4 Tips on picking the best wedding dress for a hiking elopement
It’s kind of the dream to be photographed in a wild, remote place wearing a luxurious gown. That’s why our business is built around it! We absolutely love the final result of being all dressed up in the Colorado mountains, but have you ever taken a minute to wonder how brides hike to their elopement spot in their wedding gowns? We know a thing or two when it comes to the Pre-Wedding Hike (we’ll be calling that the PWH from now on, thank you) and we have 4 great tips you’ll need to know as you pick the best wedding dress for a hiking elopement.
The goal: a gown that makes you feel like a bride and is also comfortable enough to hike up to a mile in to get to your dream location. *I’m not sweating, you’re sweating.*
Tip 1: Consider the Elements
Can we make a sleeveless gown work during a winter elopement? Yes. Will you be freezing your absolute pancakes off? Also yes. As you search for the perfect outfit for your hiking elopement, keep in mind what the weather will be like on your big day. Your wedding is already untraditional, so don’t be afraid of colors, fabrics, and designs that would be in traditional weddings. You might not think you’re the kind of girl who would choose a long full skirt, but think about the way the wind might catch it!
We always recommend light fabrics (silk, chiffon, tulle, Georgette, etc.) so that you can stay cool in warmer months. Heavier fabrics (silk mikado, velvet, and brocade) are great for a winter wedding and staying warm. But if you have your heart set on a particular dress that doesn’t quite fit the season, don’t panic! There are lots of ways to be creative with your gown like adding nude-colored fleece leggings or stick-on body warmers that can still make it perfect.
What to expect during each season when eloping in Colorado?
Best Dress for a Hiking Elopement for Cold Temps
If your special day is planned during a cold temperature month, you will want to make sure that you’re able to stay warm! If you’re planning to elope in the mountains, being snow ready is also super important! So, what dress designs should you consider for a cold temp hiking elopement? Long sleeves, nothing short (you’ll want the dress to be long to cover your legs all the way!), pockets to store hand warmers or gloves, heavy/warm fabrics, multiple layers of fabric, and a dress that is more on the loose fitting side so additional layers and stick on body warmers can be put on underneath your dress.
Fabrics to consider for a cold temp hiking elopement dress
Heavier fabrics like: silk mikado, velvet, and brocade are great for a winter wedding and staying warm
Best Dress for a Hiking Elopement for Warm Temps
If you’re planning on having a summer hiking elopement the best dress for you would probably look like this: something light weight, a fabric that breaths easily and air is able to move through to keep you cool, avoiding super tight silhouettes which could trap in sweat, short or no sleeves, and a short dress is even an option when eloping in warmer temps!
Fabrics to consider for a warm temp hiking elopement dress
Light fabrics such as: silk, chiffon, tulle, georgette, crepe de chine, or cotton voile will keep you cool
Light weight fabrics are also great for movement! If you have any kind of wind during your big day, light weight fabrics can make for some amazing shots like the one you see here!
Renee was wearing a dress that had a long tulle train, and it worked out perfectly for this waterfall location! The movement is just 🤩 🤌
Tip 2: Think About Your Activities
When you work with us, you’ll receive all the details for your location so that you can easily plan your outfit based on the length and difficulty of the hike. You want to make sure that you can easily sit, stand, bend over, and have full range of motion of your arms for any of the hikes that we’ll take to reach your elopement destination. If you’re anything like us, you’re going to be breathing a little heavier (kinda like that first time you laid eyes on your fiance) throughout the hike, so we also advise you not to choose anything so tight that it might…um…pop open.
There is always a chance we will ask you to climb up on a rock, or just move around a bit for a shot. Like we mentioned above, light weight fabrics are great for getting movement in the wind, but they’re also great for any kind of movement shots! Fabrics like chiffon have so much movement even without the wind! This shot below of B + K, it wasn’t windy at all. B just did a quick twirl and her dress floated so effortlessly, creating the most beautiful movement shot EVER! 🤩
Tip 3: Choose to Hike in or Pack Your Dress
The good news with all of this is that we’re flexible. If you choose to book your elopement photography with IL&A, you can rest assured that we’ll help you choose the best method of travel for your chosen look. There are several options to choose from and we’re happy to walk you through all of them. Most of our brides either
- Hike the whole way in their gown (extremely metal)
- Change when we get to the spot (either behind a tree or in a portable changing tent that we can bring)
If you choose to brave the wild outdoors in your gown, we have plenty of little hacks that can help make sure it’s still perfect once we make it to where we’re going. Our favorite elopement hike hack is the Backpack Bustle where we secure your train to your backpack so it doesn’t drag while you hike!
We totally understand that you’re going to have some concerns about the gown you just spent it-doesn’t-matter-how-much on. Most of our brides are worried about tripping over it, getting it dirty, and not having a spot to change. We always recommend getting your dress professionally tailored to you so that it’s the right length and you aren’t tripping over it. When it comes to getting it dirty, we just try to encourage you to relax. It’s the only piece of clothing you own that you’ll probably never wear again, so embrace the day and try not to stress too much about the dress! Besides, it’s bound to get a little dirty just by being out in nature. But if you’re really worried, you can get it professionally cleaned after your elopement. As mentioned earlier, nature is the best changing room, as you’ll have your pick of rocks and trees to get behind.
If you’ve decided on changing into your dress once you get to your elopement spot, here are our best tips:
- Roll the sleeves and any fabric around the skirt area inward and up
- Wrap it in a waterproof bag (a trash bag will work)
- Pack your elopement dress in the top of your bag so that nothing heavy is weighing it down and creating wrinkles
- Bring a hanger. As soon as you reach your destination, hang your dress up (tree branches work great!)
- Consider a cordless steamer to get out any wrinkles
Remember: There are no set rules! Do whatever works best for you!
Tip 4: Travel Smart
Depending on where you’re located and where you’re having your hiking elopement, you may have to travel with your dress. Deep breaths! Get a garment bag (if your dress doesn’t already come with one) to keep it protected. Accidents happen, so if it’s exposed, it’s more likely to get stained or torn. If you have to fly, bring it as a carry-on item. This way you always have eyes on it and can handle it carefully. Lastly, hang it whenever possible. This will help prevent those pesky wrinkles.
As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all scenario for choosing the best dress for your hiking elopement. Your day, and your dress, should be a representation of you as an individual and as a couple — just like the elopement itself! We’re happy to give our couples whatever advice they need, but ultimately, we suggest they choose what’s best for them! Whether that means choosing a dress with a long train, hiking in it, or changing into it once you reach your location. What matters most is that you’re comfortable and can enjoy the day to the fullest!