Real Elopement and Destination Wedding Inspo for the Adventurous Bride

Wedding Dress: Deirdre by Maggie Sottero | Photo by Jana and Simon | Real Elopement Wedding Location: Kranjska Gora

Whether you’re planning a romantic and intimate elopement in the Muir Woods or a beachside destination wedding in Tulum with a group of your closest family and friends, you’ll want a wedding dress that feels as special as your surroundings. The latest collection from one of our favorite wedding dress designers, Maggie Sottero Designs, is the perfect combination of simple yet chic wedding dresses.

From rustic woodland destinations to beachside elopements, we are loving the way real brides styled their Maggie Sottero and Sottero and Midgley wedding dresses for their small weddings, below. With lightweight, easy, and stylish elopement and destination wedding dresses for every setting and budget, each look is picture-perfect in their surroundings.

Wedding Dress: Tuscany Lynette by Maggie Sottero | Photo by Kassidy Marie | Real Destination Wedding Location: Tahoe

Tips for Planning Your Small Wedding

In addition to finding the right wedding dress, you’ll want to make sure you’re on track with your location, guest list (whether it’s just the two of you or more), selected vendors and decor. Ready to start planning? Use this guide to help you create the small wedding of your dreams!

#1 Know Your Budget:
Sit down with your partner (and family if they are contributing) to figure out how much you can realistically spend on the big day. One of the biggest advantages of an elopement or intimate destination wedding is that you can work with a much more modest budget while still planning an event you’ll remember forever.

Wedding Dress: Wyatt by Sottero and Midgley | Real Elopement Wedding Location: Positano

#2 Find Your Venue:
Do you envision saying “I Do” with your toes in the sand of the Pacific? Or maybe you’re dreaming of a romantic restaurant in a hilltop town of Tuscany? Once you know where you want your small wedding or elopement to be, everything else will fall into place.

Wedding Dress: Tuscany Lynette by Maggie Sottero  | Photo by Mr. & Mrs. Wedding Photo & Video | Real Destination Wedding Location: Napa

#3 Shop for Your Dream Wedding Dress:
Now for the fun part! With your venue booked you’ll be able to start envisioning the wedding dress style that’s perfect for you. Take this Find Your Style quiz for more personalized recommendations from Maggie Sottero, Sottero and Midgley, and Rebecca Ingram lines, including rustic wedding dresses, beach wedding dresses, and other lightweight styles for elopements and destination celebrations.

Wedding Dress: Tuscany Lynette by Maggie Sottero  | Photo by Kassidy Marie | Real Destination Wedding Location: Tahoe

#4 Craft Your Guest List:
While an elopement is typically between 2 (you and your spouse) to 10 people, a small wedding could be up to 50 guests. It’s up to you to decide how intimate you want your wedding day to be. If you are inviting guests to your wedding, think about those guests that are closest to you and your partner and who you couldn’t imagine spending the day without.

Wedding Dress: Nola by Maggie Sottero | Photo by Bradyhouse Photographers | Real Elopement Wedding Location: Kauai

#5 Determine Your Wedding Vendors:
Even though a smaller wedding or elopement might mean that you skip the DJ or passed appetizers, you’ll still want to figure out what your biggest priorities are and choose your wedding vendors based on that list. Photography is key for any wedding, but perhaps walking down the aisle to a string quartet in the woods is a dream you’ve always had. Whether you’re focused on decor, florals, music, or food, figure out the wedding day elements that are most important to you.

Wedding Dress: Deirdre by Maggie Sottero | Photo by Jana and Simon Photography | Real Destination Wedding Location: Kranjska Gora

#6 Get Your Marriage License:
Many couples planning a destination wedding or elopement choose to get their marriage license and have their legal ceremony closer to home before traveling, and then have a “symbolic” ceremony when they arrive at their wedding location instead. Alternatively, you can get legally married at your destination, however, keep in mind that marriage requirements can vary across each state as well as country (and even states within those countries) so be sure to research the laws ahead of time. Great resources stateside include websites such as US Marriage Laws as well as our article on How to Get Your Marriage License. For weddings abroad, be sure to contact the embassy or tourist bureau of the country where you plan to marry to learn about specific requirements.

Wedding Dress: Nola by Maggie Sottero | Photo by Bradyhouse Photographers | Real Elopement Wedding Location: Kauai

#7 Share the Big News:
If you choose to elope and are comfortable with letting those closest to you know beforehand, that’s always a great option. If you’d rather wait until after your wedding, the sooner you can share the news, the better. In person is always best, but for those friends and relatives that live out of town an excited phone call is a great way to share the news. For those other friends that live near you, you might consider a celebratory brunch or cocktail party at home to announce your new marriage, which will give guests an opportunity to congratulate you in person. And who says you can’t wear your wedding dress again?! The more times you get to show it off, the better!

Find your dream Maggie Sottero wedding dress at a store near you!

Wedding Dress: Wyatt by Sottero and Midgley | Location: Positano

This post is sponsored by Maggie Sottero Designs, but all opinions expressed are those of the author.

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