So, you have decided to elope? A million questions must be going through your mind. Where should we elope? Do we elope alone or with family? What should we do during the ceremony?
These are valid questions, and it all seems stressful. Let me make this process easier with this step-by-step guide on how to elope!
Reasons to Elope
Why do you want to elope? Choosing to elope shouldn't just be because you see many couples doing it lately or you just want cool photos in a beautiful location. Making the brave decision to elope should come from both your hearts, is this truly what you want for your wedding day?
Many couples don't want all the attention on them and want an intimate experience over a wedding. Couples don't like the "stage-like" setting that weddings are set up to be. There are many reasons why choosing to elope could be perfect for you:
Eloping is less stressful: Big weddings are stressful. Imagine 50-200 people needing to be entertained. Each one wants to congratulate you and pull you aside for a chat. Not only that, the planning is daunting. Eloping means less stress and pure adventure.
Eloping allows for intimacy: Your wedding day is just that, YOURS. The day should be focused on your love for each other because you shouldn't have to be a host on your big day.
Your memories are important: If you ask, many couples will tell you that they forget most of their wedding day. Eloping is free from the craziness of a big wedding, and it is all about experiences. Document every detail with your elopement photographer. These moments that get documented will have you experiencing the same emotions for years to come.
Your Elopement Vision
This is the first step in planning your elopement – deciding what type of elopement you want. Elopements are perfect for couples who seek adventure and those who want a quiet place to commit their lives together without limitations. Create a vision board with things that inspire you.
Find locations that interest you. Do you want to elope next to the water or say your "I do's" with white-capped mountains as your backdrop? Imagine the location, your attire, alone or with family – find what inspires you and put it on your vision board.
Do your research on locations, views, weather, and the permits required to marry there. For park information, you can contact them directly here, and for marriage license inquiries, you would need to call the county clerk's office.
How to Announce Your Elopement
You can do this two ways - before you elope or after. Here's how you can surprise your friends and family with an elopement announcement:
Host a party: Whether it be before your elopement or after, get your inner circle together for a barbeque or private dinner at a beautiful restaurant. Share the news with a toast of champagne and celebrate!
Send elopement notes: Use one of your professional elopement photographs and write heartfelt notes. If you haven't eloped yet, send a sneaky picture of your rings. Although they won't be at your elopement, you will still be thinking of them.
Social media: Many of us love to document our lives on social media. Make a sign that says "we're doing it," and keep your friends guessing!
If you want it to be a complete surprise, then keep it a secret. This is your big day and when you are ready to share the fabulous news, then do so your way!
How to Choose an Elopement Location
Choosing an elopement location is an important step in the planning process. As yourself, if the place you want to elope in is meaningful to you as a couple, or do you want to start a new adventure together in places unknown.
There are a few things about the location you need to consider:
Can you legally get married in that state?
Do you want to elope in the summer or fall?
What activities do you want to do? You two might be adventurous and want to spend your time hiking, mountain climbing, or river rafting. Perhaps you're more laid back and prefer sipping cocktails on the beach.
Utilize your resources. Use Google Earth Pro to explore places unknown to get a clear picture of where you want to elope.
For detailed information on choosing the perfect elopement location, read further here!
Eloping with Family
While you can choose to elope alone, know that it is still possible to elope with your inner circle. You can have one or two close friends and your parents or ten people. There is no wrong way to elope. Learn more on how to elope with family here!
Location: If you plan to hike, is everyone capable of hiking long distances?
Plan an itinerary: Feel at ease having a set schedule on the day of your elopement.
Plan a gathering: Whether you want to do a brunch with your guests or dinner after your elopement, get your guests involved in celebrating your love.
Get them prepared: If you are hiking, prepare your loved ones on the best attire to wear.
Prepare food and drinks: You can hire a private chef to pack a beautiful picnic or plan to have a sit down plated meal afterwards.
Leave no trace: Inform all your guests of the rules of leave no trace. Everyone must collect all their trash, stay on hiking paths, and avoid disturbing the wilderness. Please see the Leave No Trace guidelines.
Make time for yourself: Don't get lost in entertaining. After all, it's one of the reasons you are eloping for the first time. Use your itinerary and make it clear to guests the time for them to explore without you. Take moments for just the two of you and let there be no pressure.
Elopement Ceremony Ideas
Eloping means you can do whatever you want during your ceremony. You can add traditions or scratch them altogether. So, what can you do during the ceremony?
Vows: Say your vows to each other and have the most intimate exchange.
Ring exchange: Exchange rings as a symbol of your forever love.
Letters: Write a letter to your partner on the morning of your elopement. Lock it in a keepsake box and read the letters on your first or tenth anniversary. It will be a beautiful exchange remembering how you both felt on that day.
Handfasting: Perform a handfasting ceremony. You perform a handfasting ceremony by tying and knotting hands with a braided cord or ribbon as a symbol for two lives being joined in matrimony.
Chord of three strands: This is a religious ritual where you and your partner will braid three chords representing you, your partner, and God in your relationship. Also known as God's knot, it is a symbolic commitment to keep God in the center of your relationship.
Here's the fun part – choosing what to wear! There are various alternatives to choose from in attire. You can wear a dress, suit, two-piece, or jumpsuit; it doesn't matter unless you are comfortable. One of the most important parts of your attire is movement. You will be bending down, occasionally climbing rocks, and playing around. If you can move freely in your attire, then you have a winner!
Consider the season you are eloping in and choose materials accordingly. If it's summertime, some materials that work the best are chiffon, organza, and taffeta. They are lightweight and breathable. When it's cold out, accessorize your look with a shawl or cardigan to keep warm.
How to Elope - Elopement Photographs
Your elopement photographs are the images you will have for the rest of your lives. The ones you look back on and get teary-eyed seeing because of the love you and your partner share. Elopement photographs freeze in time the most intimate moments between couples.
As an elopement photographer, it is my goal to ensure you receive nothing but the best on your special day. Being a client of mine, you will have access to all my planning guides, vendor information, and location recommendations toward achieving the list on your vision board.
Contact me for more information on how to elope.