Elopements: Why, How, & Ideas

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 12/29/23
Elopements: Why, How, & Ideas

Elopements: Why, How, & Ideas

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 12/29/23

Part of the Wedding

Elopements: Why, How, & Ideas

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 12/29/23

When it comes to marriage, many couples opt for an elopement wedding day experience over traditional weddings. While there are numerous reasons someone might choose to elope, the most common include avoiding the hassle and expense of a traditional wedding, keeping their nuptials intimate through an intimate wedding, or simply wanting to have an adventure.

If you and your partner are considering an elopement wedding, learn what elopement entails and how you can celebrate your marriage without having all the classic wedding traditions. If you and your partner are considering an elopement wedding, learn what elopement entails and how you can celebrate your marriage without having all the classic wedding traditions.

What is an Elopement?

Eloping is often thought of as a spur-of-the-moment decision to get married, usually without the consent of parents or other family members. While this can be the case, elopements can also be carefully planned events. Some couples choose to elope because they want to avoid the stress and expense of a big wedding, or because they want a more intimate marriage ceremony. Whatever the reason, eloping can be a romantic and exciting way to start your life together.

Selecting the perfect wedding venue is still essential for an elopement, as it sets the tone for the entire event. Couples can choose from a variety of settings, from quiet beaches to mountain tops, ensuring that their elopement experience is truly unique.

One key aspect of an elopement is capturing the special moments through elopement photography. Hiring an elopement or wedding photographer who specializes in capturing intimate weddings can help you preserve the memories of your special day. They can also provide elopement photography ideas to make your photos unique and personal.

While wedding guests may be limited or even nonexistent during an elopement, it’s still possible to include your loved ones in your celebration. Many couples choose to live stream their elopement or host a reception after the fact to share the joy with friends and family. By embracing the elopement experience, you can create a memorable and deeply personal marriage ceremony that truly reflects your love story.

Tips for Making your Elopement Special

Wedding elopement tips
Eloping can be a great way to save money and avoid stressful wedding planning, but it’s still important to make your elopement special.

  • Take time to plan out your vows. This is your chance to really express your love for each other, so don’t rush through them. 
  • Although eloping doesn’t require a lot of planning, it’s still a good idea to consult with an officiant in advance to ensure everything goes smoothly on the elopement day. 
  • Don’t forget to capture the moment with a camera. These amazing photos will be cherished long after the wedding itself is over. 

You may also want to spend some of the money you’ve saved by not having a traditional ceremony on decorations or flowers for your ceremony. Even though it’s non-traditional, an elopement still leads to marriage. Recognize the special importance of the occasion by making your ceremony beautiful and memorable.

How to Plan an Elopement

Though elopements require much less wedding planning than traditional ceremonies, you still have some decisions to make before you can say “I do.” Keep the following in mind when planning an elopement
Wedding couple walking near mountains

First, you’ll need to decide where you want to get married. This can be anywhere from your backyard to a remote location like the top of a mountain or a secluded beach. You don’t have to fly to the other side of the world to tie the knot, but you can!

Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license and arrange for any necessary permits. Marriage licenses are required in every state, no matter your wedding plans. 

Next comes the guest list, which will likely be smaller than a traditional wedding. Many eloping couples choose to invite only immediate family, or family and a few close friends, to the ceremony. 

Some couples choose to hold a small reception after their ceremony. If that’s your plan, arrange any food and drink logistics in advance. Depending on who you invite to your ceremony, you may also want to plan for transportation and accommodations. 

Where to Have an Elopement Ceremony

Couples can elope close to home but may want to celebrate their love in a more exotic or unique location. If you and your partner are considering eloping, there’s no shortage of beautiful and romantic locations to choose from. 

One popular option is to exchange vows in a national park. With its breathtaking scenery, a national park provides the perfect backdrop for an elopement ceremony. Another option is to get married at an iconic landmark, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building. 

You can also choose somewhere that is personal to your relationship. This could be somewhere you have a good memory with your significant other such as a first date, first kiss, or the first time you said: “I love you.” If you’re looking for something truly unique, you could even get married underwater or at the top of a volcano or mountain. 

How to Tell Your Family and Friends that You’ve Eloped

You’ve decided to elope; now it’s time to tell your family and friends. This can be a nerve-wracking task, but it doesn’t have to be. Just be honest, direct, and prepared for some initial reactions.

Start by sitting down with your spouse and coming up with a joint statement. This will help you stay on the same page and present a united front. Then, begin making phone calls or sending out emails. 

Be sure to personalize each message – this is not a mass announcement. A mass text saying “we’re eloping” is the fastest way to incur the anger and frustration of your loved ones. 

Be prepared for some initial shock or even anger over the non-religious nature of your nuptial plan. Certain friends or family members may not understand the appeal of an elopement. But remember, this is your life, and you have a right to make your own decisions. Ultimately, your loved ones will come around and support your choices.

Who to Invite to Your Elopement

Deciding who to invite to your elopement can be tough, as you’ll want to include those closest to you without making the event too crowded or chaotic. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Think about who will witness your vows. This could be a close friend or family member, your officiant, or even someone you met during your travels. Whoever you choose, they should be supportive and excited to witness your elopement.

Consider who will stand by your side as your attendants. You may want to limit this to just one or two people to keep numbers down. Choose those who have been supportive throughout your relationship and who you can’t imagine getting married without. You can always have a party later that includes all your family and friends. 

Eloping on a Budget

Eloping doesn’t have to be expensive. You can save a lot of money by planning a simple, intimate elopement instead of a traditional wedding. 

To save additional cash, don’t be afraid to DIY. Many resources are available online to help you plan and execute every aspect of your elopement, from the dress to the bouquet. By taking care of everything yourself, you can save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on vendors. 

The Legalities of Eloping

There are also some legal considerations to take into account when eloping. In every state and most countries, you will need to obtain a marriage license before getting married. 

It is also essential to ensure that the officiant who performs your ceremony is legally authorized. Take care of all your bureaucratic tasks early on so you can focus on enjoying your special day when it comes. 
Couple walking in front of tree

Post-Elopement Celebrations

After eloping, there are many ways to celebrate your marriage with your friends and family. Consider sending out announcement cards letting everyone know you’ve tied the knot, or post an announcement on social media with your wedding pictures. 

You could also host a small reception or dinner party for your family and friends or get everyone together for drinks at a local bar or restaurant. Your guests may want to use this occasion to toast your future, and if it’s your style, you or your bride can say a few words too. 

Also, just because you didn’t have a traditional wedding doesn’t mean you can’t go on a honeymoon. Take your spouse for a romantic weekend getaway or hop on a plane and visit that dream destination. Wherever you do, just be sure to enjoy this special time with your new spouse.

In Conclusion

Eloping can be a great way to save money and avoid stressful wedding planning, but it’s still important to make your elopement special. Sam Fields of the Dropped Pin, advises, “Craft a day that is unique to you both as a couple for your elopement. Or take this as an opportunity to go to a new place you’ve both been wanting to visit.” If you are considering eloping, take the time to plan it well and tell your family in advance. They will likely be surprised but happy for you. Once the big day arrives, enjoy celebrating with those who matter most to you.

Still on the fence over planning a wedding or an elopement? By staying engaged longer, couples use this time to really hash out their dreams, find out more here. For more tips on making your wedding special, join The Groom Club mailing list for the latest TGC content

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