Everything you need to know to prepare for high altitude on your mountain elopement or small wedding day
You’re getting married in the mountains of Colorado and suddenly realize you aren’t sure how to prepare for high altitude! If this sounds about right, no need to worry! After living in the mountains for the last few years as a mountain elopement photographer, I’ve learned numerous preparation tips and tricks to help ensure you are feeling good and healthy on your high altitude mountain elopement day!
*Please note : Of course, I am not a medical professional. These tips and tricks are based on my personal experience as a high altitude mountain town local in Colorado and my own research. It is always recommended to pay a visit to your doctor if you are worried about your health at high altitude!
How to prepare for high altitude for your elopement day
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Being hydrated is super critical at high altitudes. I always go by the saying, “If you wait until you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long.” Start the water intake a few days before you get here, staying hydrated beforehand will help your body acclimate when you arrive.
With dry air and lower oxygen levels, your body loses water much more quickly than you do at sea level. The Institute for Altitude Medicine recommends drinking an extra 1-1.5 liters of water daily when at high altitude.
I always love adding electrolytes if I’m feeling the need to. Liquid IV powder is my personal favorite. I also turn to Pedeolyte, Propel powder, and Nuun sport hydration tablets!
2. Give yourself a few days to acclimate to high altitude
If possible, try to arrive to your mountain area a couple of days before your elopement to give your body extra time to acclimate. If you are flying into Denver airport, some people like to spend a night in the Denver area at 6,000ft before heading to the mountains at over 8,000-9,000 ft.
3. Watch the alcohol intake
High altitude doesn’t exactly change the potency of alcohol. However, many people will tell you they feel the effects of alcohol much faster at high altitude. This is because there is less oxygen at high altitude which can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Combine that with alcohol and you are going to feel it faster. Alcohol also dehydrates the body which is accelerated by the dry air.
I usually recommend staying away from alcohol the first day or two while you are acclimating. If you are drinking (Colorado has some of the country’s best craft breweries after all!) be sure to stay hydrated. I always follow a beer with a glass of water.
4. Bring layers, even in the summer
Mountain weather can be super unpredictable. Sometimes it will seem like it just has a mind of its own. You can experience picture perfect sunny summer temperatures, hail, and snow all in the same day. Being prepared with having plenty of layers in your pack is key, even in the summertime!
5. Protect yourself from the high alpine sun
When you are at high altitudes, there is less atmosphere between the sun and earth than there is at sea level. This makes the sun feel much stronger and makes it much easier to burn! Having sunscreen is super important when you are out in that high alpine sunshine. Don’t forget about your scalp. Have a hat to bring along to protect the top of your head, having a burned peeling scalp is no fun!
Talk to your makeup artist about this for your elopement day! There are many facial lotions, primers, and foundations that have SPF in them.
6. Have proper footwear
High heels aren’t going to do you many favors if you are eloping in the mountains of Colorado. Depending on your elopement location, be sure to have solid hiking boots or sneakers to get to your location. You can always change into your formal shoes when you get to your ceremony site!
7. Eat the right foods and don’t skip meals
You might not have much of an appetite when you first arrive at high altitude, but your body actually needs more calories than usual. It is super important to keep your body fueled in the mountains. At high altitudes our bodies use up our carbohydrate storage for energy at a much faster rate. When that storage gets depleted, you will feel sluggish. Eating foods high in complex carbohydrates will help your body stay fueled and energized. Foods rich in potassium and iron are also highly recommended.
8. Prepare your pup for high altitude
Just like us humans, our doggos can feel the change in altitude too. Be sure to have a portable water bowl on hand and have your pup drink often. Let your pup rest whenever he/she needs or wants to. There is nothing better than a happy, healthy dog at your mountain elopement!
Day-of elopement checklist to prepare for high altitude
Now that you have the prep work on ways to prepare for high altitude on your mountain elopement or small wedding day, let’s talk about what to bring to your elopement day! Here is a checklist of items I recommend you have in your backpack on the day you say ‘I do’ in the great outdoors.
What to carry in your backpack on your elopement day to prepare for high altitude
- Warm layers
- Canned oxygen
- Liquid IV packets
- Hand warmers
Looking for your high altitude mountain elopement photographer?
Work with Alex of Roaming Pine
If you are looking for a Colorado mountain local photographer for the day you say ‘I do’ in the high altitude mountains of Colorado, I’m your girl. Head on over to my contact page and we will set up a free, no-obligation phone call to get to know each other a bit and start bringing your dream high altitude mountain elopement day to life!
That’s so useful and specific! Had no idea there were so many things to keep in mind! Also, love the checklist so much <3
Thanks Silvia! Glad you found it helpful!
Wow, this is so so helpful and informative. Lots of tips that couples may not have thought of; everyone looking to elope at a high altitude should read this article! Thanks for such a comprehensive post!
Thank you sienna! I’m so glad you found it helpful!
This clear and concise outline is so great for couples who want to head to the mountains but have no idea how to prepare. What a great resource for folks! Love this so much.
Thanks so much Angela!!
Great tips for anyone wanting to get married in the mountains! Especially if you’re from the flatlands, these tips are sooo important!
Thanks so much Kat!
This is AWESOME advice!! I thought I lived in a higher altitude where I’m at right now but this is double/triple/quadruple than I’m used to! Such great tips to be prepared for this, I’m gonna reference back to this article when preparing for an elopement!
Thank so much Jacqueline! So glad you found it helpful!!
great tips! people always forget that the altitude can get you out of nowhere, and you definitely dont want that on your elopement day!
Thanks Teresa! Definitely want to be feeling your best on your elopement day!
This is some really sound advice! I love that you have some tips for getting a dog ready as well! That check list is a great resource. Well done!
Thanks so much Julia!
This is such important info and should be sent to all couples eloping in the alpine — whether they live in Colorado or not! I appreciate the part about the pup too 🙂
Thank you Julianna! And yes can’t forget about the pups! 🙂