What to Wear to Your Adventure Wedding
April 12, 2019 , PLANNING RESOURCES
Do you know why women wear white wedding dresses? (It’s ok, I didn’t know until recently, and only thanks to my PBS addiction.) Queen Victoria wore a white lace gown when she married Prince Albert. This was an unusual and somewhat brazen choice. Most women wore colored gowns to their wedding up until then. Little did the Queen know that she would lay the foundation for almost two hundred years of tradition.
Knowledge is power. Now that you know it’s origin, feel free to keep with the tradition or break it. The choice really is yours. Your wedding dress is yet another opportunity to make your wedding a true-to-you experience. So whether your dream gown is traditional white, a deep scarlet, or even one of the jet black ones here , you do you!
But, if your idea of a perfect wedding day is lacing up your hiking boots and celebrating your wild love in a wild place, then here are some things to consider when choosing the perfect dress to take on your adventure.
WHAT ACTIVITIES WILL YOU BE DOING? AND WHAT WILL THE LANDSCAPE AND TERRAIN BE LIKE?
Many adventurous brides end up hiking to their ceremony location. If you’re one of those brides, a dress that allows movement is a must. Steer clear of corsets that restrict breathing, too. The air gets thin on mountaintops. Certain styles, such as mermaid and trumpet, are super confining. A ball gown-style, on the other hand, may make it difficult to see the trail in front of you. Instead, choose a lightweight dress that will move with you.
While carrying your gown in your backpack will allow you more flexibility in terms of style, the last thing you want is to be trekking up a fourteener with a sequin gown that weighs almost as much as you do. I recommend material like chiffon that is light, wrinkle resistant, and that will catch the wind for those incredibly romantic windblown mountaintop images. Lightweight materials also won’t weigh you down if there is any chance that you’ll encounter water on your wedding day (I’m looking at you kayaking elopements).
THINK ABOUT THE WEATHER
Your wedding day should be a time to focus on one another and your relationship (that’s why you chose an intimate wedding in the first place, right?). Turning blue in a strapless dress while standing on top of a glacier or sweating buckets while wearing a long sleeve and bulky gown in Moab doesn’t sound like much fun to me. And that’s why it’s so incredibly important to think about your location and how the weather there might change based on the time of year (or time of day!) you’re getting married.
If you’re eloping in the desert, lightweight materials that breathe, like chiffon and silk, are perfect. Getting hitched at a location that sees snow? Wool is your new best friend. Additional layers for over your gown like a shawl or stole will keep you warm and cozy (in other words, happy) and have the added benefit of photographing beautifully. Nude thermal leggings, wooly socks with boots, and hand warmers (only the best invention ever) make cold temps much more manageable. I have recommendations for any and all of this if you need it!
And don’t forget that even warm locations can get pretty chilly early in the day or later in the evening, which are coincidentally the most ideal times to be photographed. Having layers that you don’t mind seeing in your pictures is essential, and is another way to work some of your own personality into your wedding day attire.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BOOTS
Probably the most important detail of all, a comfortable shoe or boot with excellent tread. The actual shoe (like the dress) will depend on the weather conditions, your chosen location’s terrain, and your activity, but being practical is key here. In my opinion, nothing says badass like a bride with hiking boots peeking out from under her gown.
By the way, considering the right shoe goes for the guys, too. Those smooth, slippy soles are a definite no-no for hiking elopements. Safety is definitely the priority here.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DIRT?
Finally, when purchasing a dress, ask yourself whether you would mind it getting dirty. Personally, I love the ombre look that occurs when a wedding dress is taken along on an epic adventure. A dirty dress very much equals a gorgeous dress in my book (and is a sign that you had a good time!). You may or may not feel the same way and this might determine what you feel comfortable spending on a dress. The good news is, there are loads of places to purchase affordable wedding dresses. Which brings me to my last point, where to find the perfect gown for your adventure wedding.
WHERE TO SHOP
BHLDN is full of both bohemian and classic styles.
Dreamer and Lovers is a CA-based dress studio run by some self- proclaimed laid-back ladies that design and hand make all their boho-chic dresses. They prioritize comfort without sacrificing style. Honestly, every.single.one of their dresses makes me gasp, they’re just that gorgeous.
Grace Loves Lace caters to the “modern, free-spirited woman unbound by monotony and tradition.” Sound like you? This is one of my absolute favorite dress shops and when you see their dresses, you’ll know why.
For some more budget friendly options check out this dress roundup, which contains dresses from places like Modcloth and ASOS (pssst, all the gowns are under $1000). Lulus has some crazy beautiful (and crazy affordable!) options as well. I have loads of other suggestions, but for some instant elopement dress inspiration, browse my Elopement Dresses Pinterest board.
Only you know when you are truly comfortable. And I can’t stress it enough, when a bride is comfortable and confident, she is at her most beautiful. Choosing a dress that allows you to experience your wedding day fully and to be completely and utterly in each moment as they come, is the most important part of the selection process.
The goal is to be able to look back and say, “That was the dress I was meant to wear on that day, on that mountain, when I married my person.”
I would be over the moon to help you with all the tiny (and big!) details of your elopement day! Whether it’s dress shopping, choosing an epic location, coming up with ways to involve friends and family in your elopement from a distance, or documenting your wedding day with authenticity, I’m here to help!