How To Plan And Prepare to Elope in the Winter

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Hi, I’m Megan and your story matters to me. You deserve to break your wedding day from the traditional mold into something that is uniquely you.

I specialize in intimate mountain weddings and elopements and love working with people who are stoked to get married in nature surrounded by their closest family and friends. I am here for you and to organically tell your story. 

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Wondering how to elope in the winter? Welcome to my Winter Elopement blog! If you’re someone who loves the idea of a small, intimate wedding, with privacy and cozy vibes then having a winter elopement might be just the thing for you. Elopements are all about celebrating your love in a personal, stress-free way, and doing it in the winter adds an extra touch of magic and romance.

In this blog, I’m going to take you step-by-step through everything you need to know to plan your dream winter elopement. I’ll help you choose the perfect location, somewhere covered in snow and brimming with natural beauty. Also, we’ll move onto the practicalities, like what to wear for your winter elopement, and how to make sure your day runs smoothly.

I’ll also share ideas for making your winter elopement extra special. Maybe you’d like to exchange vows by a fire, or celebrate afterwards with a hot chocolate reception. Whatever your winter wedding dreams, I’m here to help make them come true.

Why Should You Have A Winter Elopement?

Unforgettable Scenery: Winter elopements offer a unique, breathtaking view that no other season can compete with. Imagine saying your vows against a backdrop of snow-covered trees, or under a sky full of stars on a chilly winter night.

  • The snow creates a natural, stunning decor for your ceremony.
  • Winter light can result in beautiful wedding photos.
  • Snowy landscapes are less crowded, providing a private atmosphere.

Cost Efficiency: Choosing a winter elopement can be a cost-effective choice. Many venues and vendors offer off-season discounts, and you’ll likely face less competition for dates.

  • Lower costs on venue and vendor bookings.
  • More availability options due to the off-peak season.
  • Savings can be used towards your honeymoon!

Intimacy and Simplicity:

A winter elopement is perfect if you crave an intimate, stress-free wedding day. With fewer guests to worry about, you can focus on each other and the commitment you’re making.

  • A smaller guest list means less planning and stress.
  • The simplicity allows you to focus on what’s truly important: your love!
  • Winter elopements can be arranged quickly, ideal for those who don’t want a long engagement.
snowy winter elopement location in the mountains

Planning For A Winter Elopement:

Planning a winter elopement can be a stress free and enjoyable experience. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Choose Your Date and Location: Winter offers a unique range of scenic options for an elopement. You might choose a snow-covered mountain top, or a cabin in the woods. Remember to consider the weather conditions and accessibility of your chosen location. I have some of my favorite winter locations in this blog!
  • Decide on the Guest List: One of the benefits of an elopement is the intimacy it offers. You might choose to have just the two of you, or also invite a few close friends and family. Make sure your venue is accessible and can fit all your guests. For more info on how to include family into your elopement check out my blog here!
  • Hire a Photographer: Capturing your winter elopement is crucial. Look for a photographer (like myself) who specializes in elopements and has experience shooting in winter conditions.
  • Plan Your Outfits: Dressing for a winter elopement can be a little more complex, as you’ll need to balance style with warmth. I have more details on this below!
  • Organize the Ceremony: Decide who will officiate your wedding and plan your vows. You might also want to consider any special traditions or personal touches you’d like to include.
  • Arrange Travel and Accommodation: If you’re eloping to a location far from home, you’ll need to arrange travel and accommodation. Consider renting an Airbnb or booking a hotel with a fireplace for the extra ambiance.
  • Celebrate: After the ceremony, plan a special way to celebrate. This could be a romantic dinner, a separate reception, or even a night under the stars.

Overall, this is your day! Make it special and make it about you as a couple. The important thing is that it reflects your love for each other and the commitment you’re making.

Some Activities To Add To Your Winter Elopement

Adding activities to your winter elopement can make the day even more memorable. I love capturing couples spending time doing activities they love! Here are some ideas:

  • Sleigh Rides: A sleigh ride can be a perfect way to enjoy the winter scenery and spend some intimate time together after your ceremony. You can cuddle up under a warm blanket and enjoy the peacefulness of the winter landscape.
  • Winter Hiking: If you both love outdoor adventures, consider winter hiking. It’s a unique way to explore the snowy surroundings and can make for some amazing photographs.
  • Skiing or Snowboarding: For those who love winter sports, why not incorporate skiing or snowboarding into your elopement? It can also add an element of fun and adventure to your special day.
  • Bonfire: Sitting around a bonfire can give an incredibly cozy feeling! You could even take it up a notch and roast marshmallows and make s’mores! It’s a romantic and memorable way to celebrate your union.
  • Stargazing: Winter nights often offer clear, star-filled skies. Stargazing can be a romantic activity to end your special day.
  • Ice Skating, Tubing or Sledding: These fun winter activities can be a great way to relax and enjoy each other’s company during your elopement trip.

Remember, choose activities that reflect your interests as a couple and help make your day unforgettable.

snowy winter elopement location in the mountains

What To Wear For Your Winter Elopement

Choosing what to wear for your winter elopement depends on your personal style and the conditions of your chosen location. Here are some options I recommend:

Dress Warmly: Consider wearing tights or leggings under your dress, preferably fleece-lined ones for extra warmth. Ankle high boots with thick socks can also keep your feet warm and dry. Additionally, a long sleeved dress or a wool suit will provide the most warmth!

Layer Up: A fur jacket can be a stylish addition to your outfit. You could also bring a warm shawl that will look great in your photos.

Choose a Suitable Dress: If you’re a bride-to-be, you don’t have to limit yourself to a short, white cocktail dress or pantsuit. Also, a full-fledged wedding gown can be just as suitable for an elopement. Alternatively, you might even go for a casual and convenient outfit like a cozy snowsuit. The options are limitless and should reflect your personal style. 

Consider Accessories: Accessories can add a touch of style and functionality to your outfit. For example, white gloves with accents can be a chic and practical addition. Also, a flask of hot tea or coffee can not only keep you warm but also serve as a unique prop for your photos.

Overall, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and beautiful on your special day.

Below I have a checklist of some items you may want to bring!

Hand Warmers


Extra Layers

A Few Pairs of Warm Socks


What If The Weather Is Bad?

If the weather turns out to be unfavorable on your winter elopement day, there are several strategies you can still use to ensure your day remains special. 

Embrace the weather: This could be an opportunity to capture unique and romantic photos. Preparation is key, so regularly check the weather forecasts leading up to your elopement day and have a backup plan ready. Be flexible with your plans. If the weather is really bad, consider moving your ceremony indoors or changing the time. Safety should always come first, so if the weather is too dangerous, don’t hesitate to reschedule your elopement. 

Backup Locations: It’s also a good idea to have backup locations in mind when planning a winter elopement. This way, if the weather is truly unmanageable at your chosen location, you have alternatives ready. I highly recommend choosing a cabin as a winter elopement spot. Also, you could take getting ready photos in the cabin and if the weather turns, just have your ceremony inside! It’s the best of both worlds and would give you an opportunity to step outside for some photos. For more info on how to specifically elope in a cabin check out my blog here!

Don’t Stress: Worrying about the weather too early can create more stress for your elopement day! Weather can change quickly and what might look like a bad forecast could turn into a beautiful day. Overall, sometimes the most memorable experiences come from unexpected situations. A little snow or rain could add a special touch to your winter elopement.

snowy winter elopement location in the mountains

Some Winter Elopement Locations

Winter has a way of making landscapes into scenes straight out of a movie, making it a perfect season for an intimate wedding. Here are some of my favorite winter elopement locations:


Washington, with its diverse landscapes and scenic beauty, can be a perfect location for a winter elopement. The state is home to several breathtaking mountain ranges, including the Cascades and the Olympics, which are covered in snow during the winter, providing a stunning backdrop for your ceremony. You could exchange vows in a snowy forest, or on a mountaintop with views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, Washington also offers several cozy lodges and cabins perfect for intimate celebrations. Lastly, despite its often chilly weather, Washington’s winters are relatively mild compared to other states, making it a more comfortable choice.


With its insane natural views and wide range of venue options, Colorado is a dream location for a winter elopement. The state’s iconic Rocky Mountains could be an ideal backdrop for your intimate ceremony. Also, Colorado’s world-class ski resorts offer the opportunity to incorporate winter sports like skiing or snowboarding into your elopement. Colorado has multiple mountain lodges and cabins that provide cozy comfort with fireplaces and mountain views. Colorado’s diverse locations range from the big city of Denver to small mountain towns, catering to various styles and preferences. However, it’s important to anticipate potential winter challenges, such as cold weather and travel disruptions, and plan accordingly for a smooth, memorable event.


For a warmer option, Utah is an ideal destination for a winter elopement. Its snow-covered mountain ranges, such as the Wasatch and Uintas offer perfect scenery for your ceremony. Salt Lake City and Zion National Park allow Utah to cater to all tastes and styles. Despite winter conditions, Utah’s well-maintained infrastructure ensures easy access to most areas. Beyond mountains, Utah’s other scenic locations include frozen lakes and snowy deserts, perfect for intimate ceremonies and memorable photographs. 


Wyoming, has extreme natural beauty and rugged landscapes, perfect for a winter elopement. It also has a variety of lodges and ranches that offer a warm, cozy effect to escape the winter air. Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole are two locations that cater to a broad range of tastes and preferences. Also, there can be a lot of snow and ice in Wyoming. Remember to plan for potential winter challenges, to guarantee a smooth and memorable event.


If you are wanting scenic beauty and southern hospitality, Tennessee can be a perfect winter elopement destination. The state’s diverse landscapes, from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Tennessee River, provide perfect ceremony spots. Gatlinburg, nestled in the heart of the Smokies, offers romantic cabins and breathtaking mountain views. Also, for couples who prefer an urban setting, cities like Nashville and Memphis offer unique venues, rich history, and vibrant music scenes. Despite the chill, winter in Tennessee is relatively mild, making it comfortable for outdoor ceremonies. If you are wanting to elope in the Great Smoky Mountains check out my detailed blog.

Overall, any location can be a perfect winter elopement spot! It is all about your personal preferences and where you envision saying your vows.

The Next Step

Overall, a winter elopement can be an incredibly romantic and unique experience. The snow-covered landscape can be a dreamy backdrop for your intimate ceremony. Winter elopements often come with less competition for venues and suppliers. Also, winter’s distinctive beauty and charm can add a magical touch to your special day that isn’t easily replicated in other seasons. The proper planning ahead of time can make your elopement day flawless.

If you are ready to take that next step and book your dream winter elopement fill out my contact form. Afterwards, we can set up your free consult call and put together your perfect day!

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