So you're planning an elopement! Awesome! Elopements are a great way to get married on a budget. We're big fans of them around here. But while you might be totally ready to get eloped… you may not be as familiar with how to do it. And that's where we come in! Here's 10 tips for planning your elopement:
Image Courtesy of: Gladys Jem
Know the law in your state and your area. You need to know who's allowed to perform a marriage ceremony and what paperwork/fees are required. Some areas also have mandatory tests and/or waiting periods.
Figure out who you're telling. Some people prefer to tell no one and make an announcement after the fact while others want a few family or friends around them. Whichever one you decide is cool but you'll need to decide it or their could be hurt feelings or misunderstandings.
Decide where you'll do the ceremony. The courthouse is super easy but what about a local park, your home, or on the beach? Pick a place and research it's legal requirements.
Ask each other if there will there be a reception. It's not odd for a newly eloped couple to host a small dinner for their closest family and friends after the ceremony nor is it odd for parents to offer to throw a full-on reception in their hometown.
Find out if you need your own witnesses. Some places provide them (or even waive them completely) but others will make you bring your own. Know which one it is and pick your peeps.
Find out if you can write your own vows. It's such a personal touch and you'll probably be surprised at how many officiants don't mind. Just ask! Here's a few vows you might enjoy.
Feel free to dress up (or down). It is, as they say, your show. It's not unusual for people to elope in full-on wedding attire or show up in jeans and a T-shirt. If you do want to dress up then check out my suggestions here and here.
Remember the right documents and the rings! While documentation is always required for the whole getting married thing, it can vary from state to state so double check before you go. Also, some areas require couples to use rings during the ceremony so make sure that you have those, too!
Eloping doesn't have to mean cheap. You can absolutely elope and have a pretty dress, new suit, a photographer, and amazing meal afterwards. These days, eloping simply means that you're making it more intimate and moving the planning process along faster.
Make sure that it is really what you want. It might sound great to elope on the spur of the moment but is that actually what you want? Really talk this over with your partner and be certain that this decision is exactly what both you want.
Are any of you eloping?