What to Wear to Elope: Guide to Elopement Dresses & Suits

Planning Resources

April 7, 2022

There are so many options for wedding dresses, wedding suits, and even some jumpsuits for those tying the knot – but when you elope, you’ll need to put a little more thought into what you wear! It may not be as simple as walking into a shop and looking at sequined gowns and long trains, because when your wedding day is an adventure, there’s more to consider. This guide is all about what to wear to elope, and we’ll talk about dresses, suits, and everything you need to know to pick an outfit!

Before You Decide What to Wear to Elope

Before you go shopping for your elopement attire, it can help to consider these things – so that you know what you’re looking for!

New, or Used Elopement Attire?

The first thing to think about, which a lot of couples don’t consider, is whether you want to buy your elopement attire new, or look for something to rewear. Budget can be a factor in this, but it’s also more sustainable to shop at a thrift store, or to look at resale sites to find a dress or suit for your elopement! A lot of couples don’t want to purchase something that they’ll only wear once and then hang in the closet for decades, so this can be a great alternative. 

It’s also totally possible that you can wear something you already own! A lot of people already own a suit, so if yours is elopement-worthy, you can totally rock it on the big day. For more casual elopements (maybe you’re getting married on a beach, or just wanting a more laid back experience), couples can often find white sundresses, or nice pants and a button up in their closets.

Your Budget for Elopement Attire

With every part of the planning process, it can be helpful to create a budget before you spend any money or start window shopping. Elopement attire can vary a ton in cost, so before you fall in love with an outfit, talk with your partner about how much the two of you will spend. 

A traditional wedding dress typically averages around $1,500 – $2,000, while alterations can be another $100 – $500. Suits tend to be less expensive, averaging about $500. Eloping is all about prioritizing and deciding what’s important to you, so if attire matters a ton, allocate more of your budget to that! Likewise, if it isn’t a priority, spend that money elsewhere.

Where Are You Eloping?

Make sure to consider your elopement location – because weather will definitely impact what you wear! You’ll dress differently for a tropical elopement in Bali than you would for a winter elopement in the mountains, so think about where you’ll tie the knot, and what the weather will be like.

What Will You Do on Your Elopement Day?

Another thing to think about before you start deciding what to wear to elope is what you plan to do! You don’t need to have things set in stone yet, but having an idea of what your plans are can help a lot. If you plan to hike, think about whether you’ll be packing your elopement attire, or wearing it the entire way. If you’re spending a laid back day hanging out at a cabin with your loved ones, you might be able to wear a poofy dress – but if you want to kayak or hike or plan an adventure, that poofy dress might get heavy, and difficult to carry around! 

Where to Shop for Elopement Attire

Once you’re ready to look for your outfit, you can hit up the traditional stores, but there are other options too! Here are a few places I recommend.

  • The Couture Closet – an inclusive boutique in Kentucky for wedding dresses
  • Elizabeth Crum Bridal – custom, made to order gowns in Kentucky
  • Bindle and Keep – a gender inclusive company that makes custom suits! Based in New York, but they offer virtual fittings
  • Lulus – an online, affordable boutique for wedding dresses
  • Brides for a Cause – a boutique with a few west coast locations that resells wedding dresses and donates to charities

Choosing What to Wear to Elope

When you’re ready to start shopping, and to find what to wear to elope, keep these tips in mind. 

Try Different Styles

This is especially important for elopement dresses, because they tend to have more options and more variety (sorry, suit wearers). When you’re trying on potential wedding attire, be sure to try some different styles! A lot of people will have an idea of what they like, but we’re often surprised by something – styles we love on other people might not be a good fit for us, and styles we aren’t particularly drawn to might look amazing. So try on different styles, colors, and fits to make sure you find the one. 

I also recommend visiting several stores if you’re trying on dresses in person – it’s always good to have some variety and try out different things! 

Make Sure You’re Comfortable

This is probably the most important rule of deciding what to wear to elope. It has to be comfortable. You’ll be wearing it for most of the day, and you’ll be moving around a lot more than you would with a traditional wedding! So, make sure that you can get the most out of your experience and wear something that not only looks great, but feels great too. Wear it for a few minutes at least, and make sure you can walk, sit, bend, and move your body easily and freely! 

For elopement dresses, I recommend loose skirts, so the dresses flare at the bottom. Avoid mermaid styles or anything with a form fitting skirt – these are really hard to move around in! 

For elopement suits, make sure you can lift your arms and take big steps without ripping through Superman-style.

Consider the Fabric

Something else to think about when you decide what to wear to elope is the fabric that it’s made of! This is important for two reasons – first is wrinkle-age, and second is temperature.

If you plan to pack your elopement attire, for traveling or for a hike, you want it to stay as wrinkle free as possible! I’ll give you some tips to help with this, but the best prevention is to ensure your fabric doesn’t wrinkle too easily. For dresses, lace, crepe, and tulle do a great job of covering up wrinkles. For suits, wool is a great option, and so is polyester and other synthetic materials.

The fabric you choose can also make a big difference in keeping you cool, or keeping you warm. For warm weather elopements, choosing lightweight, breathable fabrics, and designs without too many layers can be helpful. On the other hand, thicker fabrics (velvet, flannel, tweed, silk) are great for colder weather!

Get Creative With Your Elopement Attire

Remember, there are no rules when it comes to eloping. You can wear any color, any style, any print, absolutely anything you want! So don’t be afraid to stray away from the traditional shops – some great places to look can include bridesmaid’s sections, your favorite store for a casual look, or online boutiques like Lulus.

Accessorize!

After you’ve chosen an elopement dress or suit, don’t be afraid to add some accessories. This can include hats, ties, scarves, jackets, shawls, and also shoes. 

As with everything about your elopement attire, make sure your shoes are comfortable – and make sure to break them in before the big day if you get a new pair.

Consult Your Elopement Photographer

Don’t be afraid to ask your elopement photographer for fashion advice! I’m here to help with color coordination, advice for packing a wedding dress in a hiking backpack, tips for your specific elopement location, and anything you could possibly need. Remember – I’m your adventure guide and elopement planning assistant!

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  1. Leo says:

    Great resource for couples looking into what to wear when they elope. Some very practical bits of advice, thanks for sharing!

  2. Natalie says:

    What a wonderful guide to elopement attire! There are so many additional considerations and you really nail them all. What a great guide, thank you!

  3. Sienna says:

    This is truly so helpful for couples shopping for their wedding attire!

  4. Molly says:

    Awesome tips & recommendations for shopping for elopement attire

  5. Dani says:

    Some really helpful and practical advice here! Also I love the idea of keeping it sustainable on your elopement day.

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Mary Andrikus is a Kentucky & Southeast Asian photographer for nontraditional weddings, elopement and family stories in documentary style. Mary Andrikus captures moments to be preserved for lifetime and finds beauty in unexpected places.

Mary believes that Black Lives matter and always; all bodies are beautiful; and LGBTQ+ individuals should have the right to respect and full equality. Mary does not and shall not discriminate folks of any race, body size, ability, gender identity, creed, sexual orientation, age, religions and national origin.