A Guide to Hiking in Your Wedding Dress

Tali      April 30th, 2023

After deciding to elope and looking into epic locations for a ceremony,  a common question that comes up is “How am I going to hike in my wedding dress?” If you are trying to figure out the best way to get yourself and your wedding clothes to your stunning adventure elopement backdrop, we have the perfect resource for you! We are answering all your hiking in wedding clothes questions.

HOW TO HIKE IN YOUR WEDDING CLOTHES

EMBRACE THE ADVENTURE IN YOUR WEDDING ATTIRE

This is the most common choice of our couples and honestly we think it is the best way to take a little extra stress out of your day. Instead of worrying about how to keep things clean, a lot of our couples just embrace the experience. By the end of the day, your wedding dress will tell the story of your adventure… Whether it’s little muddy pawprints accenting the lace of your train, a stunning ombre of desert dirt fading up the skirt, or some ocean spray clinging to the hem, it all tells the story of your day and the adventures that you had. TBH, we have also had some really dirty dresses from wedding venues and reception halls… dresses that touch the floor tend to get dirty anywhere.

Keep in mind that if you are doing a long or particularly strenuous hike, activities where things could easily snag or get caught, or activities that might be made more dangerous by loose, flowy, or restrictive attire, this might not be an option for your entire day.

A bride and groom hike along the beach in their wedding clothes in search of the perfect picnic spot during their Big Sur elopement. The bride is hiking in her wedding dress with her train trailing behind her in the sand.
Hiking in their wedding clothes, bride and groom explore a cave on the beach during their big sur elopement.
A bride and groom fish in Lake Superior on their wedding day at Gooseberry Falls State Park. Up for adventure, the bride wore her wedding dress while hiking along the rocky shore. Spring is a magical time in Minnesota and one of the best times to elope in Minnesota.
Dust kicks up around their feet as a bride and groom run across a bridge in their wedding clothes during their elopement. The bride's elopement wedding dress blows in the wind as she runs.

PACK IN YOUR WEDDING CLOTHES

Packing your dress or wedding clothes in is a great solution for keeping them pristine until you reach your destination or for keeping them hidden for a first look reveal. Carefully rolling your wedding clothes to prevent wrinkles, placing them in a protective bag to keep them safe from water, weather, and spills, and packing them into a hiking pack is a great way to transport your wedding attire. Larger garments, such as dresses with full skirts, might need to be attached to the outside of a hiking pack. If you aren’t keen on hiking in your wedding clothes, this might be the solution for you! When you get to your destination, you’ll want to have a plan for where to change. If your destination is remote, you might be able to find a secluded area for your outfit swap. Other places may have a shelter or bathroom you could use for changing. One of our favorite solutions is bringing a blanket to hold up for cover. If you’re planning a picnic, your picnic blanket can serve a double purpose and make a great changing tent. Pop-up changing tents are also an option, but can be bulkier and heavier to pack. We wouldn’t suggest these unless you are planning a shorter hike or in a really crowded area where you wouldn’t feel comfortable changing without one.

Our biggest tip for hiking with your wedding clothes is to make sure that you invest in a good hiking pack, especially if you have heavier clothes or a long hike. The support in a backpacking or hiking backpack is made to distribute the weight so that you can more comfortably carry heavy loads for longer distances. Bonus points for one with a hip belt to transfer the weight off of your shoulders!

A man looks out over the rolling hills of the Black Hills National forest during his adventure elopement in South Dakota.
A woman and her dog hike through a meadow during her Bighorn National Forest elopement. Carrying your wedding dress in a hiking backpack is a great alternative to hike in a wedding dress.

WEAR YOUR WEDDING DRESS HIKING, BUT KEEP IT CLEAN

If changing at your final destination isn’t the option for you (complicated attire that would be difficult to change into, you aren’t comfortable changing at your destination, or maybe you want to be able to stop and take pictures along the way), we have some tips and tricks to help you keep your wedding dress clean. Cutting holes in the bottom of a trash bag for your legs to go through is an easy and cheap way to create a protective carrier for the bottom of your dress while you are wearing it. It’s waterproof and keeps everything up and off the ground. Adding a belt or suspenders can help hold it up to keep your hands free. Using a “bridal buddy” is also a great way to keep your dress up and out of the way for hiking. You can even use it with your trash bag if you want a more waterproof solution.

The North Shore of Minnesota is one of the best places to elope in the Midwest. Minnesota is beautiful year round, but we think fall is one of the best times of year to elope in Minnesota.
A couple embrace illuminated by the glow of their lanterns along the shore of Lake Superior on a moody fall evening. The Duluth Lift Bridge can be seen along the skyline behind them. Beautiful weather is one of the reasons we think fall is the best time of year to elope in Minnesota!
A bride and groom smiles at the camera among a forest of fall leaves. The bride is wearing a cute white jacket and a black trash bag. Her wedding dress is tucked into the trash bag to keep it clean while she hike in wedding dress during her fall adventure elopement along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN.
A bride smiles at the camera while wearing a cute white jacket and a black trash bag. Her wedding dress is tucked into the trash bag to keep it clean while she hike in wedding dress during her fall adventure elopement along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN.
A bride and groom smile at one another as they hike through a forest of fall leaves during their fall adventure elopement along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN. Hiking in their wedding clothes during their Duluth elopement was part of the excitement of the day for this adventure loving couple.

CHOOSE AN ALTERNATE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION

You don’t have to hike to have epic views. If the idea of hiking in your wedding clothes or with your wedding clothes isn’t for you, consider picking a location that can be accessed without hiking. There are lots of beautiful locations that can be accessed by car, 4×4, boat, or even helicopter for absolutely breathtaking views without the hike. Some of these options, such as boat, 4×4, and helicopter are even able to bring you to more remote places than you could get to hiking! Plus, you get a pretty sweet adventure on the way there.

HAVE A “HIKING OUTFIT” FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT

Some couples choose to have a dedicated wedding outfit for the adventure part of their day, much like a reception dress for a traditional wedding. This is a great option if your dream wedding dress or outfit isn’t something that you want to hike in, but you still want to fit in a full adventure in your wedding clothes. Plus, you get to have two different looks for your day! We also love this option for couples who want to do something crazy on their day like jump in the ocean, dance in the rain, or 4×4 through the mud, but want to be clean and dry later on in the day.

A short dress makes it easy for this bride to hike in her wedding dress during her elopement in Lost Dutchman State Park near Phoenix, Arizona.
A bride and groom kiss on the beach during their elopement in Big Sur, California. Footprints in the sand indicate they that have been hiking along the beach in their wedding attire. The train of the brides dress is sanding from hiking in her wedding dress.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR HIKING IN YOUR WEDDING ATTIRE

A couple hikes through a tunnel of trees during their Big Sur adventure elopement in California in their wedding clothes. The brides dress kicks up some dust as it drags through the dirt while she is hiking in wedding dress.
Lit by the light of their lanterns, a bride and groom kiss during their fall Devil's Lake elopement. Fall is one of the best times of year to elope!
A couple jump across rocks in a river on their elopement day. The bride holds up her elopement wedding dress to keep it out of the water as the groom reaches out his hand to help her across.

CHOOSE WEDDING CLOTHES YOU CAN MOVE IN

We have a whole blog on how to pick your elopement wedding dress that has tons of ideas on things you might want to consider for a dress that you plan to hike, adventure, and play in. The same goes for suits and other wedding clothes. Be sure to pick things that are comfortable, allow you to move, and will be appropriate for the weather.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT FOOTWEAR

Hiking over loose rock, mud, or sand isn’t going to be fun in six inch heels. Make sure you are wearing shoes that you have hiked in (or at least worn for extended periods of time) for your adventure. Be sure to pick something that matches your terrain and activity (consider things like grip, support, waterproof features, toe protection, etc.). If you have shoes that you would like to wear for pictures that aren’t suited for hiking, we suggest packing them along and wearing a reliable pair of shoes for the more adventurous parts of your day.

REMEMBER YOUR LAYERS

While they might not be part of your planned wedding outfit, packing layers and accessories for your location and weather is important. Whether that means packing a jacket, gloves, and earmuffs to keep you warm or throwing shorts and a t-shirt in your bag in case you get too warm, being prepared is key to having a good time.

A bride hikes up her elopement wedding dress to show off her hiking boot. Her groom stands next to her in cowboy boots. Proper footwear is important while hiking on your elopement day.
A couple kiss while standing in the snow along the frozen shore of Lake Superior during their winter elopement along the North Shore. Winter is one of the best times of year to elope in Minnesota!

If you are dreaming up your own elopement or intimate wedding and are looking for the perfect photographer to photograph those precious memories, we would love to tag along and capture your story. Get in touch and let’s get rolling!

8 thoughts on “How to Hike in Your Wedding Dress”

  1. This has been really helpful, especially as someone trying to plan an epic destination vow renewal. Thanks for the tips!

  2. The trash bag tip is honestly my fave 😂 so silly but so genius! I also like the tip to just embrace the experience and worry less about getting things dirty. It’s gonna happen!

    1. Love all of these tips! Hiking elopements are always so beautiful. The trash bag is definitely my favourite tip!

  3. Great tips! While the trash bag doesn’t look amazing it absolutely serves its purpose lol! Such a helpful guide!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *