Your dream forest elopement – the ultimate planning guide

UPDATED FOR 2024-2025

How to plan your dream forest elopement - the ultimate guide

When it comes to celebrating love in its purest form, few settings rival the enchanting beauty and timeless allure of a forest. A forest elopement offers couples the opportunity to exchange vows amidst towering trees, sun-dappled glades, and the symphony of nature’s melodies. Unlike traditional weddings, which often involve elaborate planning and large guest lists, a forest elopement is an intimate and deeply personal affair, where the focus is solely on the couple and their love for each other.

In today’s fast-paced world, many couples are opting for elopements as a way to create meaningful and authentic experiences that truly reflect their values and priorities. A forest elopement embodies this ethos, providing a serene and tranquil backdrop for couples to profess their love and commitment to each other in a setting that feels both sacred and sublime.

Throughout this guide, we’ll delve into the magic of forest elopements, exploring the reasons why couples choose this enchanting setting for their special day, the benefits of exchanging vows amidst nature’s splendor, and the unique opportunities for intimacy and connection that a forest elopement affords. Whether you’re drawn to the whispering pines of the Pacific Northwest, the ancient oaks of Europe, or the lush rainforests of South America, a forest elopement promises to be an unforgettable journey filled with love, adventure, and the beauty of the natural world.

Let’s dive in…

How to find the best forest elopement location

How to find the best forest elopement location

Choosing the ideal forest location for your elopement is a pivotal step in creating the magical experience you envision. From towering redwoods to moss-covered glens, forests offer an array of captivating landscapes that can serve as the backdrop for your ceremony. Here’s how to find the perfect forest setting for your elopement:

Research Worldwide Forests

Begin your search by exploring forests worldwide known for their beauty and accessibility. Consider iconic locations like the Redwood National and State Parks in California, USA, or the mystical Black Forest in Germany. Research lesser-known forests as well, as they may offer unique charm and seclusion.

Freely Accessible Locations

Look for forests that are freely accessible to the public, such as national parks, state forests, and nature reserves. These locations often provide stunning scenery without the need for permits or rental fees, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty without constraints.

Considerations for Choosing

When selecting a forest location, consider factors such as landscape diversity, accessibility, and regulations. Look for forests with a variety of settings, including open meadows, dense groves, and flowing streams, to provide versatility for your ceremony and photography.

Local Regulations and Permits

Research local regulations and permit requirements for elopements in your chosen forest location. Some areas may have restrictions on group size, photography permits, or specific areas where ceremonies are allowed. Ensure you understand and comply with these regulations to avoid any issues on your wedding day.

Climate and Season

Consider the climate and season when planning your forest elopement. Different seasons offer unique experiences, from lush greenery in spring to vibrant foliage in fall or snow-covered landscapes in winter. Choose a season that aligns with your vision and preferences for your elopement.

By carefully researching and selecting the perfect forest location for your elopement, you can ensure a magical and unforgettable experience surrounded by the beauty of nature. Whether you’re exchanging vows beneath towering trees or dancing in a sunlit clearing, the forest will provide a breathtaking backdrop for your love story to unfold.

Top 13 forest elopement locations across the globe

When it comes to finding the perfect forest location for your elopement, the world is your oyster. From towering redwoods to lush jungles, there are countless forests around the globe that offer breathtaking beauty and seclusion for your special day. Here are some enchanting forest elopement locations to consider:

Where to plan your forest elopement - Redwood national park

Redwood National and State Parks, California, USA

Known for their towering redwood trees and serene groves, the Redwood National and State Parks offer a majestic backdrop for forest elopements. Exchange vows beneath ancient giants and wander through peaceful trails surrounded by the quiet beauty of the forest.

Optimal time to visit: May and September

Black Forest, Germany

The mystical Black Forest in Germany is steeped in folklore and legend, with dense woodlands, rolling hills, and charming villages. Explore winding forest trails, discover hidden waterfalls, and immerse yourself in the timeless enchantment of this iconic forest.

Optimal time to visit: May to September

Where to plan your forest elopement - Black forest in Germany
Where to plan your forest elopement - Yakushima forest Japan

Yakushima Forest, Japan

Located on the island of Yakushima, this ancient forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its moss-covered trees and mystical ambiance. Walk among ancient cedar trees that are thousands of years old and experience the tranquility of nature in its purest form.

Optimal time to visit: April to November

Trossachs National Park, Scotland

Nestled in the heart of Scotland, Trossachs National Park offers breathtaking vistas of rugged mountains, shimmering lochs, and dense forests. Exchange vows amidst the tranquil beauty of Loch Katrine or wander through ancient woodlands filled with native wildlife.

Optimal time to visit: May to September

Where to plan your forest elopement - Trossachs national park
Where to plan your forest elopement - Moorea

Moorea, French Polynesia

Explore the lush jungles of Moorea, a tropical paradise in the South Pacific. Trek through verdant valleys, discover hidden waterfalls, and exchange vows surrounded by the vibrant colors and exotic flora of this enchanting island.

Optimal time to visit: May to October

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia

Escape to the pristine wilderness of Georgia’s Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, home to some of the oldest and most beautiful forests in Europe. Hike through ancient beech and fir forests, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of this hidden gem.

Optimal time to visit: May to September

Where to plan your forest elopement - Borjomi-Kharagauli in Georgia
Where to plan your forest elopement - Riisitunturi in Finland

Riisitunturi National Park, Finland

Located in Lapland, Riisitunturi National Park is renowned for its snow-covered landscapes, pristine forests, and stunning views of the Northern Lights. Experience the magic of winter in this remote wilderness, surrounded by the beauty of birch and pine trees blanketed in snow.

Optimal time to visit: December to April

Tongass National Forest, Alaska, USA

Discover the untamed beauty of the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Exchange vows amidst towering Sitka spruce and Western hemlock trees, and explore secluded beaches, fjords, and glaciers for breathtaking photo opportunities.

Optimal time to visit: June to August

Where to plan your forest elopement - Tongass National Forest
Where to plan your forest elopement - Great Otway national park

Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia

Immerse yourself in the ancient rainforests of the Great Otway National Park, located along Australia’s famous Great Ocean Road. Wander through lush fern gullies, stand beneath towering mountain ash trees, and marvel at cascading waterfalls hidden within the verdant landscape.

Optimal time to visit: November to April

Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Portugal

Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a fairytale setting for forest elopements. Explore dense forests of oak, pine, and chestnut trees, and discover hidden palaces, gardens, and ancient ruins amidst the mystical landscape.

Optimal time to visit: May to September

Where to plan your forest elopement - Sintra national park
Where to plan your forest elopement - Monteverde cloud forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica

Embark on an eco-adventure in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where misty clouds and lush vegetation create an ethereal atmosphere. Trek through towering canopy trees, encounter exotic wildlife, and experience the magic of the cloud forest in this biodiverse paradise.

Optimal time to visit: December to April

Goblin Forest, New Zealand

Step into a scene straight out of a fantasy novel in New Zealand’s Goblin Forest, located within the Tongariro National Park. Wander among twisted, moss-covered trees adorned with hanging lichens, and feel as though you’ve entered a world untouched by time.

Optimal time to visit: October to April

Where to plan your forest elopement - Goblin Forest in New Zealand

When choosing your forest elopement location, consider the unique beauty and atmosphere of each destination, as well as the season that best suits your vision and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to the towering redwoods of California, the mystical forests of Japan, or the tropical jungles of Moorea, there’s a perfect forest setting waiting to bring your elopement dreams to life.

Climate considerations for your forest elopement

Climate Considerations for Forest Elopements

Understanding the climate variations and seasonal changes in your chosen forest location is crucial for planning a successful elopement. Each season offers its own unique atmosphere and beauty, and selecting the right time of year can greatly enhance your forest wedding experience. Here’s a closer look at the climate considerations for forest elopements:


Spring brings new life to the forest, with trees budding and flowers blooming. The weather is typically mild, with comfortable temperatures and occasional rain showers. Spring elopements offer lush greenery, vibrant wildflowers, and the promise of renewal and growth.


Summer brings warm temperatures and longer daylight hours, making it a popular season for forest elopements. The forest is in full bloom, with dense foliage providing shade and shelter from the sun. Summer elopements offer the opportunity to explore wooded trails, enjoy picnics by babbling brooks, and bask in the natural beauty of the forest.


Fall transforms the forest into a kaleidoscope of colors, with trees ablaze in shades of red, orange, and gold. The crisp air and clear skies create a romantic ambiance, perfect for exchanging vows amidst the splendor of autumn foliage. Fall elopements offer stunning photo opportunities and a sense of coziness as the forest prepares for winter.


Winter elopements offer a magical and intimate experience, with snow-covered landscapes and frost-kissed trees creating a serene and ethereal atmosphere. While temperatures may be chilly, winter forests are quiet and peaceful, providing a sense of solitude and tranquility for couples seeking a romantic escape.

When planning your forest elopement, consider the climate variations and seasonal changes that will impact your wedding day. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant colors of fall, the lush greenery of spring, or the quiet beauty of winter, each season offers its own unique charm and opportunities for creating unforgettable memories in the forest.

Creating Your Dream Forest Ceremony Space

One of the most enchanting aspects of a forest elopement is the opportunity to personalize your ceremony space amidst the natural beauty of the woodland surroundings. Whether you envision exchanging vows beneath towering trees, beside a babbling brook, or in a secluded clearing, creating your dream forest ceremony space is an integral part of planning your magical day. Here’s how to bring your vision to life:

Creating your dream forest elopement - scouting the perfect location

Scouting the Perfect Location

Begin by exploring your chosen forest location to find the ideal spot for your ceremony. Look for a clearing, overlook, or natural feature that speaks to you and reflects the atmosphere you want to create. Consider factors such as accessibility, lighting, and scenery when selecting your ceremony site.

Creating Sacred Spaces

Infuse your ceremony space with a sense of sacredness and intention by adding meaningful touches that reflect your love and commitment. Scatter petals along the aisle, hang dreamcatchers from tree branches, or place candles in glass lanterns to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Consider incorporating rituals or traditions that hold significance for you as a couple to deepen the emotional resonance of your ceremony.

Creating your dream forest elopement - creating a sacred space
Creating your dream forest elopement - embracing the natural elements

Embracing Natural Elements:

Embrace the natural elements of the forest as part of your ceremony decor. Use fallen branches, stones, or driftwood to create rustic altars or ceremonial arches. Adorn chairs with garlands of ivy or ferns, and weave delicate vines through the canopy for a whimsical touch. Let the beauty of the forest inspire your creativity and guide your design choices.

Considering Comfort and Logistics

As you plan your ceremony space, consider the comfort and logistics of your guests (if applicable). Provide seating options such as rustic benches, tree stumps, or blankets for a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Ensure easy access to the ceremony site and consider factors such as shade, weather protection, and restroom facilities to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Creating your dream forest elopement - comfort and logistics

By thoughtfully designing your forest ceremony space, you can create a magical and intimate setting that reflects your love story and celebrates the beauty of nature. Whether you’re exchanging vows beneath a canopy of leaves, beside a tranquil stream, or amidst towering trees, your forest elopement ceremony will be a heartfelt and unforgettable experience for you and your partner.

Capturing your dream forest elopement

Capturing Your Magical Moments

Hiring a Professional Photographer

When it comes to capturing your forest elopement, hiring a professional photographer with experience in outdoor weddings is paramount. Look for a photographer whose style aligns with your vision and who has a portfolio showcasing their ability to work with natural light and landscapes. Schedule consultations with potential photographers to discuss your vision, preferences, and expectations for your wedding photos.

Embracing Natural Light

One of the most enchanting aspects of a forest elopement is the interplay of light and shadow amidst the trees. Work with your photographer to make the most of natural light, whether it’s filtering through the canopy, creating ethereal patterns on the forest floor, or casting a warm glow during golden hour. Trust your photographer’s expertise in working with natural light to capture the beauty and ambiance of your forest surroundings.

Exploring the Forest

Take advantage of the natural beauty and diversity of your forest location by exploring different areas for your photoshoot. Wander along wooded trails, discover hidden clearings, and seek out unique backdrops such as moss-covered rocks, sun-dappled glades, or panoramic vistas. Embrace the adventure of exploring the forest together and allow your photographer to capture the magic of your journey.

Forest elopement packages and pricing

All my packages include:

  • From 1-2 locations to a full 7 days honeymoon and elopement adventure photography coverage
  • Custom planning by a travel agent and elopement planner with:
    • A list of 3 to 4 location recommendations based on your vision (waterfall? black beach? volcano? lake? mountains? You name it!)
    • Complimentary transportation for your day(s)
    • Concierge service for vendors, accommodation, restaurants, you name it! And the option of having it all included in your package
    • Help with anything related to accessibility, permits and rules
    • A printed “how to elope” guide with everything you need to know
    • A custom timeline for your day(s)
    • The possibility to get legally married by your photographer (we’re all US ministers!)
  • Online gallery you can share with the world
  • My travels feels to anywhere in the world are already included!
  • Starting at $10.750

Last details before your forest elopement

Planning a forest elopement involves careful attention to detail and consideration of logistical factors to ensure a smooth and memorable experience. From obtaining permits to arranging travel and accommodations, there are several steps to take to bring your woodland wedding vision to life. Here’s how to plan your forest elopement:

Obtaining Necessary Permits and Permissions

Before finalizing your forest elopement plans, research any permits or permissions required for your chosen location. Some forests may have regulations regarding group size, photography permits, or specific areas where ceremonies are allowed. Contact the appropriate authorities or park services to obtain the necessary permits and ensure compliance with local regulations.

Logistics for Travel and Accommodations

Consider logistics for travel and accommodations for you and your guests (if applicable). Research nearby lodging options, camping facilities, or alternative accommodations that suit your preferences and budget. Plan transportation to and from the forest location, taking into account any hiking trails or remote access points.

Budgeting for Your Forest Elopement

Establish a budget for your forest elopement that accounts for expenses such as permits, photography, travel, accommodations, attire, and any additional services or amenities. Consider any special touches or experiences you want to incorporate into your elopement day and allocate funds accordingly.

Creating a Timeline and Checklist

Develop a timeline and checklist to help you stay organized and on track with your forest elopement planning. Break down tasks into manageable steps and set deadlines for completing each one. Include important milestones such as obtaining permits, booking vendors, and finalizing ceremony details to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Weather Contingency Plans

While the beauty of a forest elopement lies in its natural surroundings, it’s essential to have contingency plans in place for inclement weather. Monitor weather forecasts leading up to your elopement day and have a backup plan for outdoor ceremonies in case of rain or extreme weather conditions.

Communicating with Vendors and Guests

Keep lines of communication open with your vendors, guests, and any other key stakeholders involved in your forest elopement. Provide clear instructions and directions for accessing the ceremony site, and communicate any special considerations or requests in advance. Keep guests informed of any updates or changes to the elopement plans to ensure everyone is on the same page.

By carefully planning and preparing for your forest elopement, you can ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience that celebrates your love amidst the natural splendor of the wilderness. From obtaining permits to arranging accommodations and communicating with vendors, thoughtful planning will help you create the forest elopement of your dreams.

Embracing Sustainability in Your Forest Elopement

Leave No Trace Principles

Embrace Leave No Trace principles when planning and executing your forest elopement. Pack out all trash and waste, including biodegradable items such as food scraps and paper products. Leave natural features and vegetation undisturbed, and avoid creating new trails or paths in the forest. By following Leave No Trace principles, you can help preserve the natural beauty and integrity of the forest for future generations to enjoy.

Support Local and Ethical Vendors

Choose local and ethical vendors who share your commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Select photographers, florists, caterers, and other vendors who prioritize eco-friendly practices, use sustainable materials, and support local communities. By supporting local businesses and artisans, you can reduce transportation emissions and contribute to the local economy.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Consider offsetting the carbon footprint of your forest elopement by supporting carbon offset projects or donating to environmental conservation organizations. Calculate the carbon emissions associated with your travel, accommodations, and other wedding-related activities, and invest in projects that sequester or reduce an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By offsetting your carbon footprint, you can help mitigate the environmental impact of your wedding celebration and support efforts to combat climate change.

Zephyr & Luna - forest elopement planner

Let’s chat!

Are you eager to start planning your forest elopement? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!

Welcome to the Adventure of a Lifetime

Amber, elopement photographer

Hey there, I’m Amber!

Choosing your forest elopement photographer is a monumental decision in crafting your dream wedding day! As someone deeply connected to the beauty of forests, I understand the importance of capturing every moment of your special day amidst nature’s embrace. Not only will I document each cherished moment of your forest elopement adventure, but I’ll also guide you through every step of the planning process to ensure your wedding day exceeds your wildest dreams.

As a forest elopement photographer and experienced traveler, I am dedicated to curating an experience that surpasses your expectations. My personalized location recommendations, travel insights, and tailored timelines are designed to alleviate stress and create unforgettable memories in the heart of nature’s sanctuary.
If you’re ready to embark on your forest elopement journey or wish to explore forest elopement packages further, reach out to me. Let’s start a conversation about bringing your woodland wedding dreams to life!

How to plan your forest elopement - the ultimate guide
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