If the idea of running away to wed has you worried that you’ll miss out on a truly epic experience, you’ll love this guide on how to plan an adventurous elopement!
Choosing to elope doesn’t just mean heading to an out-of-town courthouse and signing a few papers.
It can be incredibly meaningful and create lasting memories that you’ll cherish forever.
Read on to find out how to plan one!
How to Plan an Adventurous Elopement You’ll Never Forget
By their very nature, elopements are an nontraditional, romantic, dreamy way to marry – allowing you to avoid big crowds, family drama, and more personal.
Not to mention, they allow LGBT couples to get married, if they live in a country where it is unfortunately still illegal.
However, they’re pretty rare. Although they happen a lot in the movies (and they look super easy), big weddings are still the most popular.
For those that don’t know, elopement isn’t just “running away,” it’s just a secret wedding. Some forego a formal wedding at home and elope for the ceremony.
Many people announce their marriage afterwards, too. Elopements mainly consist of the couple, the officiant, a witness, and a photographer.
However, they should still be special – and you’ll get tons of amazing photographs out of it. So, here’s how to organize an adventurous elopement, and make it look amazing for your wedding pictures.
Choose a location that’s right for you
The first step is choosing where you elope to. Yes, the films will have you believe it has to be somewhere exotic or Vegas – there’s no in-between. You can elope to anywhere that speaks to you, or means a lot to you.
This may be a small town, a forest, mountains, a lake, or a coastline. If you and your partner love certain activities or a film set in a certain location or would love to get married and chill in the sun.
So, look at the weather, flight costs, and any other little bit of logistics. Make no mistake, elopements take a lot of planning and work. Obviously, not as much as an average wedding – but it’s not as simple as flying off in a fancy car. Sadly.
Here are my top tips on picking the location:
- Decide what your perfect season/weather is and go from there
- Research the best times to visit (at the moment this is difficult)
- Plan your vow exchange spot
- Can’t think of an idea? Look for inspiration on blogs, Pinterest, or magazines
Book all your people
Thankfully, you won’t have to send out invitations and create a guest list. This is many people’s least favorite task when planning a wedding.
However, you will still need a few more people than just yourselves on your adventurous elopement.
This includes a photographer – something important to most couples. They’ll capture the most amazing photos (something I’ll mention later on, too).
There are specialist elopement photographers, or just hire one in the location you’re eloping to.
You will also need a legal officiant. This will make your marriage official. Obviously, a key element to your elopement.
One witness is typically required – this can be your photographer.
It can be a stranger on the street. It could be one family member or friend, that will keep the secret.
Just a side note: You can actually hire elopement planners. These will plan all these details for you, making everything super easy.
Look into all legalities
Again, if you book an elopement planner, all this will be pretty much sorted for you. If that’s not an option for you, it can just take a quick google/a little bit of research.
Some countries have different rules when it comes to elopement.
For instance, France requires you to live there for 30 days before marriage.
Of course, this poses a slight issue for those planning a quick, secret marriage.
Other countries haven’t made LGBT weddings legal yet. That’s also something to bear in mind.
It’s also worth noting that if you currently live in a country that hasn’t made same-sex marriage legal, then you still won’t be legally married upon returning.
Your elopement will be more symbolic, than anything. Which is still lovely.
Remember to check official government sites, for reliable information.
Create a timeline
Your day will still need some kind of structure, ensuring that it’s unforgettable. Do you want an early morning wedding or a late-night one?
What will you do once the ceremony is over? Photography? Drinks?
An elopement doesn’t have to be as spontaneous as you see in Hollywood. A structure would be helpful.
P.S Your photographer will likely help you create a structure, making for the best photos.
Plan for photos
That brings us nicely onto our next point.
As it’s a secret, photographs are the only evidence of what your big day looked like. Make sure to capture every moment.
Document the day with photographs, these beautiful images will be something you look back on for the rest of your life.
Plan a reveal date
Elopements aren’t meant to be a secret forever, generally speaking.
The good news is, it won’t be taken too personally if literally nobody was invited.
We’d avoid making a post on social media before your family and friends know.
Perhaps a video call beforehand would be better. If you can wait to post, you could have a reveal party.
I hope this helps with all your adventurous elopement plans.
Have you ever planned an adventurous elopement? Share your story below!
I’m a freelance journalist/writer/content marketer with BA Hons in Journalism.