An elopement might be infinitely simpler to put together than a wedding, but that doesn’t mean a little planning isn’t necessary.
In fact, one of the biggest mistakes you could make after deciding you want to get eloped is not putting any thought toward planning and just leaving everything to chance.
Elopements are supposed to be fun and spontaneous compared to traditional weddings, that’s part of the allure! But the best elopements are planned elopements, and this is why elopement planners are such a big deal.
Even if you’re planning on having a minimalist kind of ceremony with very few guests not too many vendors or things to coordinate, it’s important that you understand what you need to do in order to pull off an elopement and how having an elopement planner can eliminate most of your stress and take everything off your hands so you can better focus on the actual ceremony!
Managing Everything in the Background
A good elopement planner will go out of their way to ease your burden and clarify things so you don’t have to scramble to do a ton of research or figure out any local legal jargon.
If you are thinking of food and floral vendors, among other services, do you really want to be calling these people left and right and trying to arrange everything yourself? In a city you may not be familiar with? All while packing and picking out your perfect dress?
Of course not! Elopement planners make it their business to know their city or area in and out, so they know where to get the best deals, where the good eats are, and how to most efficiently handle all your needs so that everything runs smoothly and you barely have to lift a finger.
Yes, an elopement doesn’t have as many pieces to think of as a wedding, but weddings themselves can be exceedingly stressful. Simply planning for a trip and making the big leap into marriage can be a daunting prospect for some people.
Do you really want to be worrying about if the flower arrangements are done on time or delivered to the right address?
Let a professional handle it. You’ll be glad you did.
No Need to Get Technical
It’s not really a secret that the last thing a couple wants to do before their big day is research local laws on marriage certificates and public park regulations just so they can pull off their own elopement ceremony without a hitch.
This does not fall into the ballpark of “spontaneous” or “fun.”
Though many cities and towns have pretty simple guidelines for all of this kind of thing, letting a professional who knows their city like the back of their hand and can arrange everything for you in the background is worth its weight in gold.
No need to get mired down in legal jargon or technicalities. A good elopement planner will set you up with the perfect officiant for the ceremony, will make sure you know how to properly obtain your marriage license, and will do as much of the work for you as possible outside of signing the actual certificate for you!
That’s a whole lot better than waking up one morning and deciding you want to get married halfway across the country and ending up there a day later not knowing the first thing about how to actually get legally married there. That’s not exactly romantic.
In order to get the best possible experience on your elopement, it stands to reason that you would probably have to spend hours researching what the best venues for food, entertainment, and other amenities are, correct?
This is work that shouldn’t have to burden you in the days leading up to the ceremony.
Elopement planners have already established connections all over their city, and know exactly who to go to in order to fulfill your requests. They know the hot spots, the best way to manage your time, the best places to eat, and the best deals on flowers, music, or anything else you might need for your elopement.
Since they’ve spent years becoming knowledgeable specifically so they can help their clients, an elopement planner will be able to much more than you could ever do alone, and they’ll do it in half the time. They are in the business of making sure they put together the best possible ceremony for their clients, so that means capturing the best of what that city has to offer and packaging it just for you.
Photography: the Secret Ingredient
Capturing the moment with great video or photography is probably the most underrated part of putting together an elopement ceremony.
After everything is said and done, you’re going to want to look back on the memories and see the best moments captured. Sure, memories themselves are priceless, but sometimes you can’t put a price on a perfect picture that captures a special moment.
The best elopement planners either know the best elopement photographers in town, or they provide elopement photography services themselves, like I do.
Photographing my couples and seeing their faces light up later on when they get to see their ceremony captured perfectly just the way they remember it is one of the best parts about providing elopement planning services.
This is not an area you want to try and pull off yourself or go cheap on. There’s a gulf of difference between a hobby photographer and a professional. In order to get those crisp shots at just the right times, with the right lighting and angles, you have to go with someone who knows what they’re doing and loves their craft.
If you’re interested in an elopement package for New Orleans with everything you could ask for in an elopement ceremony and more, plus my professional photography services, you can see more details here.
A great elopement planner will go out of their way to make sure you have a stress-free and beautiful ceremony that aligns with your vision. Don’t try and pull off an enter elopement yourself, it’s much easier to go the professional route and know that your ceremony is in good hands.
For some couples, the prospect of elopement can seem like a massive undertaking. There’s certainly a lot of misconceptions when it comes to just what an elopement entails.
It’s common to wonder if an elopement is right for you, or what you can or cannot do in an elopement.
This guide will demystify your fears and set the record straight. I want couples feeling happy and confident with their decision to have an elopement, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than informing them.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to get eloped!
Pick a Location
It all starts here.
Part of the appeal of having an elopement is that you’re not bound to the traditional expectations of holding your ceremony at your family church or local hotel or similar venue.
You’re free to pretty much tie the knot wherever your heart desires.
Think of an elopement as a wedding and honeymoon in one, and you can see why the practice is becoming more and more popular.
Having the option to fully control every aspect of your ceremony and truly make it your own, in every way, this is something that a traditional wedding can’t really offer.
It’s also worth mentioning here that a location can largely dictate what kind of elopement you want to have.
Looking for a tropical getaway and an elopement ceremony on the beach? Someone where in the mountains? A gorgeous historical park like the kind found in New Orleans?
Do some research into the kind of ceremony you want and then plan your location accordingly.
Intimate or Inclusive?
The next major step in planning an elopement is deciding the size and style of it.
Do you want your ceremony to be nearly as complex as a wedding, with dozens of guests, full catering, and tons of decorations?
Or are you looking for something far more intimate, perhaps only you, your significant other, and a magical week together for just the two of you to share?
Something in between?
The size of an elopement largely dictates what you can and cannot do, as well as where you can hold the actual ceremony, what kinds of catering and planning expenses you incur, as well as the overall “feel.”
Part of the appeal of elopements are the ability to have a much more intimate, simplified experience compared to the average wedding. Less people you hardly know, less expenses, less stuff to think about, less stress, less drama.
Elopements tend to focus on the couple, not just traditions. This is why small, intimate elopements are so popular.
The small size of most elopements enables you to save money on accommodations and catering, which gives you the ability to book really nice hotels and spend more money on fun and enriching experiences rather than suits and flowers.
On the other hand, if you have an extended family that really wants to see you get married but you just can’t fathom going the traditional route, there’s nothing wrong with packing your entire family and holding your ceremony halfway across the country.
You just have to plan for it first!
Plan Your Budget
The least fun part of any wedding, but the good news is, elopements certainly simplify the process quite a bit.
In fact, compared to most weddings, you’re going to be cutting out a lot of the fat and saving a ton of money.
There’s just certain things that don’t really come up in an elopement. You’re not going to be decking out a wedding hall for 60 people, buying expensive catering, hundreds of floral displays, balloons, confetti, decorations, table settings, and all the other little things that make planning a wedding a financial nightmare most of the time.
When planning your elopement budget, you want to focus on three main things:
Once you have these three points down, you can kind of play around with your budget a bit and add or subtract as you like. The next most important thing you should splurge a bit on is either an elopement package, elopement planner or elopement photographer, or all if you’re lucky.
You should also take your time looking for airfare and hotel deals. Don’t make snap decisions, you can save a lot of money if you just take your time, plan your destination, and hunt for deals.
Every penny you save in the travel and accommodations, you can spend having the time of your life once you finally tie the knot!
The Legal Side of Things
Of course, the marriage license aspect of an elopement is important too. This is why you have to decide where you want to get married before most of the rest of your planning, because the laws on marriage licenses differ from state to state and at times even from county to county in those states.
The majority of the time, there is a slight waiting period after you sign a marriage certificate application, that can range from 24 hours to about 72 hours. There is also always a clerical fee attached to the process of filing a marriage license application.
Please do your homework in this area. The last thing you want is have your ceremony bungled because you mistimed the waiting period or worse yet, decided to get married during a federal holiday!
If you’re interested in getting eloped in New Orleans, we’ve already written an extensive guide that covers everything you could ever need to know about getting a marriage license there along with professional and experienced officiants who will help with all the legalities required.
There are also a few other legal matters to research before taking the leap and spending money, such as the regulations a park might have for the size of certain groups, park or beach permits for parties or gatherings, and other such minor hurdles.
Usually these legal issues are very easily taken care of, but they can be a headache if you wait until the last minute or even worse, forget about them completely.
Don’t wait. Once you and your significant other decide on where to get eloped, do your research and even call the local government if you have to in order to get all the info you need to have a great elopement ceremony.