As an elopement bride myself and a wedding professional, I’ve been itching to write down advice for my future couples who elope. I really racked my brain for the top five pieces that I feel apply to every couple who is eloping, and I totally hope that it helps some of you out!
1. Consider why you are eloping and what “elopement” means to you and your partner.
Elopement isn’t anything new, but it’s become a very popular option for couples within the past few years. I’ve heard confusion from couples on exactly what it means to elope; the general consensus with wedding professionals seems to be that an elopement is an intimate ceremony with 2 or less attendees, and frequently, only the couple, an officiant, and a documentation person or team.
There are infinite reasons to consider elopement as a real option. Some of these reasons are heart wrenching truths, such as racism, phobia surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, toxic family relations, mental health etc. Others are as simple as wanting the wedding experience to be private and intimate. Elopements are beautiful in a way entirely different from a traditional wedding, and you deserve to make an unbreakable bond in a safe space regardless of who tries to tell you otherwise (more on that in number 2)
You and your partner should spend some time meditating and considering what elopement would bring to your special day and what eloping means to you specifically. Do you want a quaint courthouse wedding because you just can’t wait to get married? Do you want an incredible adventure on a mountainside? The possibilities really open up when you only have you and your partner’s dreams to consider.
If the “what if’s” come from a place of fear or people pleasing, and your heart really is into the idea of eloping, work to lean into the next piece of advice.
2. Your wedding day is about you and your partner.
Louder, for the people in the back; your wedding day is about you and your partner. Elopement is not selfish.
I think there is infinite beauty in a traditional full day wedding surrounded by everyone you love. But just like everything else in life, the idea that weddings are one size fits all is pretty ridiculous, yeah? If you and your partner are in a position where it is safe to explain to your friends and self-identified family why you are eloping, definitely do so. Get yourselves and your dreams together like suggested in number one, sit down with them, and tell them how very excited you are to get married intimately.
Some people may not initially understand, or even protest, but planning a wedding for the sake of other people in your life is a sure fire way to have you and your partner stressed and resentful. Choose the discomfort of being true to yourselves over the resentment of people that you love.
3.) You still need to calculate a budget and have a rough timeline.
One of the common misconceptions about elopements are that they are inherently easier, which isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s incredibly important for you and your partner to effectively plan out how to make your dreams come true.
This could be as low stress as figuring out your county’s procedure for getting a marriage license and planning to go to the courthouse next day. Or, if you are planning a grand elopement adventure, use my tips in number 4 to figure out what vendors & items are absolutely essential for your ideal elopement.
Weddings of all kinds definitely are an important investment, and you don’t want to financially skimp on the areas of the wedding that are most important to you. Set your budget and create a timeline of how you can realistically make payments to your vendors and for other expenses.
4.) Invest in experiences, not just appearances.
One of the reasons you are choosing to elope is that you are more interested in your wedding day being a day dedicated to you, your partner, and the love that you create together. If you have the money to go all out on every facet of your wedding, do it. Support all kinds of amazing creatives and businesses.
If that isn’t the case, here is my personal list of what is essential to invest in (Know that everyone will be a little different!)
- Cost of marriage license and marriage certificate
- Wedding attire and accessories
- Hair & makeup artist
- Travel & lodging expenses
- Documentation person or team (Photographer and/or videographer)
You are going to want professional photos or video of your wedding, and while you could easily get your friend with the nice camera to do it, they don’t have the professional training to capture your wedding with skill that is far beyond just pressing a shutter button. They are artists and know how to evoke the emotion that is your wedding day.
If you are finding that you still have some wiggle room after investing in the experience of an elopement, consider the following vendors who are equally artists:
- Floral designer
- Calligrapher/artist to make cards for all of your loved ones
- Cake designer to make a cake just for you and your partner
- Investing more funds into your dream honeymoon
5.) You can always celebrate with loved ones afterward!
This is actually exactly what my husband, Alec, and I have decided to do in 2019! If you are in a safe space to do so, and still want to celebrate this season with your loved ones, plan a reception, dinner, or get together to your taste. You can share photos and videos of your elopement, and have the best of both worlds!