A Destination Elopement is one of the most adventurous and relaxing ways to begin married life. And if you can’t get excited about planning a big wedding, eloping to a beautiful place could be just the solution for you.
You can combine your wedding and honeymoon, make incredible memories, and get married in a unique and adventurous place. Need more convincing to have a nuptial escape? Today we’ll tell you everything about Destination Elopements, including what they are, how to know if it’s right for you, and how to plan one. So keep reading and get ready for the ultimate romantic getaway
While many laid-back couples go to the nearest courthouse or small venue to elope, there’s another option that’s a little more adventurous and luxe: a destination elopement. This is when you elope while on vacation, whether you’re traveling across the state or across the globe.
Elopements were once just you and your soon to be spouse, but today they often include a small number of family and friends. Groups of under 10 (and sometimes even 20 or less) can be considered an elopement.
So what makes this different from a destination wedding? A destination elopement has fewer guests and a more relaxed vibe than a standard destination wedding. Here are some key traits of an elopement that will distinguish it from a Destination Wedding or Micro Wedding:
A Destination Elopement can seem like a great idea, especially if wedding planning stresses you out. “Let’s just get away from it all,” you say, “and get married, just the two of us.”
But how can you tell if this plan is actually right for you? After all, many people dream of elopements, but few go through with them. Here are some signs you could be one of the couples who really do elope:
While a Destination Elopement is far simpler than a traditional wedding, it still takes some planning. Most of this is vacation planning that you would need to do for your honeymoon anyway, but your elopement plans could affect some of your decisions.
We’ve broken down the elopement destination planning process so you can look forward to your big vacation without any big worries!
Maybe you are using your wedding budget to splurge on a luxe vacation. Or perhaps you’re sticking with an existing honeymoon budget and pocketing the money you save. Before you start dreaming about elopement destinations, get your budget set.
You can do some preliminary research on vacation costs to ensure your budget is reasonable, but it’s better to have your costs set before you get your heart set on any plans.
Wondering how a destination elopement stacks up against a traditional wedding? We converted common wedding day expenses to vacation expenses so you can see how you could fund your adventure:
You may still spend money on hair & makeup styling, attire & accessories, wedding day transportation, and other miscellaneous costs to make your wedding day special, so be sure to budget for that as well.
And, of course, you don’t have to spend an entire wedding budget on your elopement. You can keep your vacation simple and put that saved money toward debt, a home purchase, or other big expenses.
For your elopement, you can choose any type of destination, near or far. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for honeymoon and intimate wedding vacations:
Think about who you are as a couple – your destination could reflect your spirit and hopes for your marriage. And definitely consider your budget. A National Park elopement, like Yosemite National Park, will cost far less than an international destination. Allie Dearie, photographer, wants you to, “…do your research for these adventurous locations to see if you may require special permits and or permissions to access and photograph your elopement.” And then think about your vacation overall. If this is a rare getaway, you’ll want to choose a location you’ll truly enjoy visiting.
So look beyond a pretty backdrop and convenient packages, and choose a place where you’ll love spending time together.
Once you know your destination, you can search for local coordinators or photographers who help plan elopements. Look on Google, a wedding vendor listing site, or Instagram.
Some hotels, venues, and coordinators will offer packages to make elopement planning easy. They may include a bouquet and boutonniere, an officiant, photography, music, and help getting your marriage license.
Even if you do book everything as a package, you may still need to source some things on your own, like wedding day transportation, hair and makeup, a marriage license, and your attire. You also may want to make dinner reservations at a restaurant or hire a local private chef to come to your vacation rental.
If you plan to invite any guests along on your elopement, make sure that’s ok with your venue and/or coordinator. Different people may understand elopement differently, and you want to ensure your plans work with all your vendors.
Now that you’ve chosen your destination and key vendors, you can organize the rest of your vacation. Work with a travel agent for this, or plan it yourself.
If you have guests, don’t plan to spend your entire vacation with them. Enjoy a couple of days before the wedding with your family and then go to a different hotel or nearby destination to honeymoon just the two of you.
Once you have everything planned, the rest should be as easy as taking a vacation. Just remember to pack your attire, wedding rings, and anything else you want included in your ceremony.
You’ll likely arrive at your destination one to three days before your ceremony. That’s enough time to get settled in and take care of any pre-wedding business, but then you still have plenty of time to truly relax afterward.
Your elopement should be a carefree day, so don’t schedule any big activities then. Enjoy a massage or a nice breakfast, and then begin getting ready for your ceremony. Spend the entire day together or split up to avoid seeing each other until the ceremony starts.
And have fun! Eloping can bring a lot of emotions, both sad and happy. So support each other and stay focused on why you decided to elope: because you wanted a day you can enjoy together, without stress and worry.
Some couples choose to keep their elopement secret for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’re afraid people will invite themselves, or perhaps you just relish the idea of a secret elopement. And then there’s the chance that people may try to talk you out of it.
So while more and more elopements are open elopements where everyone knows it’s happening, it’s still common for couples to keep their plans a secret.
If you do decide to tell people about your elopement in advance, you will likely share this through word-of-mouth. Some friends may be excited to hear about your plans, but others may not be interested since they aren’t invited.
If you wait until after your elopement to share the news, you can send out a fun elopement announcement with a picture of your destination elopement on it. Just be sure to share the news personally with people who deserve it, like close family members and friends.
So have we convinced you to elope? This is a magical way to begin your life as newlyweds, and it will be a memory that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.
So be sure to get your elopement photographed professionally, make it true to who you are as a couple, don’t go overboard with your budget, and enjoy it! Whether you are world travelers or casual explorers, a destination elopement is one of the most adventurous ways to begin your life together.