Getting up close and personal with wildlife and incorporating animals into an elopement may seem a little too wild for some people, but for the animal lovers out there, it’s the perfect way to make the day even more special.
We’re big fans of personalizing your elopement day to make it a true reflection of your unique love story. One way to do that is by incorporating your shared passions and interests (which is probably part of what made you fall for each other in the first place).
We’ve written a whole guide for including your dog in your elopement, but what if you don’t have your own furry family member? What if you want to go bigger and bolder? Your love for animals can take you all over the world if you let it, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the best elopement ideas for animal lovers to get you started.
11 Unique Elopement Ideas for Animal Lovers
Head out West for horseback riding.
Take in the amazing views around you on horseback before or after your elopement ceremony! There are plenty of ranches in Montana that offer horseback riding excursions, like Sage Lodge in Paradise Valley. Bonus: It’s only 35 minutes from Yellowstone National Park!
Visit an alpaca farm just outside of Zion National Park.
Alpacas are known to be kind, gentle, and super soft! You can even stay overnight at this rental home in Utah with alpacas on site.
Scuba dive in Hawaii or Western Australia.
Up for a night dive with the Kailua-Kona manta rays in Hawaii? Maybe you want to try to sneak a peek at some humpback whales or whale sharks during your elopement in Coral Bay’s Ningaloo Reef Dive. Whatever you choose, it’ll be nothing short of unforgettable.
Enjoy some winter bird watching in Florida.
A variety of birds flock to Florida for warmer weather. You and your partner can escape the cold and discover one of the best birding areas in the country when you elope here. Check out our list of the best places to elope in Florida for more inspiration.
Witness the Great Migration across Tanzania and Kenya.
In August and September, you have the chance to witness one of the most breathtaking natural phenomena in the world: the Great Migration. Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve offer front-row seats to wildebeest, gazelles, antelope, and zebras crossing through Tanzania and Kenya. Choose your own adventure: safari by land or helicopter tour!
Ride camels in Morocco.
When visiting Morocco, there’s nothing more iconic than taking a camel ride into the desert. This can be a great way to incorporate your love of animals into your elopement activities. Just make sure you do your research and support ethical camel riding businesses.
Experience incredible biodiversity in the Galapagos.
An elopement adventure in the Galapagos Islands is truly unlike anything else in the world. With unique animals and rich history, it can be a great spot to celebrate your love and commitment.
Learn about and connect with elephants in Thailand.
Organizations like Elephant Nature Park allow you to connect with elephants through feeding, cleaning, and enrichment experiences.
Watch turtle hatchlings in Costa Rica.
Make your elopement memorable by taking a guided tour in Parque Nacional Tortuguero to see turtles lay their eggs or watch hatchlings make their way to the sea. This unique animal encounter is one of many reasons why we recommend eloping in Costa Rica.
Book a whale watching tour in Alaska or Washington.
See the penguin colonies of Chiloé Island in Chile.
You can find Humboldt and Magellanic penguins on the island of Chiloé off the coast of Chile. Connect with a local tour company to see them up close in a small boat, and then enjoy the peaceful solitude of eloping somewhere off the beaten path.
As you plan your animal encounter elopement, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind leading up to your special day. With a little bit of research and extra care, you can have a wonderful experience that prioritizes animal welfare.
Leave No Trace
Respect animals and the environment they live in by practicing Leave No Trace principles. Treat their home as you would treat your own home.
When observing wild animals, keep these tips in mind:
- Observe from a distance.
- Move slowly and quietly.
- Don’t feed, pick up, or touch the wildlife.
- Store your food securely, and keep garbage and food away from the animals.
Support Ethical Organizations and Practices
As animal lovers ourselves, we in no way support hunting or abusive practices that harm animals for sport or profit. It’s important to thoroughly research the businesses or organizations you’re paying to facilitate your animal encounter, as well as the nature of the encounter itself. National Geographic has some tips for responsible wildlife tourism that we think are a great starting point.
Keeping animal safety and wellbeing in mind may be a little more work, but you can feel good knowing that your elopement will support the ethical and humane treatment of any furry, scaly, or feathered friends.
Need an animal-loving photography + videography team for your elopement?
We love capturing the memories from intimate and unique elopements, especially when they involve incredible wildlife!
Skyewater Photo + Film is a photography and videography team that specializes in destination weddings and adventure elopements across the US. If you’re looking for a meaningful wedding video, an adventurous elopement photographer, or help with the elopement planning process, reach out to us for more info!