It's true, when you think of the word Elope or Elopement your mind automatically takes you to the thought of a shotgun wedding in Vegas with Elvis as your officiant or running down to the courthouse and saying "I do" in front of a room full of strangers and a judge. Now, although that may certainly be the case for some, it doesn't need to be just that. You can still include a few close members of your family & friends without having the stress of planning a traditional wedding. Eloping can be stress free, environmentally friendly and an overall intimate experience.
So you want to Elope but don't know where to start? The first step is making a list of priorities. If you're wanting to plan a trip completely about YOU without having the stress of having to worry about making everyone else happy, creating a timeline based around your exact needs, finally taking that EPIC trip you've been dreaming about since forever and having something unique that's just for you and your loved one, then Eloping is probably for you.
Below are my top two tips for planning your Elopement (and yes, just two because it can be really simple if you want it to be!)
1. Research Research and more Research!
Whether or not you're planning on Eloping locally or abroad making sure you're familiar with the different ways that you can actually elope. What I mean by that is, you have the DIY kind where you can actually self-solemnize just as long as you're in either Colorado, Pennsylvania or DC. It's as easy peasy as heading to your local city hall, picking up your marriage license paperwork, heading to the spot of your choice, filling it out together, exchanging your vows (or not) saying I DO, have me photograph it and YAY, you're now pronounced husband and wife! Of course don't forget to mail it all in or it won't be officially offical :) An officiant isn't always required unless you want them to be or you can just bring along one of your besties or a family member to witness your little love fest.
Now, eloping abroad will require a few more hoops to jump through but nothing that isn't totally doable! First things first is checking out the country's tourism website and familiarizing yourself with that. Some countries require alot more than a marriage license or certificate and you want to make sure you're not forgetting any of it by making yourself a check list. Some things you may need are: Passport (duh), at least one another form of photo ID, make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date, blood tests, specific age requirements (or parental consent if you're under age) validity of marriages abroad, documents that certify the end of any previous relationship (such as death or divorce certificates) so yes, a few more things to keep in mind but that's why you have me to assist you through the entire process!
2. The planning.
Prioritizing is key. Finding out what the top most important key factors are for your Elopment will help eliminate any of the stress that would normally happen if you were planning a traditional wedding. Elopments are about trying to keep things as stress-free as you possibly can. The first on the list is choosing your location. As previously mentioned above, eloping locally, or a different state or country does require a bit of research. If you're dreaming of white sand beaches off the coast of Fiji (damn, that sounds amazing huh?) or the beautiful mountains of Patagonia in Argentina, which, btw is my birth country and i'll forgo travel fees if you decide to make this your choice ;) OR if you've been dreaming about saying "I do" in the middle of the redwood forest (ok, ok, that's actually MY dream) then guess what? you can do it because that's one of the benefits of choosing exactly what YOU want. Of course there are all the other details to keep in mind; like what to wear, what time of the year to choose, to have a witness or two (or none at all), florals, etc. All in all, the best news is you can do it exactly how and when you want. You can even plan a small reception & party with all your loved ones which is a perfect way to celebrate without all of the traditional stresses of planning a big wedding. After all is said and done, you'll have an incredible story to tell and those amazing photographs to remember it by. For more details about Eloping reach out to me via my contact form and let's get started!