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10 Things to Consider if You're Planning to Elope!

Planning to elope with your special someone in the near future? Discover 10 things you should know while you prepare for this special event.

By Hannah Purvis

Picture this -- you're newly engaged and leaping headfirst into a new chapter of your life. You and your partner want to move forward into marriage without the hassle of a wedding but aren't sure if an elopement is right for you. Maybe you want to save the money for a house, or a big trip for just the two of you. Does this sound familiar? We completely understand.

While there are so many wonderful elements of a traditional wedding, there are also unique and intimate memories that come with an elopement that may be more in tune with you as a couple.

What is an elopement?

To get eloped traditionally means getting married without the knowledge of family members and friends. It typically doesn’t include a formal celebration or reception.
So, here are 10 things to consider if you plan to elope or are considering. Hopefully, these will help you assess which type of marriage celebration is right for you!

1. How Intimate Do You Want the Ceremony to Be?

If eloping seems like the right choice for you, there are various ways to do it. While some would argue that a true “traditional elopement” is a couple marrying at the courthouse, there are so many ways to make a modern elopement work to match your relationship. After all, it’s your day and you get to do it your way. For some, that may mean an incredibly intimate ceremony with an officiant only or a courthouse elopement.

Others may want the company of their immediate families or best friends as witnesses at a destination retreat. But before announcing or choosing where to elope, consider who you want to be present.

Couple in a field with bride holding bouquet of flowers
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

2. Whether or Not You're Comfortable Breaking Tradition

While elopements are incredibly popular right now with modern couples, especially in a post-pandemic society, there’s still the consideration of breaking tradition. While it may not be a factor to you, it's important to discuss it with your soon-to-be spouse and make sure you're both alright with going against the grain.

Couple getting married on a beach
Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash

3. The Budget for Your Elopement

Even an intimate elopement can be costly, depending on how and where you want it to take place. When setting up a budget for your special day, factor in any expenses related to travel, ceremony location, hiring an officiant, wedding attire, a photographer, and wedding rings – just to name a few.

calculator, pen and paper
Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash

4. How To Announce It

When elopement planning, decide on how much of the day you want to be a secret and how you want to announce your recent nuptials. You could surprise everyone after the fact with photos of the special day. You could tell your loved ones that you've gotten married and set up an online registry for a honeymoon adventure! Heck, you could even elope in Las Vegas and have Elvis as your officiant. Imagine how priceless a video of you singing your vows would be! No matter how you choose to do it, an elopement announcement is a special way to share this new season with those you love most!

Bride lifting bridal bouquet in the air
Photo by Wedding Dreamz on Unsplash

5. What Vendors Do You Want?

Whether you're going with a big wedding or a small gathering, there are still some vendors you may want to work with on your elopement day. For instance, just because you aren't having a traditional wedding day, doesn't mean you need to miss out on a wedding cake. Let's face it, we think there should be cake at any and every celebration. But we’d suggest preparing for things like cake, restaurant reservations, photographers, and lodging in advance.

Wedding cake
Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

6. How to Legally Go About an Elopement

While eloping has an enchanting and romantic air to it, there are still legal issues that must be handled in advance. Things like obtaining your marriage license and making sure your officiant is certified are just starters. We love the idea of inviting a loved one to perform the ceremony, but keep in mind that every state has different rules for becoming an officiant.

Be sure to read up on this before choosing someone and follow the necessary steps to make sure everything is properly handled before the big day.

groom kissing brides hand
Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

7. Setting up a Registry

Maybe you don't want a huge wedding ceremony, but setting up an online registry for gifting is a great way to let your friends and family be involved in celebrating this joyful occasion. Your registry can include the more traditional gifts and household items, or you can tailor it towards a romantic honeymoon for you and your new spouse! Let your loved ones support you by contributing to different elements of your trip such as lodging, dining, and excursions!

For more information on how to get started setting up your registry, we’ve got you covered!

wedding gifts
Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

8. Local vs. Destination

Would you rather your elopement ceremony be local or a destination escape? This is something to consider before planning and building a budget! Maybe you want to get married somewhere remote and stay for a week as a joint honeymoon experience. When choosing the location, make sure to take into account who you want in attendance and if a destination elopement is feasible for the group.

If you do plan to get married somewhere out of your local vicinity, be sure to research vendors and officiants in that area, so you know exactly what to expect and who you want to work with!

newly wed couple on top of a rock celebrating
Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash

9. What You Want to Wear

Elopement attire can vary depending on your setting. If you're getting married on a beach in Hawaii, your outfit might be different than a scenic mountain overlook in the Shenandoah Valley. Perhaps you want to forfeit a traditional suit, for a more laid-back style. Look into the weather and the average temperature in that area when you're planning your elopement and also be mindful of what you'll be most comfortable in for your ceremony and photos.

bride holding a hat
Photo by Wedding Dreamz on Unsplash

10. How to Celebrate the Occasion After You're Done

You did it! This is the fun part! You married the love of your life and now you get to focus on celebrating this incredible occasion. We highly encourage doing something you both enjoy. Do you like partying? Throw a reception or dinner party with friends and family. Enjoy bowling or axe throwing? Kick tradition to the curb and go have some out-of-the-box fun.

Prefer an intimate getaway? Carry on some tradition and take that dream honeymoon. The point is, there is no wrong way to celebrate as long as it will be memorable and special to you and your partner!

wedding couple sitting on a cliff near the ocean
Photo by Tatiana Gonzales on Unsplash

To Elope Or Not To Elope?

Ultimately it’s up to you. There are pros and cons to any type of celebration and things you’ll want to consider before making any big decisions regarding your wedding day. But, no matter what anyone says, this day is entirely up to you. So stay true to yourself in the planning process. If that’s an elopement, then go wild, go against the grain and make it an elopement day to remember!

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