Back in the day, the term “elopement” often conjured up a mad, spontaneous dash to the chapel or a quick trip to city hall to save a dime or two. Today, elopements are considered much less taboo and a much more personal alternative to all the bells and whistles of a traditional wedding. Best of all, they no longer involve an Elvis impersonator (unless that’s your thing, of course). If the mere thought of wedding planning, the high costs of the affair, or walking down the aisle in front of many eyes is enough to make you shudder, then the intimacy of an elopement is probably right up your alley.
And why not? Eloping is becoming a more popular, chic way for couples to express themselves. It’s more romantic, cheaper, less stressful, and you can exchange your vows anywhere, which adds an adventurous element and a unique bonding experience that you won’t get from a conventional affair. Whether you choose to go halfway around the globe, stay local in your city, or something in between, the limitless destinations are perhaps the most overwhelming part of eloping.
When choosing a location, think of a place that is special to the two of you. Did you meet hiking? Consider the Grand Canyon. Do you both have roots in Italy? Jet off to Tuscany. Are you both nature lovers? Tie the knot in the jungles of Costa Rica. Meet in your neighborhood? Pick a place nearby that gives a skyline view of your city.
Once you’ve got your location set, make travel plans ahead of time; if you’re eloping in a foreign country, this includes researching the local marriage requirements beforehand. And don’t forget your officiant (if using one) and most important of all, your photographer to capture the special day with some stunning shots. Because, if you’re not quite sold on eloping just yet, these modern elopement photos are reason enough to convince you.
Yosemite National Park is a classic elopement spot for obvious reasons—portraits taken here, like this one, look like a painted masterpiece.
Seaside elopements don't get more stunning than the craggy black rocks of Makaluapuna Point in Maui, Hawaii, which provide a dramatic and edgy landscape.
The quiet Sedona desert and its red-hued rocks elicit a sense of serenity and awe, making it a reverent choice for an intimate elopement.
This couple dared to climb high for a bird’s eye view of Santorini. Whitewashed buildings and the deep blue of the Aegean Sea offer up a classic Greece setting.
The midst of Oregon’s wilderness is rife in nature’s simplicity and tranquility thanks to a dense forest and the celestial magic of a half moon.
Utah’s Salt Flats may be barren, but they offer a minimalistic vibe and placid background that manages to look breathtaking, making an ideal setting for the indie bride.
We don’t blame this stylish bride and groom for eloping at Lake Louise in Banff National Park—it’s hard not to revel in the beauty of the surrounding deep evergreens, snowy mountains, and glassy turquoise waters.
This couple exchanged vows on the edge of a cliff at Horseshoe Bend, and we can’t think of anything more magical than its Southwestern sunsets and watercolor canyons. Paired with a tribal printed blanket, it’s the perfect spot for the bohemian couple.
A Paris elopement is all classic romance, especially with a shot of the Eiffel Tower in the background and a modern chic black bridal dress full of drama. What else would you expect from the City of Love?
Big Sur’s rocky coastline and misty haze creates a mystical ambiance for a picturesque shot.
There's nothing but the balmy ocean breeze, shining sun, and cries of the seagulls on Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The jaw-dropping Gatklettur Arch Rock at Arnarstapi is arguably some of nature’s best architectural work, providing a unique elopement spot.
The lush vegetation of Bali’s rainforests creates a haven ripe for seclusion and intimacy, transporting elopers into another world. We especially love the cultural touch of this wooden bridge.
Arizona’s iconic Antelope Canyon is like walking into a sunset geode. Ablaze with intense colors, its moody setting is a dream for the non-traditional couple.
The shores of Playa de las Catedrales in Spain set the stage for uninhibited romance with laidback, whimsical vibes. The sun doesn’t always have to be shining to be beautiful—grey skies and seas mimic the neutral sepia hues of the rocks and the sand for a look stepped back in time.
Behold the beauty of the Swiss Alps—rolling greens and snow-capped peaks, complete with a heavenly fog and glowing light for an ethereal feel.
A perspective like this view from Mt. Watson in Lake Tahoe makes for some killer imagery. A wide stretch of sky and towering trees offer a humbling view and a grand showcase for an equally grand love.
Soaring Redwoods are the perfect canopy for this couple’s love, offering a cozy and earthy vibe that calls out to a woodland bride.
The charcoal lava fields and rich fauna of Hawaii are vibrant in color, making a dream location for the couple with a sense of adventure.
Nothing says bohemian chic like the otherworldly terrain of Joshua Tree National Park. There’s just something about the glaring sunbeams and dryness of the desert that holds a bit of magic.
From the splendid canal and intricate architecture to a sleek speedboat and glamorous red dress, this Venice elopement shot resembles a film still.
California’s opaque, radiant light from the setting sun casts this Pfeiffer Beach portrait in an enchanting glow. With the tides rolling in and footprints in the sand, this gorgeous shot has a carefree charm.
The majestic views of Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, look like something straight out of a fairy tale.
Basalt rock formations and choppy black waves of the North Atlantic Sea help to create a deep, moody shot.
The snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado conjure up a winter spell for some phenomenal imagery.