Couples elope for a number of reasons. In the past, it was all about finding a quick (and secret) way to get married. But today, it’s often more about scaling back and having a romantic celebration for two without the concerns of a crowd. Whether that’s because you love an adventure, are trying to save money, or because your wedding plans have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, an elopement is a great alternative to consider. While in many ways elopements are a lot easier, they do still require some thought. Here are a few of the biggest dos and don’ts of elopement planning.
DO make it special (and make it you!). Just because you’ve decided on an elopement doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be special and memorable. In fact, the best thing about an elopement is that you can do exactly what YOU want to do. For example, you can keep things simple or splash out on luxurious details. You can customize the wedding ceremony and vows. You can also keep or discard any wedding traditions you do or don’t like. It’s all about you!
DON’T miss out on a great location. There’s nothing wrong with a wedding at the local courthouse if that’s what you want. But elopement planning opens the door to lots of other options. If you are able to travel, the world is your oyster. Even close to home lookout for unique locations such as boutique venues or epic natural spaces. In some states, you can even marry yourselves, whether it’s at the top of a mountain or in your own living room!
DO plan ahead (especially the legalities). Just because you aren’t hosting 120 guests doesn’t mean there’s no elopement planning needed. Most importantly, you’ll need to research the legal requirements, including wedding licenses, witnesses, and officiants. A wedding planner can also help you with all the details, and is just as useful as for a big wedding!
DON’T forget to book a photographer. A good photographer is always a sound investment, no matter the size of your wedding. In fact, beautiful pictures from your romantic elopement are a way to not only remember the day, but share it with family and friends. And video is a way to take your guests on the journey even if they weren’t with you! Live stream or a film after the fact is a fun way for the whole family to experience your day.
DO put some thought into what to wear. Another great thing about an elopement is that you can wear pretty much whatever you like. It doesn’t have to be a dress or suit and it definitely doesn’t have to be white! But you still should feel incredible! Great outfits plus a beautiful location will also make those photographs even more amazing, so bear the ceremony venue in mind when making your choice.
DON’T forget to plan something for after the ceremony. Limiting your elopement planning to the ceremony itself can be a little anti-climactic. Make sure you have something planned for afterward, whether it’s an amazing luncheon or dinner for two, a favorite activity, or a romantic treat.
DO include your friends and family when possible. It’s absolutely okay not to make your family and friends part of your elopement planning, but there are still ways you can make them feel included. For example, invite special people to attend the ceremony virtually via Zoom, or have one of them serve as the officiant (or a witness). You can also schedule a group celebration in the future, where everyone can toast your new marriage.
DON’T forget to send out an announcement. It’s important that you include how to tell people in your elopement planning. This is especially true if you’re keeping your elopement a secret from your close family and friends. Be sure to tell them first, before you make any announcements via social media. You may also want to send out a formal announcement by mail, which can be a special way to share the big news.
Most important of all, DON’T feel guilty! Your wedding day is all about the two of you, however, and wherever you choose to spend it.