mountain elopement in the winter, we encourage all of our couples to budget plenty of time to get to their location in case weather conditions cause any delays. On a similar note, if you’re planning a more adventurous winter elopement, you’ll want to ensure that you can get off the mountain or back to a trailhead before dark. Above all else, we want to make sure our couples stay safe!
Of course, you’ll also need to consider if you will be comfortable outside in the winter weather for an extended period of time. If you aren’t used to colder weather or the snow, you’ll want to prepare accordingly so that you will feel comfortable during your elopement ceremony and wedding portraits.
What Should You Wear for a Winter Elopement?
One of the most popular questions we get from our couples is what to wear for a winter elopement! Assuming that you’ll want to wear traditional wedding attire during your ceremony, there’s a few adjustments you can make to help feel more comfortable. Here’s some of our tips for selecting your winter elopement wardrobe:
- Winter Elopement Dresses: You should absolutely consider a gown with sleeves if planning for a winter elopement! A lot of designers actually offer customization options for their dresses from additional underlays and fabrics to sleeves and more. Be sure to chat with your bridal stylist or seamstress about all of the options available when it comes to your specific dress style.
- Winter Elopement Suits: Rather than selecting lightweight fabrics, we would recommend opting for thicker suits like wool. However, make sure that you will be able to comfortably layer with your suit as well. While all layers can be fitted, make sure that a base layer and any other items you’re considering will fit comfortably and allow you to move around easily.
- Winter Elopement Accessories: In addition to your elopement dress and/or suit, you can consider some other accessories to help you stay warm during the ceremony and more. Some of these accessories include mittens or gloves, wool socks, ear muffs, beanies or hats, fleece-lined base layers, faux fur coats and cozy blankets (they make for cute photos, too!).
- Best Shoes for Winter Elopements: Sometimes we forget about the last piece of the look, the shoes! Wearing boots or insulated shoes can be key when planning an elopement in the snow. You’ll want to make sure that they are an appropriate height for the snow you’ll be walking in. It may be wise to consider styles that hit at least at the ankle or above. If you buy new boots for your elopement, make sure to break them in ahead of time!
How to Stay Warm During Your Elopement
Above and beyond your elopement attire, there are a few things that you can do to help stay warm throughout your elopement experience:
- Bring a thermos with hot drinks along
- Wear nude color leggings or fleece-lined pants under your dress
- Bring feet and hand warmers to add into pockets or shoes
- Bring along a touch-up makeup kit — some folks can lose color in the cold, or to touch up red noses!
- Bring along water to stay hydrated
- Bring a change of clothes that you can put on once the ceremony is over
- Select a winter location that also gets plenty of sun
Winter Activities You Can Incorporate
One of the best parts about planning a winter elopement is that you can enjoy all of the winter activities before, during or after! From relaxing settings to snow sports, there are activities that every couple can enjoy — and family or friends if they’re coming along for the adventure. Here’s a few ideas:
- Cuddle by the Fireplace: Nothing is cuter than wedding portraits of the two of you together sipping hot cocoa or spiked cider by the fire.
- Sleigh Ride: Grab your partner and hop on in for a horse-drawn sleigh ride through any winter wonderland. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a romantic comedy as you enjoy it together. Don’t forget a cozy blanket to cuddle underneath!
- Hiking or Snowshoeing: For all of our adventurous couples, this is your opportunity to do something truly unique and hike through the snowy mountains around you. If you’re not completely comfortable doing things solo, be sure to look into guide options at your location.
- Snowmobiling: Whether you’re looking to have some fun before and after your elopement, or you’re looking for a cool mode of transportation to your ceremony spot, snowmobiling is one activity that most couples enjoy when planning a winter elopement.
- Ice Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, Tubing and Sledding: Whatever your preferred method of movement is, have some fun during your elopement trip! If staying near a ski resort, be sure to look at lift tickets and daily passes well in advance, as they can sell out quickly during peak snow season.
Wedding Size Constraints and Permitting
If you’re considering inviting a few guests to your winter elopement, you’ll need to confirm any guest or wedding size limitations for your elopement location. If you’re looking at a national or state park for your ceremony, you may be required to submit a special use permit for approval. Don’t stress! We can help you with all of the paperwork to make sure things go smoothly.
With winter elopements also comes the question of transportation and accommodations. Will you rent a car, hitch a ride on a snowmobile, or walk to your ceremony? This can be especially important during the winter if icy weather can be a factor. Also, where do you plan to get ready beforehand? Are there any local hotels or AirBnBs that you can consider if there’s no area available on site at your elopement location? Be sure to plan ahead and have a backup plan so you aren’t late to your own ceremony!
Do You Have a Backup Plan?
When planning any kind of elopement, it’s always best to have a backup plan. Winter elopements can sometimes be unpredictable if winter storms move in, roads are icy or closed due to weather conditions. Just in case there’s an issue with your original ceremony spot, be sure to give thought to a backup location that’s easy to get to and will still provide a setting that you both will love. We usually have couples decide on any venue location changes 48-72 hours in advance of their elopement date.