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  • Writer's pictureJessie Ladipo

Your Essential Guide to Eloping

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Do you dream of getting tying the knot in front of 500 of your nearest and dearest? For many couples (myself included), the answer to the question is a big fat "NO." A big wedding isn't for everyone. Perhaps you're reluctant to be the center of attention or have had to postpone the ceremony due to the pandemic. Or maybe you don't want to spend thousands of dollars on one day. Whatever the reason, you might find that running away to an exotic (or not such an exotic destination like Vegas) is more your speed. But figuring out how to elope can immediately make the process seem more like a scary mystery than a sexy escape. Well, I am here to help, is your essential guide to eloping.

Photo by Beatriz Pérez Moya on Unsplash

Check the Laws

Do you need a marriage license? How long does it take to get one? Are witnesses required? It would help if you answered these questions for any destination you are considering. You don't want to head off for your wedding only to find out you won't be allowed to get married. Luckily, I am here to find out the answers for any romantic spot you're considering.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Pick the Destination

After doing your due diligence, you need to finalize the destination. If you are considering eloping, pick a place that has significance for you both. You want your wedding to be unique, so choose someplace from your bucket list.

Tell Everyone (or Don't)

You can surprise your family after you get married. But if you want to let people know, you should be upfront. Tell them that you are not having guests at the ceremony. Invite them to a shower or reception after you return; this will give them a chance to celebrate with you. And it will cut down on hurt feelings.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Determine the Venue & Vendors

Even if you are eloping, you will have to choose a wedding venue; you have to get married somewhere. Las Vegas has dozens of chapels and places to get married, but most destinations do not. At a minimum, you will need an officiant. But you will most likely need a photographer and videographer. Your families are going to want some souvenirs.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Travel Logistics

After you have nailed down a date and lined up your vendors, you need to book the travel. You want to nail down the travel logistics as soon as possible; you don't want your preferred hotel to sell out! I recommend arriving at least two or three days before the ceremony. And you will want to spend a couple of days snuggled up without interruption after the wedding. Ensure you request time off work well in advance. And all your travel documents are in order.

Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash

Plan the Ceremony

What will you wear? How will you exchange vows? Will you write your vows? Do you want a bouquet? While you may not walk down an aisle, you'll still want your wedding to be remarkable. Elopements are an excellent opportunity to steer away from tradition. Go with streetwear chic. Choose a tea-length dress rather than long gowns, or choose a bold color or pattern. Your imagination only limits you.

Photo by Annie Marek-Barta on Unsplash

Throw a Post-Elopement Party

An elopement party might be just the two of you or an all-out reception with friends and family or some combination of both; you can rent out a private room in a restaurant to celebrate with a small group. A first-anniversary party feels like a reception without the pressure and cost of a large wedding.

Is the idea of a big matrimonial bash, not your thing? Perhaps you are the super spontaneous type always looking for a unique adventure. Maybe you're trying to save money to start your life together and realize your next beach trip could as your wedding as well. These tips will ensure that your elopement goes off without a hitch (or maybe, in this case, it should go off with tying the knot!)

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