All you need to know about eloping in the winter

There’s something really unique and beautiful about winter elopements: the white snow and crisp air makes it extra fun and exciting. But do you know how to plan a winter elopement? To enjoy your experience you really need to BE PREPARED!

Winter elopements have a few different logistics than elopements that take place in other seasons – with shorter days, road closures, and hiking through the snow + ice – that is why I created this guide to help you out.

Note: none of the products or places I’ve listed here are sponsored or paid in any way. These are just a few suggestions for you to consider based on my experience.

Be flexible with your elopement plans due to the weather

Make sure when planning a winter elopement to have ideas for back-up locations and alternate times/dates. If there is life-threatening or dangerous weather on your elopement day, you’ll want to be flexible. Check with your elopement photographer to see what their policy is on rescheduling and/or changing locations. As an elopement photographer myself, I make sure to block off more time if we need to switch plans in case of dangerous weather. Also budget more time to travel to and from your winter elopement destination. When you elope in the winter, especially in high elevation mountain locations, you need to factor in adverse road conditions. Snow covered and icy roads can more than double your travel time.

Winter apparel

Elopement dresses for winter have a few particular considerations – they need to work well when layering. Layering is a key part of any winter elopement, under and over your attire, especially if you’ll be hiking or doing some kind of activity so you can stay warm and comfortable through the day. Ideally your outfit would still look adorable with the addition of a jacket and can be made from a warmer material! Not all winter elopements mean snow, but you’ll want to be ready for that icy breeze when it comes through! Make sure you pack at least an extra pair of socks and shirt just in case.


  1. Base layers: Your winter base layer should be something you can wear underneath your winter elopement dress, suit, etc. Their purpose is to help wick away sweat and keep you dry and warm. I suggest merino wool as base layers since it’s lightweight, cozy, durable, and dries quickly. A base layer top may not always be possible, depending on the cut and style of your attire.
  2. Mid layer: Your mid layer will be your winter wedding attire, and a cozy sweater or suit jacket. In addition to this, consider bringing a down jacket of 800 fill power. Down jackets are easily packable and lightweight (in comparison to synthetic coats) yet keep you warm even on the chilliest of days. A down jacket is a great coat to have on hand to keep warm in between photos.
  3. Outer Layer: From wind to snow, your outer layer is there to shield you from the elements and is worn over all your other layers. Outer layers aren’t meant to keep you warm like an insulating down jacket. Instead, your outer layer is thin and lightweight, specifically designed to block out wind and keep your other layers dry.

Now that you learned about layering for your winter elopement, let’s see some examples of what can you wear under and over your attire:

You may want to have a few different options to wear over your dress this will result in a greater variety of pictures. Here’s some other examples:

Footwear and accessories

Wearing boots or shoes that are insulated and waterproof can make all the difference when it comes to your comfort. If you buy brand-new boots before your winter elopement, you’ll want to break them in beforehand, so you can avoid blisters. Like I mentioned before about wearing wool clothing to help wick away sweat and keep you dry and warm, choose wool socks too! If the location you chose for your winter elopement has some deep snow, consider adding some snowshoes to keep you from sinking, and in case of icy trails you’ll need micro spikes.

Here’s some examples of winter footwear and other accessories that you will want to have for your winter elopement:

  • Winter Insulated Boots
  • Wool socks
  • Leg Gaiters (great for winter hiking)
  • Mittens and glove liners
  • Hand and Toe Warmers
  • Beanie or Headband
  • Scarfs
  • Micro Spikes
  • Snowshoes
  • Thermos (for hot beverages)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Lightweight Waterproof Backpack
  • First-Aid Kit

Changing into your wedding attire

When you’ll change into your wedding attire will depend on your location and activities you chose for your day! It also depends on your personal comfort level, whether you’re comfortable wearing a dress while hiking, or if you’d have a more enjoyable time in casual clothing. If you’ll be hiking a long way, you’ll likely want to change into your elopement dress at the top of your hike. But, I want you to know that there is no right or wrong way to elope. I’ve photographed couples wearing their wedding attire while hiking up the mountain and also couples that chose to change into their attire at their ceremony location.

Activity ideas for your winter elopement

Now, don’t just think about the beautiful white snowy backdrops for your pictures, but also plan for your entire day to be an experience having fun in the snow! Think about the best day you could possibly have!

  • Snowboard
  • Hike/Snowshoe
  • Cross Country Ski
  • Snowmobile
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Ice Skate
  • Ice Castle Tour

Looking for some low-key, relaxing winter elopement ideas? How about having a picnic (yes! You can still enjoy a picnic during winter time) at some beautiful but still easy-to-get-to location?

Another cool idea is to rent a cozy and unique place to stay one or two nights (or why not take a whole week to celebrate?)

Here’s some options for places to stay in the New England area:

Ready to start planning your dream winter elopement? Contact me and let’s talk! I’m here to help you with anything you need!

You can save this guide for later using one of the images below:

How to Plan an Adventure Winter Elopement

Planning resources

  1. […] I put together a guide on how to plan a winter elopement, so if you are thinking about eloping in the winter make sure to ready […]

  2. […] If you decide to elope in the winter make sure to check out my blog post about how to prepare for a winter elopement. […]

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