You’ve planned out all the moving pieces of your epic adventure elopement, you’ve hired your vendors and you’ve got your lodging booked. Now what? Make sure you have all the little things you need for the day of. Here’s a rundown as well as a printable checklist at the end to make sure you’ve packed everything!
If you are having your ceremony in Texas, you can get your marriage license from any county clerk’s office in the state, but it must be applied for in Texas, even if you live out of state. Some offices now provide online marriage license applications due to COVID-19. You can check the official website here!
There is a mandatory 72-hour waiting period from the time you purchase the license to the time you can have your ceremony. You can get the waiting period waived and save yourself $60 off the cost of the marriage license by attending a state-approved “Twogether in Texas” marriage counseling program. Active-duty military can also waive the waiting period by presenting their CAC.
Some state parks and both national parks in Texas require a special-use permit to ensure that your elopement or wedding will not harm the environment and adheres to Leave No Trace guidelines. You must check with the park well in advance to find out whether or not a permit is needed. You can incur heavy fines as well as run the risk of having your wedding interrupted and being kicked out for not complying. Below are our most commonly visited park’s policies, but always call the park for its official policy, whether you see it listed here or not, as they can change without notice.
Big Bend National Park has a $50 application fee with a minimum 4-6 week processing time for wedding permits. You can find all information, including the application, on their permit website here.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park has a $100 application fee with a minimum 6-8 week processing time. Permit information as well as the application can be found here.
Palo Duro Canyon generally only requires permits in the event you will be having chairs, arches, or any physical props/decoration touching the ground (for LNT purposes). They may also require a permit for large groups, so if you plan on having more than 20 guests, call the park office and verify.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is very relaxed when it comes to permits. There is no formal application process, and the permit itself is only $25. Just call the office and let them know you will be having a photographer at your wedding and they’ll get you taken care of.
This is especially important if you will be having your adventure elopement near the US border. For example, the Boquillas Crossing at Big Bend National Park allows you to cross into the village in Mexico, but you must have your passport. If you have a passport, it is always a good idea to bring it with you when visiting areas close to the border like Big Bend or Seminole Canyon.
A great way to keep track of your vows and rings during travel is to put all of them together in a keepsake box. There are many beautiful handmade keepsake boxes on Etsy and they photograph wonderfully. These not only keep you organized for traveling and the day of, but are also the perfect place to keep your vows, printed photos, love notes, cards, and more conveniently and stylishly displayed in your home when you get back!
Don’t forget to bring any personal heirlooms, paper announcements, or keepsakes you’d like to be photographed with you! Your grandmother’s jewelry or photos of a late family member or friend who is no longer with you. This helps make your elopement day even more special and tailored to you.
Don’t forget your little details! If you are having guests, you can designate one responsible person to be in charge of the flowers and décor, so that you don’t have to worry about it.
If you’re flying to your elopement destination or there’s not enough room in your vehicle, you could have your décor shipped to a local FedEx center near your Airbnb. Be careful before having anything shipped to your Airbnb address. Airbnb advises against this, but if you feel the need, make sure to ask the host first!
Traveling with wedding attire can be a drag. The garment bag your dress comes in may not be adequate to protect it. A high-quality, water-repellent garment bag like this one can do wonders for your peace of mind when traveling with an expensive designer gown.
Don’t forget about wrinkles! A portable steamer will get your dress back into shape (literally) and a cotton sock over the steamer head will prevent water spots.
You can store all your wedding accessories in the same keepsake box as your rings and vows or get a large, zippered toiletry bag to help you stay organized.
Keep in mind the terrain to and from your ceremony location. Most couples choose to wear hiking boots the entire time for safety and comfort reasons, but if you decide you still want that stunning pair of heels or dress shoes, pack them up in your backpack and change into them once you’ve arrived at your ceremony location.
Unless you’re planning for a true backpacking elopement out in the backcountry, a 20L daypack with a hydration bladder is the perfect size for your elopement! This one by Camelbak is my personal favorite for adventure elopements in Texas because it has plenty of room for snacks, a blanket, and your bouquet and also comes with a 3L hydration bladder. Guys- hydration is SO important. I never go on a hike in Texas without at least 3L of water. It’s always better to have too much than not enough. Please bring more than a water bottle!
As your photographer, I make an effort to keep things like sunscreen, bug spray, and extra headlamps on me just in case, but it is still a good idea to bring your own for you and your guests!
No matter what the weather forecast says, always be prepared for rain or a sudden temperature change. Make sure to pack umbrellas and raincoats, as well as some layers for those cool desert nights. Yes, even in the summer!
Now that you know what to bring, it’s time to take a deep breath and let the day unfold as it will. You can’t expect everything to go 100% according to plan, but a little preparation goes a long way. With this checklist in hand and me as your ultimate Texas adventure guide/photographer, there’s nothing you can’t handle. I know this state like the back of my hand and I’ve taken the time to be prepared for anything. I got you! Check out my Texas elopement packages or send an inquiry now!
You’ve planned out all the moving pieces of your epic adventure elopement, you’ve hired your vendors and you’ve got your lodging booked. Now what? Make sure you have all the little things you need for the day of. Here’s a rundown as well as a printable checklist at the end to make sure you’ve packed […]