So you decided to elope?! How exciting! You’ve made the awesome decision to keep your day simple and intentional. Now it might seem like without all the stress of traditional wedding planning, you don’t have much to do. Although most consider eloping to be the “easier” choice, you still deserve an awesome day to honor you love. Don’t leave it all to chance, be intentional and don’t make these mistakes!
One of the coolest things about choosing to elope is that you are adding so much flexibility to your day! No strict venue timelines, less moving parts, less people to corale, etc. While an elopement is much easier to plan than an a traditional wedding, it’s still so important for you to think about the details that will make this day so special. Dream about what you want your day to look like and go from there! The possibilities are endless—a first dance, hiking to epic views, a snowmobile tour in the backcountry, a private chef to cook up a romantic dinner, and more. Make all of your dreams happen. From there, add buffers into your timeline! Give yourself time to relax and soak in the fact that you’re married!!
Don’t leave the legal stuff at the last minute! Make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork to apply for your marriage license in the state you wish to marry. It’s super easy to get a marriage license but many DMV’s and clerk/recorder offices are only accepting appointments due to COVID. You want to give yourself plenty of time to get on their books so you don’t have to rush and stress. Additionally, depending on the location, you will have to apply for a photography permit. These vary from location to location so you want to work with your photographer ahead of time to get that processed. If you skip this step, you run the risk of a ranger interrupting your elopement and making you leave—that would be a HUGE bummer.
Now this ones a big one. Just because you are eloping, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the same quality vendors that a traditional wedding would get. Photos are forever, photos are your legacy. It is so important to find someone whose work you love, someone you trust, and someone you don’t mind following you around for the majority of your day. If budget is an issue, ask for a customized quote based on what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that most photographers will work with you if you would prefer a payment plan.
As soon as you find a photographer you love, reach out do make sure you are able to secure them for your date! If you have a flexible date, some photographers offer discounts on weekday elopements.
This is your day! Don’t let other people pressure you to do or not do anything. At the end of the day, it’s not anyone’s elopement day but yours. If you don’t want to invite people, you don’t have to. If you want to bring you dog, you totally should. Don’t limit yourselves and don’t let anyone else either. If you can’t imagine a day without a first dance, but could do without the “cake cutting”, then make it happen.
Don’t forget the logistics. It’s not the fun part of planning but it’s very important for you to have a stress-free elopement experience!
Rental car — make sure your rental is capable of doing what you need it do. If you’re going off-roading and will be driving on a 4×4 trail, a Toyota Carola will NOT cut it lol. Turo is an awesome option!
Air BnB location — Do you mind spending a ton of time in the car getting to your elopement? If you’d rather avoid that, make sure you pay attention to where you’re booking your lodging!
Meals — With the excitement of your day, it can be easy to forget about food. Heck, sometimes I forget to eat on days where I’m not doing anything at all. Make sure to bring snacks/food for during your elopement and plan your dinner. Whether that’s a reservation at a nice restaurant or hiring a private chef to make you food at your Air BnB, this isn’t a step you want to forget.
Reserving any tours or actives you want to do! —As soon as you decide you want to do something, make it official!
I’m a Colorado elopement photographer but I love making planning as stress-free as possible for my couples! All my couples get an extensive elopement guide, 3-5 personalized location recommendations, timeline assistance, and personalized vendor recommendations to make planning a breeze!