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Iowa Elopement; Advice for a dreamy wedding day

Whether you are from Iowa, or coming to visit family.. I have a few ideas for planning your Iowa elopement!

First thing first – it does not have to be in a barn if you don’t want it to be. You can elope anywhere!

Iowa is fairly laid back, generally full of nice, welcoming humans.

It’s a state with room to roam, and a ton of good beer + bar food.

Dreamy Iowa Elopement Tips:

-Picking a good date

-Activities to do for an Iowa Elopement

-Venues for an Elopement

-Vendors for an Elopement

-Photo schedule in an example Timeline for an elopement OR small wedding

Outdoor Iowa Elopement Tips:

Pick a date in these months if you want it outside; May, June, August, September, October

July is way too hot in Iowa, extremely muggy, and it’s just not fun to be outside unless you are spending it at the pool.

The winters are also very windy, bitter, and overall just cold.

Sometimes you still can get lucky with a 75 degree July day and a warm 40 degree day, but generally I would not risk it for outdoor activities.

Indoor Iowa Elopement Tips:

If you are indoor people, truly you could pick any date, any time of the year.

I would suggest avoiding bank or religious holidays due to most places being closed to spend time with their own loved ones.

Next, I would write a list of what vendors you would like…
Do you want to get your hair + makeup professionally done?

For amazing indoor photos, I would recommend a bright place, with tons of natural light.
This will help with getting ready photos to just overall mood of the day.


If you are into flash photography, there are a few small venues that have a speak-easy vibe!

Venues + Vendors in Iowa to host your Elopement

Want a few more people than an elopement, but for sure no more than 70 to keep it intimate? I gotchuu!

Week day weddings are perfect for smaller venues.
You also might get it for a different rate if it is not a weekend / popular date.

Vendors are not just for traditionally large weddings, you can have them any time.
Want a certain decor style? Let’s talk about a pop up wedding!
Maybe videographer too? I know the good ones!

Check out this blog post I did on 5 popular Elopement Venues in Iowa, here!

Activities to do during your Iowa Elopement

These are in no particular order but you can still do all of these things in Iowa, on your wedding day!

-Water leisure (boating, kayaking, canoeing.. etc)
-Wine tasting
-Bar hopping
-Horseback riding
-Drawing or Painting
-Coffee or tea
-Motorcycle ride
-yard games
-Board games
-Campfire + S’mores
-Private Chef / Cooking

Check out Backbone State Park or Palisades State Park
Both of these places have a beach + in the fall, it is full of color!

I have a full 100 page guide for planning a dream elopement, available for all my couples to get the ultimate idea list!
This guide is exclusive to JTP couples only!!

Example Timeline / day of schedule for Dreamy Photos

Here is a few example timelines! I encourage my couples to brainstorm, and think of ideas that feel like them as a couple. Each couple is different, so have a day that is tailored to you both.

Elopement Timeline:

8:00 am – Morning Coffee
9:00 am – Breakfast together
10:00 am – Sauna + Facials
11:00 am – Couples massage
1:00 pm – Lunch
2:00 pm – hair + makeup
3:00 pm – Get dressed
4:00 pm – First look all glammed out
5:00 pm – Private vows + Couple portraits
6:00 pm – Evening ceremony with close family + friends
7:00 pm – Dinner served by private Chef
8:00 pm – Toasts + Dancing by campfire
9:00 pm – First Dance as a married couple
10:00 pm – Star gazing + night portraits

Small Intimate Wedding Timeline:

10:00 am – Brunch with friends
11:00 am – hair + makeup
12:00 pm – Board games with friends (And/or wedding party members)
1:00 pm – Get dressed (Together or apart)
2:00 pm – First look all glammed out
3:00 pm – Portraits with friends / family and/or wedding party if having one
5:00 pm – Wedding Ceremony
5:30 pm – Greet guests + additional candids with guests
6:00 pm – cocktail hour
7:00 pm – Sunset Photos as married Couple
8:00 pm – Dinner served
9:00 pm – Dancing
10:00 pm – Pizza + Snacks served

As a seasoned photographer I will talk you through more in detail what is most important on your day, whether you are having a lot of little details, or mostly just humans + activities. Plus, then I will pin point when I will take certain photos of details based on your unique timeline.


I know Iowa gets called a fly over state, and yes, it is full of traditional weddings.. but you can elope anywhere! We can plan a dream day for you, full of photos you want, with or without your closest family + friends there.

Also, check out a few other blog posts on eloping in Iowa, here!

What is an Elopement?

How to Elope

From the details to the humans, we will get you photos you love.

Ready to Elope?

I’m Jamie – I gotchuu, contact me, here!

Small wedding or elopement.. the possibilities are endless. Get married your way!


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We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of loveā€¦ and all the little candid ones in between.


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IOWA ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | Iowa Microwedding photographer