The type of dress you’d wear for a traditional wedding is vastly different than the one you’d choose for a hiking elopement or hiking wedding. While traditional weddings take place in super controlled environments like wedding venues, hiking weddings require that you be amongst the elements and coexist with nature. Personally, I’m a big believer that that’s one of the most amazing parts about eloping in the great outdoors. But, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, it definitely presents a challenge when finding the perfect hiking wedding dress or elopement wedding dress.
What exactly should you be looking for in a hiking wedding dress? Well, as an elopement photographer who specializes in outdoorsy hiking elopements and small hiking weddings, I’ve helping lots of couple sort out what exactly to wear when choosing to hike on their wedding day. Here are a few of my biggest tips and tricks for finding your ideal elopement dress for hiking weddings.
If you’re planning on having a hiking elopement or tiny hiking wedding in Colorado in the middle of January, the last thing you want is a lightweight hiking wedding dress with a thin fabric and no sleeves. Same goes for heavy-duty, warmer dresses for a hiking elopement in the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia in the middle of August. But I’m willing to bet that you already knew this.
A little pro tip? Keep in mind that summer can look very different in the different regions of the United States. At 12,000 ft at sunrise in the Rocky Mountains, you might need a jacket for your hiking wedding. Meanwhile, in Florida, you’d look nuts if you dressed warmly. This same idea applies to pretty much any season, and it’s one of the many reasons I recommend you consult with your hiking elopement photographer about what the seasons look like in the place you’re having your hiking elopement or small hiking wedding. While you might think you can wear a springtime hiking wedding dress for an elopement in Aspen in late April, you might be shocked to realize that winter hasn’t quite ended yet.
While ultra-fitted dresses may be do-able for a traditional wedding where you’re not moving around too much, a hiking wedding dress should be a dress you can comfortably move (and hike!) in.
You’re likely choosing to elope on a hiking trail so you enjoy and experience nature. So if your hiking wedding dress doesn’t allow you to do that, it’s likely not a good fit, pun intended. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a dress that hugs you and looks form-fitted, but if you’re going for that vibe, possibly consider a dress that has some give at the bottom so you can take larger steps. Or choose a hiking wedding dress with a little give and stretch to the fabric to allow more activity.
If you’re not exactly sure how to find a dress that does this, don’t panic. I’ve linked to some awesome hiking wedding dresses that have this movement incorporated into their design further down in this article.
While having a dress that can move around easily while you’re hiking is a logical decision, it’s also an aesthetic one. When you choose a hiking wedding dress that moves while you move, you’re also choosing a dress that will likely look awesome when blowing in the wind.
You’re choosing a dress that is dynamic and interacts with the environment of your elopement location. And to be honest, a dress that can adapt to its environment makes for some of the best hiking elopement photos. Another perk? When you can move around easily in your hiking wedding dress, it also means that the photos of you adventuring in your dress will have so much more variety and really show off that adventurous experience.
Ultimately, when choosing your hiking wedding dress for your elopement, you’re looking for the intersection between style and functionality. The whole point of choosing to hike on your elopement day is so you can experience the trail and have fun on it. If you’re stuck in a dress you can’t move around in, what’s the point?
Over the years, I’ve seen ALL kinds of elopement wedding dresses, and I’ve kept tabs on which brands and styles really stood out to me as awesome options for hiking elopements and micro hiking weddings.
Disclosure: Below, you’ll find links to some awesome hiking wedding dress brands to get you started in finding your perfect elopement dress. I may make a commission, at no cost to you, if you decide to purchase your hiking wedding dress through one of the links. Your trust is crucial to me, and each of these links has been specifically chosen because I feel like these dresses are all awesome hiking wedding dresses for outdoorsy elopements. These links help support small businesses like mine, and allow me to keep creating this free content for you.
When it comes to boho wedding dresses, my absolute favorite brand is Rue de Seine. Their dresses are truly one of a kind and because of their boho vibe, they have several options that are easy to move around in and flow beautifully. Rue de Seine dresses are generally in the 3-4k range, so if you’re looking to splurge on a show-stopping hiking wedding dress, I’d highly recommend checking them out.
If you want the Rue de Seine look, but have a tighter budget for your hiking wedding dress, I’ve gathered a list of three epic hiking wedding dresses with a boho vibe that I think would be amazing for an adventure elopement.
If you’re looking for no-frills hiking wedding dresses or casual elopement dresses that still look epic and incredible in the great outdoors, I’ve got you covered. I love this minimalist open-back elopement dress. The skirt of the dress is long and flowy, making it easy to move around in, which is what you’ll want to look for in a hiking wedding dress. I especially love the cute little bow in the back that adds a playful touch to this classically beautiful elopement dress.
This next elopement dress? Run, don’t walk. It’s quite possibly one of the most beautiful elopement dresses I’ve seen. It has a simple, minimalist look with a dream-like vibe. It’s long-sleeved, but the sleeves are sheer, allowing sunlight to travel through the fabric (which’ll look epic in outdoors elopement photos). It has a train (and an open back) that’ll look beautiful on the hiking trails. And don’t even get me started on the chiffon fabric. That’s what really gives this dress a true whimsical vibe. It’s perfect for catching that sunrise or sunset light on your elopement day. And the best part is, this elopement dress is a total steal, price-wise. Honestly, I’m a little shocked (but hey, I suppose there’s a reason the designer’s shop is so popular and has such stellar reviews). Pretty sure if I were to elope again, this is the dress I’d get.
If your elopement is taking place during the colder months and you’re looking for something with sleeves, I love this minimalist long-sleeved elopement dress. It’s simple in design, but it makes a statement.
If you want to look like a forest princess on your elopement day, these hiking wedding dress options are perfect. For an off-shoulder goddess vibe, I love this hiking wedding dress. The bodice of the dress is delicate, and the design of it is so different than anything out there. Not to mention, the skirt of this elopement dress is something that you can move around in easily (and the train is epic). While this off-shoulder option has sleeves, if you like a no sleeve option, this elopement dress has a similar vibe.
If you want a hiking wedding dress that’s unlike anything else out there, the next few elopement dresses fit the bill perfectly. If you like floral detailing, some sparkle, and epic sleeves (seriously, the sleeves on this dress are the absolute coolest), this whimsical, elegant elopement dress is a must.
If you want a non-traditional elopement dress with fun personality and a couture vibe, I love this dress. Hey, nobody said you can’t have fun with your hiking wedding dress, and this gown does exactly that.
And if you’re looking for an elopement dress that feels super ethereal and delicate, this gray silk gown is an absolute stunner. The fabric on this dress is just too beautiful.
If you’re debating between boho, modern, or a more classic look for your elopement dress, you’ll want a shop with plenty of choices. When you’re still trying to find an awesome hiking wedding dress, but aren’t quite sure what style speaks to you, definitely take a look at Anthropologie’s BHLDN line. They’ve got every style under the sun, from more formal to casual elopement dresses, and you’re sure to find an awesome selection of dresses that are perfect for hiking in.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I give to our hiking elopement couples is this: if you’re hiking more than 2 miles to get to your elopement destination (particularly if there’s more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain), pack your dress in your hiking pack and change when you get to the top.
The more strenuous the hike, the more you’ll be sweating. Most couples I speak to don’t want their attire to get too sweaty during the hiking process, so they opt to pack it and change at their hiking destination. This way also decreases the likelihood that your hiking wedding dress gets snagged or torn on the trail on the way up. I’m all for allowing your dress to experience the trail and collect some dirt (in fact, I believe that dirty wedding dresses are the pretties wedding dresses), but most people want to wait until they get up the hiking trail before they begin that adventure.
That said, most hikes in the 2 mile and under range can usually be completed in wedding attire. Of course, you’ll want to factor in the difficulty of the hiking trail you’re getting married on, but I use this as a general starting point.
I get this question A LOT. Almost every single couple I work with asks this question at some point. And the answer? I absolutely LOVE trains for hiking weddings. Not only do trains make for some of the most epic hiking elopement photos, but they really allow your outfit to experience the trail too. Personally, I think there’s nothing more epic than a dress that’s collected some dirt.
I totally get that buying a hiking wedding dress isn’t always an inexpensive endeavor. But the reality is when you’re choosing to elope outside, as hard as you try, your dress will not stay pristine. And honestly? Same goes for traditional venues. Your wedding dress takes on a lot during the course of a wedding day. And that’s totally ok! In fact, I think it’s a sign you’ve had an epic day. It’s normal, and nothing to be worried about. I love a dirty hiking wedding dress. It just goes to show how much fun you had on the trails.
Yes and no. The truth is, it depends. What do you value for your day? Is there a dress you’ve been dreaming of that you couldn’t imagine eloping without? Perhaps splurging isn’t a bad idea then. But if your hiking wedding dress isn’t a high priority to you (and that’s totally ok if it isn’t!) you don’t need to splurge on it. It’s all about what you do and do not value. And only you can make that call for yourself.
When it comes to choice of shoes to wear during your hiking elopement, you’ve likely asked yourself if you should wear a wedding dress with hiking boots. And while traditional hiking boots might not seem like the most glamorous shoe choice for your elopement day, they are definitely going to help you get up that trail (and do so safely and comfortably).
If wearing traditional hiking boots during your hiking wedding ceremony doesn’t sound like your vibe, no worries. There are awesome boots with excellent traction that, frankly, I think look better than any heeled traditional wedding shoe out there (I’m personally a big fan of Kodiak boots). You can always wear your normal hiking boots up to the ceremony location and then swap out for a different pair of boots when you arrive.
That said, I think there ‘s something so awesome about keeping your normal hiking boots on during your ceremony. It’s a testament to the adventure you had on your wedding day, and I think hiking boots looks pretty damn awesome underneath a hiking wedding dress.
Don’t worry, boo. I’ve got you covered. Once you’ve found your elopement wedding dress, take a peek at our Ultimate Elopement Guide, which will go over all the nitty gritty details of planning your hiking wedding.
Not sure if you should pair hiking boots with your elopement wedding dress or opt for something a bit more formal? I’ve also written a guide on which shoes or hiking boots you should be wearing on your elopement wedding day.
As a hiking elopement photographer, I’ve been around the adventurous elopement block a time or two, and I’m here to be a resource to you during this time, whether it’s finding the perfect hiking wedding dress or locating the best trails to say your vows on. So if having an elopement photographer who does more than just taking adventurous photos sounds like your vibe, I’d love to chat with you about your hiking wedding. I’ll see you on the trails.
Check out some of our favorite elopement and adventure wedding planning resources:
Not everyone loves tradition, but that doesn’t make your adventure wedding or elopement any less important.
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