How to Plan Your Dream Elopement
There comes a point during the wedding planning process that every couple gets overwhelmed and wonders: “what if we just eloped?” While not every one actually runs away to get hitched, eloping is a surprisingly popular option.
“The main reason couples elope is that it's just about the two of them,” explains Kalika Casady, lead planner at Run Away With Me in Napa Valley and Sonoma, California. “I think the biggest advantage is that when you aren't stressing about hosting a large group you are able to enjoy the romance of it all. To be able to enjoy each other's company without being pulled away.”
Sound appealing? Here’s an expert guide to planning your elopement.
1. Choose a private space.
Eloping is all about you and your partner, so select a venue that’s secluded with minimal crowds. Consider a lookout point, like Taft Point in Yosemite, a hidden waterfall, like Wahclella Falls in Portland, Oregon, or a treehouse, such as the ones at Treehouse Point in Washington. Since you don’t have a large guest list, you can even splurge and go abroad to tie the knot at a castle in Ireland or beach in Fiji.
2. Make it special.
“Just because its an elopement doesn't mean you can't have all the personalized elements you would at a big wedding, in fact it leaves more budget and headspace for it,” says Casady. “For enhancements, go for a string musician to serenade you, a classic car to drive you or a great floral piece for your ceremony.”
3. Book a photographer.
While you may not have the typical wedding party or family portraits, your wedding will still have plenty of memories to capture. Ensure you don’t miss a single one by hiring a local wedding photographer to document the entire event.
4. Prepare for others’ reactions.
Weddings are big, once-in-a-lifetime milestones, so it’s understandable that friends and family are going to be disappointed that they won’t be a part of the ceremony.
“Remember to stress that this is what is right for the two of you and share that reason, let them know you can't wait to celebrate your marriage with them afterwards and don't be afraid to share how excited you are for this perfect day for the two of you!” advises Casady.
5. Remember all the legal details.
Getting married has certain legal requirements, no matter the length of the guest list. If you’re going out-of-state to tie the knot, be sure to apply for and pick up your license in the required time frame. The number of obligatory witnesses can also vary from state to state, so do your research beforehand.
6. Hire a planner.
While it may be smaller than a typical wedding, planning an elopement is still a major undertaking, so consider booking a professional to handle all the little details.
“Having a planner even though it's just you two is great because you have someone in charge of taking care of you and guiding the day,” advises Casady. “The planner may help the bride get into her dress, light candles, make sure ceremony elements are set up, cue a special song, hand the couple champagne right after the ceremony and so much more.”
7. Plan an after party.
Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best part of weddings – the party! Make a public announcement to spread the word about your newlywed status and invite every one to celebrate with you.
“I always tell our clients to have a big backyard barbecue a few months after so they can celebrate with their families but without any of the pressure. It's the best of both worlds that way,” says Casady.
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