What Is an Adventure Wedding?

A bride and groom hiking in the mountains on their adventure wedding.

An adventure wedding is exactly what it sounds like—an adventure! You can think of it as a modern twist on an elopement, although it doesn’t have to be an elopement per se. The idea of an “adventure wedding” became more popular over the last two years as couples sought a way to make their big day extra special despite all the COVID-related restrictions. But the idea is not new. Basically, instead of taking a walk down the aisle to say your vows, couples are taking entire journeys before they tie the knot. Think: hiking up to the top of a mountain, sailing to an island, or skydiving into a park.

It’s a Way to Show Your Dedication

A bride and groom on mountain bikes.

The concept is romantic, in a way, as the “adventure” is almost symbolic of your commitment to your spouse and the energy you put into the journey shows how hard you’re willing to work to make it all happen. By committing to an adventure wedding, you’re basically saying that your partner is “worth the effort.” It’s safe to say that the experience can be bonding and leave you with plenty of picturesque moments to remember. If you and your significant other don’t mind getting your hands (and outfit) a bit dirty, an adventure wedding may be perfect for you.

It Doesn’t Have to Be an Elopement

A bride and groom sitting in a rowboat on a lake.

Although adventure weddings can include other guests, it’s ideal for those keen on small weddings or elopements (or if you simply want an excuse to keep your guest list small). Most couples who opt for this wedding style want to keep things private, which is no different from an elopement. However, some do want to include others on their adventure, but keep the guest list small. For example, the couple may want to take a hike up the mountain on their own (alongside maybe a guide and/or a photographer), but they’ll have their loved ones waiting at the top for the actual ceremony. Alternatively, you can keep the ceremony private and invite everyone to a reception or after party at a more accessible location.

You can take things up a notch, though. If you have adventurous friends or family members, you can organize a group activity that allows others to come with you. Hikes, rafting trips, or even zip lining are fun options that most people can participate in.

Look Your Best

A bride and groom holding hands in the desert in front of a rock formation.

Many couples love the idea of taking their journey in their actual wedding outfits. Yes, that means as a bride, you can wear a white dress on your hike, for example. So, think about function over fashion when choosing what to wear. And, it should be obvious, but prepare for things to get a bit dirty. It’s also probably best to wear comfortable shoes, depending on what adventure you choose to embark on. You can pack a pair of heels for the actual ceremony if you want to change into something nicer for the actual vows.

In addition, don’t forget to touch up your hair and makeup before you officially tie the knot. It’s likely that things might get messed up a bit on the way. Therefore, pack a small toiletry kit with basic essentials.

Consider Hiring a Professional Photographer

A wedding photographer taking a photo of a bride and groom on their adventure wedding.

Ideally, one that’s in shape and willing to embark on an adventure with you. Sure, you can rely on selfies, but many couples who hired a professional to document their journey claim it was a fantastic decision. After all, you’ll likely encounter plenty of scenic moments. It’ll also be easier to enjoy all of it and focus on the experience if you don’t have to worry about taking your own pictures and videos.

Always Double-Check Regulations

A bride and groom in a hot air balloon.

One last important thing to note: as with any venue, you should make sure you don’t need special permission to conduct a marriage ceremony. Even with parks, you likely need to apply for a permit to be able to marry there, especially if you’re organizing an event with guests.

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