How to Hike in Your Wedding Dress

Answering a frequently asked question about elopements: How to hike in your wedding dress/suit! Whether you’re planning an adventurous elopement or taking adventurous bridal portraits, the question remains the same. So do you hike while wearing your wedding outfit or pack it in and change at the location? In this post we’ll break down some options and tips on how to prepare for your outdoor adventure session.

Option 1: Hike in Your Wedding Dress/Suit

There are a couple of things to consider if you want to wear your wedding dress/suit the entire time. The length of the trail and the location are important factors. You don’t want to be hiking 5 miles in the desert in the summer wearing a black suit, or on a muddy trail wearing a wedding dress with a long train! While it’s totally possible to do, it may not be practical or comfortable. If you choose a location that requires only a short walk, and you want photos of the journey, it may be more reasonable of an endeavor. Think about what else you may need to carry (backpack, etc.) and if you will be able to easily move in your outfit safely.

Option 2: Change into Your Wedding Dress/Suit on the Trail

If you want to do a first look at a certain overlook, this is a good option to consider. You can hike in regular clothes (you don’t mind getting dirty/sweaty) and then change at the top. You can either bring a blanket to use as a covering to change under, or I can provide my clients with a pop-up changing station that gives you ultimate privacy! This way your wedding dress is all fresh for photos and you can rid of the sweaty clothes you hiked in! You can also choose to hike back down in your formal wear, or if it is a more difficult hike, change back into regular clothes before making the descent. This is something we can go over once we choose a specific location for your elopement/session.

Tips for Picking out Elopement Dress

  1. If you want to hike on your elopement then really focus in on finding a lightweight dress/suit. Do some movement tests while trying it on; see if you can easily make a big upward step, sit down easily, and can see your feet so you don’t trip!
  2. Consider the breeze and how the dress blows in the wind; some movement looks EPIC in photos, but hiking in a dress with an excessive train may be difficult.
  3. It’s also important to note how long some dress shops take to get your gown in, and leave time for alterations too! Bonus tip: Inviting someone important to your fittings is a great way include them in your wedding activities – especially if they won’t be able to attend your elopement!
bride and groom at elopement in Capitol Reef

Tips for Picking out Your Elopement Suit

  1. Same thing goes for suits: test out the mobility of your outfit! Try squatting, taking big strides, lifting your arms, and sitting down to make sure it’s comfortable. The last thing you want is a rip in the too-tight skinny slacks on a hike up a mountain.
  2. Consider the temperature: if it will be cooler, try thicker layers to keep warm. If it will be hot, consider more lightweight, breathable materials and less layers.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make it unique! Suits don’t have to be basic, or even super formal. Pick something you love and try adding in elements of your personality with a fun color suit or tie, unique boutonnière, or some funky shoes!

What Shoes to Wear at Elopement

Speaking of shoes; it’s important to wear the proper footwear! If you’re doing a hiking elopement; you must wear shoes with good grip. You can always change them at the top if you’d like. But it is important to consider safety in wearing shoes that will not only be comfortable but will keep you safe on the trails! You never know if an area will be slick or slippery, and good shoes are literally a life saver. Of course packing away those awesome leather loafers or white heels is totally okay for taking formals though!

How to Travel with Your Elopement Dress/Suit

If you will be traveling with your wedding dress or suit, here are a couple of things to keep in mind! If you can; pack it in your carry-on or ask if the airline offers closet space for hanging special items. Use a sturdy, waterproof garment bag.

Check to see if your accommodation has an iron, most hotels and rentals do. Consider buying a portable steamer for the dress like this one. And don’t worry about getting a little dirty at your elopement, it’s part of the adventure. Most dresses end up getting dirty at the hemline, but it makes for a cool ombre tone that means you had fun! You can always plan to send your dress to be cleaned.

Contact me to book your adventure elopement photographer and follow me on Pinterest for Arizona elopement inspo!

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