There are many reasons why couples choose to elope and these days eloping doesn’t mean you can’t plan it in advance and invite those you love!
Eloping adds more focus to the couple and their joyous union and less on the grand party. With intricately decorated venues, elaborate table settings and endless details added to weddings, it all can become quite overwhelming and not to mention expensive. Couples are embracing a minimalist perspective and opting for a simpler ceremony.
Many couples have mentioned that they feel closer to God in nature and that added significant meaning to them. Others have wanted to start their marriage with a grand adventure and getting married on the top a mountain peak fulfilled that for them.
You can see, there are many benefits to this modern trend. I personally have fallen in love with elopements because the backdrops are so breathtaking!
How do you plan an elopement?
For every elopement there are a few things that you will need to decide on. First location, Second the guest list, Third the officiator, Fourth the photographer/videographer and Finally any other details you choose to add.
Location. Location. Location.
The first thing you will need to decide is where! You can pick a location that means something to you both like where you hiked for your first date or a favorite vacation spot. Or you may want to choose a destination where neither of you have been before to start your marriage off with an adventure.
There so many beautiful location options out there. Some of the most stunning backdrops in the USA are located in our National Parks. To elope in a National Park you will need to contact the specific National Park and most likely pay $100-$200 for a permit. Permits are mostly required for having more than 5 people or setting up chairs for guests or any decor like an arch. Because these areas are protected land for everyone to enjoy we want to make sure we respect the land and leave no trace. Whether you choose a National Park or somewhere else you will want to do your research and make a phone call or sending an email to the land managers to where you wish to have your ceremony. This will ensure that everything you are doing is okay and your special day won’t be crashed by the land regulators.
The Guest List.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to who should or shouldn’t be at your wedding. This day is all about you two and celebrating your commitment to one another. Elopement guest lists are generally kept small just for ease in the logistics. Usually the location you choose will determine who you will want to invite.
To make it all legal you will need to have someone officiate the wedding. You can just google “getting legally married in…” to find all that is required to be married legally in that state. THIS is what Utah requires. You also have the option to have a friend or family member perform your marriage if they get ordained online.
Documenting It All!
The most important professional to hire for your wedding day is your photographer / videographer. You will want to remember all the details from your day and be able to share it all with loved ones that won’t be there in person. Having all the special moments documented will allow you to share and relive your day for years to come. Some things to consider when looking for a photographer are…
Do you connect with them? You both want to feel comfortable with the professional you hire because these photographs are the only thing that will last after your day is over. You will want someone that you can be yourself around. I suggest talking to them in person or over the phone to gage whether or not they are a good fit for you.
Do you feel like they are capturing your vision of what you want your day to look like? Does their image style fit the look you are going for? Any professional photographer should have a portfolio of photos for you to view online or in person. Look for a photographer that can provide great images in similar locations that you are considering for your wedding day.
Do they have the experience needed for the job? There are so many photographers out there that can take a great photo in perfect conditions, but do they understand how to deliver beautiful photographs even when weather or lighting isn’t ideal? These are things to consider asking them because you only get one shot with a once-in-a-lifetime event.
What vendors to consider.
With elopements there are no rules. When it comes to vendors you can keep it simple and just get an officiator and a photographer or add as many details as you would like. Here are a list of vendors to consider.
The Dress: This is may be important to you especially if you have been dreaming of a specific gown since you were a little girl. You can still keep things simple and have your beautiful dress too! I always like to advise my brides to consider the shoes they will want to wear when eloping. Many beautiful elopement locations have rough terrain and being able to walk, run and even dance may be important to you. I’ve never had a bride regret getting married in her chacos! So when choosing your wedding gown you will want to consider what shoes you are wearing. That may or may not influence your decision.
The Suit: The groom should also feel like a million bucks! Whether he decides to get a full tux, a casual suit, or dress in his jeans and leather jacket, the groom should love what he is wearing on your special day too! When opting for an outdoor venue like a national park you don’t have to dress a specific way, just wear what fits your style!
Hair & Makeup: Many brides love getting a professional to do their makeup and hair for their wedding day to get the look they’ve always dreamt of, others may feel more confident when they do their own hair and makeup! Either way this is something you may want to consider. I suggest doing a practice run with your stylist or by yourself to cut out the stress of things not going smoothly on your wedding day. …You may even want to pamper yourself on your wedding day by going with a makeup and hair stylist that works at a spa and begin your day with a facial or even a massage. There really are so many options!
Florist: Some brides choose to just have a bouquet to hold when they say their vows. Others go all out, with flowers in their hair, bouquets for her and her bridesmaids and even have a floral covered arch to compliment to add something unique to their ceremony backdrop. I’ve even seen brides gather a few wildflowers themselves for a bouquet!
Planner: Hiring a wedding planner can help ease the stress for your elopement. They can help bring to life the elopement of your dreams or help you plan your day if you are totally lost to what you really want. These professionals have many connections and can really keep the stress of planning and organizing down to a minimum.