Weddings can be complicated.
From complex family dynamics, to details about flatware and decor, it can be easy to lose sight of the love and commitment that brought you to this point.
The stress and expense of traditional weddings can make eloping a very attractive option.
No matter the reason for your decision to elope – whether it is financial, personal, or a combination of the two – here are the ten most important do’s and don’ts of eloping.
1. Do Bring a Photographer
You’ll always want to remember saying “I do”.
So before you elope, consider hiring a photographer or videographer to capture every Kodak moment.
- Are you familiar with their portfolio?
- Does their style match your personality?
- What pricing options do they offer?
If cost is a concern, bring a friend or family member to photograph your big day.
2. Do Dress to Impress
Eloping doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your wedding attire.
If you and your partner elope in the heat of moment, it may be difficult to find a dress to wear once you arrive at that beautiful beach getaway or scenic mountain top chapel. Do some research and see if you’ll be able to purchase an outfit at your location.
Consider packing a wedding outfit before you elope. Your dress doesn’t have to be the puffy, white dress of tradition. There are plenty of alternative wedding dresses to match your style, your destination, and, of course, your partner.
Select a pair of wedding shoes that take your elopement destination into account. Heels and grass don’t often mix.
It’s unlikely you’ll have access to a high-end stylist when take off with your significant other, so you’ll want to have a plan in place for your hair and makeup.
Whether you go classic, casual, or comfortable, always remember that a wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion, so you should look and feel your best.
3. Do Plan Ahead
Spontaneously eloping to a romantic location is meant to be last minute, but it’s important to do some research on all relevant marriage laws.
Marriage license requirements vary by state or country. You should know whether you need:
- A witness
- An officiant
- To fill out any relevant paperwork
- Various forms of identification
- Licensing fees
Some states even require you to wait a certain period of time after the marriage application has been filled out.
If you’ve chosen to elope abroad, the legal implications can be even more complicated. Before you hop on the plane, do your best to plan ahead.
4. Do Tell You Friends and Family (Eventually)
Relationships with family members aren’t always perfect, but it’s likely that from the moment you were born, your parents just wanted you to be happy.
Choosing to elope doesn’t mean that you should forget everything and everyone that came before you met “the one”.
Family members may be hurt that you have chosen to celebrate without them, but if you explain your decision and why it’s important to you, they’ll understand.
Your wedding day is an event that you have always dreamed of and your close friends and family have always wanted for you.
5. Do Send Marriage Announcements
After you elope, you should send a marriage announcement to extended family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
When sharing the news, be sure to follow this wedding announcement guide to avoid any confusion.
If cost is a factor (or you’re feeling casual), consider posting your announcement on social media or via email.
6. Do Make the Moment Meaningful
Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean your wedding should be truncated, and stripped of ceremony and meaning.
You should still aim to create a perfect moment that reflects the unique characteristics of your relationship to give it a depth of feeling and emotion.
Here are a few tips on how to make your elopement wedding more meaningful:
- Pick a location that means something to you as a couple, whether it’s somewhere you two have always dreamed of going together, or an inside joke.
- Pick a song you heard on your first date or a traditional first dance song that makes you both smile.
- Choose a ceremony that suits you both, and think carefully about the day, time, and season.
The more thought and care you can put into this important moment, the less potential there will be of feeling like you missed out on something special by eloping.
7. Don’t Elope Out of Fear
You should never make a decision because you are afraid or ashamed about what people may think.
If you feel pressured in any way by your partner (or anyone else) to elope, take a step back and make sure this is what you want.
Before you embark on this journey, figure out if you’re doing it for the right reasons or not.
Marriage is the first major decision you’ll make as a couple.
Don’t be afraid to reconsider if eloping is the correct choice for you.
8. Don’t Forego the Honeymoon
There are so many romantic honeymoon destinations that could double as your wedding venue and make the idea of running off together even more enticing.
Additionally, all of the money you saved by skipping traditional wedding planning can go toward an even more luxurious and relaxing honeymoon vacation once you’ve both said your vows.
A variety of eloping vacation packages can make this spontaneous event simple and affordable, but be aware of scams and deals that seem too good to be true.
Verify that the marriage license offered by certain packages is legitimate and lawfully notarized.
9. Don’t Skip Every Tradition
Eloping doesn’t mean that you should skip out on all of the traditions that make weddings memorable.
There are a handful of old-fashioned wedding ideas you could still incorporate into an elopement wedding:
- Wear something borrowed
- Exchange rings
- Write your vows
- Eat cake
- Toast each other
Talk to your partner about which traditions you want to skip and which you’d like to share.
10. Don’t Stop the Party Once You Return
Although a big wedding bash may not be right for you, a smaller post-wedding party can provide a sense of inclusion to family and friends who wanted to be a part of your big day.
This could be as lavish as a fancy dinner party or as simple as a backyard barbecue.
Since you didn’t make a big to-do out of the wedding ceremony, make sure to:
- Send out invitations one month to six weeks in advance
- Reenact your first dance
- Keep the party going
You may have eloped, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fun reception!
Always keep in mind that your wedding is for you and your partner, not anyone else.
Deciding to elope is an exciting and romantic way to commit to the person you love.
Do you have any other elopement dos and don’ts you’d like to share? Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram and Facebook pages for gorgeous photographs and the wedding ideas.