Can I just talk to you about elopements?! 10 years ago, me and my husband decided to elope because of army and other reasons. We went to the courthouse and said our vows with 20 other couples in a giant ugly room. This was before the big elopement boom happened and there was no one to tell me there was another way to elope. Well I am here to tell you that elopements don’t just mean you go to a courtroom and have a random guy make you repeat vows with other people in the same room as you. There are other options.
Why are people eloping? Big weddings aren’t for everyone and that’s is okay! If you are too stressed about wedding planning and it’s getting the best of you or if you feel like you should rather just put that money towards something else, then you should ELOPE! I know it seems like weddings are the only way to get married but a lot of couples choose to elope nowadays. They have become very common.
While elopement technically means “running away”, but nowadays eloping doesn’t necessarily mean running away with each other. It simply means getting married without telling anyone, especially your family but that has changed over time. Nowadays elopement just means that you are getting married not so secretly with just your immediate family or a super teeny number of guests. You probably get lost on Instagram looking at destination elopements all day long like me. But I would like to tell you that you DON’T have to be jetting off to a foreign country to elope. People even elope at courthouse, park or on top of a cliff. Eloping simply means getting married just by yourself without any added stress of wedding planning and uninvited opinions.
You can still have full control over how you want to elope. With very less people in attendance, you don’t have to try to please everyone. You can have a spur-of-the-moment elopement or plant them out. Las Vegas isn’t the only option when it comes to eloping. Luxury elopements are totally a thing that couples are doing these days where they have all the things a wedding would have, but just without the extensive guest list.
Just because you have decided to elope, it doesn’t necessarily that mean you have to completely forego the celebration. Couples who elope simply want to have an intimate ceremony by just themselves or just family. It is not uncommon for couples that have eloped to host a dinner or a party after their vows. There are some who decide to celebrate upon their return from their elopement and others who would instead host an anniversary party after one, five, ten, even fifty years of marriage.
Types of Elopements:
A lot of people have the misconception that eloping means you just have to go up to a nearby courthouse and get married and that’s one way to do it but there are also other kinds of elopements:
1. THE SURPRISE KIND: THIS CAN BE JUST THE TWO OF ALONE OR A COUPLE FAMILY MEMBERS GETTING SECRETLY MARRIED AT THE CITY HALL OR SOMEPLACE ELSE.
2. JUST THE 2 OF YOU KIND: IF YOU AND YOUR BOO WANT TO GET MARRIED ALONE WITH JUST AN OFFICIANT AND DON’T REALLY CARE FOR THE CITY HALL, THEN WHY NOT PICK A GORGEOUS LOCATION? SOME PLACE THAT IS MEANINGFUL TO BOTH OF YOU. THE ONLY THING YOU WILL NEED TO LEGALLY DO THIS IS THE OFFICIANT.
3. DO IT YOURSELF KIND: THERE ARE ONLY SOME STATES THAT COUPLES CAN SELF-SOLEMNIZE THEIR MARRIAGE BUT THEY ARE STILL RECOGNIZED IN ALL 50 STATES. HERE IS HOW YOU CAN DO THAT:
> PICK UP YOUR PAPERWORK BUT DON’T SIGN IT YET. TAKE IT TO YOUR CHOSEN SPOT, SAY YOUR VOWS AND THEN SIGN IT.
> IF YOU ARE SELF SOLEMNIZING YOUR ELOPEMENT, YOU CANNOT HAVE AN OFFICIANT BECAUSE NO ONE CAN WED THE TWO OF YOU. YOU CAN HAVE WITNESSES JUST NO OFFICIANT.
4. THE INVITING YOUR FAMILY KIND: THIS IS THE KIND WHERE YOU SET A DATE IN ADVANCE AND INVITE FEW FAMILY MEMBERS TO CELEBRATE WITH YOU. THIS, HOWEVER, IS CONSIDERED AN INTIMATE WEDDING SINCE THERE WILL BE SOME FAMILY MEMBERS INVOLVED.
5. ADVENTUROUS ELOPEMENTS: THIS IS THE KIND WHERE PEOPLE LOVE TO HIKE OR DO SOMETHING ADVENTUROUS, GET TO A GORGEOUS LOCATION AND GET MARRIED. IT CAN BE JUST THE TWO OF THEM OR AN OFFICIANT AS WELL WITH THEM.
Have I convinced you to elope yet? Even though you may be eloping to run away from the stress of planning, you still have a little bit of planning to do.
Here is a mini checklist to help you with you elopement.
1. Marriage License: Every state and country has their marriage license laws so find out yours here. Generally, if your elopement will involve a license, you need to know three things
1a. What is the wait time between getting your license and the wedding?
1b. Do you need an appointment at city hall?
1c. What are the witness requirements, and who can serve as your witness?
2. If you are planning to elope not at the City Hall then you need to start thinking of a location. This can be a place local to you that’s a special place for both of you, in another state at a park or beach or in another country.
3. If you are like me and planning stresses the heck out of you, then get a wedding planner. They will help you take care of everything so that you don’t have to do it.
4. Look for vendors, mainly a photographer & a videographer so that you can have amazing photos of your elopement.
5. Some other things to consider are:
- Rings: This is optional but if you wanna have them, be sure to order them plenty of time in advance.
- Vows: You can write your own vows or you can just follow your officiant’s lead. Totally up to you.
- Travel: If you are eloping somewhere that isn’t local, make sure to make your travel plans ahead of time. If you are inviting family members and booking hotels, talk to the hotel about reserving a block of rooms for your guests.
- Attire: You don’t have to get the big wedding dress if you don’t want to but don’t let eloping be an excuse to not get the dress you want.
- Flowers: This is totally optional. You can choose to have a bouquet or not. If you don’t want to hire a florist, you can whip up your own little bouquet from some store-bought flowers. If you want to hire someone for flowers, I have amazing recommendations of florists I work with.
An elopement is a personal decision and can include or not include any wedding traditions you want or don’t want. It is about the two of you to celebrate your love with each other in a way that makes your heart happy.