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  • Writer's pictureKeely

The Art of Eloping: A Guide for Brides

Updated: Mar 29

Okay, picture this: You and your person have been together forever and you both think it’s time to make things official. It’s not important to you to have a big wedding; you really just want to be married and start your life together! You’ve always dreamed of having a mountaintop vow exchange with only a couple of your closest friends present. Sound like you?

Elopements are, and have always been, popular among couples who want to celebrate their love in a very intimate and personal way.

What is eloping?

Eloping is a way of getting married without the traditional wedding ceremony and reception. It’s a more intimate and private way of tying the knot and celebrating your love. If you’re thinking “Why would anyone not want a big wedding?!” then eloping probably isn’t for you! But if the thought of planning a big wedding with 150 guests doesn’t sound fun to you, maybe eloping (or having a micro ceremony) would make sense for you!

One perk of getting married this way is that you can choose to elope where and when you want! Whether it’s a sandy beach, your friend’s backyard, or a destination far away, eloping and having an intimate wedding ceremony adds a huge amount of flexibility into your day. Some people climb mountains or ride in helicopters to elope somewhere with an incredible view!

A bride and groom hugging on a mountaintop.

Advantages of eloping:

  • It can be less expensive: Eloping can be a more affordable alternative to a traditional wedding. Getting married this way eliminates the cost of having a large ceremony and reception. You likely won’t need to pay for a venue, or for food and drinks for many guests. The only expenses are your wedding dress/suit, a bouquet (if you want one), a photographer/videographer, your rings, and an officiant.

  • It’s simple: Planning a wedding can be stressful for some people, but eloping can be a simple and relaxed way to celebrate your love. There are only a few vendors and people involved, so there’s less to plan and coordinate. Eloping can be done more “last minute” compared to a traditional wedding which can take months or years to plan.  

  • It’s very intimate: If you want your wedding ceremony to be extremely private and intimate, eloping is a great option! Eloping allows you to focus solely on your relationship and create a meaningful and very personal wedding experience.

A bride and groom walking in the sunset holding hands.

Disadvantages of eloping:

  • There’s less family involvement: Eloping typically means that most or all of your family and friends are not present to witness your special day. This is probably the biggest reason that couples opt for the more traditional wedding! It’s important to many people that they get to celebrate with their closest family and best friends, so they choose to have a bigger wedding and invite more of their people.

  • There are less opportunity for gifts: With less (or no) people invited to your wedding, you’ll likely miss out on the gifts that your family and friends may have otherwise bought for you! If gifts aren’t important to you, then you may consider eloping, but if you’re hoping for lots of gifts to help you furnish your home and start your life together, this is certainly a bonus of having a traditional wedding!

  • There are less photo opportunities: Eloping is usually a much shorter affair than a traditional wedding day. Make sure you hire a photographer and schedule time before or after your ceremony for photos of the two of you! But since no or few guests are present, the opportunity for photos and candid moments is much less. There’s little to no decorations, and likely no bridal party or family present, so there is less going on and therefore less for us to capture overall.

A bride and groom holding hands at the alter.

How to elope?

If you’re thinking “yep, eloping really sounds like a fit for us”, here are the 7 steps to take to plan the elopement of your dreams!

  1. Determine a budget: While elopements tend to be easier on the wallet than a big wedding, they aren’t without their costs. Sit down with your love and start talking numbers. Be realistic about your expectations and your funds, and don’t forget to factor in a little wiggle room for unexpected costs! Your budget will guide the rest of the process and help you navigate any difficult decisions with its firm bottom line.

  2. Consider a destination vs. local elopement: Historically, elopements consisted of the to-be-weds running off to the courthouse for a secret civil ceremony. Courthouse elopements are still very much in fashion, with many eager partners choosing the straightforward option of obtaining a marriage license and getting married locally. Alternatively, you can choose a destination elopement, which can be more expensive but also very fun and memorable! Maybe there’s a location that is meaningful to you and your partner, such as a place that you’ve always wanted to visit or one of your favourite holiday destinations!

  3. Choose the location: If a courthouse elopement isn’t your style, choose a location that is meaningful to you and your partner. This could be a park, a beach, a mountain, or any other spot that you both love. Make sure to check about the local laws and regulations regarding elopements in your chosen location!

  4. Check the law: Make sure that you have all the necessary documents and permits to get married in your chosen location. This includes a marriage license, which you can obtain from your local government office. You may also need to provide identification, such as a passport or driver’s license.

  5. Book travel and vendors: If you’re planning a destination elopement, you’ll need to book travel and accommodations for you and your partner. You’ll likely also want to hire a photographer/videographer, florist, or other vendors to help make your elopement special. If you plan to wear a wedding dress/suit for your elopement, this is when you would also want to shop around to find something that you love!

  6. Plan the ceremony: As with a traditional wedding, you’ll want to plan a ceremony that's meaningful to you and your love. Your officiant will likely help you with this and give you suggestions! Make sure to choose readings, poems, music, and other elements that are important to you both.

  7. Optional: Throw a post-elopement party! After your elopement, you may want to celebrate with family and friends. Consider throwing a post-elopement party or gathering to share your joy with loved ones who couldn’t be there on your special day!


If eloping sounds like a fit for you, we’d love to chat with you about our Elopement Photo + Video package! It’s a smaller package designed just for you private, adventurous couples who want to elope or have an intimate micro-wedding. Having photos and videos of your wedding day is always important, but ESPECIALLY if you're having a small ceremony with only a few people. You'll want to be able to share and relive the moments with others who weren't there! Whether you’re eloping on a mountaintop, tying the knot in a courthouse, or having an intimate lakeside wedding, we have the perfect package for you.

We’d love to be a part of your day. Reach out to us here for more details! We can’t wait to hear from you. Happy eloping! <3


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