How to Plan Your Dream Elopement
Elopements are the most intimate celebration of love, completely unique to each couple. They take all of the stress and noise out of planning a traditional wedding and rather focuses on YOU and your love story, making elopements the most intentional way of of getting married.
“Elopements are about you and your partner.
Do what makes you happy. Breathe in your love.
Everything else is just background noise.”
As a destination elopement photographer I spend alot of time talking with couples about why they are deciding to elope and it always comes down to the same thing, they want a just-us day that focuses on their love. Whether you want to hike to the top of a mountain, or take a jeep ride out into the desert, or fly overseas and elope on a seaside cliff in Italy, elopements allow you to get married EXACTLY how you want to by planning a day that includes everything that you and your partner love so that you can have a day filled with love and adventure.
I have come up with some great ways to plan your perfect elopement while making it both personal and memorable.
1. Make it an all-day adventure
What better way to celebrate your love than to make it an all-day adventure? I believe that elopements should be documented completely, just like a traditional wedding, so that your photographer can capture the whole story from beginning to end. There are many different ways to design the layout of your day, and the best thing is it is completely tailored to you!
You can start at dawn and watch the sunrise and then adventure around for your ceremony until the sun sets. Or if you are not really an early bird type of person like myself (unless I am joyfully photographing couples, you will find me tucked in bed during sunrise haha!) you can start your day in the late morning or early afternoon and enjoy as much of the day as you can! With elopements lasting anywhere from 6 hours to multiple days, you can design your elopement to include all of the activities and things you love, and LOTS of adventure.
2. Get married in your dream location
What better way to celebrate your adventure elopement than to get married in your dream destination! Is there a place/country/national park you have always wanted to visit? Make your elopement an incredible adventure and honeymoon all in one! Take a road trip across the country to one of our amazing national parks, or fly overseas to the place you have always wanted to go. Choosing the perfect location is one of the most exciting and important steps!
Here are some things to think about when choosing your elopement location:
- How do you want to look back and remember your day?
- Where would you like to explore and what would you like to experience?
- Decide whether you would like to elope domestic or internationally – the first big step to help narrowing down the locations!
- Choose scenery that speaks to you. Where do you like to spend your time. Where do you like to vacation?
- Choose a location that is meaningful to you. A place that you love to visit together, or that dream location you have both always wanted to explore!
3. Spend your money on what matters to you
I am ALL about people prioritizing what is important to them for their wedding, and I believe couples who choose to elope have already prioritized eachother wanting to have a day that is just about their partner. With the average US wedding costing almost $35,000, which seems pretty crazy but when you add in the venue, the food, the flowers, the decor, and the entertainment it can cost a pretty penny! I think it is important for every couple (who is eloping or having a traditional wedding) to really think about what is important to you as a couple and focus on that. Are you obsessed with a dress? Dreaming of that location you have always wanted to go to? I say GO FOR IT! This is the one day to make completely about your love story, so why not include everything you love? My couples who have had destination elopements across the ocean have told me that they typically spend less than HALF of what they would have spent on a traditional wedding, and that included their honeymoon! Eloping gives couples the freedom to plan their day and spend their money the way you want, and what could be better than that!?
4. Plan a day that includes your favorite activities
Think about some of your favorite things to do as a couple and include that into your elopement. Do you like hiking or climbing? Or enjoy sharing pizza at the local brewery? Do you love traveling the world and trying new things? You do not have to plan something extravagant for the perfect elopement, it just has to include elements of things you love.
Here is a list of fun and adventurous activities you can include in your elopement:
– Camp out under the stars
– Go off-roading
– Mini-Road Trip
– Helicopter Ride
– Hot-Air Balloon Ride
– Take a catamaran tour around the island, or heck, jump into the ocean! Just be cautious and take extra safety measures
– Go on an incredible Safari adventure, or stay with the wildlife at Giraffe Manor or Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa
– If you are a thrill seeker you could even go bungee jumping or skydiving, I have done both myself and I am ALL about it! Make your day an epic adventure!
When you elope, the options are endless!
5. Have your first dance
Just because you are eloping that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own wedding traditions, and your first dance is always a classic! Play your favorite song and get wrapped up in eachother as you dance to your first song as husband and wife. Not only is this a great opportunity for your photographer to get some amazing shots, but it allows you to have a moment so you can soak in all the love from the day.
6. Bring your furry friends
I am ALL about couples bringing their furbabies along on their adventure elopement! Some places, like most National Parks, do not actually allow dogs on the main trails, but that just makes a great reason to find an incredible location a little off the beaten path and that way your furry friends can adventure with you, a win win!
Other helpful planning recourses: