How to Plan an Elopement: 6 Benefits of Eloping for the Modern Bride

With COVD-19 throwing a wrench in the plans of brides all over the world, we’ve had to rethink what our big day means to us. When I first realized our wedding plans weren’t going to turn out like we thought they were, I have to admit I was pretty devastated, but in the end I realized we could still do something really special. And now I’m SO excited for it! (I’m working on a post about our story and what our new plans are, so stay tuned for that!)

I know there are so many brides out there that are in the same position as I am. Some brides are opting to get married in a small ceremony this year, while moving their big celebration to next year; some are postponing everything until a later date; and some have decided to forgo their big celebration altogether and elope instead. While an elopement may not have been your first choice, there are plenty of benefits of having an intimate celebration. Take a look at how to plan an elopement and 6 amazing benefits of eloping!

6 Benefits of Eloping

1. Focus Just on the Two of You
One of the best things about an elopement is the intimacy of the ceremony. The focus is solely on the two of you and your love. While a bigger ceremony brings a lot of bells and whistles (extravagant florals, lavish decor, and a big guest list), an elopement places you and your partner front and centre.

You don’t have to worry what people will think about your wedding vibe, if your cousin’s boyfriend is having fun, or if everyone is enjoying the food. You get to focus on the love of your life, and they, on you. There’s something so, so special about the intimacy of an elopement.

2. Save Money
There’s no question that an elopement will save you money. The more people there are, the more expensive a wedding is- the more food, flowers, decor, table settings, etc. Even if you opt for an extravagant ceremony installation and gourmet catering for your elopement, it will still be much less expensive than decking out an entire venue and feeding 200 guests. Plus, with the money you save on a big wedding, you may decide to do a destination elopement somewhere like Maui or Tulum.

3. Your Ceremony Can be Anywhere
When it’s just the two of you, your ceremony can pretty much be anywhere, whether you want a backyard wedding, vineyard wedding, or wedding at your favourite bistro. When you have a big celebration, some ceremony venues have to come off the table because all your guests won’t fit. Take advantage of the lack of guests to choose a venue that’s perfect for the two of you.

how to plan an elopement

4. You Don’t Have to Worry About the Guest List
When you have a big wedding, your guest list can become a major source of stress. Oftentimes your list becomes much bigger than you thought it would be, as you, your partner and your parents all have their own list of people they want to (or “have to”) invite. When you elope, it’s just the two of you and your two witnesses. Easy peasy!

5. Reduced Stress
Weddings are stressful. From the guest list to the budget to choosing your wedding party, there are plenty of things that can cause stress during the wedding process. An elopement will always be less stressful. Sure, you’ll probably have to deal with some people who are upset that you’re not having a big wedding, and there is still SOME planning and budgeting involved, but overall it is way less stressful than a big celebration!

6. Less Planning
Many brides find the wedding planning process very overwhelming, and of course, an elopement takes a lot of the planning out of the equation. Although there’s still planning involved, it’s on a MUCH smaller scale. There’s not as much overwhelm because you don’t have to worry about what your guests will think: do they like the decor? Are they enjoying the food? And all those other things that run through your head. With an elopement, you’re planning the perfect wedding for the two of you and can do it exactly to your tastes and preferences!

Check out my tips for how to plan an elopement below!

How to Plan an Elopement

1. Pick Your Venue
As I mentioned above, you can pretty much get married anywhere if you plan to elope. While some couples choose to keep it simple, others take advantage of an elopement to say their vows in a spectacular location. Canyons, rainforests and mountaintops and historical castle grounds are just some examples.

Your relationship should guide your decision on where you’re going to elope. Do the two of you love to vineyard hop every summer? Consider a gorgeous winery. Did you fall in love on the ski hill? Maybe a winter wedding among the mountainside is totally your vibe. Or perhaps you’re both complete foodies and love checking out restaurants all over the city. I’m sure your favourite restaurant would love to host you!

Privacy and intimacy are important to consider for an elopement- you don’t want to feel like you’re being watched by strangers. Also think about scenery and accessibility. If you want to elope somewhere you need to hike, will it be hard to walk there in your dress and bring everything with you? Will it be difficult for your vendors to set up there? These are all things you need to consider.

how to plan an elopement

2. Choose Your Outfits
I feel like you can get more creative when you’re choosing your outfit for an elopement. It can be as simple or extravagant as you like and you can really show off your style and personality. Whether you decide on a dress, jumpsuit, or suit, choose an outfit that is perfectly YOU. You can also draw inspiration from your location and overall mood of your wedding to help you find the perfect wedding day attire!

3. Hire an Officiant
One thing you definitely will need is an officiant to properly marry the two of you! You should always meet your officiant before hiring them (either in-person or over Zoom) as you want to make sure you get along and like their vibe.

4. Book a Photographer
You’ll definitely want a professional photographer to capture your special day. Having beautiful photos of your elopement not only ensures you have memories to look back on, but also provides you with photos you can show your family and friends so it feels like they were a part of the day. Choose a photographer whose photos you adore, but also who makes you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed.

how to plan an elopement

5. Decide on Decor and Florals
You can get pretty amazing decor and florals if you opt for an elopement. While these two things can add up for a bigger celebration, you can get something spectacular and on budget for an intimate wedding. Choose your vendors wisely and don’t be afraid to invest. Vendors who know what they’re doing will bring your vision to life! A gorgeous ceremony installation and a beautifully styled table set for dinner against your amazing backdrop will really enhance your wedding day!

Planning an intimate elopement is truly so special and also so much fun! Have you decided on an elopement? I’d love to hear about your plans in the comment section!