Columbia River Gorge Elopement

Embracing the Adventure – Tips for Getting Mentally Prepared for Your Elopement Wedding

Your elopement wedding is just around the corner, are you starting to feel the nerves? Here’s how to mentally prepare for the big day ahead.

Picture this with me for a moment: you are snuggled up on the couch with your spouse-to-be. Your elopement date is set, and the details are confirmed. Your dream dress is hanging in your closet, and you have already broken in your hiking boots. Life is good! But then… the sneaky strand of anxiety starts to creep into your mind. “What if I am forgetting something?” this small voice starts to say, “What if something goes wrong?”

Any couple planning an elopement is most likely familiar with these pesky little thoughts that can inch into your minds at any given moment (usually, when we least expect it). While no one can guarantee that your elopement wedding will be free from surprises, being mentally prepared for the big day ahead can relieve tension in your body and keep worrisome thoughts at bay. These tips won’t guarantee sunny skies and shooting stars, but they will help you and your partner feel confident in the adventure to come.

Moab Dead Horse State Park Elopement

Bring Out the Support System (Before Your Elopement Wedding!)

Not only does planning your big celebration require a lot of physical and mental energy, but it also requires a great deal of emotional input. That’s why a big part of mentally preparing for your special day means reaching out to your community and accepting their support.

Your Elopement Planner

If you have an elopement planner (or if your photographer also serves as an elopement planner) you are most likely familiar with the way careful planning can put even the most anxious mind at ease. Not only will your planner ensure you have all your logistical questions answered (and a few backup plans up their sleeve, just in case), a good planner will also be able to help you mentally prepare for what to expect during your elopement wedding with a thorough timeline. These timelines allow you to positively envision your celebration and ensure you are prepared for every detail.

Your Family and Friends

Just because you and your partner plan on having an intimate elopement wedding with few or minimal guests doesn’t mean that your family and friends can’t offer their support! Bring in your community to talk through challenges or stressors you are experiencing, and brainstorm solutions together. Or, assign them specific tasks to help you feel more comfortable and confident in the upcoming day. Most likely, they will be thrilled to be included in this way! (And if you need some additional ideas on how to include loved ones in the ceremony itself, check out this post for authentic ideas.)

Your Partner

Your partner is likely sharing the burden of planning and preparing for your elopement wedding, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, keep them in the loop! Communicating worries, concerns, and excitement to your partner is not only a way to ensure everything gets done on your to-do list, but it also builds a deeper connection with your partner.

Mount Baker Wilderness Heather Meadows Elopement

Pack (Extra) for Your Elopement Wedding

Undoubtedly, you have created a packing list of things you need to bring for a successful elopement trip. But when it comes to celebrations like this, it doesn’t hurt to be overprepared. So while you consider what you should bring to your elopement wedding, consider packing a few extras of the following:


Because… who doesn’t want extra snacks? Snacks and food that you enjoy and know will travel well on your elopement adventure is imperative on your special day. And if it just so happens that you get stuck in traffic, or your hike is taking longer than you anticipated, it can be incredibly beneficial to have a few extra granola bars up your sleeve (or in your backpack). Not only will staying well-fed and hydrated help you feel your best for your elopement day, but it will also put your mind at ease knowing that you are prepared in the case of unexpected delays.


When it comes to cell phone chargers, external chargers, and headlamp batteries for the hike during blue hour, make sure you have a few extras. Chances are, you won’t need the backups, but it comes in handy (and slows down your racing heart!) when you realize you were prepared for the inevitable electronic mishap.

The Miscellaneous “Extra” List

The truth is, most things can easily be replaced if they are lost or forgotten during your celebration. But bringing a few extras of these items that can come in handy to ensure your mind (and body!) are ready for the day ahead:

  • Socks
  • Bandaids
  • Contact lenses
  • Tylenol/Advil/Pain Reliever
  • Copy of the necessary permits
  • Copy of your timeline
  • Copy of your vows

Being mentally prepared for your elopement

Find Fun in the Waiting

If you feel like a little kid on Christmas morning for months before your elopement wedding, you aren’t alone. The anticipation can make it seem that the days and hours are absolutely crawling by! However cliche it may sound, enjoying the moments leading up to saying “I do,” will not only make the wait that much easier, but it also can allow you to calm your body and mind, and help you mentally prepare for the festivities ahead.

Plan a Few Date Nights

You and your partner may be all business these days as you finalize the details before your elopement wedding. But taking time to relax, connect with your future spouse, and laugh together before celebration day arrives can be incredibly beneficial, not only for your relationship but for your mental health! (May I suggest a couple’s massage?)

Up the Self-Care

We see the term “self-care” a lot when it comes to preparing for elopement weddings and other types of celebrations, but don’t underestimate the power of a little “me time”! If you are feeling burnt out from the constant self-care grind of eating well and exercising daily, try adding some fun self-care routines into the mix. What about a trip to the movie theater, your favorite ice cream shop, or a bouquet of fresh flowers? Scheduling a few “fun” self-care activities into your daily routine will make the wait until the ceremony just a bit more bearable.

The “Elopement Free” Talk Time

Elopement planning can be all-consuming and for good reason! This is an exciting time in your and your partner’s life and is sure to be one of the best and most impactful moments you have ever experienced. But constantly ironing out details, or going over elopement wedding plans can lead to burnout. Set aside time when you discuss and review elopement plans, as well as “elopement-free” talk time, which will give you (and your spouse-to-be) a much-needed reprieve from constant planning.

Snoqualmie Falls Elopement

Expect a few Unforeseen Adventures During Your Elopement Wedding

As the old saying goes… it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong! Understand that no matter what you plan for during your elopement wedding, nature always has a way of surprising us. The best thing you can do is sit back, laugh, and enjoy the journey.

The Weather Worry

Perhaps the most common of the elopement ceremony fears, wanting perfect weather for your big day can take up a lot of mental space. And while you (unfortunately) can’t control the weather, you can control how you prepare and respond to the conditions when they arise. So pack a few extra layers and a bottle of sunscreen and rest assured that rain on your wedding day truly is good luck.

The Travel Troubles

Another area of your elopement wedding that may lend itself to a few surprises is the journey to your elopement location. Things like flight delays, traffic, and trail closures put a damper on your plans if you don’t come mentally prepared. Practice a flexible mindset, and remember that traveling comes with its own ups and downs, but no matter your elopement location or the hurdles along the way, you can decide that this will be one of the most epic adventures yet.

The Emotional Surprise

Get the tissues ready! No matter your personality type, many individuals are surprised to find just how emotional they are when it comes to marriage. While most individuals experience tears of joy and excitement, don’t be surprised if you experience a few moments of reflection during your elopement ceremony. This is an emotional time that can remind you of family, friends, traditions, and memories or experiences buried deep inside. Being prepared for your elopement day comes with the full spectrum of feelings. Know that you are not alone in the wide range of emotional experiences.

Emotionally prepared for Mount Rainier Elopement

Calming Your Nerves During Your Elopement Wedding

No matter how well you planned or the support system around you, there is always a chance your impending elopement wedding will leave you feeling stressed or anxious. If this sounds like you, consider incorporating these calming practices into your routine, or whenever you feel your stress levels start to rise:

Try Out Some Box Breathing

The purpose of breathing exercises is to calm the nervous system so we can think clearly and feel calmer. Box breathing is a simple breathing exercise you can do anytime you feel your heart rate rise with increased anxiety or stress. For example, this can happen right before you share your vows, or prior to having a difficult elopement-related conversation. This breathing technique is broken down into four separate steps:

  1. Inhale for the count of four
  2. Hold for the count of four
  3. Exhale for the count of four
  4. Hold for the count of four

Repeat as necessary, or until you feel in control of your breath, your thought processes, or the challenge in front of you.

Visualize the Perfect Day

Comfortable weather. The most gorgeous backdrop. Your partner’s smiling face. A cozy place to celebrate once you say “I do.” There is power in visualizing what you want to see happen on your big day! When the intrusive thoughts start to take over, fight back by bringing to mind the most magical elopement celebration you can muster. Maybe everything doesn’t end up exactly how it does in your visualization, but the process can be an effective tool when faced with racing thoughts.

Try a Few Yoga Poses

If sitting quietly in the midst of racing thoughts isn’t your style, try a few calming yoga postures on for size! Any intentional movement can take your focus away from the stressors at hand as your mind begins to focus on movement. (Legs up the wall pose just so happens to be my favorite!)

Snoqualmie Falls Elopement with Outshined Photography

Embracing What Comes During Your Elopement Wedding

Adventure and outdoor elopements may be known for being “easier” to plan than the traditional wedding, but it does not come without their fair share of challenges, anxieties, and emotional ups and downs. Understanding how to successfully prepare for whatever your elopement wedding may consist of, and being ready to accept whatever part of your plan doesn’t go your way, is one of the best ways to mentally prepare for your big day.

If you are interested in learning more about how I support couples as they prepare for their elopement reach out at any time. Helping you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared for the adventure ahead is one of the things I do best. I can’t wait to help you create and capture the ceremony of your dreams!

Outshined Photography is an elopement photographer at Alstrom Point
Stacy is the Elopement Photographer for Outshined Photography

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  1. Such amazing tips! The part about staying connected to your partner during this experience really resonates with me.