Three Ways To Plan A Sustainable Elopement

April 3, 2024

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bride and groom walking in a mountain for their adventure elopement

Your wedding celebrations are an exhilarating and fun start to your new life together, but they’re also a beautiful opportunity to start this new chapter with meaning, intention, and love, not just for each other, but also for the world we live in. That’s why I always encourage the couples I work with to create a sustainable elopement! By this, I simply mean including some eco-conscious ideas and practices into your elopement adventure, which will reduce the environmental impact of your celebration. 

Just like when you travel or within your normal daily life, you can also make sustainable practices a key tenant of your destination elopement, helping to support ethical tourism wherever you decide to elope. Even better, it’s easier than you might think! 

Here’s how to plan a sustainable elopement that will be beautiful, true to your values, and kind to the natural environment that we so deeply treasure. 

1. Plan Your Elopement Based On The Leave No Trace Principles

One of my biggest sustainable elopement tips is to base your elopement around the principles of Leave No Trace. While we often think of Leave No Trace in the context of national or state parks, it can be applied anywhere.

Essentially, they are a series of guidelines that outline how we can best protect our natural environment as we interact with it. These include respecting wildlife, disposing of any waste you find or create, planning and preparing in advance, not removing anything that you find within nature, and being considerate of others. 

However, there are lots of practical ways that you can use these principles to create an eco-friendly elopement. You can select a “leave-no-trace-aware” photographer, partner with local florists who work with seasonal blooms, and hire cruelty-free or environmentally conscious hair and makeup artists who avoid using sprays or products with harmful chemicals. 

Also, if you’re planning a destination elopement, avoid any destination that supports unethical animal practices, such as touching wild animals, elephant rides, or captive dolphins. 

To demonstrate my strong support for Leave No Trace in my own work, a percentage of my wedding photography packages will be donated to Founder’s Pledge, a climate change charity. Our pristine national parks and outdoor areas are absolutely my favourite areas to photograph, but also to enjoy and relax in, so Leave No Trace is something I believe in very strongly. 

Stanford University research found that the average wedding generates 56 tons of carbon emissions, so if every couple made even a few small changes, it would have a massively positive impact on the world. 

photograph of a wedding bouquet

2. Save Resources To Create An Eco-Conscious Wedding

When considering how to have a sustainable elopement, one easy change you can make involves the resources you purchase and the vendors you work with. 

Whether you’re doing your own catering and planning a lakefront picnic to celebrate your elopement or hiring a caterer or private chef, aim to go plastic-free. Reusable cutlery and dishware not only look and feel much nicer, but are kinder for the planet. You can also use real, locally sourced flowers or live plants for your florals, rather than selecting plastic arrangements. 

However, the sustainable wedding ideas don’t end there — you can also incorporate them into your fashion choices! A wedding dress or pantsuit is often such an important part of the elopement (of course!), but you can also shop sustainably for this special item.

There is a huge second-hand industry online for wedding dresses, whether you want something relaxed and bohemian or high-end luxury, such as Stillwhite, Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses, and Nearly Newlywed. Often, brides resell their wedding dresses after their wedding, so this is a great way to not only reuse fabrics and clothing, but to purchase a like-new gown for a reduced price. 

Of course, many brides prefer a new dress, so in that case, I encourage you to support local designers who use sustainable materials and practices. 

As your destination elopement photographer, I’m always happy to help you brainstorm more ideas about eco-conscious elements that you can add to your wedding. This topic means the world to me, and I know it does to you too, so I’m glad to assist. 

couple holding bags and walking to their elopement ceremony in the mountains in Alaska

3. Aim To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

If you’re travelling for your adventure elopement, even just a short distance, it’s worth thinking about how you can reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re going to be flying, you can play your part by trying to select direct flights, packing light, and staying longer in one place, extending your elopement adventure for a bit longer! 

Once you arrive at your destination, taking public transport or walking and cycling, when possible, is always a better alternative than driving. With so many beautiful adventure elopement locations in BC, spending time hiking, kayaking, or cycling is also such a meaningful way to get to know your elopement destination!

If you’re staying in a resort or hotel, it’s also worth looking into their sustainability initiatives, ensuring they’re taking steps to recycle, reduce waste, and preserve their natural surroundings. 

You can also help reduce your carbon footprint through the cuisine you enjoy during your elopement, particularly if you’re inviting several guests. Meat has a much larger footprint than other foods, so limiting meat intake can be a good way to do this. 

However, if you are serving meat, consider supporting a local butcher rather than a large grocery store chain. With meat, produce, or seafood, reducing the distance the food has to travel plays a big role in reducing its carbon output, which is a top reason to support local businesses! 


I hope this sustainable elopement guide has provided food for thought! If you have questions about adding eco-friendly elements to your wedding, or to start planning your elopement photography, please reach out — I’d love to get to know you! 

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I find purpose in the art of creation — of truly seeing, and making people feel seen.



bride and groom walking in a mountain for their adventure elopement


Here’s how to plan a sustainable elopement that will be beautiful, true to your values, and kind to the natural environment that we so deeply treasure.

bride and groom walking and looking at each other while walking in the wilderness during their elopement
couple hugging in volcanic scenery in Tenerife


If you’re looking for incredible mountainous landscapes, oceans, and year-round perfect weather, a destination wedding in the Canary Islands is your vibe!

couple holding each other by a rocky beach in Australia

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I'm your photographer if you crave adventure, love spontaneity, and are passionate about finding beauty in the road less traveled. As a BC elopement and micro-wedding photographer who is constantly inspired by the outdoors and loves to travel all over the province (and the world!), I’m up for any adventure in the destination of your dreams!

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