How to Elope and Why Do Couples Elope?

How to Elope and Why Do Couples Elope?

Everyone envisions a different kind of special day when they get to say "I do" to their future spouse. Some people envision a traditional wedding day, complete with a guest list that includes all of their friends and family. Others prefer the idea of eloping or having a private wedding. Find out what eloping means and how to plan an elopement ceremony.


What Is Eloping?

Eloping is the process of marrying in a private, sometimes secretive setting. This is in contrast to the traditional approach to marriage, which involves a long period of waiting after an engagement, followed by a large wedding ceremony and reception for all of the newlyweds' family and friends.

The definition of eloping may differ depending on which couple is contemplating it. While the term "elopement" originally meant secretly marrying against parental wishes, it now only occasionally means the same thing. Eloping can now refer to anything from a solemn marriage ceremony to a small destination wedding with immediate family and best friends.


Why Do Couples Elope?

Each eloping couple's reasons for preferring an intimate wedding over a large event are likely to be unique. The following are some of the most common reasons why couples elope:

Budgetary restrictions: Medium to large weddings can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Elopement allows couples with limited financial resources to plan the wedding of their dreams without breaking the bank. Some couples may choose to spend the money they would have spent on a larger traditional wedding on a destination micro wedding instead.

More freedom: Elopement allows you and your partner to do whatever you want with your wedding. Perhaps a quiet ceremony in a state park surrounded by waterfalls, or saying "I do" atop a skyscraper in San Francisco or New York. You have complete control over the location and timing of your small wedding. You can elope anywhere in the world, at any time of year or day.

Individual preferences: Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes the ideal elopement. On a weekday, some couples may prefer to simply go to city hall to obtain their marriage license. Others may prefer a destination elopement in a far-flung location such as Iceland or New Zealand.

Stress reduction: Many couples choose to elope because it can be a less stressful option. Traditional wedding planning is a year-round affair with a lot of moving parts, long guest lists, and a lot of stress. The elopement planning process can be much more relaxed.


How to Elope

While the term "elopement" can mean different things to different people, it always implies that a couple has chosen intimacy over size for their wedding ceremony. As you plan your own elopement, keep the following steps in mind:

Determine the costs. Elopements are generally less expensive than weddings; however, you should set a budget. Pricing for special use permits, travel tickets, and other incidentals can quickly add up if you want to plan an adventure elopement ceremony in an exotic location. A trip to the local courthouse or city hall, on the other hand, will be much less of a concern on this front.

Prepare for ramifications. Recognize that some people may be offended by your decision to marry without their knowledge or involvement. Be considerate and kind, but also stay true to yourselves as a couple. Dispel any misconceptions your closest friends and family members may have about why you chose to take this path as a couple instead of inviting them to a big celebration.

Find the necessary vendors. While you probably won't need a wedding planner for your own elopement, you might want to consider other vendors for your intimate gathering. Request wildflowers from a florist. Consider hiring a wedding photographer or videographer to document your special day. In situations like this, these types of vendors frequently offer less expensive elopement packages.

Look into elopement locations. When you elope, you can have your wedding anywhere in the world. You can get married in a Las Vegas hotel, in Big Sur or Redwood National Parks in California, or in another country entirely. Look for ceremony locations that you and your future spouse will remember for a lifetime.

Take the necessary legal action. Avoid putting off the legal aspects of your marriage until the last minute. Marriage laws vary from state to state and location to location. Check to see who qualifies as an officiant and if any witnesses are required. Inquire with the county clerk about the requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate.


4 Tips for Planning an Elopement

Pre-warning and pre-warning forecased. Here are some ideas to help you plan your special day:

1. Think about inviting a small group. Unless you want a private wedding between just the two of you, consider inviting a few close friends, family members, and other loved ones to join you in celebrating. You can have the best of both worlds by inviting the people who are most important to you while still maintaining the intimacy of a small gathering.

2. Specify your objectives. After you've decided to forego a traditional wedding in favor of a more intimate ceremony, talk with your partner about their ideal elopement experience. You have a plethora of options available to you. At the end of the day, you have the power and authority to choose the memories you want to create with your loved ones that day.

3. Finish with a celebration. Even if you decide to elope alone, you can still celebrate your big day in a more low-key manner with friends and loved ones after the fact. Throw a small party to celebrate your new marriage. If you hired an elopement photographer, ask if they will also photograph the small reception.

4. Indulge in traditions that you value. Create an elopement checklist that includes any elements from a traditional wedding. You might still want to wear a wedding gown or a boutonniere. Perhaps you'd like to share a first dance by playing music through high-quality speakers. You have complete control over the experience.