Seattle Adventure Elopement Photographer | James Thomas Long Photography | Nine Great Reasons to Elope!

Adventure Elopements are an incredible way for couples to break away from tradition, head into nature, and celebrate their love for each other. And ever since the pandemic, even more couples are choosing an intimate elopement over a big traditional wedding. But is it right for you?

I’ve put together a list of some of the benefits that eloping has over traditional weddings. Don’t get me wrong – traditional weddings are great too, but elopements offer some pretty awesome advantages. And did you know that the Pacific Northwest is one of the most sought after adventure elopement destinations in the world? Yep, our own backyard, as it turns out is a prime elopement destination! Read on and see why many couples are deciding to elope here in beautiful Washington State and destinations worldwide:

1. You get to have your elopement just about anywhere you’d like… in the world! Eloping gives you the freedom to get married wherever and whenever you want. Want to go on a hike up to a fire lookout and say your vows to each other surrounded by gorgeous sweeping views at sunset? We can make it happen for you! Or, maybe a beach is more your thing and you’d like to end the day snuggled together by a campfire. You can choose a location that has special meaning to you or that you have always wanted to visit. The world is your oyster and the sky is the limit!

2. Elopements are FULLY INTENTIONAL! Unlike a traditional wedding where traditions often take over, leaving you very little room to make your wedding uniquely you, every part of your elopement experience is intentional. You can exchange vows and celebrate your love in a way that feels authentic and true to you, without You’re wedding day should be, first and foremost, about you and your partner. Eloping allows you to prioritize your own happiness and do what feels right for you as a couple, without feeling pressure to conform to societal expectations or family traditions. And you can still bring along family and friends if you like and/or have a reception celebration or party afterwards where you invite all of your people.

So what would the ideal that entail to you? Would it be a picnic and a hike to a beautiful overlook where you say your vows to each other at sunset with mountains as your witness, followed by an intimate toast by a campfire back at your cabin? Would it be an small ceremony on the beach at sunset, followed by romantic photographs under the stars and around a campfire. Or how about an all-day excursion where you have lunch with close family and friends, picnic on Mount Rainier and kiss as the setting sun paints the sky full of gorgeous colors? Or what about an off-road jeep adventure? Whatever your vision, hiring an amazing elopement photographer (like James Thomas Long Photography, of course!) can make it happen! I’ll not only capture beautiful images of your day, I’ll help you plan it out too!

3. Cost: Eloping is much, much cheaper than having a big wedding! Without having to rent a venue or provide catering (as well as decor, invites, etc.), you’ll save a LOT of money. Anything you might want to splurge on for your elopement (accommodations, jeep guide, rentals, travel, etc.) will still cost so much less than a traditional wedding. You’ll get to have an amazing elopement experience AND save a lot of money!

4. Elopements are less stressful! Planning a large wedding can be incredibly stressful, from coordinating with vendors to managing guest lists and dealing with family dynamics. Eloping eliminates all these stressors and allows you to focus on each other. As your elopement photographer, I’ll help you plan an amazing, stress-free elopement experience that celebrates who you are as a couple!

5. Elopements are more intimate. Hey, not everyone is a super extrovert! But elopements are not just for introverts either! Since it is just the two of you (or a small group of close family and friends), an elopement provides a more intimate and personal experience. This might just be the most meaningful way to celebrate your love!

6. Elopements save time! Planning a big wedding can take months or even years, whereas eloping… not so much! This allows you to focus on your relationship and your new life together, rather than getting all caught up in the wedding planning process. Sure, you can hire a professional wedding planner (and if you are having a more traditional wedding, I highly recommend that you do!), but then that adds quite a bit more to your overall cost too.

7. Elopements allow you to avoid drama! Who wants drama on their wedding day? Big weddings can come with a lot of drama and stress from family, guests, and the overall planning process. By eloping, you can avoid any unnecessary drama and stress that can come with a large gathering. And remember, you can always include some guests or celebrate with them later if you decide to elope, so family and friends don’t need to feel left out.

8. Infinite flexibility! We kind of already mentioned this, but it deserves an encore. Eloping gives you the ultimate freedom to get married wherever, whenever, and however you want.

9. GORGEOUS PHOTOGRAPHS! I was tempted to put this at number 1 above, but didn’t want to make this whole thing look super biased towards photography from the start (I am an elopement and wedding photographer, after all!), but it definitely deserves special mention. For starters, we can plan your elopement to have the best lighting possible for you. Most often, with traditional weddings, the photographs of the couple end up happening at a time of day when the light is less ideal, with sunset usually occurring right in the midst of the reception. I really can’t say this enough: LIGHTING IS HUGE when it comes to photography! It just is. I can get beautiful images any time of day, BUT, there is no way we’ll be able to make harsh midday sunlight look as good as it would near sunset. That is just a hard fact. Secondly, while there are lots of really beautiful venues, even the best of them typically fall short in comparison to what we can find in a National Forest or National Park, etc. The flexibility to choose the location, time of day (for best lighting), etc. allows us to capture spectacular photographs that would not be possible at a traditional venue.


Elopements are becoming increasingly popular as traditional wedding costs soar and couples are keying in to the many benefits of eloping. And I know that one of the biggest drawbacks of eloping is that you can’t invite everyone, and that doesn’t always sit well with family. And while every couple needs to make their own decisions on how to handle this, I wanted to leave with one last thought on this topic:

One of the greatest acts of love that family members can give you is the space and support for you to do what feels right for you and your partner on your wedding day. And as has been mentioned here, a wonderful way to include more family and friends for your elopement is to have a reception or gathering afterwards on a separate day. It can be as “low-key” or “over-the-top” as you like, but it is a great way to bring your loved ones together to celebrate with you. Win win! And seriously, who is to say you can’t do both an elopement and a traditional wedding too!

I can’t wait to help make your dream elopement come true!


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