Your Fiance popped the question and you decided you want to elope…now what? In this blog you’ll see how to elope in 5 easy steps. While eloping may seem like a completely carefree and spontaneous option, there is actually some planning involved to make sure that it’s the perfect day for you and your partner.
Step one on How to elope: Plan the perfect day for the two of you
How to elope in 5 easy steps, step one is no matter what kind of wedding you’re having, your wedding should be a special celebration of you and your spouse. Choosing to elope means the day is 100% up to you. After getting engaged, spend some time with your partner thinking through three things:
First: how do you want your day to feel? Are you looking for a relaxed day or one packed with activities surrounding the day? Do you want it to feel intimate, magical, over-the-top? Pick a few adjectives to describe your special day and stick to them.
Second: what do you love to do together? If you and your fiance love to hike, get married on a mountain with a gorgeous view and hike to your ceremony together. Are you foodies, book a post-ceremony dinner at your favorite restaurant. If you love to travel, get married somewhere on your bucket list!
Third: decide who you want to celebrate with. While we typically associate an elopement as just the couple and an officiant, it doesn’t have to be this way! If you and your fiance are very close with your families, invite them! If you have a tight-knit friend group, ask them to join you!
Step two: Decide on a location
When it comes to location, the options are truly endless. You can keep things close to home with a simple courthouse ceremony or fly across the world with your fiance. How to elope in 5 easy steps, step two let’s dive in.
If you’re not sure where you want to elope, think about places that you’re drawn to! Maybe it’s a sentimental location, like a beach your family vacationed at every summer or the town you and your fiance met. It could also be somewhere you and your partner have dreamed about traveling together!
Unsure where to elope? Check out my blog on the best places to elope in the U.S. (https://brookeannekeepingyouwild.com/2021/11/18/best-places-to-elope-united-states/)
Once you’ve decided on the where, think about when. The beaches in the Caribbean are beautiful, but keep in mind that it is hurricane season from June 1st to November 30th. You may dream of a wedding in Iceland, but don’t forget there are times of year where the sun only rises for a few hours and other times where the sun never sets.
Step three on How to Elope in 5 easy steps: Choose best photographers + vendors
Once you’ve determined a location, it’s wise to start thinking through vendors. Not only do you need to choose which vendors you’ll need, but which vendors are the right one’s for you. How to elope in 5 easy steps, step three:
Almost all elopements will need an officiant, whether that is a local clergy member or a friend who is legally ordained. In some places, you can obtain a self-uniting marriage license click here to obtain.
It’s also very likely that you’ll want this day captured, so hiring an elopement photographer and/or videographer is a must. Like myself, many elopement photographers can help you determine a specific location, answer any questions about how to go about getting married in your dream spot, and scout out the perfect spot for photos. If you’re considering me for your upcoming elopement, click here so I can get to know more about you two, and all the details of your special day.
Other important vendors to consider are a hair and make up team, a florist for your bouquet or any other decorative blooms, and a space for a post-ceremony reception. These vendors may not be essential for every elopement, but if you’re wanting to hire someone for any of these roles, hiring the right person is so important.
When your wedding is a much smaller affair, the people you have there become much more important…which is why it’s so important to hire the right vendors to make your day special. Think about how you want your day to look and feel and find vendors who will help you achieve it.
Step four on How to Elope: Permits & Certificates
One of the most important parts of planning your elopement is having all the permits and certificates you need.
Like a traditional wedding, you will need to secure a marriage license in the state you’re getting married in. Each state has their own rules for how to go about this. As soon as you pick your location, start researching! You may need to send in documents ahead of time or bring them with you.
Eloping in another country is a little bit more tricky. If that process seems too daunting, another option would be to get legally married in your hometown and have a ceremony in the destination of your choosing.
On top of this, you may need to get a permit to have a wedding ceremony depending on where you want to elope. For example, you’ll need a “special use” permit to elope in any of the U.S. National Parks click here to obtain that permit. If you’re unsure about what permits you need and how to obtain them, your photographer may be your best resource! Elopement photographers help couples get married in beautiful, unique places every day and they will know all of the ins and outs of making it happen.
Step five: Final tips on how to Elope
I also wanted to include a few mini tips on how to elope to help answer any questions you still may be having.
After deciding your location, think about what you want to wear! Not only is it important to think about what you like, but it’s also important to think about the practicality. If you want a wedding in the mountains, you should wear boots under your gown. If you’re getting married on a tropical beach, you should go barefoot. Depending on the location and time of year, it may be best to pack a coat to wear over your dress or in between photos. If you’re traveling, it’s also important to think about the plan to get your outfits to and from your elopement.
It’s also important to pick your budget and stick to it! While eloping is often a less expensive option than having a traditional wedding, it’s still vital that you keep your budget in mind! The best way to do this is prioritize each element of your day and budget accordingly.
Lastly, decide who you want there and how you’ll tell everyone else. Will you invite close family and friends or is it just going to be the two of you? Are you telling people beforehand or surprising everyone else after? Remember: this is your day and you’re not required to invite anyone you don’t want to!