Eloping has been steadily on the rise over the last couple of years, especially given the global pandemic that swept the world in 2020, has made choosing to elope a more popular option. Traditionally couples decided to elope without telling their family or friends with a simple ceremony and no reception but the definition of eloping has changed slightly in more modern times, where couples do tend to inform their families and friends even if they choose not to have them there on the day.
There are many reasons why couples choose to elope, perhaps you don’t enjoy the thought of a big wedding and dealing with lots of family members, your trying to use the money you’ve saved to begin your lives together in a new house or you really just like the idea of a more intimate wedding, whatever your reasons there are a few things you need to consider for your elopement.
Once you have decided on the location for your elopement whether that’s in the UK or abroad, then you need to check the legalities that are applicable in your location.
Do you need a marriage license; if so how long does it take to apply and receive one? How many witnesses are required if any? Who will marry you; do you need to have someone official who can marry you or are you allowed to use a friend who can officiate the ceremony for you although this may be more symbolic rather than legal, so you will still need to ensure that the legalities are done prior to your elopement to make you officially married! An alternative officiant is a celebrant who can perform the ceremony for you, although in England this is not a legal marriage, so you will still need to get the legal paperwork done prior to your ceremony.
Whether you’re planning your elopement in the UK or abroad, it is important to book your travel plans and source your vendors as soon as your preferred date is confirmed.
You may think that with an elopement you may not need too many suppliers but at a minimum, you would be looking for a florist, hair and make-up artist, transport and any ceremony decorations.
It is important to decide whether you will use local suppliers or bring your items with you but my recommendation would be to use suppliers who are local to your ceremony location. This cuts down on your costs as there will be limited transport involved but local suppliers will be able to provide you with local insights and knowledge that other suppliers may not be able to provide.
If you’re eloping abroad then book your flights and hotel as soon as possible to ensure you arrive with plenty of time prior to your wedding day. One of the most important suppliers is your photographer, even though it may only be the two of you, you still want to have all those important photos; getting ready, first look, the ceremony, exchanging of rings and the moment you are pronounced as married.
After you’ve booked your dates and travel arrangements it’s time to consider how you want your wedding ceremony to look and feel.
Just because it is the two of you doesn’t mean you can’t include lovely decorations or a ceremony arch so if this is something you opt for, be sure to fit this into your wedding day timings. On the other hand, if you have chosen a beautiful outdoor ceremony spot that already has an amazing backdrop for your photos then you may not need too much additional decoration.
Within your ceremony will you be exchanging rings?
How will you say your vows; will you write them yourselves or will you stick with more traditional wording?
Post ceremony is just as important as the ceremony itself as it is also a key part of marking the occasion of your marriage.
If you’ve opted for a more city setting for your elopement then why not book into a lovely restaurant for lunch or dinner afterwards? And If you’ve chosen an outdoor setting then you could always opt for a luxury picnic that you can enjoy outside in a beautiful location? If you’re abroad and marrying on a beach then why not get a local restaurant or hotel to set up an intimate table for two in front of the ocean so you can really take the time to enjoy your just married bliss!
Some couples who elope still choose to have a post-wedding day party so that they can celebrate with their family and friends but with less pressure. This gives you a chance to celebrate with your loved ones and allows them to congratulate you but it isn’t a necessity especially if you’re trying to save money or simply didn’t want a formal wedding.
One of the great things about eloping especially if you choose to do it abroad is you can stay on at your location to celebrate your honeymoon.
You may even have chosen to get married whilst you were there on holiday but some wedding planners and hotels will offer elopement packages so it is worth discussing with your wedding planner or chosen destination if there is a package included.
Often with these packages, especially at hotels, you will have certain items included such as flowers, cake, wedding breakfast and sometimes a reduced rate or free nights at the hotel.
Eloping can feel wildly romantic and if you’re not looking for a traditional wedding then it is definitely an option to consider, but there is one big factor to be aware of.
Principally the reaction of your family and friends; people may not always understand your reasons for eloping and for some parents, in particular, it can be a hard pill to swallow if you are choosing not to involve them in the day. Ultimately it is your decision to elope and it should be a personal choice unencumbered by others view but it is something that you and your partner need to be prepared for.
However, you choose to elope, just remember that an elopement is defined as running away secretly in order to get married, so make it special, make it personal and ask a wedding planner for help to ensure your day is stress-free and beautiful.