If you're considering eloping, there are a few things you should know. We've surveyed some of the top wedding experts to share their advice for the Do's and Don'ts of running away and getting hitched! There's more to eloping than meets the eye, whether you're considering doing so in secret or inviting a select few VIPs to join the celebration. Read on for insight from our team of experts who share some important things to keep in mind if you are considering an elopement.
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DO Inform All Necessary Loved Ones
Before you go running off into the night together, or blasting your happy news all over social media, make sure to let all your loved ones know about your marriage. It's so important to inform the people who know and love you most about your wedding before sharing with the general public. If you want to avoid hurt feelings, tell the people who are most dear to you before you announce your union to the world. "There is nothing worse than making someone feel like they are the last to know," says Ramirez. "Especially with something so important!"
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DON'T Assume That All Elopements Are Quick and Simple, or Inexpensive
Just because you're eloping doesn't mean it will automatically cost less, be any less stressful, or take any less work to pull off. There are still details to figure out and options to research.
According to Megan Velez of DestinationWeddings.com, high-end luxury elopements allow you to allocate more of your budget to what’s important – the two of you! "Fewer guests may mean an upgraded honeymoon suite, an intimate five-star dinner or even an extra-long honeymoon.”
Sure, a quick trip to the courthouse can be very inexpensive, but that's not the case with all elopements. Whether you're planning something intimate and local or jetting off to Las Vegas to get married by Elvis, there will be costs involved in eloping so it's important to calculate your budget, just the same as a traditional wedding!
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DO Take Time to Research and Find the Best Rates
As we mentioned before, it may surprise you how much work and research can be involved in planning what you thought would be a simple elopement. There are many things to consider: location, venue, guest list (if any), honeymoon, etc. Take the time to do your research to find the options that are best for you. Ask yourself why you are choosing to elope. Is it because you don't want the pressure of a big party? Is it because you don't want to spend a ton of money? Let your reasons influence your choices for your elopement.
Velez recommends asking questions and looking for the best rates and specials during your preferred travel period. "You may even enjoy additional perks because you've booked a wedding package for your Big Day- whether it’s a room upgrade, a bottle of champagne to greet you or a complimentary spa treatment. So don’t hesitate to reach out to your main point of contact to see what incentives you can take advantage of.”
Have a certain destination or venue in mind, but elopement packages aren't listed on their site? Paula Ramirez of Historic Mankin Mansion says not to give up! "If you're looking at a weekday celebration or something in the off season, some venues may be open to hosting it so reach out and give it a shot!" If you never ask, you'll never know!
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DO Invest in Professional Photography
If you're keeping things bare-bones and going to the courthouse or something similar, it's still important to have professional images to document the day, so Velez recommends hiring a professional wedding photographer. “Chances are you’ll want to share photos with your friends and family when you return home, so be sure that they are high quality. It’s certainly worth the added expense, especially when you’re saving in other aspects!”
The same goes for video if you so choose. Whatever you decide, it's a monumental day and should absolutely be documented in some form, so save up for the cost if needed. You will absolutely cherish having the footage or images to look back on in the years to come.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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DON'T Go for a Cookie-Cutter Option
Elopements don't have to be just a trip to the courthouse! Consider making your elopement just as personalized as a big, traditional wedding! Velez says, “Just because it’s only the two of you doesn’t mean you can add your special touch to the Big Day; if anything, there’s more of a reason to truly make it your own!”
Make sure your choices reflect your values. Don't plan an exotic destination wedding if that's really not your style. “Don’t just go to Mexico because your friend had a great time eloping in Mexico," Velez warns. "Think outside of the box and choose a unique destination that resonates with your and your partner’s relationship. Consider all-inclusive resorts that are for adults only for wedding packages offering the best perks. You’ll also benefit from being able to enjoy the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.”
Do you love celebrating your history together? Choose a location that is meaningful or personal to you or wear the same clothes you wore on your first date. Super family oriented? Have a close friend or family member officiate your wedding. If you're foodies, celebrate with dinner at your favorite restaurant. Wanderlusts? Jet off to a tropical locale and start your lives together on the beaches of a bucket list-worthy travel destination. Sappy sentimentalists? Write personal, meaningful vows to exchange with one another. These are just some simple ways to make your elopement more personal. Write personal, meaningful vows to exchange with one another. These are just some simple ways to make your elopement more personal.
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DO Include Family and Friends in the Post-Wedding Celebrations
It's important to involve your family and friends in some sort of celebration, even if they aren't invited to attend your elopement. These are the people who love you most, and they will likely want to partake in your joy and shower you with love! Velez recommends planning a get-together with loved ones when you arrive home. "Although they weren’t there to witness the ‘I do’s, they can still be included in the celebration of your marriage and they’ll certainly want to hear all about your exciting getaway!"
Whatever you decide, just make sure to stay true to yourselves and your values, and enjoy being together on the most important day of your lives!