How to Plan An Epic Elopement

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Elopement has finally shed its once infamous definition filled with short-lived Vegas love stories and questionable Elvis impersonators. Nowadays, eloping with your partner shares the same heartwarming, intimate nature as the more traditional, large-scale weddings. There is no wrong way to get married, but it’s no secret that the decked-out, expensive, lavish weddings have their fair share of influence on wedding culture (I mean don’t we all love a good Four Weddings marathon?) Despite that, more and more couples are opting to have smaller, private ceremonies, and it’s becoming evident that eloping is comparably stress-free since the only focus is on YOU (and your boo, of course) sharing this beautiful new chapter.

10 Steps to start planning your dream elopement today

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1: just think about it

Elopement has finally shed its once infamous definition filled with short-lived Vegas love stories and questionable Elvis impersonators. Nowadays, eloping with your partner shares the same heartwarming, intimate nature as the more traditional, large-scale weddings. There is no wrong way to get married, but it’s no secret that the decked-out, expensive, lavish weddings have their fair share of influence on wedding culture (I mean don’t we all love a good Four Weddings marathon?) Despite that, more and more couples are opting to have smaller, private ceremonies, and it’s becoming evident that eloping is comparably stress-free since the only focus is on YOU (and your boo, of course) sharing this beautiful new chapter.

2: Create your elopement budget

While eloping is usually a much more wallet-friendly option, there are still expenses to consider. It’s helpful to first prioritize what services you want to be part of your special day. Take the time to research the costs for the venue, licenses, photographers/videographers, officiants, florists (not your cousin’s “friend”), hair/makeup services, caterer’s, and any other accommodations that may be necessary. While the list can seem daunting and intimidating, address one thing at a time to help determine what is a must for your wedding day, and create your budget around that.

3: choose your venue and date

Even if your dream elopement destination is Vegas, be sure to consider the time of year you’d like to get married (do we really want Elvis sweating missiles in the August heat two feet away from you having your first kiss as husband and wife?) It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of Miami or the middle of the mountains, when you choose your venue keep the time of year in mind, ESPECIALLY if you’re looking to have your ceremony outdoors. We’ve all seen how amazing scenery can and will change throughout the seasons, so pick your wedding date according to the time of year that would best reflect the vision you have in mind.

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4: Is anyone attending?

There is absolutely no shame if your answer here is “no.” That’s perfectly acceptable, and understandably the hardest decision to make for many. Ultimately, your wedding day deserves to play out exactly how you envision it, so small crowd or no crowd, let there nothing but love and appreciation coursing throughout your day! (No room for Aunt Silvia’s outdated opinions here!)

For those who want a photographer/videographer in attendance, do your research on those who cater to elopement. They have a particular wisdom in the industry that will offer you comfort in knowing your vision can/will be executed to your desires, down to the smallest details. The ceremony may be smaller in scale, but the moment is just as significant and deserving of proficient attention to detail. Their insight is worth the invite!

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6: create your itinirary

Oh you saw the last point and immediately booked your elopement photographer? Nice! Now, let them know exactly what moments you’d like captured throughout the day. Will they be floating around beyond the ceremony itself to snap your getting ready process, your first look, your family photos? Plan the day thoroughly, ensuring you offer your photographer enough time in the day for any necessary travel in between locations (if multiple), as well as allotting the time it takes to set up any equipment they may have.

7: licenses and permits

While the specifics of the legalities do differ from state-to-state, most people will obtain their marriage license from their local town clerk, regardless of where the actual ceremony takes place. Be sure to research any permits and other licenses required by your venue as well; there may be permits needed for photographers, videographers, caterer’s, etc. For instance, most national parks do require a permit to hold ceremonies on the property, and may require additional permits/licenses to access certain areas of the park at different times in the year. Keep track of any and all fees surrounding these additional requirements to make sure they align within your budget as well.

8: book your accomadation and travel

This could be done earlier in the process as well, but once you have a location and itinerary, you're going to want to think about how to get there and where to stay. Airbnbs and lodges are great options especially if you want unique getting ready photos or if they will double as your ceremony location. Timing is key here, as the longer you wait the slimmer the options get. You're also going to want to think about flights, rental cars, trains, or even helicopter rides during this step.

9: finalize your vendors

There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to browse different vendors and services as you seek out the best one for your special day; however, be mindful of the time you are taking to get back to the vendors you would ultimately like to go with. Their time is just as valuable as yours and their schedules may fill up quickly, so the sooner you book everyone in this planning process, the less stressed you will be in the long run!

10: do the dang thing

Finally, your blood, sweat, and Aunt Silvia’s tears have paid off and it’s time to enjoy this amazing day! Congratulations on a dream come true!

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Reminding yourself why you’re eloping and honing in on one priority at a time will easily help you stay organized and stress-free from start to finish. Eloping is meant to be enjoyably simple and meaningful, and we want the whole planning process to be that way too!

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