With the average cost of a 2017 wedding landing right around $25,000, and packed yearly schedules only getting more overstuffed, it’s no wonder that the idea of eloping is becoming more and more inviting for many couples. Whether you are looking to save money, cut down on the guest list (or just the guest list drama), or to say “I do” in a jaw-dropping location, eloping isn’t just for quickie Las Vegas weddings anymore…although those are still fun, too!
Maddie Contreras, a recent bride, and her husband chose to elope in Orlando, FL. With his impending military move, she was on a tight timeline to receive approval to move overseas with him. They decided to elope then celebrate with a big wedding party at a later date, and she has some great tips and advice for brides prepping for an elopement! Check out some of her advice, and ours, if you are about to dive into elopement planning.
Say a big “NO” to guilt
The first and most important step to planning an elopement is rejecting guilt from the very start. It’s inevitable that some people will be hurt or feel excluded because they weren’t invited to the wedding, but as long as you’ve thoroughly thought your decision through, and are doing what is best for you and your husband-to-be, you can’t let it get to you. Planning an elopement truly makes your wedding all about you, so commit to making the decisions that make you happiest. Contreras says that the best part of eloping was the ability to let the day be just for them.
“There wasn’t a lot of pressure on the day,” she says. “We could be late if we wanted to be. He actually ironed the dress I wore that day. It was like a casual afternoon party.”
Hire a wedding planner
Especially if you are planning a destination elopement, hiring a wedding planner local to your venue will take all kinds of stress off of your plate. Particularly if there is a language barrier, your wedding planner will be able to navigate the scheduling and local customs that you may not be aware of. And if you are operating on short notice, your wedding planner will be able to hunt down vendors with openings, saving you from hours of frustrating rejection phone calls.
Choose a place that holds meaning
When you elope, you are able to get married just about anywhere! You don’t have to choose a place convenient to friends and family, so you can get married in a place that means a lot to you and your fiancé. Whether it’s the top of the first mountain you climbed, on the banks of your favorite river or inside the restaurant where you had your first date, adding another layer of meaning to a special place is a beautiful choice for an elopement.
Invite your guests ASAP
If you’re eloping, you’ve probably really narrowed down the guest list only to the most important people in your lives. Once you’ve made those choices, let your guests know as soon as possible where and when your wedding is going to be. If the wedding is just a few weeks away or requires a big trip, don’t leave the invitations to the last minute or your guests might not be able to make it not matter how much they wish they could.
Contreras wishes she had told their wedding guests sooner, because her dad was unable to make it to the wedding due to the short notice. Elopements are all about boiling things down to what’s most important, so it is vital to make sure the special people have the chance to make the trip.
Include aspects of “big weddings” that matter most to you…and lose the ones that don’t
Whether it’s the walk down the aisle, first dances or anything else in-between, if there is something you absolutely love about big weddings, find a way to incorporate it into your special day! Just because you are eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. On the other hand, if there are things about big weddings you’ve always disliked, this is the perfect opportunity to cross them off the to-do list. An elopement really is all about you, so make sure you make all of your preferences known.
Some brides dream of big, elaborate weddings, while, for one reason or another, just the thought of one gives other brides a massive headache. For those who have decided to elope, the experience can be filled with romance, adventure and just as much love as the biggest of weddings. By following these five tips, your experience can be everything you’ve ever dreamed and much, much more.