It can be a little overwhelming in knowing where to start planning your elopement! After all, you’ve probably seen a few weddings, maybe even helped planned some but elopements are just so different. I’ve put together my 6 best tips for eloping in this blog post. My free elopement planning guide will be coming out soon!
Just Start Dreaming!
The first step in planning your elopement is to just start dreaming about what the perfect wedding day would look like for YOU! Don’t think about your friends or family right now. This is your time to be just a little selfish. You also don’t want to get too caught up on the details, that’ll come later.
When choosing a location for your elopement, think of what you want to see & what you may want to do. Just brainstorm & let the ideas flow.
Instead of thinking about what your wedding day should be, think of the perfect day for the both of you. Is that going on a hike? Staying in a romantic Air BnB? Taking a scenic drive? Does it involve lots of good food? Or maybe it’s snuggling with your dogs! Stop thinking about your elopement as things you have to do on your wedding day & instead think of what the perfect day together means for you.
Research Locations & Vendors
Once you’ve got somewhat of an idea (or lots of ideas!) start your research. You don’t want to begin your research too early, just have fun thinking about what your day could be without the stress of trying to figure everything out.
If, for example, you want a mountain location, think about some of your favorite mountains or maybe someplace that you have always wanted to visit. The San Juan Mountains, Grand Tetons, & the mountains in Montana around Glacier National Park are some of my favorites!
Maybe a beach is more your style. Do you want a relaxing beach in Panama or something close to some adventure like Kauai?
Or maybe you want something closer to home. Research some state parks, national forests, or other areas close to where you live. You may be surprised at what locations you can come up with close to home!
If you hire a specialized elopement photographer though, you don’t have to worry too much about locations. I offer a lot of location planning assistance to the couples that I get to work with. Everything from location ideas, how accessible locations are, the best times of day or year for various elopement locations, & permits needed.
One of the first vendors you should hire should be an elopement photographer. Photographers like me who specialize in elopements offer a lot more than just photography. We connect you with other vendors & help you with the whole planning process of eloping.
I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that you have the proper permits for where you are eloping. These permits don’t only give you the permission but also help pay for the upkeep & maintenance of various outdoor areas. The permits are very affordable, especially when you compare to the cost of a traditional venue! Some places don’t require permits, other places you can get permits within a few days, while still other areas require you get permits at least 30 days in advance.
After you’ve got somewhat of an idea of what your elopement day is going to look like, start contacting vendors to see about their availability. I highly recommend booking your photographer first as elopement photographers can help you a lot throughout the planning process.
Look up accommodations in the area and start booking those as well. I’m always a fan of looking for some cool Air BnB locations as these can also be included in your photos! I love using Google Flights & Kayak to search for the best deals on flights. And don’t forget about transportation! Make sure you rent a vehicle appropriate for the weather & terrain. You don’t want to rent a little 2-wheel drive car for eloping deep in the mountains of Colorado in the winter!
Send in Your Marriage License & Finish with any Last Minute Details
If you’re officially getting married at the location you’re eloping, be sure to know the local laws & regulations. Don’t forget to make it official with a marriage license! Make sure you have your timeline finalized & that any vendors, friends, or family have a copy of it if needed.
Throughout this process & on your elopement day, try not to stress! Elopements are all about getting married in your own way. You relationship with each other is the most important thing & wedding planning shouldn’t come between you. You should both be involved throughout the whole process. This is your day together & it should reflect who you are as a couple.
For more tips on eloping, be sure to check out the rest of my blog. The featured galleries also have more tips for eloping in various locations & have other tips specific to those elopements & adventure sessions.