7 Tips to Plan Your Elopement

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A joyful newlywed couple celebrates under a floral arch on a beach, with the groom raising the bride's hand in triumph, both smiling happily at their guests during their wedding photography session.
Elopement couple. Seven tips for planning your elopement.

Sometimes a big wedding just isn’t your thing. Between the stress of logistics for a full wedding, the money you spend, and the fear of having to schedule and re-schedule due to COVID-19, there are an endless number of reasons why you might opt for an elopement.

Elopements carry a scandalous connotation, wrongly associated with hiding from family and friends and betrothing in secret. That really isn’t the case anymore. More often than not, elopements now mean a wedding stripped to the essentials — which actually can include immediate family.

Planning an elopement, however, does still require some effort. (Maybe more effort than you expected when you decided to drop that big wedding bash.) Elopements have their own unique set of must-do tasks to go off without a hitch. Here are some of my best elopement tips:

Check Elopement Laws

Every state (and country!) has different laws when it comes to elopements. In some places a marriage license and witnesses are required; in other places, you need a city hall appointment. Be sure to check and consider any administrative delays in receiving the documents you need to be sure it meets your timeframe.

Book Travel Early

Elopements allow you the freedom to choose a location that means a lot to you and your partner. It could be somewhere exotic like Santorini, Greece, or it could be a place in the city where you live that is significant to the two of you. Wherever you choose, be sure everyone books necessary travel well in advance to save money and avoid stress.

Go with Local Vendors

Travel fees can add up quickly. When going out-of-state, research and consider hiring teams local to the elopement venue to service your wedding. This will remove a lot of stress regarding your budget and travel logistics like passports, timing, and travel delays. Hiring a local planner will also be beneficial in areas where you are unfamiliar with the best local amenities or where you do not speak the language.

Don’t Skip the Photographer or Videographer

Since elopements are intentionally limited in guests, capturing the day is of an even higher importance. Those who were not able to attend will love to see photos and films from the biggest day of your life and to feel like they are included.

Elopements also tend to be unique and take place in places that are beautiful and special to you. You are going to want to remember every single detail.

Make Your Elopement Special

The last thing you want to do is downplay your wedding day just because it is a smaller celebration. Think of an elopement as an opportunity to think outside the box and tailor your wedding day especially for you. Decide which traditions are important to you, incorporate a thoughtful unity service into your ceremony, or write your own vows. Make it special and memorable for both of you.

Host a Post-Elopement Party

It is common for couples who elope to host an reception following the elopement. This could happen immediately after or when they arrive back home from their venue abroad. Talk through your post-elopement plans with your coordinator for help with logistics, and be sure to invite all your friends and family who want to show their love and celebrate with you!

Send Out Marriage Announcements

No matter what you decide to do after your elopement, be certain to make your nuptials public with mailed announcements. Ask your photographer to provide a handful of photos from the day for you to use on a card. On the card, include a joyful announcement, your new name, and your address. Sending out beautiful and official announcements will allow those closest to you to feel a part of your day — and maybe even send a gift or two!



Elopements are wonderful way to take off some wedding planning stress and customize your wedding day into something unique and perfect for you and your partner. Using these tips and careful planning, you’ll be jetting off to your dream wedding in no time.

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