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How to Pick the Perfect Elopement Dress


Eloping offers a unique and intimate way to exchange vows amidst breathtaking landscapes, and choosing the right dress for this occasion can be an exhilarating experience. As an elopement photographer who has witnessed the magic of these moments, I understand the importance of finding a dress that not only reflects your style but also aligns with the adventurous spirit of your special day. Let’s dive into how to pick the ideal elopement dress that celebrates your love story!

elopement dress

Dress Styles to Consider

Your elopement dress should be a reflection of your personality, ensuring you feel confident, comfortable, and ready to embrace the momentous occasion. Consider fabrics that allow movement, whether it’s the gentle sway of a chiffon skirt or the flow of a lace train. Styles like A-line, ball gowns, and two-piece dresses offer versatility, while mermaid dresses, albeit stunning, might pose challenges during hikes or rugged terrain. Let’s dive deeper into each of these dress styles.

A-line: This silhouette shows more of the bride’s natural shape and resembles an “A” shape, hence the name! Tight around the natural waist or hips and flows outwards towards the ground. Since these dresses are pretty easy to move in and look flattering on a lot of people, you’ll see them a lot in elopement wedding dresses!

Ball Gown: The large, full skirt paired with a fitted corset-type bodice is the quintessential ballgown wedding dress. You’ll feel like a princess! But, because this design is typically larger than others, it can take up a lot of room and be difficult to travel with. Better for elopements that don’t involve a lot of hiking.

Two-Piece: I have to admit, I love the two-piece wedding dress trend. It usually means the top is disconnected from the bottom, almost like a shirt and skirt except that they’re designed to work and flow together. These dresses are beautiful and simple and great for elopement purposes.

Mermaid: The mermaid style is characterized by a fitted silhouette that hugs the body from the chest down to the knees or mid-thighs, where the skirt flares out into a dramatic mermaid “tail”. Mermaid dresses are usually made in stiffer fabrics like lace and satin, and sometimes even crepe. Because of all these details, they’re generally harder to move in freely and can become cumbersome at an elopement.

Colorful: Don’t be afraid to go outside the norm and choose a dress that isn’t white! Especially for an elopement, you don’t have to go traditional. The benefit to choosing a dress that isn’t white is that the expense might not be as high!

traditional elopement dress

Setting a Budget for your Elopement Dress

While setting a budget for your elopement dress, it’s essential to note that costs can vary widely. On average, elopement dresses range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the designer, fabric, and intricacy of the design. There are so many styles and fabrics from lace to chiffon to crepe and more. And there are plenty of designers and wedding dress boutiques who all range in prices. If traditional dress stores are too pricey, I suggest looking second hand or at a consignment shop. Often times, you’ll find dresses that were samples and are going for thousands less than when they were at the boutique. Keep reading to find out all the dress shops I recommend!

Accessorizing for the Occasion

Weather considerations play a crucial role in accessorizing your elopement dress. Shawls or wraps can provide warmth in colder climates, while long veils create mesmerizing visual elements in photographs, especially against scenic backdrops. Choose accessories that complement your dress and enhance your overall look without overpowering it. Let’s dive into accessory ideas a little bit more!

Veils: We ALL love a good veil shot, don’t we? Those epic moments on the mountains with the wind blowing the veil out behind you. Veils are a great way to scale up your look. They’re also easy to pack and carry so taking it on our hike will be no problem!

Shawls/Wraps: If you’re planning a fall or winter elopement, choosing to accessorize with a shawl or wrap will keep you warm and also change up your whole look! I love a faux fur moment.

Jewelry: Of course, we always have tried and true accessories like jewelry and sunglasses. Whether your elopement dress is extravagant or simple, jewelry can help accent the look and show off your personality. In addition, sunglasses can be a fun part of your wedding day. They lend themselves to a chic, Hollywood glam vibe.

two-piece wedding dress
wedding dress accessories

Details to Consider for your Elopement Dress

Each wedding season there are usually a trend in wedding dresses, and I always encourage my brides to look outside the norms and find something that feels like them. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Sleeves: There are so many options for sleeves on your elopement dress. Depending on the time of year, you might want to go with a long sleeve (some are made of material and some of lace!). Or, if it’s hot out maybe you want straps or even strapless. One of my favorite dresses featured puffy sleeves which were elegant and perfect for an intimate garden wedding.

Material details: I love when clients choose elopement wedding dress details that showcase who they are and their style! You can go classic or step out a bit with intricate lace or crystals or even fringe for a Bohemian look!

Trains: Choosing a dress with a train, just like a veil, can pack a big punch. It will give you something to play with and throw in the wind as we take portraits. They can be a little hard to hike it so it’s easier to be able to carry or have a bustle.

Matching: When you’re in doubt of what type of dress to choose–trust me, I get it, they’re all beautiful–matching the setting you’re eloping can be a great way to go. If you’re eloping in the city, go classic and simple, something to contrast the architecture around you. If you’re getting married in the woods, maybe something flowy and light that shows off the fluidness of nature.

Where to Shop for Elopement Dresses in Seattle

Seattle boasts a diverse array of bridal boutiques catering to adventurous brides seeking unique elopement attire. Consider exploring these shops and designers:

Astraea Bridal: Astraea Bridal is an upscale bridal shop that specializes in consignment and sample gowns. Their gowns and dresses are carefully curated and are either once worn, or discontinued samples from bridal boutiques from all around the world. This is a great way to go affordable!

Lulu’s: Lulu’s is mostly an online retailer, but also carries many gowns at an affordable price point. They also carry a lot of bridal accessories if that’s something you’re looking for!

A&Bé Bridal: In the heart of the Ballard neighborhood, a&bé will speak to your unique & individual style. Whether you’re hoping for a romantic wedding dress, a modern wedding dress, a classic wedding dress, or feel a trendsetting wedding dress is more you, they’ve got all the options! Their prices range $1,200-$3,000.

two piece wedding dress

Rue de Seine: Rue de Seine is a designer based out of Aukland with stunning Bohemian-inspired designs. They have a passion for intricate and detailed design, and all their dresses are absolutely stunning. They can be on the higher end but I think it’s worth it! Several retailers carry their dresses for you to try on, go to their website to find a location near you.

BHLDN: BHLDN (pronounced beholden) is Anthropologie’s take on wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Beautiful, ethereal designs. In addition, they have many beautiful accessories to choose from. They focus on unique dresses, finding the perfect style for you. This might be a great option for city elopements!

The Dress Theory: Voted “Seattle’s Best Bridal Shop” for the past 10 years, The Dress Theory dresses are consciously designed and produced by designers they know and trust in New York, Paris, Auckland, & London. Whether modern, nostalgic, elegantly sexy, barefoot at the beach, or classically cool, their bridal stylists have only you, your style, and your wedding day in mind when thoughtfully pulling from their collection of bridal gowns. They handpick dresses that feel fresh and original, yet always timeless. Price range begins at $2500.

long sleeve lace wedding dress

Grace Loves Lace: This boutique in Seattle is such a great place to find your elopement dress! Grace Love Lace stands for ethically sourced and created wedding dresses while not mass producing stock. They also focus on luxury fabrics and the ability for brides to order online. To top it off, they don’t think a wedding dress should break the bank.

I Do Bridal: I do Bridal in Seattle focuses on giving all brides a VIP experience. With hundreds of dresses in shop to choose from, you’ll definitely find the perfect fit for you. They work to curate great designers and iconic dresses that’ll fit any style.

Luly Yang: Luly Yang is a high-end wedding dress designer. An amazing option for this designer is the option to commission a one-of-a-kind gown. So, if you’ve had a vision for a dress and can’t find the perfect one, this would make a great option for you.

Blue Sky Bridal: Another consignment shop that has hundreds of dresses rotating stock daily. Most dresses have never been worn or worn once. Prices range $600-$3000. Great thing is, if you want the dress you try on, you can walk out of the store with it that day! A great way to work within a budget!

bohemian wedding dress

These all offer a wide selection of styles and options that could resonate with your vision. More than that, they all have a huge difference in pricing. So take some time to look at your budget and figure out what is going to work for you.

Finding the perfect elopement dress is an exciting journey that should mirror the joy and adventure of your upcoming celebration. Remember, it’s not just a dress; it’s an embodiment of your love story and the beginning of an extraordinary adventure together.

Embrace the thrill of the search, revel in the magic of the moment, and let your dress be the exquisite expression of your unique love story as you embark on your extraordinary elopement journey. Cheers to your beautiful adventure ahead!

Want more details on elopement photography now that you’re on the hunt for a dress? Let’s connect!

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I would love to be your elopement photographer and guide!

My superpower is putting people at ease; whether that's behind the camera or on their elopement day solving problems calmly under pressure. I am passionate about building relationships with the people I work with. 


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