Why Choose to Elope?
By Best Elope Ideas
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re thinking about getting married soon. Congratulations! It’s hard to find the love of your life and even harder to make that big leap into such a huge commitment for the rest of your life. A huge celebration is in order! Right?
We’ve all dreamed about our wedding day(s) since we were young. Some of us pictured the priest, the chapel, flowers. Some of us wanted princess gowns and horse-drawn carriages. Still others had binders with every single detail mapped out in excruciating detail (okay, you caught me).
The problem is that over time, the wedding became more about this grand event, and less about what it was supposed to be about. It’s a ceremony celebrating the love between two people (who, by the way, are no longer even necessarily a “bride” and a “groom”). Nothing more, nothing less.
With times changing, finances being rough for many, people struggling to do this whole “adulting” thing, it’s no wonder why people are choosing elopement more than ever before!
Here are some of the top reasons you might choose to elope:
1. Money, Money, Money, Money. Money! — The most popular and most unsurprising reason why people elope is because of budgetary reasons. Why spend thousands (or hundreds of thousands of dollars) on a wedding when you have bills to pay? If it’s going to leave you struggling to pay your mortgage or utility bills next month, are you really living happily ever after? Elopements have less pomp and circumstance, less food, less people, and are overall much, much cheaper.
2. Who ARE These People? — Speaking of money, a top complaint from brides with large weddings is that they feel like they didn’t get to meet and greet all of their guests, and sometimes brides and grooms didn’t even know all of the attendees at their wedding because of dates (not to mention even the possibility of wedding crashers). If you’re paying $50 a person, you really should at least know a person’s first name, don’t you think?
3. It’s All About Priorities! — Let’s go back to that list from when you were a kid. Maybe flowers are extremely important to you. Maybe your Grandmother who’s no longer with you loved roses but hated carnations. Roses are expensive and not always possible if you have a 300 person guest list. By eloping, you’re able to simplify the entire process and focus on the few things that are absolutely make or break for your big day.
4. Elopements Can Actually Be More “Grand” — I had a friend recently who was married in a hot air balloon, hundreds of feet in the air. I know someone who was married on horseback. These days, you can have an underwater submarine wedding, a cruise ship wedding, or even a wedding on top of a unique national like the Eiffel Tower, but that’s not possible when you have a huge wedding party. With elopements you are free to do some wild and crazy things that might really appeal to you or describe your relationship perfectly.
5. Location is Everything — With that said, elopements make it possible to have a destination wedding. You can fly to Vegas and get married by Elvis. You can come to New Orleans, and have an amazing Carnival celebration. We can absolutely help you with that at BestElopeIdeas as we’re part of the Be NolaWed network. The point is that the fewer the people, the easier and more affordable it is to make travel accommodations.
We also have some amazing locations in New Orleans that are picture perfect but not accessible for a large wedding party. The Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast has some beautiful locations and rooms but they won’t fit more than 20 people. Tableau, a restaurant owned by the Brennan Family, has some amazing balconies that overlook the St. Louis Cathedral and the entire French Quarter, but more than 4-6 people on the balcony and you’re not going to be able to make it work. Elopements and smaller parties just make the impossible possible.
6. The Timing Is Right — With elopements, you aren’t restricted to scheduling. There are brides and grooms who have to wait 18 months to get married before they can find an available Saturday in their church. Not only do you have flexibility in terms of available dates because the venues may not get as many requests, but you also have flexibility in terms of the people who need to be there. You, your love, a few of your closest friends and family members, the officiant, photographer, wedding planner(s). That’s it. It makes it a lot easier to get married on a Wednesday afternoon or a Thursday morning. This makes it not only even more affordable, but also enables you to get married on a special date like an anniversary, or on a romantic date like Valentine’s day.
7. Secrets are More Romantic — Speaking of romance, did anyone watch “The Office”? Jim and Pam had the most adorable relationship ever, and one of the best things ever was when the audience found out (spoiler alert) that that had secretly eloped at Niagara Falls before their “big” wedding. This made it much more easy to bear when everything started to go wrong on their big day. They were already married, they had an intimate ceremony, and everything went perfectly. Above all, how romantic is it to have a secret wedding date? Elopements enable you to surprise people later with the news of what happened and that you’re finally hitched!
If you can’t tell already, we love all things wedding, and elopements are our specialty! If you need additional help or advice on your big day, don’t hesitate to contact us!
The Best Places to Elope in New Orleans
New Orleans, affectionately called the Crescent City because of the distinct moon shape formed by being surrounded by Lake Ponchartrain to the North, and the Mississippi River to the South, is a town internationally known for being full of charm and beauty. From the moss-covered trees that line some of the oldest streets and parks, to the French Quarter, that still looks like it did when it was first settled in the 1700s, New Orleans is the perfect mixture of the old and new, and of city and nature. Not to mention, with open container laws, bars open 24/7, and random dancing in the streets, it’s one heck of a spot for a good party. It’s charm and life makes every day a celebration, and every celebration an epic event.
It’s no wonder, therefore, why thousands of couples each year flock to the Big Easy for their Big Day. It’s a one-stop shop for your intimate elopement or small wedding, celebratory brunch/dinner and even your honeymoon. With all of the travel in and out of the city (including several cruise ships), it makes it an extremely convenient way to check off all of your wedding boxes, especially for smaller parties and elopements.
We understand that if you aren’t from the city, it can be a little confusing to figure out which place might be best for your marriage ceremony, so we’ve put together a helpful guide of some of our favorites. Here are just a few of the most amazing places to elope in the Crescent City:
The French Quarter - Who wouldn’t want to get married in the French Quarter? The air is filled with sweet smells from the river, like fried shrimp and oysters, baking French bread, and powdered sugar beignets? There are beautiful balconies everywhere & tons of wrought iron and greenery. Additionally, there are sounds of jazz music being played everywhere you turn. The photo ops are plentiful, and you’ll have a special day somewhere that’s filled with thousands of years of happy memories for all types of people. Plus, you’ll get to second line with your new spouse, if you choose!
Jackson Square - Obviously the most sought after wedding destination, Jackson Square is in the heart of the French Quarter, and is steps from the river, with an optional aerial view of the French Quarter, as well as the traditionally popular St. Louis Cathedral.
Tableau - Tableau is a restaurant that’s owned by the Brennan family, a New Orleans monarchy of good food and drink. It’s an amazing choice because it’s just a block from the St. Louis Cathedral, but offers several private rooms to choose from, including the wine room (and a ghost named Caroline), the room with gilded ceilings, the green room, or even several balconies. It’s also attached to the oldest theatre in the city, and that stage makes for another interesting place to tie the knot. Or, you can climb up to any one of the four floors and pick an array of windows overlooking beautiful nearby Quarter scenery. Getting married on a balcony with the St. Louis Cathedral in the background? I do!
City Park — City Park is another amazing choice. Get married underneath a large beautiful Oak tree (Spanish moss included free of charge), or in front of one of the park’s lagoons. There are also several picturesque bridges and gazebos with amazing views.
Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast - The GVBB is a picturesque Bed & Breakfast that offers amazing deals for elopements in New Orleans, and is in the heart of the city’s Garden District. Conveniently located on St. Charles Avenue, the GVBB was built in the late 1800’s and has been majestically restored to it’s original furnishings. There are beautiful rooms that you can choose for your bridal party, and you can even stay there for the duration of your visit. It’s on the historic streetcar line, and just minutes away from the French Quarter, for even more pre-ceremony celebration opportunities.
St. Charles Avenue — If you wanted to do something outside, you can step out of the Grand Victorian and be immediately on the Avenue. Get a picture in your wedding dress with the streetcar or take a ride on it (drinking along the way, of course) into the French Quarter, or lower Garden District. You’ll also be able to visit some of the city’s most beautiful mansions and period homes.
No matter what you choose, there are an array of amazing possibilities to make your special day memorable and unique!
For more information about getting wed in New Orleans, be sure to check out the Elope to NOLA Facebook page, the Best Elope Ideas Facebook page, and the Be NolaWed Network page. We have assembled a one-stop-shop of wedding professionals in New Orleans so that you don’t have to search any longer. Let us handle all the details while you enjoy the culture, your romance, your ceremony and your experiences that is only New Orleans!
7 Secrets for the Best Elopement Ever
Getting married is the biggest, most exciting day of your life, and this applies whether it’s a 500 person event in your hometown church or a Destination Elopement. In fact, because most of the elopements we see at Best Elope Ideas happen within a quicker time frame, it becomes even more important to have everything together.
Here are our Top 7 Secrets for the Best Elopement Ever:
1) Choose Experts that are Locals - Destination wedding photographers who travel the world to photograph weddings, while very talented experts with the very best of equipment, do not know the local area like a resident would. Residents typically know hidden venues that you can't find doing a "Google Search”, and they usually have connections to make the impossible, possible.
2) Always have a Weather Plan - . You never know if it will rain on your wedding day. Many of the hotels or B&B's you will be staying at will have private indoor rentable space. We suggest making the call when you book the hotel so that a plan is in place. Many elopement photographers will simply wait out the weather and continue on with the ceremony once the rain has passed.
3) Make Sure to Know the Legalities that Apply - 2 weeks prior to your arrival, connect with your officiant for updates to marriage license requirements. Municipalities in each city require different documentation and it's important to be sure you are up to date with their rules and laws imposed by their state. Your officiant will assist in this process.
4) Listen to Your Photographer - Get a nice dress hanger. Personalized or silk wedding hangers make all the difference and look leaps and bounds better in photographs than the hangers provided by most hotels. Your photographer may also suggest shooting at a different time of day, using a different part of town, or bringing certain props to the shoot. Obviously you’re the customer and know what you want, but everyone can save a lot of time and trouble if you default to your photographer in areas where she may have more experience.
5) It’s all in the Details — Your ceremony is one of the biggest events of your entire life, so leave no stone unturned. Make sure to pick amazing ceremony music and bring your iPod, iPhone, or anything else that can play “your song” as you walk down the aisle and have our first dance. Music is also one of the single most important (and cost effective) things that can be used to set a romantic mood at an intimate elopement. If you have a slightly higher budget, you may even want to spring for a solo violinist or guitarist for a truly magical setting.
6) Personalize, Personalize, Personalize. - Your special day is your day, and it’s special because of all of the details that apply to you. Don’t try to please everyone else, you are who matters. If you have a favorite color, add it everywhere, or wear a wedding dress in that shade. If you’re a die hard fan of a certain sports team, incorporate team colors or little footballs into your bouquet or cake. If there’s a place where you met your honey that you’d like to be featured — this is the time for you to let your personalities shine through. No one will judge you for having monogrammed everything on your wedding day, trust me. If there are children involved, you can also involve them by adding them into the ceremony or by having them write a sweet framed message to their new step parent to be displayed on your after-ceremony dinner table.
7) Themes - Your special day is a celebration, and there’s no better party than a themed party. It doesn’t have to be wild and over the top (unless you want it to be) but you can definitely have a theme whether it’s carnival or shabby chic. Above all, if you’re having a destination elopement, make sure to take advantage of the location you’re in — you picked it for a reason. Try horseback photos in Louisville or Carnival masks/Second-line dancing in New Orleans.
If you enjoyed these tips or learned something from this blog, please like and share it. We also love feedback, so welcome any questions, comments, or suggestions you have for us. If you have any questions or would like to read our other pieces, you can join our Facebook Group for Eloping Couples: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bestelopeideas/
Eloping on a Budget?
Back in the day, an elopement was all about running away from home to get married in a more casual setting than the fancy venues that were more traditional. They were spur of the moment, ‘Hey, let’s get married’ decisions. And they can certainly still be that today! However, today we have more ability than ever to include the people we want at our special days, and not with any of the fuss and expense of a traditional wedding.
That fuss can get expensive! An elopement wedding can be affordable and still full of all the magic and love that makes all weddings happen. It just takes a little planning, something a wedding planner or local photographer can help with!
After all, an elopement doesn’t have to miss out on the fun that you want. If you’ve always dreamed of a big cake? That can happen. Especially if you want to combine it with that trip to a national park you’ve always dreamed about. There isn’t anything better than enjoying a dream pastry on a mountain top. Or an art gallery. Or a city park. Really, anywhere you want to say “I Do...Take You!”. You can be as creative as you want for your elopement!
One of the coolest things about modern elopements, is that they can involve the people you want. You can invite a favorite cousin, your best friend, you grandmother... really, the sky is the limit! Or you can invite just a few and then go somewhere fun where everyone can attend! If you choose a venue where there is already an event, like a concert or theater show, you don’t even have to plan anything! Everyone can be there having fun, celebrate you and your spouse, and you didn’t have to spend any extra on catering for fifty people. In many locations, you can see about group packages for attendance... that can create even more savings and less fuss!
Planning your elopement can be as complex or as simple as you dream of. Did you always imagine flowers at your wedding? Find a field of wildflowers and tie them up with a gorgeous sash, ribbon or special lace to complement your dress. When you make creative choices for your elopement you can drastically reduce wedding costs and have a unique adventure!
Take the part of the weddings that are most important to you and mash them together in a new way, and create a space that is unique for you and the one you love. Not only does it make it more affordable, it creates out of the box memories that are priceless. That dough you saved on venue, catering, and other frills of a traditional wedding can help get professional photos or other ways to capture those moments forever!
Wedding Dress Travel and Name Change Tips for Elopers
Eloping? Is travel a part of that elope idea? Traveling with a wedding dress and coming back with a new name? How do you book tickets? How do you get through airport security? There are many questions that can come up when planning a wedding in different destination, including while eloping. There are many resources you could look into, but let’s take a short breakdown.
Security seems like it could be a problem, while carrying your wedding dress. However, the TSA has no specific rules regarding wedding dresses. Just make sure that it lays flat in the garment bag and that it will fit through the x-ray machine. If it doesn’t, the TSA can manually scan it. However, if the dress will need to be manually screened, you should plan to get to the airport a little earlier than usual to give yourself time. Remember, just because you are eloping doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead.
The next step in the equation is where to put your dress on the plane. Airlines often have plans in place for situations like these. Sometimes planes have closets, and if there is space, the dress can go in there. Overhead bins are also a good spot. Is the one above your head full? See if there is room in another compartment (or ask a flight attendant). Keep in mind that while airlines may want to accommodate you and your dress, they are not always able to find ready space. In that case, the dress can be checked.
But what if you want to keep the dress with you? First, check with your preferred airline beforehand and ask if they have any special rules for traveling with wedding clothes. When getting on the plane, let the passengers and flight attendants know you are traveling with your wedding dress. Often, people are willing to be a little extra careful and help look for storage space if it won’t fit in the bin over your head. If you want to be really cautious, you can even purchase an extra seat for the dress. Another option is to have it shipped (make sure to get tracking and insurance). If you’ve chosen to hire a wedding planner, check with them. Most will accept your dress shipment so you don’t have to worry about the dress traveling by plane at all!
Also keep in mind that many of the hotels will have a steamer that you can borrow or rent that will take care of the few creases that may arise from traveling with your dress.
Once you have everything ready for the plane trip, what about the name change? Also, if you hold any “frequent flyer” membership cards, there might be a delay on processing your name change before you travel. You don’t actually have to worry about that right away. Many countries allow you to travel under your maiden name indefinitely (make sure to double check this with your destination) as long as you are carrying proof of your name progression - such as your marriage certificate.
Enjoy your new Marriage and Congratulations to you both!