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Planning a destination elopement in 2024? Here’s a list of U.S. and international destinations for you

June 12, 2019



Planning a destination wedding or elopement in the U.S. or abroad? I’ve photographed elopements and destination weddings in 10 U.S. states and the country of Colombia. In 2024, I get to photograph a wedding on the Big Island in Hawai’i and I cannot WAIT!

If you caught my previous blog post, you know it was packed full of goodies like a checklist to help plan a destination elopement, and inspiration on different landscapes for elopements!

There are so many beautiful destinations to choose from, where do you even start? I thought I’d share some of my favorites based on different landscapes: beach, forest, desert, mountain, and tundra.

I want to share some of my favorite destinations with you! I’ll break it down by destination type and then give you a U.S. and international recommendation for each. ALL of the international ones are places I’ve been, and I would LOVE to send you my past itineraries or help you plan your trip!

beach elopement locations

Beach elopements are serene, relaxating, and romantic. Before and after the ceremony, you can literally just plop yourself on the beach, enjoy some coconut water and take in the sunrise or sunset together while the breeze blows through your hair.

in the US (kind of): Vieques, PR

A quick flight from Miami and no passport required, you’ll feel like a million bucks on an affordable budget! There are two smaller islands off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques. Culebra is continually ranked one of the best beaches worldwide, but the ferry line for Vieques is much shorter and there is more infrastructure on the island.

Scuba dive with sea turtles, kayak at night over Bioluminescent Bay, awe at the wild horses and moped around the island to find many intimate spots. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, whether on mainland or the smaller islands, and that combined with the sabor (flavor) and rich food and culture make Puerto Rico my pick for a beach elopement in the U.S.

international: Baja California Sur, Mexico

Baja California Sur is infamous for “Cabo”, aka Cabo San Lucas. Marcelo and I went in fall of 2018 and it was BREATHTAKING! We went in October, which was technically off-season, so we had entire beaches all to ourselves.

Our favorite spot, and one I recommend for an international beach elopement: Playa Balandra in La Paz. Do a day tour with La Paz Vip Tours, where you will snorkel in crystal clear water with seals, see some blue-footed boobies, and if you’re lucky, swim with whale sharks!!!

Playa Balandra is typically the lunch spot, and we also went back for sunset. The view is so spectacular that we didn’t want to leave, and enjoyed a romantic view with fewer than 10 people around us.

A photograph of an iconic arch in Cabo San Lucas over the blue ocean

forest elopement locations

Adventurous couples who love to hike, be secluded and be totally surrounded by giant pines, evergreens, or sequoias are drawn to the lush greens of the forest.

In the US: Redwood Forest, California

It’s no secret that the west coast has hidden gems that you could only dream of – picture yourself getting married among the ancient, tall trees in a misty forest? Let’s go.

bonus local recommendation!!!

If you live in Kentucky and want the feeling of a destination elopement in the forest, but want to have a “real” wedding with as many guests as you’d like, you HAVE to visit EVENTS AT HEMLOCK SPRINGS near the Red River Gorge. It’s got a bridal and groomsmen suite, an apartment loft for the bride and groom, wooded ceremony site and full service reception hall with catering and so much more! I did a styled shoot there that was featured in KY Bride and the owners are SO friendly and created this place after having their own wedding there. How sweet!

international: Valle del Cocora, Colombia

This nature preserve in Antioquia, Colombia, boasts some of the world’s tallest palm trees that stare down at you like gentle giants. You can hike or ride horseback to take advantage of its views, even rent a lovely cabin and wake up to the sounds of this peaceful, tropical valley around you.

desert elopement locations

Warm desert colors, cacti, the place where sand meets sky, endless landscape, little chance of rain – what more could you ask for? Modern, hip couples escape to the desert for beautiful ceremonies in the desert.

in the US: White Sands, New Mexico

I didn’t know this place existed until a few years ago, and since then I have been DYING to go! Imagine nothing but beautiful light surrounding you as you exchange vows, walk into the endless desert together, and watch the colorful sunrise and sunset from here. The best part, you can find very cheap flights nearby thanks to airlines like Allegiant and Frontier, and since it’s a national park, entrance is also very affordable!

Any wedding colors would look stunning across this backdrop.

Photo credit: @danitheexplorer

international: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

So, technically salt flats and not a desert, BUT you will find cacti here!!! The Salar de Uyuni tour (which I have done twice) take you by Jeep on a journey through this seemingly desolate, but naturally rich area. While typically dry, if you get there in rainy season, it seems you are standing on a glassy lake with beautiful reflections from the miles of open mountains. Everyone always comes back with cool pictures like this (spot me second from the left!) 🙂

mountain elopement locations

Another favorite of couples who are down for a hike, the mountain is a perfect spot to revel in nature’s majesty and secure a breathtaking backdrop for your vows.

In the U.S.: Yosemite National Park, California

Another destination where dreams come true, this has to be one of my TOP favorite places I see elopement pictures from! This expansive park has endless possibilities when it comes to elopement locations, and I’m more than ready for a long hike if it means you get beautiful images like this one from @thefoxesphotography

International: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

MY FAVORITE PLACE! Torres del Paine has 2 – 4 day hikes and has such a unique landscape, including glaciers, crystal clear glacial lakes, a rock beach, and views snowy peaks. With several camping and “glamping” options available, you will enjoy seeing a rare gem nestled in the south of Chile.

snowy elopement locations

Not for the faint of heart, a wintry destination is a VERY unique place to elope – I’m picturing a (faux) fur wrap or a bright, colorful hood for the bride and some (faux) leather boots for the groom. Plus, if you can time this right at a location that has Northern (or Southern) lights, what a view!

in the US: Alaska

It may seem a world away, but you’re sure to have a unique elopement if you journey here!

I’m thinking a Husky-driven sleigh to the elopement site, beautiful white snow and tall evergreens in the background, and maybe sightings of bears if we get lucky!

Photo credit: Andagies

international: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Rumored to have inspired the Disney Castle, this stunning work of architectural art looks most magical in the wintertime! This picture is not mine, but when I went they were repairing the bridge that has this vantage point. Wouldn’t this be a dreamy elopement site??? We can enjoy some delicious German pastries and hot glüwein afterwards!

photo credit: Google Images

So, where to?

Who’s got a serious case of the travel bug now??? I know I do! All in all, no matter what spot you pick for your destination elopement, without a doubt it will be a journey to remember. If you are interested and want to get started with planning your destination elopement, fill out the contact form below and let’s book your date!

Happy planning!

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