How to Plan an Elopement-Bo & Robin's Journey! - MAKE/Adventure Stories Photography

How to Plan an Elopement: Bo+Robin’s Rad Journey!

Not sure what an Adventure Elopement is?!?  Didn’t know that an “Adventure Wedding” was a thing?!?  Didn’t know you could “elope” with your family with you?  Feeling lost thinking about what needs to be done and how to plan an elopement?!? No worries, you’re not alone!

When Robin & Bo first chatted with me, they had just gotten engaged and had a glimmer of an idea that they wanted something different for their wedding…

Something with deeper meaning than the traditional pomp & circumstance

~YET~ something more personal than only a quick courthouse ceremony. 

a bride and groom smile happily at each other in a Blue Ridge Mountain waterfall elopement while the groom's mother acts as an officiant. In the background is lush greenery with a gushing waterfall directly behind them in a mountain elopement ceremony.

And so, their adventure wedding experience began…

From wondering how to do something that felt like them, to instead thinking about how to plan an elopement with an adventurous lean with their family, Robin & Bo’s hiking-based, waterfall mountain elopement came from idea to real life “I do!” in just about 4 months of planning!  Their rad journey is a beautiful example of what it’s really like to create a true adventurous elopement experience.

So as our work together for their adventure wedding wrapped up, and their Google review of our time together hit a character limit cutting off their thoughts at a certain length (who knew?!?!), Bo and Robin decided to keep on writing…

They’d learned so much in the process, so wanted to share, inspire, and, shine a light on what is possible and what it’s like to plan an elopement or adventure wedding that balances family + what they really treasure as a couple.

So, I invite you to read Robin & Bo’s rad journey below, in their own words from their perspective.  😊

You might find that their journey quite possibly started exactly where you are starting– “An adventure wedding?  How to plan an elopement?  What does that really mean???” So, take a read, see the story in their images, and know that exactly what you want is possible for you, too!

Enjoy friends! 😄

A couple hikes to a waterfall in Asheville where they plan to have their elopement ceremony. Lush green foliage surrounds them on a narrow lightly worn dirt hiking path. down the hillside on their right a waterfall cascades into a dark pool.

From Bo:

“When Robin and I decided to get married, we knew that we wanted “something different” than the normal, traditional wedding. We are both adventurers and adventurous at heart. But we weren’t quite sure what steps would be best to take to plan and partake in the ideal adventure wedding…especially because our families were more comfortable with the traditional wedding. In truth, at the start, we had not even really heard of an “adventure wedding.”

In January, as I was taking a wilderness medicine course, one of the other class participants introduced herself as Kate and “I’m an adventure wedding planner and photographer.” At the next break, I called Robin and we decided we needed to talk to Kate immediately for ideas.

[Exploring Adventure–Why it Matters]

As the conversations started, Robin and I soon realized that an adventure wedding was perfect for us. We had both been married before, and the first weddings were the traditional-style weddings. As wonderful as those can be, we deeply desired a more intimate experience that celebrated our personal passions and interests above the expectations of a typical event that can seem more about pomp and circumstance at times.

We wanted to spend our wedding day doing the things that make us happiest and feeling most alive, rather than creating an event that can seem more about what others are expecting.

Kate engaged us in an ongoing dialogue and relationship in which she asked great questions and got us storytelling about our relationship, our interests, our hobbies, what we loved doing together and what we loved most about each other. She tactfully got us talking together about the various aspects of a “wedding” and what attributes we wanted to preserve or jettison from the traditional type of wedding.

She also inquired thoughtfully about the family and friends who would attend, what their expectations might be and, eventually, she coached us about how to share with them the nature of our adventure wedding so that they could best understand why we were designing this experience the way we did.

After the deep conversation and inquiry, Kate scouted locations and proposed several scenarios that we discussed to refine thinking and elicit even more detail about what was most important to us. She was a sherpa and guide in the conceptual ideation, and, we would learn later, that she would also willingly be a sherpa for the equipment that might be necessary on this adventure!

[How to Plan an Elopement  + An Adventurous Wedding Focused on *Us*]

When we thought about the kind of pictures we wanted, we knew that we did not want staged, studio-style images. We wanted a more documentary and story-telling style that combined the best of “Outdoor” magazine with “Modern Wedding” magazine.

In the end, we actually ended up eloping two weeks prior to the planned, family wedding for 12 people.

Kate thought this was fabulous and encouraged us that this was, in fact, part of our adventure story. We continued with the planned wedding, and we were able to have the best of both worlds in terms of a day to ourselves and a day with family. Kate supported and encouraged our decision making – and our spontaneity – all along the journey.

In deepening our preparations for the planned wedding, we made a number of scouting missions to Brevard, NC, and Pisgah National Forest. We would send Kate iPhone pictures and videos, and she would ask excellent questions and point out pros/cons of each location. Kate also researched the area and took care of calling various places, checking on permitting, and getting a sense of access and volume of traffic from other hikers and adventurers that would not be “planned guests.”


Our sense of relief and excitement about the ideas and implementation of our wedding skyrocketed thanks in no small part to Kate. She helped us explore our thoughts and feelings about our shared vision for the wedding, and she helped us craft the details of the day, so many of which we were initially unsure about because we had only ever experienced a traditional wedding previously. We wondered – and worried, to be honest – what the day would look like minute to minute, and Kate helped us picture, plan and execute on all the details – from hotel, to food and beverage (which has to be toted in, of course), to flowers and clothing, to timing of the sunset, to developing contingency plans for weather possibilities, to the proper footwear that meets the needs of hiking and wedding photos!

Throughout the journey, Kate was an outstanding communicator. She utilized a website that archived and shared all of the valuable conversations and invaluable ideas and considerations. She was a true partner and professional in the countless messages that we felt needed to go back and forth to create the experience we most wanted.

[Not just a Wedding–Planning an Adventure Elopement *Experience*]

On the day of the wedding, Kate helped manage the parents and family as things came up, she acted as sherpa of various pieces of equipment (so that certain items would not be in so many of the pictures!), and she expertly captured and documented our day.  In fact, she came a day early and spent a couple of hours with us at Courthouse Falls and Pisgah Tavern, so that we could have images in an even more intimate, just-the-two-of-us way.

All of the images are stunning and record not only the events but the true emotions and exuberance of the adventure experience.


[From the 1st Seeds of Planning… to… Bringing Memories to Life!]

When it came time to see and package the images, Kate was, once again, an incredible guide and partner. In a wonderful design sequence [to create our Adventure Books & framed prints] of prototyping and testing for feedback, Kate helped us dial in the photo options that were best for us. When the photo books and packages were ready, she even brought them to our home.

Of course, we offered some delicious snacks and drinks on our end, but the adventure continued well past the wedding because Kate is ALL-IN for the experience being personal, meaningful, magic, and exceptional. She became a true friend early in the process, and we want and like to hang out with Kate because she is so amazingly interesting, thoughtful, considerate, provocative, and people centered.

While the business side of things was expertly handled, it very rarely felt like a “business transaction” because Kate always concentrated on making it about the adventure, the experience, and the love-centered story of us.  Our parents raved about Kate after the wedding, and they continue to ask about her.

A true testimony to what is most important when capturing the memories of the adventure of marriage – it’s about the people.

The family and the bride and groom in an adventure elopement smile at each other as they prepare to hike through the forest to the ceremony location

And just in case you missed it, the photos are incredible! We are so blessed to have these memories available in picture form. Even more importantly, though, we are so blessed to have taken this adventure-wedding journey with Kate in the navigator’s seat.”

–Words & story courtesy of Bo & Robin!

A National Forest and National Park elopement location where a car is driving down a narrow dirt road, with lush green trees flanking the road

Click here to see information on current Elopement Packages & details , or click here to email me with any questions you might have about how to plan an elopement or adventure wedding that is PERFECT for your story!


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