Call me biased, but I think backpacking elopement in Europe is a the best possible way to get married. Not only do you get to have the adventure of a lifetime, experiencing incredible scenery, tasting amazing food and meeting new people along the way, but you also get to get married in a way that just feels way more “you” than a big traditional wedding at home. If you are wondering about how to plan a backpacking elopement, this guide is here to help you.
Advice from a Backpacking Elopement Photographer
I completely understand why more are more couples are choosing to elope. Organising a big wedding can be expensive and stressful, and for so many couples the day becomes more about putting on a show for their guests than it is about them and the promises they are making to each other. Over the last year, I’ve photographed a few backpacking elopements, so I wanted to put together a short guide for couples who are thinking about planning a backpacking elopement in Europe.
Top Elopement Destinations In Europe
There are some incredible places to travel to for your backpacking elopement in Europe, and I’ve had the absolute honour to visit quite a few. There are also a lot of places I haven’t been that I know would be absolutely perfect for any adventure loving couple.
Eloping in the Dolomites, Italy
These absolutely incredible mountains in the Italian Alps make the perfect backdrop if you’re looking for pure, unadulterated raw natural beauty. There are a huge number of well kept (and well marked) hiking trails, and with mountain huts (known as rifugios) all across the range, there is no need to carry camping equipment with you. Staying in a rifugio means you get to experience the sunrise and the sunset from on top of the world, and believe me when I tell you that saying your wedding vows to one another alone on a mountain at sunrise is one of the most incredible things you will ever do.
Eloping in the Faroe Islands
In so many ways the Faroe Islands remind me a lot of Iceland, except that they are far less crowded. The hiking trails are generally pretty easy (although not always easy to find) and the scenery is stunning. Some hiking trails do require you to pay, or to hire a guide, but with the views you can experience on them, it’s definitely worth budgeting for.
Eloping in Austria
Living in the capital of the Alps, Innsbruck, this place a hikers dream. Being a huge skiing area in the winter means there are loads of mountain lifts if you want to take the easy way up (or down) the mountain, but once you are up, the views are spectacular. It’s not just green Sound of Music style meadows either. You’ll also find some incredible mountain lakes and rugged peaks too. There are so many mountains huts along the hiking trails, and most of them offer accommodation, so you can turn your backpacking elopement in to a multi-day adventure.
Eloping in Iceland
The land of fire and ice, Iceland doesn’t need any introduction. And whilst its popularity is ever increasing, there are still so many incredible places that can be reached if you are open to a little adventuring in the rugged wilderness.
Eloping in Switzerland
The Swiss Alps are a magnificent place to elope, and right up at the top of the most beautiful locations are the towns of Wengen, Grindelwald & Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland. Or if it’s iconic mountain views you are after, it has to be Zermatt with its incredible views of the Matterhorn.
Other Elopement Locations In Europe
I couldn’t write about eloping in Europe with mentioning Norway, Finland & Scotland too. The majestic Norwegian fjords and the stunning Lofoten Islands archipelago are right at the top of my travel bucket list, and are dream locations for any backpacking elopement adventure in Europe. But locations such as Lapland in northern Finland and of course the Scottish highlands shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Backpacking Elopement Logistics
Planning a backpacking elopement can be quite a lot of work. BUT unlike traditional wedding planning, it’s a lot more fun because you’re making decisions about things that you really care about, like where you’re going to go, the places you are going to stay and what things you going to do while you are there. The main challenges for planning this type of adventure elopement (after picking a location which is usually the hardest job) are picking the best route, working out what to pack, and who (if anybody) to take with you.
Your Elopement Ceremony
There are so many different ways you can choose to get married when you elope. If you are looking to make your elopement ceremony legal, this usually (but not always) means you might have to sign your legal papers in an official government location. Legal ceremonies can be pretty short and matter-of-fact, so a lot of couples choose to do the legal stuff separately, and make their elopement ceremony a completely personal ceremony that doesn’t require them to show ID 😉
There are different ways you can personalise your elopement ceremony. Some couples choose to keep things short and sweet, reading vows to each other and exchanging rings. But there are a number of ways to make the ceremony really personal to you, like writing each other poems, giving gifts, singing a song, or taking a celebratory drink from your hip flask.
Some couples even choose to bring a couple of their closest friends or family along with them for the adventure. The wonderful thing about eloping is that there are no rules. So if you want to bring your best friends along to be your witnesses/officiants, that’s totally fine too!
Telling Your Friends And Family
One of the other big challenges a lot of eloping couples face is deciding when and how to break the news to their families & friends. Some couples tell their families right at the start of planning, but I’ve also had a few this year that managed to keep the whole thing a secret until after they had tied the knot.
See Some Real Backpacking Elopements Here