With COVID-19 causing us to postpone weddings, many couples are choosing to push back the big celebration and elope on their original wedding date. Even if you didn’t have to postpone your wedding… this time has put things into perspective for some couples, and has caused them to choose to elope from the get-go! While there isn’t necessarily a single answer on how to elope, we have a ton of tips and tricks for you on how to make your day special and memorable.
How to Elope: What Does Elopement Mean?
Eloping doesn’t necessarily mean what your parents think that it means anymore. While you can certainly still elope by running off to Vegas last minute to get married at a little chapel on the strip, with a random couple in line behind you as your witnesses… it certainly doesn’t have to be that way! Honestly, I think it’s getting to be less and less that way these days.
Generally, when a couple elopes, they are choosing to focus their wedding day more on themselves than having to plan an extravagant event that caters toward the guests. Typically, there will be about 10 or less people in attendance — think your absolute closest family and friends!
Because COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in so many people’s plans, many couples are thinking more about the option of elopement or what is more popularly being called “micro weddings.” This is especially true due to the fact that gatherings above 10 people are banned in many areas. This makes an elopement sound pretty perfect!
But… how do you elope or throw a micro wedding?
How to Find Out if Eloping is Right for You
Not sure if eloping is the right step for you to take as a couple? Well, let’s think about it in a few different ways.
For starters, are you wanting to get married now but don’t want to wait until you can have a gathering of more than 10 people? An elopement will be your opportunity to have an intimate wedding now and be able to marry the love of your life. You can always hold the big party later when life is back to normal again! We’re seeing many of our couples do that during this time. They’re getting married on their originally scheduled wedding date and hosting the reception (and even ceremony again in some cases) a year later.
Do you like to do things on your own terms? While a large, traditional wedding is certainly about your marriage and your love for one another… let’s face it, you’re catering to your guests, too. When you elope, you get to focus on the two of you much more!
Do you have a limited budget? If you’re only looking to splurge on a few key items (dress? photographer?), but want to keep everything else fairly simple, then an elopement could be perfect for you.
Misconceptions About Eloping
There are a ton of misconceptions out there about eloping. When people are trying to figure out how to elope, they tend to picture it as running off to secretly get married… but that isn’t always the case! There is no cookie-cutter version of an elopement.
Here are some common misconceptions that are out there about eloping — and why they’re just not true!
1. It has to be destination
While we can totally get behind going on an adventure for an elopement — that does not always have to be the case! You can elope in your living room. Maybe you want to elope in a local park. You can rent an Airbnb, and elope over a weekend spent with friends and family. The possibilities are endless!
Besides, many people are not wanting to travel right now anyway.
2. An elopement isn’t planned & has to be last-minute
This couldn’t be farther from the truth! While it certainly can be much more “last-minute” than a traditional wedding, there is a decent amount of planning that goes into eloping. Depending on where you’ll be getting married, you will need to plan for a marriage license, venue permits, and witnesses.
There are so many unique and personalized details that can go into an elopement or micro wedding. Custom embroidered fans for your small guest count or specialized favors for each person attending. Heck, you can even set up a little welcome drink table to greet everyone. Many of our couples during this time are still setting up beautiful tables and al fresco (outside) dining. Think beautiful candlelight and fresh-picked flowers. You can do as much or as little planning as you’d like!
If you’re planning a destination wedding, then there will be even more planning involved. Think about how much goes into planning a vacation — that’s what you’ll be doing for a destination elopement!
3. It has to be a secret
This is just not true! Your marriage is worth celebrating with anyone that you want — you can certainly announce that you are eloping (or that you eloped, if you would rather wait until after).
If eloping is important to you and your partner, then your family and friends will be happy for you. This is actually another bonus misconception — that friends and family will be upset. While they certainly might be upset that they couldn’t be there to celebrate with you, that’s okay. They love you and should understand.
4. You don’t need any wedding vendors
While you can certainly elope on your own, you will most likely have at least one wedding vendor. Of course, no matter what, you are going to need an officiant. This could be a family member or friend who got ordained online specifically for your wedding, or it can be someone who is already licensed.
We highly, highly recommend getting a photographer or videographer for your elopement, too. They will be able to capture your day so much better than pictures or videos taken on your phone will. These will be pictures that you’ll look back on for the rest of your life! They are definitely worth splurging on. Oh, and a bouquet for the bride is a special touch.
It is also certainly an option to hire a planner for an elopement. It may feel silly to do so, but it will actually be super helpful — especially if you’re planning something on the bigger side, like a destination elopement.
For example, we offer packages ranging from full service planning down to e-planning — and everything in between! Our e-planning package may be perfect for someone who is eloping. It gives you all of the benefits of having a planner to turn to for any questions that you may run into!
5. It won’t be as special
An elopement can 100 percent be just as special as a traditional wedding. Every single wedding, no matter how big or small, is all about the beginning of a marriage and the love that the two of you share. That’s all that you need to make your day special!
6. You’ll regret it
When people hear that you’re eloping, you might have a few people ask, “Oh, but won’t you regret not having a big wedding?” While hearing that can certainly make you second guess things, try not to let it!
Pretty much every couple that elopes says that it’s the best decision that they could have ever made and that they wouldn’t have had it any other way. If you’re set on eloping, then you won’t regret it.
Let’s not forget to mention, you can still have a reception down the road.
7. Eloping should be minimalistic and inexpensive
Yes, eloping can be minimalistic and inexpensive if you want it to be! But it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to splurge on aspects of your elopement. You can spend a lot of money on the destination, your dress, your dream photographer… and the list goes on.
Don’t think that you have to be budget-conscious just because you’re eloping! This is still going to be one of the biggest days of your life, so you deserve to make it everything that you want it to be. *See #2 on this list again for ways to make it special and unique for you!
Your Next Steps
Now that you’ve decided that you definitely want to elope… now what? Here are some of our more specific tips on how to elope that you can start thinking about.
- Who do you want to be there? Do you want it to be just the two of you (+ an officiant)? Or are there some close family members and friends that you want to join you? This should be the first thing that you decide so that you can tell them about all of your plans!
- Where do you picture yourselves eloping? Once you’ve decided who will be a part of your elopement, you’ll have to decide where you want to elope. Spend a date night thinking about all of the locations that you can picture yourself eloping in, and then start narrowing it down! Is there a special place the two of you love to hike to in the woods? Maybe a waterfront spot? Heck, even your own living room or backyard could be that special place!
- When do you want to elope? If you’re eloping on your original wedding date that had to be postponed/cancelled, then you probably already know your elopement date! (In this case, don’t forget to send out “change the date” cards to your original guests) If you are deciding to elope before you started to plan a wedding, then you’ll have to start from scratch here.
- What vendors do you want to have? Finally, you’ll need to decide what vendors (if any) that you want to have. Do you want to start with a planner to help you figure out your elopement? Do you have a dream photographer in mind? Maybe you want to hire a cater that offers smaller packages.
What to Keep in Mind
Remember — the day that you get married will be a special day no matter what. As you can now see, there isn’t one set answer on how to elope. It can truly be however you want it to be. Have fun with the process and just keep remembering that this is the right decision for you.
Feel free to reach out to us directly if you have any questions about wedding planning or elopement. We’re here to help! firstname.lastname@example.org