What is an Elopement?
elopements are marriages conducted without the knowledge of the couple's family and friends, particularly their parents. Typically, those who elope only have a ceremony and do not host a reception or celebration.
elopements are less about being secretive and more about being intimate. Now, usually means that you are saying your "I do's" with just yourselves and/or a small group of your loved ones.
How Long Are Elopement Celebrations?
Elopements are a special occasion - they can last as long as you wish. Some couples opt to celebrate for a handful of hours, others make it a full-day thing, and some couples even celebrate with multi-day adventures!
The possibilities for your day(s) are truly endless!
I know that people tend to think of an elopement as a quick ceremony at the courthouse, a few photos being captured by Uncle Bob or Aunt Nancy, maybe a little get-together afterward for some cake picked up from Walmart or Sam's Club... and that's about it.
And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating your love in that way, you shouldn't feel as though that is your only option if you wish to elope.
An elopement can be just as throughout and beautiful as a traditional wedding experience.
And this is your WEDDING DAY we're talking about - You shouldn't just let it pass you by like it's simply another day!
YOUR LOVE STORY DESERVES SO MUCH MORE THAN THAt!!
And truthfully, there is no one-size-fits-all for elopements, because when it comes down to it - no one knows how to celebrate your love better than you do!
I always suggest that my couples sit down and think about what's important to them.
What are some of the things you already love doing together? What's something you’ve always wanted to do together? What would your dream weekend getaway look like? Is there a place or activity that we could mark off your bucket list?
Just imagining what your elopement could entail – doesn't that get you excited to start actually planning it out?!
Ideas to Elevate Your Elopement Experience
I've put together this handy-dandy list of different things you can do to make the most out of your elopement day(s) - after all, you only get one chance at it!
One of the best parts about eloping (at least in my opinion) is the fact that you don't have to worry about sticking with the old tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony!
The morning of your wedding can be a great time to relax and soak in the fact that in just a few short hours, you'll be a married duo.
Ideas for a romantic morning:
- Wake up and watch the sunrise
- Rent out an AirBnB
- This could be a space you have all to yourselves or you could rent a larger space for loved ones to stay in as well (hello after party!!)
- Take a romantic bath or shower together
- Get ready together
- Or you can get ready separately and do a First Look
- Make your favorite breakfast together
- This gives the perfect opportunity for a little countertop make-out session. 😉
- Go on a walk and talk about your future
- Pick up your favorite coffee and donuts
- Enjoy the presence of each other while you write your vows
Whether you're making a grand exit, taking your leave, or just looking for a fun experience before or after the ceremony, there are plenty of ways for you to ride in style on your big day... some a bit crazier than others. 😜
Ideas for you to ride in style:
- Hire a horse-drawn carriage
- Rent or borrow:
- a car you’ve always wanted to drive
- a vintage vehicle
- a stretch limousine
- a camper van or RV
- motorcycle (for props... unless you have a license)
- a party bus
- a dogsled
- Take a :
- scenic train ride
- jeep tour
- helicopter ride
- personal flying lesson
- hot air balloon ride
- zip-line canopy tour
- boat/yacht/kayak/canoe/paddleboard ride
Food & Beverages
FOOD - an important, yet often overlooked part of your wedding day - I mean, we've all gotta eat, right?
A huge issue that couples celebrating with a traditional wedding are usually faced with is being so busy greeting guests that they don’t even get the chance to sit down and enjoy their dinner or their delicious cake. SO - take advantage of the freedom that elopements bring and enjoy some delicious food!!
Ideas for a delicious day:
- Hire a private chef to prepare an intimate dinner
- Plan a romantic picnic
- Pop some champagne
- Celebrate with shots after your first kiss
- Eat at your favorite place (even if that’s a burger and fries from Wendy's!)
- S’mores by a campfire or fireplace
- Visit a local winery / brewery
- Two words: charcuterie board
- Plan a pizza picnic date
- Cook your favorite (or a new) dinner together
- Late night snack food, all-day
- Mimosas for brunch
- Cook together and prepare a candlelight dinner
- Get drinks at your favorite bar
- Create your own wine or beer brew at a local place
- Sign up for a cooking class
The ceremony is probably the most important part of your day - and you should put your own creative spin on it to make it your own.
You may choose to incorporate traditional elements, create your own ideas, or use a mix of both. However you choose to celebrate, you should commit yourselves to each other in a way that’s special to you as a couple.
Ideas that can make your ceremony extra special:
- Say "I do" in a place that's special to you
- Say "I do" somewhere with a gorgeous view
- Incorporate your child(ren)
- Incorporate your pet(s)
- Exchange personalized, handwritten vows
- Read love letters
- These could be written specifically for your wedding day or could be previous letters you've written to each other
- Cultural or religious rituals/traditions
- Perform a unity ceremony
- wine/beer mixing
- wish lantern
- sand/glass/paint pouring
- tree planting
- wine box
- Include music that’s meaningful to you
- Hire a live musician or band
- Hire a live painter to paint the moment of your first kiss or first dance
- Share your first dance together
These ideas take some pre-planning by friends and family, but can make for some amazing memories:
- Read letters from loved ones
- Watch video toasts from loved ones
- Surprise each other with a meaningful gift
- Create an Anniversary Timecapsle
- The couple and their loved ones collect tokens of the newlyweds' love, such as photos, trinkets, tickets, letters, and other keepsakes
- Seal them up during your ceremony and open the container up on your 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-year anniversary
There are endless possibilities when you're deciding what to do to celebrate your epic love and new marriage.
Do you want to spend your day relaxing? Adventuring? Thrill-seeking?
Whatever you want to do to celebrate your love, you should DO IT! Even if it seems boring, wild, or dangerous.
Ideas to make your elopement day extra fun:
- Relax together in a hammock
- Stay in and play your favorite card and board games
- Explore a state park
- Go horseback riding
- Visit the local zoo or aquarium
- Visit a museum
- Attend a concert
- Attend a sports event
- Take dancing lessons together
- Rent a bouncy house
- Plan a romantic picnic
- Watch the sunset from the highest point you can find
- Go stargazing
- Take a hot air balloon ride
- Go on a scavenger hunt prepared by your loved ones
- Go camping/backpacking
- Ride roller coasters at an amusement park
- Take a scenic hike
- Take a scenic train ride
- Stay in and watch your favorite movies
- Bonus points if you rewatch movies you've seen on date nights over the years!
- Go off-roading in a jeep or ATV
- Have a nerf-gun battle
- Take a zip-line canopy tour
- Go on an ice cream date
- Hit up the local skating or bowling rink
- Play an escape room (though this is more fun with friends)
- Go axe-throwing
- Visit a smashroom
- Go boating / sailing / kayaking
- Take a dip in a swimming hole
- Go searching for waterfalls
- Visit some hot springs
- Cuddle up by a campfire or fireplace for smores and hot chocolate
- Attend a wine tasting (or host your own at home)
- Go rock climbing
- Take a bike ride
- Get a couples massage
- Go antique shopping
- Have dinner at your favorite restaurant
- Attend a paint & sip
- Attend a pottery or arts & crafts class