Hey there, fellow adventurers! My name’s Terri Hanlon, and I’ve been capturing epic moments as a professional photographer for a whopping 20 years. In this blog, I’ll be sharing the essentials for planning the perfect Sunshine Coast National Park Elopement. Tips you need to make your big day memorable.

Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey packed with location scouting, permits, and all the juicy tips you need to turn your big day into an unforgettable experience. We’re talking serious fun and memories that will have you grinning from ear to ear! So, let’s dive in and make your dream elopement a reality!

Choosing the Perfect Park that fits your vibe!

Let’s start with the most exciting decision—choosing the national park of your dreams! When it comes to national parks the Sunshine Coast has got it all, from lush rainforests to dreamy coastal spots. With a total of 7 National Parks to choose from you’re spoilt for choice. Popular choices include Noosa National Park, Glass House Mountains National Park, and Mapleton Falls National Park, which are just a few of your ‘can’t go wrong’ choices!

Tip: Consider factors such as accessibility, landscape diversity, and any specific features you wish to incorporate into your elopement. 

Sort your Paperwork (aka do I need permits?).

Before you go full-on adventurer mode, make sure to grab the necessary permits from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) or the park office. Give them enough time to process your paperwork and make sure you’re familiar with any park regulations. Trust me lovebirds, following the rules will help you avoid any untimely wedding day hiccups!

Get Creative: Designing Your Dream Ceremony.

Let your imaginations soar as you plan the ceremony of a lifetime! Picture your ideal location within the park, decide on the guest list (if any), and brainstorm details to personalise your day. Keep in mind that national parks prioritise conservation, so be mindful of the environment and any restrictions on guest numbers or equipment that you bring into the parks. 

And hey, if you need a helping hand with the logistics, I know my way around a National Park or two!

national park track Mt Nugungun on the Sunshine Coast QLD

When is the best time of day to elope?

Timing is everything. When and where you say “I do” can change your comfort, the lighting, the bugs, the onlookers etc… you get the point. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 2 hours before sunset. It’s the magical time when the light is just right, casting a dreamy glow over everything.

*One thing to keep in mind is the time it takes to get to your dream elopement location if you are wanting to document your elopement journey. Ask more when you connect HERE… I can help you plan out your ceremony and portrait time to get the most out of your photography and most importantly your experience!

When is the best time of year to elope on the Sunshine Coast?

Ah, the Sunshine Coast, where every month brings its own bag of goodies! Picture this: Winter (June to August) is like stepping into paradise with its crystal clear blue skies and gentle breezes. Just be careful in August, though, because those westerly winds can play some funky tricks and make the air a bit static-y. It’s all part of the coastal charm!

But hey, Autumn (March-May) in the hinterland is where the real magic happens. The trees put on a show and transform into a kaleidoscope of colours—yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. It’s like nature showing off its artsy side, and it only lasts for a few precious months. Talk about exclusive beauty!

Now, if you’re a Spring lover (September to November), you’re in for a treat. This season is known for its predictable weather, with minimal rain and temperatures hovering around a comfortable 24°C to 27°C. It’s the Goldilocks zone of seasons—just right! So if you’re all about that sunshine without the hassle, Spring is your time to shine.

Ah, Summertime (December to February), the moment things really start sizzling! Now, be warned: if you’re not a fan of humidity and scorching heat, you might want to think twice. Our temperatures can climb into the 30°Cs, so make sure you’re prepared to feel the burn. But fear not! Summer has its perks too. The days are longer, giving you more time to soak up the sun and enjoy those lazy, balmy vibes. Perfect for a late afternoon ceremony, don’t you think?

So, pick a season, cross your fingers for clear skies, and get ready for some enchanting moments. I personally love a rainy day elopement, although my photography equipment does not so much. which brings me to my next planning tip…

Caloundra Beach Elopement Photography

Rainy Day Plan B – What to do if it rains.

Mother Nature can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to rain on your wedding day. 2022 was the perfect example with above-average rainfall.

But let’s be practical just in case the rain really decides to show up uninvited, we need to consider awesome undercover options. We’ll capture intimate moments of you snuggling close, finding shelter together, and laughing in the face of a little shower.

Fear not as together we’ll find a picturesque sheltered location that complements your adventurous spirits. Perhaps the rustic cabin you have rented, the shelter of a cozy cafe, or a gorgeous art gallery. The possibilities are endless, together we’ll make sure that your Plan B location is just as incredible as your original vision.

Remember this: rain is just another element of nature’s grand symphony, and we’ll dance to its rhythm. Welcoming the moment and getting wet can create some epic shots. Let us ensure nothing can dampen your spirits or the joy. So seize the unexpected, laugh in the face of raindrops, and let’s create memories that’ll sparkle brighter than the sun. Rain or shine, your love story will be nothing short of extraordinary!

Eco-Conscious Celebrations.

Green is the new black! Caring for our beautiful planet is oh-so-important, and your elopement is the perfect opportunity to go green! Embrace sustainable practices like reducing waste, using biodegradable or reusable materials, and leaving no trace behind. 

Find eco-friendly vendors, like me, who share your passion for the environment. You could even consider supporting local conservation initiatives to offset your carbon footprint. You’ll be a couple of eco-warriors tying the knot!

And if you want more ideas check out the wedding blog “less stuff more meaning” as they align with everything eco! 

roscrea homestead bridal room

 When it comes to vendors, go with the locals!

Want the inside scoop on hidden gems and the best spots for breathtaking photos? Seek guidance from Sunshine Coast vendors who know the lay of the land. 

As a Sunshine Coast-based photographer, I’ve lived (and hiked) in and around these national parks for decades & love sharing this beautiful backyard with others. Also if you’re still shopping for vendors, I know a lot of terrific celebrants, florists, and hair & makeup professionals on the Sunshine Coast you’ll love. We’re all here to help make your elopement extraordinary and customised to suit you and your partner. Feel free to ask me for recommendations here on the coast as I have loads of favorites here in the Sunshine State.

Safety First!

Love Safe in Queensland’s National Parks:

Get serious, folks! Prioritize safety while eloping in national parks. Tips for a worry-free celebration:

  1. Dress smart: Pack sun protection and rain gear. Be ready for anything!
  2. Trail skills: Prepare for off-road adventures. Wear sturdy shoes, carry essentials, and let someone know your whereabouts.
  3. Battle bugs: Use repellent and keep pests away with citronella. Don’t let ants devour your wedding cake!
  4. Respect wildlife: Admire from a distance, no feeding or disturbing. Avoid unexpected bouquet thieves or photo-bombing emus!
  5. Emergency plan: Prepare for weather or park closures. Share contacts, and assign a point person. Love conquers all, even curveballs!

Same Sex Elopement Coolum National Park Sunshine Coast Elopement Photography Terri Hanlon

By combining adventure, sustainability, and safety, you’re all set for an unforgettable celebration. Celebrate your love, your way, because, after all, it is your day! So, grab your partner’s hand, put on your explorer hats, and get ready for an epic journey filled with love, laughter, and a whole lot of magic.

Happy eloping!

mountian top elopement couple during thier ceremony