Eloping is for couples who want a ‘just us’ wedding experience. It’s the most intimate way to marry your soulmate. By keeping the focus on your relationship and ditching flashy budget-blowing big wedding traditions, you and your partner can have a wedding day that is truly unforgettable.
Though elopements are a heck of a lot easier to plan, there is still some work to be done.
I reflected back on my experience planning my own elopement and have created this step-by-step guide on how to plan your own dream elopement. Have a read through and get excited!!
Dream big and brainstorm your perfect day!
What does your big day look like? A secluded nature spot? In the back of your family’s farm? It is good to have a look at what you expect from your elopement and start mapping it out. Remember, this is your day and there is no right or wrong way to celebrate it! Pour a glass of wine, snuggle up on the couch and dream out loud with your partner about how your perfect day should unfold.
Start to make that vision come to life by researching logistics and finding out how to make it happen! Just like step one, I suggest making this step a fun and enjoyable process. Make your research into a mini date – bring your laptops down to your favourite cafe and start digging deeper into the how, what, where and when of your elopement day.
Some important things to consider during your research:
- Do you want other people there?
- How accessible is your location spot? How will you get there?
- What kind of activities do you want to do?
- Do you want to do some sort of celebratory meal/drink?
- How busy/secluded is your chosen ceremony location?
- Do you need a permit to a have a ceremony or photos?
- Do you want to do a “first look”?
- What vendors do you need?
If you get stuck, don’t worry! There are lots of people you could hire to help you like a knowledgeable photographer or wedding planner.
As an elopement photographer & guide, this step tends to be where I help couples the most with their planning process.
I’d be happy to help you!
Time to start booking!
Now that you’ve decided what is important to you and you’ve done the research, it’s time to make some choices and start booking things! The focus of this step isn’t to lock in every single detail—but to get the most important things into place first; date, location, accommodation and transportation.
Next is to secure your vendors. Here is a checklist of possible vendors and details you may want:
- Photographer. If you haven’t already booked your dream photographer, make sure to find someone you personally connect with and is experienced with elopements.
- Hair and makeup. Are you doing your hair & makeup yourself or professionally? How will you touch it up?
- Flowers. Is a bouquet important to you? Can you get one close to your location or do you need to pick one up in a bigger city before you go?
- Officiant. Do you need/want an officiant or are you planning a personal commitment ceremony?
- Special food or drinks.
Finalise the details.
Things are getting real! It’s time to finalise the small things (often the most meaningful).
Here is a checklist of attire/accessories you may want to consider:
- Dress/suit. Bridal shops can be be strict with their timelines and most suggest shopping 6-12 months in advance with 2-3 fittings before your day. But don’t worry! There are so many great places to buy dresses online or in local stores. Try searching for a “white maxi dress” if you want a gorgeous dress without a big wedding price tag. One of my favourites for low-cost dresses is Showpo.
- Shoes. Consider the terrain of your elopement location. Sometimes comfort over beauty is a good call if you’re going to be adventuring outside all day.
- Layers. If you’re eloping somewhere that might get cold or windy, make sure to have fun warm layers that you’re happy being photographed in.
- Jewelry and accessories.
Finalise your ceremony:
- Write your vows.
- Gather any objects that are important to you.
- Purchase your wedding bands.
- Plan your ceremony structure, including any readings, and/or cultural or religious elements.
Consider your timeline.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for a relaxed day with no rushing or stressing – this is one of the best things about eloping.
Work with your photographer to decide what time of day will be best for your photos.
Don’t forget to leave plenty of time to eat, drink, and celebrate!
Have the best elopement ever!
Woo-hoo! You did it! All of your hard work brainstorming, researching, and planning is done. All that’s left is to enjoy the heck out of your elopement day. Soak up every moment together and have fun!
I hope it is absolutely EVERYTHING you’ve been dreaming of and more.
I wish you the best for the future and if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me on Instagram, I would love to hear from you!
And if you’re ready to start your elopement journey, contact me here.
Let’s do this!