There’s a lot to consider when shopping for your elopement dress that you wouldn’t have to consider if you were getting married in a traditional venue. But what do you need to look out for when searching for elopement dress ideas?

Bride showing off her elopement dress in Big Bend

You definitely don’t want to show up to the trail with a dress that weighs 20 pounds, stuffed in a corset and barely able to move around. You’ll need to make it into the mountains or across the desert in that thing!

So how do you know if a dress will make for a great adventure elopement dress? It’s not like you can take it out for a test hike before you buy it. And if you shop in person the stylist you meet with may not have any idea on what to recommend for someone who wants to hike around on their wedding day.

That’s where I come in! As an elopement photographer and guide I love helping couples get all of their t’s crossed and i’s dotted in the elopement planning process. That means making sure they have all of the proper attire for their adventure elopement! So I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve when it comes to finding the perfect dress for your elopement.

Bride and groom's hiking boots on their elopement day in Big Bend National Park

With this blog you’ll know what kind of styles to look for, the best fabrics for elopement dresses and what you should look out for when you try your dress on to make sure it’s up for the adventure! Plus some weather related tips and tricks that have always helped my couples!

The biggest tip I have for you is to choose a dress you love and feel good in! Being comfortable is super important, especially if you will be hiking and exploring in your dress! So make sure it feels good when you put it on. Choose a dress you absolutely LOVE!

Groom carrying bride across a river during their Texas elopement.

The best fabrics and styles for elopement dresses;

I think the most important thing to consider when looking at dress styles and fabric is being able to move around and feeling comfortable! Some dress styles can be super restrictive.

For your elopement dress you will want to select a lighter fabric that won’t weigh you down when you hike. Some fabrics that are wonderful for elopements would be silk, light tulle and chiffon. These are light weight fabrics that will also move around in the wind and as you explore so it makes for some beautiful photos!  Avoid heavy materials like corsets, boning, and super puffy skirts.

Make sure your dress gives you a lot of space to move around. Especially your legs! You’ll need to be able to lift your legs up to climb over and duck under things, sit on the ground or squat if you have to go to the bathroom out in nature! All things to consider when checking out elopement dress ideas.

Bride climbing up rocks in her elopement dress.

Consider the weather and location;

When you elope outside, weather has a bigger impact on your day than it would have if you were getting married inside a ballroom. So you will want to consider the weather when you’re dress shopping.

If you are getting married in the hotter months you’ll definitely want a dress that’s lightweight. Consider a fabric like silk to wick moisture away in the hotter months and try to avoid sleeves.

For cooler months you’ll need a dress that will fit well with layers. Fleece leggings under your dress can work wonders! And they come in all different skin tones. If you’re eloping in the winter time you’ll want to find an outer layer that you love almost as much as your dress. So you will be excited to have photos in all of your layers!

You’ll want to consider how rain may affect your dress as well.

And lastly, a dress that blows in the wind can make for some epic photos on a windy day. So don’t be afraid of the flowy dresses and skirts. Sometimes the dresses that look kind of boring look INCREDIBLE with some movement, so make sure you twirl and move around to test out what your dress will look like in action. Don’t be afraid of a dress that drags on the ground either. Yes, I guarantee it will get dirty but you will have earned a custom dress ombre by the end of the day. Embrace it! Pro tip when looking for elopement dress ideas; imagine how epic your dress will look when it’s dirty.

A bride's elopement dress with a  custom ombre

How to know if your elopement dress will let you move freely;

Put your dress on and give it a whirl! Hike up and down, raise both arms, make sure you can sit and squat on the ground, practice your favorite yoga moves! Act as if you are hiking on your wedding day. Make sure you will be able to move freely and comfortably.

Brides elopement dress get's muddy on their wedding day

You don’t have to hike in your dress all day;

You’re eloping so you can truly do whatever you want! If you’d rather wear regular clothes as you hike and change when you get to your ceremony location you totally can. When you pack your dress in your hiking pack you’ll just want to roll it up tight and store it in a waterproof bag in case of rain or a spill in your hiking pack. Make sure your dress will fit easily into your hiking pack if this is the route you want to take!

Bride and groom hiking on their elopement day

Where to buy an elopement dress;

I know beginning the search for an elopement dress may feel overwhelming. So here are a few shops that I have found that sell drop dead gorgeous AND elopement friendly dresses (:

Bride showing off her elopement dress in the Texas Hill Country

When should you buy your elopement dress;

You should start the process of researching and setting any in person appointments about ten months before your elopement date. I recommend purchasing your dress 8 months before your elopement. This way you can order your dress and have time for any alterations you want to make before your elopement.

Bride and groom get married in Big Bend national Park

You ready to get your dress dirty and have the adventure of a lifetime?!

I hope this blog gave you some pretty good elopement dress ideas and got you STOKED to head out and find the perfect dress for your elopement. I seriously LOVE seeing brides running around getting their dress dirty and having the best time on their elopement day. There’s nothing like earning a little mud and ombre to customize your dress with.

If you want more planning resources then head on over to my blog to check out all of the elopement planning tips and tricks I have in store for you! How to Plan Your Texas Elopement even goes further into detail on elopement attire!

Follow along on Instagram to see some more epic elopement dresses and adventures! Comment on my latest post to let me know you came from the elopement dress blog, I would love to hear from you!

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