In a world where couples are breaking wedding traditions and won’t settle for anything less than unique, it’s no surprise elopements are on the rise. That said, elopements today may look much different from that of your grandmother’s. We’ve seen simple and sweet elopements, quick and quirky elopements, large and lavish elopements and everything in between. Whichever direction you go, there may be more to planning an elopement than you think. Keep reading so there are no surprises.

  1. Location 

If you choose to elope, the sky is the limit. So hop on a plane, go on a road trip or head down to the courthouse with your soon to be betrothed and have the elopement of your dreams! Below are a few photos that prove no matter where you choose to tie the knot, it can be absolutely magical.

Vegas Baby!

City Hall Cuties

Paris, Please

2. Legalities

Eloping, while a supposed less stressful option, can also get technical. Each state and country has its own laws regarding marriage licenses, so don’t forget to do your research. If you are eloping in a different country you will want to call the country’s U.S. tourist bureau for information. If you’re staying in the states, check out this complete list of marriage laws by state.

Image by Kate Murphy Photography
Image by Kate Murphy Photography

3. Say Cheese!

Like any great occasion in life, pictures are a must! Your friends and family will want to see the special moments you and your sweetheart shared but more importantly, you will have photos to look back on. You could even take it a step further and hire a videographer like Courtney and Blaine (below) did. Just prepare yourself for some happy tears every time you watch.

Image by Amber L Photography
Image by Amber L Photography

4. Attire

When you elope, you don’t have to play by anyone’s rules! Have fun with your attire and wear what you like, whether it’s a casual get-up, a formal dress, or something in between. Below are a few of our favorite elopement ensembles.

5. Make it Official

If you’re not going to the courthouse, you’ll need someone to officiate (unless you’re eloping in Colorado or Pennsylvania, where you can self-solemnize your wedding). If you hire an officiant out of town, be sure to do research and make sure your religious views align. If you’re interested in having a friend or family member marry you, it’s fairly easy to become a temporary officiant. Laws regarding this vary from state to state so again, do your research!

Image by Our Love is Loud
Image by Our Love is Loud

6. The Guest List

Yes, you’re avoiding the stressful situation that is seating charts, but you still have a couple of decisions to make. Most states require two witnesses to sign a marriage license but again, it varies from state to state. You could invite two close friends to join you, a couple of family members, or even have your photographer and videographer sign. On the other hand, if you’d like to invite your family to witness your elopement, there certainly aren’t any rules saying you can’t, even if you all just head to city hall!


7. Celebrate Good Times

Once you’re husband and wife, take time to celebrate! Whether it’s lunch with your new hubby, exploring a new city after your international elopement, or a proper party with your friends and family, is up to you.

8. The Big Announcement

Many a family member has and will get upset over missing a loved ones nuptials but there are ways to soothe those who are upset. Traditionally, couples who elope do so without telling anyone until after the deed is done. These days many couples choose to clue in their family members, allowing them to feel like they are a part of the day. Whatever you choose, do tell your close family and friends first. Many couples are opting to send other friends and family elopement announcements in the mail (we told you that photographer would come in handy).

Invitation by Shutterfly
Invitation by Shutterfly

Are you considering eloping? We hope this list was a helpful in getting you started planning your perfect elopement. Let us know your dream elopement location in the comments below!