The Best Wedding Dresses for Eloping

Jul 2, 2020 | 7 comments

You’re planning to elope, but you’ve gotten stuck on a question: What do I wear?! Is an elopement dress the same thing as a wedding dress? And what dress is best for my location? No worries, I’ve got you! I have rounded up some of the best elopement dresses out there! These gorgeous wedding dresses perfect for eloping anywhere will make your heart skip a beat + provide some inspiration for your day. I’ll also be talking about some really unique options and budget friendly options as well.

 

Best Elopement Dresses

There are really no set rules when it comes to the best elopement dresses. The beauty of eloping means that you are free to be yourself and to choose a dress that is perfect for you + your elopement day! You can go all out and buy the dress of your dreams, choose to buy used, or even thrift one of the best elopement dresses. While there aren’t rules, there are definitely some things to consider when choosing your elopement dress. Let’s chat about that for a second.

best elopement dresses

How to Choose the Best Wedding Dress for Eloping

 

Climate is Key

When choosing the best elopement dress, you definitely want to consider where you will be eloping. If you plan to elope in Hawaii, something that can breathe and won’t make you overheat is going to make the day much easier. Alternately, if you plan to elope in Scotland, you want something that you can layer beneath and stay warm in. Always keep the weather in mind when choosing your elopement dress!

Play on Nature

Another thing to think about is how your dress will play with Mother Nature. If you know your location can get windy, choosing a flowy dress that will create beautiful movement can add so much interest to your photos. Opting for something that contrasts well with your chosen location will make some magic, too. Think about how the cut, texture, color, and any patterns might interact with the scenery you’ve chosen as your backdrop.

Packability

Making sure you choose a dress that can travel well is important when you are planning to elope. Some fabrics can be really fussy while others can be lumped in a ball and still look gorgeous. Choosing a dress that either packs well or can easily be returned to it’s full glory after being packed will help keep things stress-free. If you plan to hike, you’ll also want to make sure your dress can be easily carried (so probably best not to have a massive ball gown here haha).

A Dress That is So You

All of these points, while important, are not quite as important as choosing a dress that just feels like you. You’ll want to try it on and just know that it is the best elopement dress for you, that it brings out the best in you. You want to feel comfortable, confident, and free. If you’ve got all that, it’ll be the perfect dress to elope in.

 

Where to Shop for the Best Elopement Dresses

 

The best elopement dresses can be found in so many different spots. I’ve worked with people who have thrifted their dress, those who shopped online, some who went the traditional route by going to a dress shop, and even a few who bought used. There are quite a few resources so you can determine what works best for you and for your lifestyle. Some of my favorites include Still White, Etsy, The Dress Theory, and a&bé. As you scroll through some of my favorite dresses, you’ll find a few of those resources linked!

(Pictured right, a bohemian elopement dress from Spell & The Gypsy Collective)

boho elopement dresses

 

The Best Elopement Dresses

Without further delay, here are my choices for the best elopement dresses with a few thoughts on why these wedding dresses are great for eloping.

Odalis Gown by BHLDN

This lace wedding gown features pretty cascading flutter sleeves, standing out with some seriously beautiful texture. It’s a great option if you want sleeves, but don’t want anything too heavy. This dress will give plenty of inspiration for creative photographs, too! I think it’s great for pretty much any setting from the beach to the mountaintops.

Crafted from ivory graphic lace, it’s a really pretty standout piece that is current but also timeless. The texture of the dress also means it is less likely to show wrinkles from being packed for a destination elopement or placed in a backpack for a hiking adventure. At $1,295 retail, this is also a fairly budget friendly gown! (Image via BHLDN)

Anything Rue de Seine

You can pretty much close your eyes and point at Rue de Seine and you’ll end up with a perfectly modern bohemian elopement dress. I have yet to see a dress I didn’t love in their collections. With an abundance of textures and unique coloring, you’re sure to have an elopement dress that travels well and stops hearts. Fun fact, I chose the Adelia Lune gown (pictured below from my dear friend Annamae Photo) for my own vow renewal in Yosemite National Park. It traveled SO well, looking fresh even after being packed away for a while. It also handled the snowy meadows and dirt like a champ, looking even better as the day wore on. I had the best time playing with those pretty bell sleeves, too. Do yourself a favor + at least check out these dresses out. Price range is mid $3,000s and so worth it.

Esther by Daci Gowns 

This beautifully unique elopement dress from Daci Gowns is inspired by the night sky. It features celestial lace in a stunning way! This gown packs well and works perfectly against the beauty of warmer climates. It’s lovely in the wind as it has so much movement. It is priced at $3,250.

While I’m talking about Daci Gowns, I highly recommend taking a little tour of their whole collection. Esther is beautiful for sure, but they also have some stunning options with different silhouettes and sleeve lengths. Sol, for example, features Art Deco lace and long sleeves that would look incredible somewhere in the desert. I also love the romantic gown Mila, an off-shoulder chiffon with gorgeous details. 

Marcail by Willowby

This gorgeous lace gown has sleeves that feature a unique open shoulder look, making this a perfect dress to elope on the beach or in the desert without going sleeveless. I think it’s so fun to have sleeves to play with! Everything with this dress flows together for an airy, bohemian look. The texture of the dress also helps to make it easy to pack for a destination elopement. 

While the dress does have lace pattern and unique character, it isn’t so much that you can’t pair it with bold accessories as they’ve done to the left (image via Willowby). It looks amazing with tiered earrings! 

Anything from Daughters of Simone

Whether it’s the Stevie gown (right) or Keys (bottom right) or the new + stunning Blanca (bottom left), you can’t go wrong with a free spirited gown from Daughter’s of Simone. This talented sister duo pours their heart into every dress they design! I’ve had the honor of working with them to photograph some of their collection and I could never decide which dress I loved more. In addition to incredibly unique elopement dresses, they also have amazing veils and rad accessories to complete your look. Stevie + Keys have both traveled with me and did so pretty gracefully. Keys gives you unique texture great for a desert elopement or even an elopement in the Scottish Highlands. I carried Stevie all the way to Mexico and gave her just a little steam to get her looking perfect for bridals in Los Cabos.

Callista by Dreamers and Lovers

This off-shoulder lace elopement gown is jaw. dropping. It’s another great option if you want to go with something unique sleeve wise! This would look perfect in a variety of settings and travels well thanks to the texture of the lace. You can get creative with accessories thanks to the neckline but you can also keep it simple since the fringe lined skirt is a statement all its own.

If you’re looking to elope in the mountains outside of summer or want to go anywhere cooler, Dreamers and Lovers has some incredibly beautiful long sleeve gowns as well. The Vivienne dotted lace gown is just as unique, with an entirely different lace pattern than we are used to seeing. Violetta has contouring that will lend the most flattering of cuts and is stunning with an open back + long lace sleeves. It also might be one of my favorite best elopement dresses. The price range for these gowns is low to mid $2,000s. 

(Image via Dreamers and Lovers)

Gia or Edie from Grace Loves Lace

The thing about Grace Loves Lace is that they create some of the most comfortable elopement dresses ever. Essentially, founder Megan Ziems felt that the structured, traditional wedding gowns of recent years were far too fussy and came with inflated price tags. She set out to design dresses that felt good to wear and also felt good on the wallet. In the $2,000 range, these are beautiful dresses with unique personality that will fit amazingly. Gia and Edie are both good travelers and look gorgeous in warmer climates or layered beneath a jacket for cooler days. 

Harlie by Made with Love

Or pretty much any of their pretty collection of wedding dresses perfect for eloping! While Made with Love does have a boutique, the concept for this dress designer is to pave the way for incredible online wedding dress shopping. Their designs are not only gorgeous, but affordable as well. Many of their pieces have enough texture to withstand being packed or are made in a way that will be easy to steam. They also have dresses for every environment, featuring many sleeve lengths and designs. The gown pictured left literally shimmered in the setting sun! It was stunning in this Lanai elopement.

Ines from Alexandra Grecco

Just wow. Can you picture this one on the coast of Ireland, that skirt flowing in the wild wind? Or how about in Greece, standing out against blue rooftops? This dress is simple, but it is ridiculously pretty. The style is so unique, I haven’t seen anything else quite like it. This one is a keeper, for sure. You’ll probably have to steam her out and she may not be the best for changing into once you reach your destination if you plan to hike, but if you aren’t planning a huge adventure this could be the dress for you.

While we are talking about unique elopement dresses, everything by Alexandra Grecco is in some way truly unique. Moonstone and Lover of Mine are two collections I found myself practically drooling over. There are so many interesting patterns, cuts, and colors. You should definitely check them out. These are in the $3,500 – $4,500 range.

Sweet Caroline Styles

These two-piece elopement dresses are killer. They’ll travel well, are relatively low fuss, and you can get creative with various colors + textures. I’ve long been a fan of the ridiculously beautiful skirts from this designer. They play so well in the wind and really suit elopements so well.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Etsy

I first found this designer on Etsy, actually. So while we are on the subject, here are a few of my other favorite designers that you can find on Etsy.

Baby Doll Shop has beautiful elopement dresses that I’ve photographed and fell in love with! Along with their dresses, they also feature some seriously rad veils!

Suzzana M Designs features lace elopement dresses with bohemian vibes.

Saldana Vintage has exactly what you might think, vintage inspired elopement dresses.

Be my Bride has a wide range of different styles and some of the best elopement dresses I’ve seen on Etsy.

And last but not least, Reclamation has some whimsical elopement dresses that are perfect if you love lace and a bit of a vintage feel.

Thrift Your Elopement Dress

And finally, if you just aren’t feeling any of the new and modern designs, thrift your elopement dress! I have worked with a few thrifted dresses now, it’s so cool to see a vintage or even antique wedding dress. You just get such a different feel with them! Of course, going this route will take some dedication. You’ll likely have to sift through a lot of dresses at antique + vintage stores to find the right one. You may also have to put more work into getting it altered so that you have a perfect fit. But in the end, I think this is a great option!

Honorable Mentions

There are just so many incredible elopement dresses that it’s really hard to get them all into a list with photos and not have it be the size of a full-length novel! Some of the other designers I think are great to check out while looking for your elopement dress are Rish Bridal, WTOO, more of BHLDN’s gowns, Alyssa Kristin, and Chantel Lauren.

7 Comments

  1. Lindsay

    So helpful!! Love all of the detail and examples! Gorgeous work!

    Reply
  2. Olivia

    Wowie- this is an epic read! I’ve been married for a bit now but looking at wedding dresses never ever gets old. They are such an amazing way to express yourself, and this whole guide encourages just that!!! This is jam crammed full of awesome elopement dress information.

    Reply
  3. Katie Bergmann

    Freakin’ epic Randi! You’ve truly outdone yourself with this blog! I literally want to get married over and over again just so I can wear each and everyone one of these dresses!

    Reply
  4. Kelsi

    I’m so glad you wrote this! You broke down the features perfectly! Packabality is so important, but i think it’s often overlooked. Wedding dresses can be HEAVY. Beautiful work as always!

    Reply
  5. Kate Hampson

    This is THE MOST helpful and exhaustive post I’ve read about elopement dresses. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Kristen

    So many great options here for brides!

    Reply
  7. Tiffany

    Wow this super helpful for brides. I also love the image with the horse – its my soft spot.

    Reply

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Hey! I’m Randi!
an elopement photographer + intimate wedding photographer based in Hawaii. I document real love stories around the world that you can read about here! You’ll also find insightful planning guides along with other resources to help you visualize your best day ever. Happy reading! ♡