How To Plan A Jeep Wedding
Ahhhhh, Jeep weddings are so darned FUN! But they do take a little bit of careful planning to make sure your wedding day is fulfilling and also safe. Here we share all our top tips for planning the Jeep wedding of your adventurous dreams!
By Chad and Vanessa, ‘The Outlovers’: your adventurous wedding photography and planning team.
Here at The Outlovers, we LOVE a Jeep wedding. In fact, in 2023 alone we planned and photographed over 15 of them! So, at this stage it’s probably fair to say that we know a thing or two about how to put together your Jeep wedding, and we’re going to share all our top tips and tricks right here.
Now, maybe you’ve been an off-roading enthusiast for years already, or maybe you’ve never departed from the highway in your life but are quietly thinking about it for your wedding day! Either way, this post is for you.
We believe a Jeep wedding might be the right choice for all sorts of different couples, and there’s a way to do it safely and to have fun no matter your experience level.
For the purposes of this post, we are discussing how to plan a SMALL Jeep wedding, more of an elopement or micro-wedding style, rather than a 200 person event!
So, let’s get to it!
Why Plan A Jeep Wedding?
If you’re new to the idea, you might still be asking yourself why anyone might choose to plan a Jeep wedding, it can for sure sound like a bit of a wild idea at first. But listen up! There’s a multitude of reasons, and here’s our top four:
Get to off-the beaten path places
Not everybody wants to get married in a fancy venue. For the couples we work with, getting married out in nature makes way more sense to them. And the deeper they are in nature, the more at peace they feel. And they’re not the kind of people who want to drive up to a nice viewpoint in a national park with a ton of infrastructure. They want to get out into the WILD and feel truly immersed in nature!
Planning a Jeep wedding allows you to get to far-flung, off-the-beaten path places that an ordinary vehicle simpy cannot reach. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to choosing your wedding location!
There’s something exhilarating about turning off the highway, leaving everyone else behind and heading far down a dirt road to get married in the middle of nowhere.
Even cooler, we’re 99.9999% confident we’ve actually taken some of our couples to stunning remote locations where NO other couple has EVER gotten married before! How awesome is that?!
You can see more from this Jeep wedding here.
Jeep weddings = epic views without hiking!
Whilst we’re avid hikers ourselves, we TOTALLY get that not everyone wants to put in the miles on foot on their wedding day. But you’d still like the incredible views, right?! Of course you do! And that’s where planning a Jeep wedding comes in.
By renting a 4×4, lifted vehicle you can access such an incredible range of epic vistas, from endless canyons with views for days, to pristine alpine lakes surrounded by rugged peaks. All with zero effort! Now if that doesn’t scream adventurous but relaxing wedding day, we don’t know what does!
So, please don’t feel like you have to ‘settle’: that you either have to hike on your wedding day OR accept lesser views. You can absolutely access insane landscapes and a Jeep wedding is the way to do it.
Better yet, you can cover a lot more ground Jeeping than you can hiking, so you could easily access a whole range of incredible places in the space of a day. It’s so much fun bouncing from one cool spot to another!
On the flip side, if you ARE keen on hiking on your wedding day, you might find this a good read: How To Plan A Hiking Wedding
Get away from the crowds
This is probably our favorite part about Jeep weddings: the ability to ditch the tourists!
For your wedding day, we want peace, seclusion and intimacy for you. And that’s often just not possible in places that can be accessed by ordinary vehicle. Some national parks, for example, can be busy and crowded no matter what time of day you go, even at sunrise.
Simply by renting a Jeep, you’ve put yourself into that 1% who can get where others can’t. Not only are you going to get the epic views mentioned above, there’s every chance you’re going to get them entirely to yourselves!
Ummm, a Jeep wedding is badass!
Honestly? Jeeping is such a FUN way to spend your wedding day. You’re gonna feel like such a badass getting out on rough roads, exploring the backcountry… ESPECIALLY all dressed up in your wedding attire!
And let’s just be honest for a sec… You’re going to get KILLER wedding photos with your Jeep!!
Step-By-Step How To Plan A Jeep Wedding
Ok, so hopefully we’ve persuaded you by now that a Jeep wedding is a kick-ass idea! Now let’s start looking at HOW to actually go about planning your Jeep wedding.
Hire a photographer who specializes in Jeep weddings
Now, we know we’re photographers and that means we’re biased, but we hand-on-heart believe your first step should be to hire a photographer who specializes in Jeep weddings and knows this stuff inside out.
(Hey! Hi! That’s us.)
When you hire us, you’re not just getting a pair of photographers: you’re getting two people who care DEEPLY about your wedding day and who are going to help you plan the whole shebang. We want the process to be easy, stress-free and FUN for you. So, please don’t feel like you have to figure this all out alone… We got ya!
Since we’ve shot so many Jeep weddings over the years, we have all the insider knowledge to make your day flow seamlessly: the best routes, what time of year to tackle them, where to hire the vehicles you need, what to pack etc. You won’t be left wondering what to do anywhere along the way!
BONUS: Typically, when you plan a Jeep wedding, you’ll need to provide a Jeep for your photographer to drive. And that costs $$$$! We, however, have our own Jeep and so you will not need to factor that cost into your wedding budget.
If you’d like to know more about working with us, you can check out our elopement packages here.
When and Where To Go For Your Jeep Wedding
The when and where often go hand in hand when you’re planning a Jeep wedding. That’s because certain trails close at certain times of year due to weather.
For example, if you’d like to tackle the Colorado mountains, you’ve got a very narrow window from mid June to mid October: any other time of year and the best routes are completely snow-packed and inaccessible. The desert, on the other hand, is much more accessible all year round, though you still have to be careful of ice in winter or excessive mud in the rainy season.
There are places all over the US you could hold your Jeep wedding, but here’s a couple of our personal favorites:
The San Juan mountains of Colorado
When most people visit Colorado, they come to the ‘front range’: the area around Denver and Rocky Mountain Park. Whilst that area is nice, they’re seriously missing out!
What you REALLY want to do is come to the west of the state, home to the San Juan mountain range. It is a truly SPECTACULAR setting and, better yet, has a fraction of the tourists of the front range.
This whole area used to be a mining region and, because of that, there’s a remaining network of old mining tracks that go deep into the mountains. Perfect for off-roading! Though you CAN find extreme routes if you want to, most of these routes are non-technical, meaning that anyone who is a generally confident driver could tackle them provided they go slow and steady. Just be prepared for a bumpy ride!
If you’d like to explore this area, we’d suggest using the towns or Ouray, Silverton or Telluride as a base. All three are beautiful, old historic towns and, since Jeeping is big in this area, you’ll find plenty of places where you can rent a vehicle for your Jeep wedding. We’d suggest checking out Colorado West or Switzerland of America as a starting point.
If you like to idea of having your Jeep wedding in Colorado, you might find this a good read: The Ultimate Colorado Elopement Guide
The desert of Moab, Utah
The Moab desert in southeastern Utah has a huge piece of our hearts: we live close by and shoot about half of our elopements there each year. It’s an incredible giant playground of soaring red arches, weird and wonderful rock formations and vast canyons that seemingly go on forever.
Moab is a Jeep enthusiasts paradise! People come from all over the country to drive the epic off-roading routes here. There are some seriously insane routes – check out Hell’s Revenge, for example – but also plenty that are very moderate and easy for the average driver to tackle.
You’ll find a ton of places to rent a Jeep for your wedding in Moab. We’d suggest checking out Twisted Jeep.
If you’d like to learn more about getting married in Moab, check out our Ultimate Moab Elopement Guide.
Choose the route for your Jeep wedding!
Now that you’ve hopefully chosen your general location, you’re going to want to pick out your specific route(s).
Don’t worry, if you’ve already hired your Jeep wedding specialist photographer, you don’t have to figure this out all on your own! We know the areas we work in INSIDE OUT and will help you figure out the route(s) that best suit your wants and needs.
The first thing we’re going to do is send you a date night questionnaire to get to know you better. We’re going to ask you things like:
- What time of day would you prefer: sunrise, sunset, or both? That’s going to help us pinpoint locations for you as certain places look best at certain times of day.
- What is your experience driving off-road? ‘Zero’ is an acceptable answer, but it’s definitely something we need to know so we can choose appropriate routes.
- Do you have any health concerns we should know about? This is important as we may be disappearing far, far into the mountains and well out of the range of emergency services if needed.
Once we have a better sense of who you are and what you’re after, we’ll send you a shortlist of locations that we think check all your boxes. Then you get to choose your favorite: easy! From there, we’ll put together a timeline of the day based on the route you choose so you don’t have to worry about the flow of things.
If you’d like to do your own research, we’d suggest using travel apps, online forums and Facebook groups as a great place to find up to date info. For example, you can use AllTrails with a filter for OHV (Off Highway Vehicles) routes, or the website Trails Offroad.
IMPORTANT: if you have ANY doubt that a route might be beyond your personal driving capabilities, DON’T DO IT! Jeep off-roading has the potential to be very dangerous when people push themselves too hard, and your wedding day is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not a terrifying brush with death!!
Decide whether to hire a guide
You may decide that you’d rather not drive yourselves on your wedding day: perhaps you don’t feel you have the necessary driving skills, or perhaps you’d like to just be able to sit back and soak in the views together.
We will never question you on this choice. Instead, we will put you in touch with the right people to hire a guide for your Jeep wedding day. Not only is this person going to chauffeur you around all day, they’re also going to share all their local knowledge on flora and fauna and the history of the area. Double win!
If you’re bringing guests, you might want to consider booking a private group tour in a large vehicle: this way everyone can hang out together as they head to your ceremony location and you don’t have to worry about anyone getting lost, turning up late etc.
Plan out some activities
Of course, off-roading is a cool activity in and of itself, but you might want to plan out some other fun stuff to fill your wedding day with.
For example, would you like a first look? How about a picnic? A cake? A first dance? Maybe you just want to sling up your hammocks amongst the trees and watch the clouds go by for a while? Stay out and stargaze at night?
All of these activities will help to slow your wedding day down and really encourage you to be in the moment and make great memories.
We wrote a blog you might enjoyed: ‘80 Epic Elopement Ideas To Make Your Day Special’
Rent your Jeep
Often, the small towns we’ve mentioned get busy-busy in high season, so be sure to book your Jeep well in advance. Do NOT leave it till the last minute or you’re going to find yourself disappointed.
There’s a couple of things to be aware of when you rent your Jeep:
- Pay the extra for windshield and tire coverage! Just do it. Trust us.
- If you have a choice, weigh up whether you want a soft top or a hard top. A soft top means you can take it off and enjoy the wind in your hair. BUT it also means you won’t be able to get any cool photos standing on top of your Jeep!
- Be aware you may need to rent your Jeep for 2 days minimum, if you want to get out in time for sunrise or stay out for sunset. Normally a single full day rental is something like 8-4pm and so won’t allow for that.
- When you collect your Jeep, take a little video as you check for bumps, dents, scratches etc. Take a photo of the fuel level as you’ll be expected to return it at the same level.
Fun ways to personalize your Jeep wedding
If you’d like to add a little personal touch to your wedding day, here’s a few fun ways to do that:
- Decorate your Jeep! You could string some cans from the back, make or buy your own ‘Just Married’ sign, or you even get a personalized pro decal made for your spare tire cover!
- Jazz up your outfit with a pair of Jeep cufflinks.
- Add a Jeep topper to your wedding cake.
- You can even get a Jeep wedding band!!!
On the day: spare fuel, we always carry satellite GPS, plenty of food and water. Factor in time to wash and refuel.
What to take with you for your Jeep wedding
If you’re heading out in Jeeps for your wedding day, there’s every chance you’re going to disappear far into the backcountry and be gone from civilization for many hours. So, it’s important you pack all the right stuff with you!
First of all, obviously make sure you have all your wedding stuff with you!! Outfits, flowers, rings, vow books etc.
Then make sure you pack some extra layers, including something waterproof. Weather can change quickly, especially if you’re up in the mountains, and you don’t want to find yourself caught out. Don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen and bug spray!
Don’t forget about food and drink! You’re going to want practical snacks and tons of water, but also think about something celebratory. This is your wedding day afterall! Maybe you’d like to DIY a charcuterie picnic, pack a bottle of bubbles (obviously don’t drink too much if you’re the one driving!) or even take a cake with you.
Lastly, never forget emergency equipment. As your Jeep wedding photographers, we always have a first aid kit with us, an ‘oh sh*t kit’ with spare everythings, a winch on our Jeep just in case, and a satellite GPS in case of real emergency.
Your Jeep wedding day is here!
You’ve done it! You’ve planned the Jeep wedding of your dreams, now all you have to do is enjoy the ride. Whether you’re driving yourselves or have hired a guide, make sure you go slow, take the time to really soak in the incredible views and let it sink in…. This is it, it’s your WEDDING DAY!
As your Jeep wedding photographers, we’re going to explore all day long with you, experiencing incredible levels of natural beauty and capturing stunning photos of you and your love in the wilds.
When the time feels right and you both get a sense of ‘this is it’, we’ll hold your ceremony, do the thing, and get you MARRIED!
Ahhhh, we hope you have the time of your lives… And don’t forget to get some epic wedding pics with your Jeep!
We would love to create an epic elopement experience for you! We provide planning assistance, photography and officiation for adventure-seeking couples across the US and worldwide. Get in touch to start brainstorming with us!
Chad & Vanessa, ‘The Outlovers’