Unique Elopement Ceremony Ideas

How Does An Elopement Ceremony Work?

As elopement photographers in Colorado, we get this question a lot. Partly because Colorado is a self-solemnizing state- meaning you can self marry with out witnesses and an officiant. Crazy right? So what the heck do you do at an untraditional elopement ceremony? Do you even walk down the aisle? What do you say to each other when you stand there getting married? The short answer is do whatever feels right.

Elopement ceremonies are untraditional.

After you have picked a location for your elopement ceremony, you can begin planning what you want your ceremony to be. Things to consider when your are starting are a few of the traditional ceremony activities like reading your vows, ring exchanges and first kisses. Elopement ceremonies allow you to add more personal touches to your marriage day by allowing the flexibility to add special touches to the moment. Maybe you want to jump in to a cold alpine lake right after you read your vows, or read your vows in the middle of the night under all the stars with your partner. An elopement ceremony does not have a set timeline. Incorporate the things that are special to both of you! Check out more ideas for your ceremony down below!

What brings you closer?

Think about the things that you guys do together that makes your relationship special. How can you incorporate that into your ceremony? What are activities that you find very fun together? You can get very creative with this. Maybe you really enjoy drawing together, or eating cheese. Maybe you enjoy laying down watching the sunset and you want to lie down for your ceremony while you snuggle your partner and read the vows you write on paper together. Check out the elopement ceremony timeline section for a fun example of this!

Do you need witnesses?

If you are eloping in a state that allows self solemnization, you don’t need an officiant or a witness. You can literally read your vows and plant a tree as your ceremony, sign your license and you’re married! Other states will require an officiant and 2 witnesses to have legal elopement though.

P.S. Apart from being your elopement photographers, we are ordained ministers therefore if you are looking to create a “self solemnizing” ceremony type in another state, one of us can sign as your officiant and the other as your witness! We can maybe ask a random person to the second witness and that will allow you to have that type of ceremony in a different state!

How Long Is An Elopement Ceremony?

Elopement ceremonies can be as short as 5 minutes to as long as 30 minutes! I all depends on what activities you plan to incorporate during the moment. Since elopement ceremonies are more intimate and private, the room to write your boo long, heartfelt vows grows immensely. Also consider how long it takes to find the perfect spot to ready your vows during your adventure elopement! Check out some unique ideas to incorporate to your elopement ceremony.

Want to plan an Adventure Elopement? Download Our Free Adventure Elopement Planning Guide + Checklist To Help You Get Started!

Elopement Ceremony Timeline

What can a timeline look like for an elopement ceremony?

Let’s put this in perspective. Let’s say you two love rock climbing, and that is something that you enjoy doing together and it brings you closer. Here is what a special ceremony + timeline can look like for you.

  1. Find the perfect climbing spot with the best views at the top.
  2. Once you get to the summit, choose place to read your vows
  3. Read your hand written vows
  4. Begin a unity ceremony, for you it might be using your climbing rope for a hand-fasting ceremony or tying your rope as symbolism to “tying the knot”
  5. Exchange rings
  6. First Kiss
  7. Pop Some bubble or eat a donut!

Ideas For Your Elopement Ceremony

Time for the point of the post! Here are a few ideas you can use for your elopement ceremony:

Elopement With Guests Ceremony Ideas.

  • Have a traditional ceremony.
  • Have your guests read their speeches as your ceremony
  • Have your guests write letters for you to read during your ceremony
  • Invite a good friend or family member that knows you well to write up a personal ceremony for you and officiate

Elopement Ceremony Ideas for Just The Two Of You.

  • Read your vows and call it a day
  • Have a unity ceremony. This can include a sage smudging ceremony, tree planting, hand fasting, Unity Shot, tie a knot etc.
  • Build or make something together for your new home
  • Show off your talents. For example: Sing or play an instrument to each other
  • Exchange love letters if you are too shy to read vows out loud
  • Write thank you letters instead of vows to add a twist

Looking For An Elopement Photographer?

We are Laura and Hugo, elopement photographers and planning assistants at Together We Roam! We help couples like you plan the basics for your elopement and document it all. If you need help with your elopement, contact us so we can get started planning your epic day. We are based in Colorado but travel everywhere. IF you are ready to plan a Colorado Elopement, Check out our Colorado Elopement Guide to get you started.


  1. An excellent resource for couples interested in learning unique elopement ceremony ideas. Love seeing people educating their couples, so important! Keep up the beautiful work and sharing the knowledge.

  2. Great ideas and inspiration for creating a personalized elopement ceremony. I love seeing all the different ideas that couples come up with.

  3. Now I want to get married so I can say vows immediately followed by donut eating! Fun list here.

  4. Some amazing ideas here. Looks like it makes so much more intimate with just the wedding couple… thanks for sharing!

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