Elopement Ceremony Ideas

What Happens During an Elopement Ceremony?

You’ve found your partner…

You’ve fallen in love and decided to elope

You’ve found the perfect elopement location…

You’ve decided to take this huge decision to spend the rest of your life with the one that feels like sunshine… 

And then you realize traditional weddings have always put the perfect image in everyone’s mind about a what you should be doing at your ceremony – a big fancy venue, expensive wedding settings and decorations, fashionable wedding guest dresses, loads of food you’ll never get a hand on.

But sometimes all you need is just you, your boo and your vows. Eloping allows the couple to have a ceremony that is entirely focused on them, without the flamboyance and extravaganza.  

So two love birds have decided to have an elopement ceremony, have chosen the perfect wedding destination (which may be on the mountains, in an old forest, close to a waterfall or on a sandy beach) set the date, and have sorted out the logistics. 

The question now is, what exactly happens during an elopement ceremony?

This often pops up in the mind of couples who have been so caught up in the traditional wedding arrangement. The beautiful thing about an elopement ceremony is that you and your partner are at liberty to do anything you want! Follow along below for some tips and tricks as to what you should consider doing for your elopement ceremony!


Your vows are a special feature of your wedding. Marriage vows are extremely powerful, no matter how it is said. For people who have been raised in the traditional wedding culture, it is very easy to have this strict idea of copy-and-paste wedding vows. But since it’s your elopement ceremony, feel free to make your vows as personalized and as unique as possible. Vows at an elopement ceremony are supposed to be genuine and personalized, handwritten if possible. The process can take any form you want- some couples prefer to say surprise vows at the ceremony, and some also decide to work on their vows together. It’s all up to you.

Bride and Groom vow ceremony Telluride Elopement
Vow exchange in Telluride, Colorado
Bride and Groom exchanging Vows in Colorado Mountain Elopement
Vow exchange in Breckinridge, Colorado
Bride and Groom exchanging Vows in Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement
Vow exchange in Rocky Mountain National Park


Although elopement ceremonies do not necessarily require rings, most couples that decide to go on this journey use rings as a symbol of their love during the wedding ceremony. Wedding rings signify a lot- it has no beginning and no end, which is why it is a long-standing tradition in most conventional weddings. The ring ceremony is one of my favorite parts and I love capturing the emotions of this beautiful moment!

Groom with Ring at Big Sur Elopement
Ring exchange at Big Sur
Ring exchange at Colorado elopement
Ring exchange in Colorado


Come to think of it, who would resist kissing their partner after pledging to spend their lives together and promising to be there for each other through thick and thin, sunshine and rain? The first kiss in any ceremony is highly symbolic, as it symbolizes a new life for you and your spouse. After saying your vows, couples that self-wed themselves can declare their marital status, request that they both kiss themselves (which is normally said amidst laughter and cheering) and pop a bottle of wine to celebrate. 

Big Sur Elopement First kiss
First kiss in Big Sur
Bride and Groom First Kiss at Big Sur Elopement
First Kiss in Big Sur


One special feature about elopement ceremonies is its uniqueness. There are no expectations, no trolling guests, just you and your spouse-to-be! So this is the right (and maybe the only) time to do things your way. Add whatever special feature you want. Some couples eat donuts. Some couples that wed on the mountain top prefer to scream so loud that nature has no choice but to acknowledge their existence. It’s up to YOU! 

Bride and Groom eating donuts at Olympic National Park Elopement
Eating donuts at Olympic National Park
Bride and Groom eating donuts at Olympic National Park Elopement
Eating donuts at Olympic National Park


I love recommending thinking an activity you enjoy doing together and trying to incorporate it afterwards! Most couples go with singing or dancing, but you can do something different. Do you enjoy bonfires by the beach? Light it up and lets make S’mores with the sunset!

Bride and Groom at Bon Fire at Hug Point Elopement
Bon Fire at Hug Point


 In addition to fun activities, you can decide to show your talents. Different strokes for different folks, ladies and gentlemen! You can decide to add whatever twists you want in your wedding, whether you are marrying yourselves or getting someone to marry both of you. Just don’t forget the champagne!

Bride and Groom spraying champagne in Colorado Elopement
Champagne celebration in Colorado

  • Cord Ceremony: This ageless Celtic tradition is one that has spread to different parts of the world. It usually involves tying a braided rope around your hands, tightly clasped together. You can either decide to do it yourselves, allow the officiate to tie it, or get one of the guest to do it for you, whilst saying a prayer.
Olympic National Park Lake Crescent Cord Ceremony
Cord Ceremony in Olympic National Park

  • Sage Smudging Ceremony: This wedding ceremony is all about energy- transforming negative and bad energy into a positive one. It only requires a bowl, a sage and a means of lighting up the sage. You and your partner can say a short prayer while lighting it up or ask someone to pray for you. 
Sage smudging ceremony at Great sand dunes elopement
Sage smudging ceremony in Colorado

  • Unity Ceremony: This is a highly symbolic ceremony that involves taking two pieces of something and transforming it to be a singular piece. Some couples light unity candles, some couples mix sand in a bowl, some combine red and white wine together, and over time there have been several unique unity symbols springing up, like planting trees together (which is also a very positive contribution to the environment) and creating paintings. It’s totally up to you to decide your symbol of unity.
Unity Ceremony at Colorado Mountain Elopement
Unity Ceremony in Colorado

  • Religious Ceremony: Some couples may decide to add religious elements into their elopement ceremony, which are so fun and welcome! In this regard, you must have an official officiate there to guide you through your journey. Unless you’re in Colorado that is! Did you know you can self solemnize yourselves in Colorado? A great way to keep your elopement personal and intimate.
Colorado Mountain Elopement Ceremony
Elopement ceremony in Colorado

At the end of the day, ensure you create that special moment, a moment that is going to last for a lifetime. If you want a non-religious wedding with a non-traditional setting, it’s totally fine. If you and your partner agree to have an elopement ceremony with a formal outline, it’s up to you as well. It’s your day, so find whatever bits and pieces that are unique to you. It’s the one day in life you can do whatever you want!




Loving that shot on the coast with the fire, such a fun moment to share together too!

So many great ideas! So helpful for anyone planning their elopement.

Wow! Love all the traditions listed. I also love that it makes it clear that an elopement should be about the couple. Beautiful photos!

Wow there are so many great ideas in here. I know that this is going to help so many people plan their day!

Love how this features not only what normally happens, but the various traditional options that can be included! Will definitely help couples envision their day!

Love your edits! These are gorgeous photos, awesome work!

Such fantastic ideas! I love how every couple can take a fairly “boiler plate” idea of a ceremony and really turn it into something that represents the two of them.

This article is filled with incredible information & resources for elopement ideas111 I cannot wait to implement this!! Great content, incredible pictures!!!

Awesome post! This is super informative and has so much helpful information. Thanks for sharing! xo



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Sunrise Hiking Adventure Elopement – Colorado