Eloping is a one-of-a-kind experience that would be nothing without the spectacular scenery and thrilling experiences this world has to offer. Conservation efforts in places like Joshua Tree National ParkHaleakala National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park work tirelessly to preserve Earth’s natural beauty with Leave No Trace. This means people like you and I can visit, admire, explore, and celebrate some of Mother Nature’s best landscapes.

While conservation efforts, nature organizations, and environmental groups have done well to preserve forests, oceans, and everything in between, we can also aid in the care places while we’re out exploring. Keep reading to learn how you can leave no trace on your wedding day and do your part to preserve our beautiful world for generations to come! 

What Is Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is an organization on a mission to provide “innovative education, skills, research, and science to help people care for the outdoors.” 

Why Leave No Trace Is Important

Leave No Trace is important because our actions out in nature impact plants, animals, other humans, and ecosystems. Many elopement photographers, like myself, have a personal connection to the big, beautiful outdoors. If you’re considering eloping, it’s likely you do as well! 

As eloping becomes increasingly popular, so do many of our world’s natural wonders. It’s important to me that when you, your partner, and I are out exploring epic landscapes, we respect the areas we celebrate in. My goal is always to leave the places we explore together better than we found them so generations to come can also admire all the breathtaking sights our only home offers. 

A couple in neutral wedding attire cheers in celebration of their elopement in Joshua Tree National Park

How To Leave No Trace

Are you heading out on an adventure elopement soon and curious how you can do your part with Leave No Trace? Good news! It’s really easy to implement an environmentally conscious approach to your elopement, thanks to Leave No Trace’s seven principles! 

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

I always assist my couples with location scouting and permits as a courtesy. However, I also encourage couples to do some research of their own! Knowing your ceremony location and the area’s rules and regulations is a simple way to plan ahead and prepare. Familiarize yourself with seasonal weather conditions, local wildlife, and any restrictions and/or mandates the location may have, especially if you’re eloping in a National Park or Forest.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

While you and your partner are out exploring on your elopement adventure, it’s important to stick to designated trails and campsites. If you’re holding your ceremony in a place like Colorado, wildflowers are abundant in Summer. They’re beautiful, super delicate, and protected in State Parks. It’s best to admire wonders like wildflowers, waterfalls, and wildlife from afar and stick to designated hiking areas not to disturb fragile ecosystems. 

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

If you and your partner plan on celebrating your vows with a picnic outdoors, remove all items like food waste, corks, wrappers, bottle caps, etc… 

If you’re hosting an intimate outdoor wedding and want to use confetti, consider biodegradable flower or leaf confetti native to the area you’re eloping in. This will ensure non-native species or unnatural materials harm no ecosystems. 

4. Leave What You Find

Many popular elopement locations, like Hawaii, have strict laws against removing natural objects, like sand, from their place of preservation. You and your partner can help preserve the beauty of plants, cultural artifacts, and historic structures by admiring items respectfully.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

If you and your partner plan on celebrating after your ceremony with a cozy fire and s’mores, ensure you use a designated area like a fire ring. If you bring a stove, ensure it’s lightweight and distant from any brittle, dry, or flammable materials. Lastly, don’t leave fires unattended or forget to put them out before embarking on your next adventure! 

6. Respect Wildlife

Whether you and your partner are holding your ceremony in the mountains, on a beach, in the desert, or near a lake, it’s likely many animals call that place home. By familiarizing yourself with local wildlife, keeping a safe distance from any animals you may encounter, and refraining from feeding creatures big or small, you’ll help preserve wildlife populations and keep yourselves safe from harm.

7. Considerate of Other Visitors

The best part of being out in nature is the stillness that surrounds the Earth’s stunning views. If you’re out on a hiking elopement, obey two-way traffic rules and be mindful of others that you pass. Avoid blasting loud music or engaging in any activity that may disrupt other’s visitors’ experiences. 

Let’s Plan A Leave No Trace Elopement!

If you’re searching for an elopement photographer who loves to capture intimate, love-filled moments while practicing the seven principles of Leave No Trace, you’ve found the right girl! If you want to inquire about your dream elopement day, fill out my contact form. You can also read more about my love for the outdoors and travels to beautiful places here!


A couple is pictured holding hands on a dirt path in Joshua Tree

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Hey there, I'm Reagan!

A destination wedding and elopement photographer based out of Colorado! You can usually find me with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, sporting some comfy tennis shoes, or in pursuit of my next big escape! 

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