Believe it or not, not everyone has been dreaming of their wedding since they were a little girl. Some people (maybe you!) just aren’t big “wedding” people. Whether you want to save money for a down payment on a house or simply want something–well, simple–choosing to elope is the right choice for a lot of couples.
And, guess what? Eloping is no longer a taboo or tacky subject. Elopements have turned into romantic, intimate affairs for couples who, for one reason or another, don’t choose to have a traditional wedding.
Choosing to elope, however, doesn’t have to mean saying ‘I Do!’ in front of Elvis in Vegas (although it certainly could—see number 5!) There are tons of fun ways to elope that can still keep your wedding day special. Just be sure to follow our etiquette guide to eloping,first!) Here’s a few of our favorite ways to elope:
If you want to travel…
1. France? Mais oui! Eloping in Paris sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? Rent an apartment in Paris or check into a glamorous hotel before pledging your love to one another in the City of Lights. Just remember to find out how to make your marriage legal in a foreign country before you go. Get more info on getting married abroad here.
2. Take a ride on the”Loooooooove Boat” Cruise ships are often home to elopements, since Captains can technically perform marriage ceremonies. We love that idea!
3. The ocean…those volcanoes…that sunset! Who wouldn’t want to elope in Hawaii? Plus, you can just spend your honeymoon touring the Hawaiian islands after. It’s a win-win!
4. National Parks can be great places to elope if you’re an outdoorsy couple. S’mores over a campfire instead of wedding cake? A romantic hike instead of a first dance? Sounds dreamy!
5. Running away to Vegas isn’t as campy and cliché as it used to be! There are tons of adorable wedding venues in Las Vegas and vendors that specialize in elopements. Just make sure you read up on getting your marriage license and pick a location that will take a spur-of-the-moment wedding.
6. Wine country serves as a beautiful elopement location as well. Take off to northern California and get married in one of the many vineyards available. Don’t forget to toast to your new chapter!
7. Create a magical elopement in NYC. Have the ceremony in Central Park, followed by a romantic boat or horse and carriage ride. Everything about New York City is exciting, so getting married there would be a real adventure.
If home is where the heart is…
8. Want to skip the fuss of selecting a lavish location? City hall weddings are still totally a thing. Whether you travel to a destination City Hall (San Fran is our fave) or stay close to home, just be sure to check local laws about marriage license waiting requirements before you go.
9. Where did you and your spouse meet? Or have your first date? Consider a location that’s perfectly unique to you as a couple and tie the knot there.
10. Backyard weddings are definitely having a moment, but what about a background elopement? Similar to a staycation, run away home instead. Have your officiant come over, put on some music, and bring in your favorite takeout. It doesn’t get more convenient or sentimental than that!
Some additional tips if you choose to elope:
-Bring along a couple of very close friends or siblings to be your officiant and witnesses, since they are still necessary in the U.S. Bottom line? Just make sure you dot all your I’s and cross your T’s before you start the process. (Check out all the marriage license requirements by state here).
-You can still splurge on a fancy wedding photographer if you want formal pictures. Look for one that’s done elopements previously and knows the drill. They may even have great advice for locations.
-Consider combining your elopement with your honeymoon. After you run away and get married, stick around for a bit to celebrate and soak in your newlywed bliss. That will help the chapter feel new even without a huge wedding reception.
-You can always throw a fun, festive after-party in your hometown a month or two after you tie the knot if you’re worried friends and family will be hurt.
-Elopements can look as individualized as the couple having one. A wedding doesn’t have to mean a super fancy church or temple, tuxedo, or even a guest list. It can just be you and your spouse (and an officiant!) vowing to love one another. That’s what a wedding is all about. 🙂