When you’re planning a destination elopement, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. So we created this simple plan to help make sure you get the most out of your special day.
If you're planning to elope, use this simple plan.
Plan your wedding in advance. If you can't find the time or money for an elaborate ceremony, don't worry: elopment is a great way to have a wedding without all the fuss. It's affordable and can be done in a short amount of time—no need to wait years like traditional couples do! Elopments are also fun and intimate so that only those who matter most are involved with the proceedings. Lastly, it's helpful if people know beforehand that they won't be invited since there will be no big party afterward (unless they want one).
This allows them more freedom when deciding whether or not they'd like attend in person or remotely via video chat/Skype call while getting ready at home before heading out together late morning on Saturday morning after everyone wakes up from sleeping overnight Thursday night Friday morning instead of going out shopping all day Friday afternoon then coming back late afternoon tired tired tired just wanting some quiet time alone but we didn't get any because we had dinner plans later that evening so now it's almost midnight on Saturday night which means even though I'm exhausted from all this excitement my husband still wants sex tonight even though I've been sick all weekend long with flu-like symptoms plus now my period started today too so I'm cramping really badly right now too which means sex isn't really possible anyway so why does he keep asking? I don't know why but he just keeps insisting we should try anyway because maybe tonight will be different."
#1 Pick a location that is close and meaningful to you.
The first thing to do is to pick a location that is close and meaningful to you. You do not want your elopement day to be too far away from where you live, so choose one that is within driving distance, or even walking distance. It’s also important for the location of your wedding ceremony to be meaningful in some way, and so if there are places that hold special meaning for both of you (whether it be childhood memories or places visited during travel), then those would make great locations. Finally, it's important that the location is affordable! If this means taking advantage of free things like parks or beaches instead of using all-inclusive resorts (which can cost thousands), then so be it!
#2 Have an intimate ceremony with only guests closest to you.
The second thing to keep in mind is that elopements are a great opportunity to limit the number of people invited. You don't have to invite everyone who's ever sent you an email, tagged you in a Facebook post or reached out on social media. Eloping is a great way to make sure that you're only surrounded by the people you want there—which means that if one friend isn't as excited about your decision as another and/or might be difficult to manage at such an intimate event, just leave them off the guest list!
You can invite as many or as few guests as you wish; it all depends on how many people feel like they need to know beforehand (and how much time they'll take up with small talk). A small ceremony may not require any more than 10 attendees, while a larger affair might call for more than 30 guests. But whatever size wedding feels right for you, having fewer people around means that everyone gets more quality time with everyone else—and no one will miss out on an opportunity for some quality engagement photos!
#3 Focus on what’s important to you as a couple.
There are so many things that can be done with an elopement, but if you’re trying to keep it simple, focus on what’s important to you as a couple. This will help keep your wedding day structured and organized.
- Do you want your guests to remember the love between the two of you?
- What do YOU want them to remember? What do YOU want your wedding day to be like?
#4 Make it fun!
As you can see, the key to planning a simple elopement is to make it fun. Don’t worry about having a huge wedding cake or large guest list; just focus on the two of you and how much love there is between you.
#5 Hire your photographer!
Hiring the right photographer is important. You want someone who understands the importance of the day, and you want to make sure they’re going to capture emotions and moments that will mean something to you in years to come. A professional with a good portfolio will be able to do this for you!
#6 Recruit Your Officiant
What you want in an officiant will vary, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Look for someone who's been ordained by their religion or the government. Most states have rules about who can legally marry people and it's best to find someone who satisfies these requirements.
- Look for experience and affordability. Some officiants charge as little as $100, while others may cost hundreds of dollars per ceremony (or more). The more money you spend on your ceremony, the more likely it is that they've performed many ceremonies before, which means they'll know what to do when things go wrong (which they inevitably will).
- Find someone whose personality fits yours and your partner’s needs. Someone with a cheery disposition might be great if you want your guests to feel happy at your wedding, but if you're having an intimate elopement with just a few close friends and family members present then perhaps this isn't the right person for your wedding after all!
#7 Arrange for the Rings
The next step is to get your ring size. This may feel like a bit of a pain at first, but trust us: It's worth it not to have to worry about this on the day of your wedding. Once you have your ring size, order your rings from an online retailer and make sure they arrive in plenty of time for the day before the ceremony.
You'll want to wear them around until then so that they're comfortable enough to be worn all day long (and even through dinner). When it comes time for the ceremony itself, slip those babies right on—and hold onto them tight! Afterward when everyone gathers back at their hotel or Airbnb room after dinner and drinks, take off those beautiful rings again and put them safely away until morning when it's time for breakfast with friends and family before departing town (or even earlier than that if driving home isn't possible).
#8 Invite a Witnesses
Invite a witness to your elopement. It's not essential, but it's definitely recommended.
A witness is required by law in order to get married in the United States. You'll be asked at least two questions during this process: "Do you take this person as your husband [or wife or partner]?" and "Will you love him [or her or them] today, tomorrow, always?" Your spouse will say yes when prompted by their name, which means that they accept these terms of marriage as well?
You can technically get married without one as long as there are no other witnesses present (and most states won't ask for proof), but why not just invite someone? If possible, ask someone who knows both of you well enough so that they can attest to how long it has been since your last breakup—a real friend should know better than anyone else! This person doesn't necessarily need to attend the ceremony itself—just having them there before hand will suffice."
#9 Pick your Outfits
You’re going to be wearing one outfit the entire day, so it’s important that you feel comfortable and confident in it. It should be something that makes you feel special and beautiful without being too formal or fancy for the occasion. If you have any doubts about whether or not an outfit is right for a small wedding, talk them over with your partner before making a final decision. You don’t want your spouse-to-be to regret his choice of clothing!
In terms of color selection, choose something that complements your skin tone by looking at the colors of various objects around the house (like blue curtains or a red couch).
If possible, bring these items with you when trying on dresses so they can help make more appropriate decisions about what colors look best on their bodies than what may seem like obvious choices based on personal preferences alone (for example: light green shirts might work fine but dark green shirts won't go well). Finally consider weather conditions when picking out accessories as well—if it's warm outside then lightweight materials might be better than heavier ones which could potentially cause discomfort during outdoor activities like walking down an aisle together while holding hands across distance!
#10 Set up an Intimate Post-ceremony Dinner
Make sure that you have a meal for everyone to enjoy after the ceremony. It's important to keep in mind that this is an intimate gathering and not a full-blown party—a simple dinner will do just fine! It's also good to remember that making sure there are enough drinks and cake for everyone can be difficult when you're trying to serve them up with so few hands on deck. We suggest purchasing your beverages from our friends at [redacted], who can deliver them directly to your event site. They have an amazing selection of craft beers, wines, champagne...and even non-alcoholic options if anyone prefers those (hey there, "dry" weddings). For dessert we recommend taking advantage of their ice cream service too; it'll cut down on your workload big time!
Luckily, elopement planning doesn't have to be complicated—it's a great way to start off your marriage with minimal fuss and stress. If you're thinking about having a simple, small wedding ceremony with only your closest friends and family members present, an elopement may be right for you. It can be fun, meaningful and memorable for everyone involved!
If you're interested in learning more about budget-friendly options for your wedding photography, please contact us today! We'd be happy to chat with you about our packages and discounts. Thank you for reading!
Affordable Wedding photography by Fungirlwithacamera Photography.
Hope from Fungirlwithacamera Photography specializes in affordable wedding photography as well as backyard wedding photography and small intimate weddings. Currently accepting weddings in East Brunswick, Highland Park and surrounding areas in New Jersey.