“I’m about to elope to a beautiful destination; how can I prepare myself?”
An elopement in many ways is different from a regular wedding being that there are many things that you will need to prepare yourself for. I eloped in Baton Rouge earlier this year but what was helpful in my elopement was that I was a six hour drive from where I lived. I have been a photographer for some out of country elopements and have compiled a list for my future brides to help them plan for their adventurous elopements.
1.Get Your Passport ASAP!– Since elopements usually occur within a short amount of time you should take a visit to the passport agency quickly. Gather all the required documents(copies of driver’s license, DS 11, travel itinerary, birth certificate, etc.) including two pictures with a white background, you can get this at a place like Walgreens and CVS for about $7. For detailed specifics about the exact documents needed visit here. If your elopement is spur of the moment, you should look into a rush service like Rush My Passport.
2. Inquire with your Vendors– This might require a trip to the elopement location. Since typical elopements do not require the same amount of vendors involved in the wedding, this will require less effort than a typical wedding. Remember to take note of all deadlines with vendors.
Here is a list of local vendors you will need to contact for you elopement:
Below is a list of vendors that can be international artists at your elopement:
3. Book your Accommodations-Do some research on some hotels and prices around the venue. The hotel should be a short distance from the ceremony location and fit your budget. If you are having family and friends attend your elopement you should check to see if the hotel offers bulk discounts. One of my brides received a 25% discount after speaking to a manager about her family booking at a Hilton hotel because she had over 10 guests flying into the elopement location. Ten rooms were reserved for her and she received a discount code that she distributed to her family that they used while booking online.
4. Remember All the Legal Details– Different countries have different legal requirements for getting married in their country, some of these requirements include residency. You will still need a officiant and a witness and a marriage license, so run to your local courthouse first to determine what you will need. Visit this website to see the different state laws regarding marriage.
5. Don’t Minimize your Elopement– Your day is just as special as someone who has a wedding with 300 guests, indulging in the little things that surround a wedding is still important. You should still consider a wedding shower, bachelor party or bachelorette party, register for wedding gifts and take engagement pictures and everything else that will help you and your future spouse to make your wedding and engagement feel memorable.
6. Document, Document, Document– IF A TREE FALLS AND NO ONE IS THERE, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?Everyone will want to see the elopement, even if they are not in attendance. So it’s important to document all the details by pictures and video so hiring a good photographer in necessary. Friend and family(and even future children) will enjoy seeing your special day. It isn’t uncommon for brides to find a photography crew that suits her style and then fly them in for the ceremony to be the eyes and ears for the individuals that aren’t there.
7. Consider a After Party– For many couples that get married abroad or in a civil ceremony there will still be a reception held in honor of their union. This will be a great opportunity for the couple to receive wedding gifts and family and friends will still feel incorporated in the wedding. You can consider having your all the vendor’s services that would be at a normal wedding at this reception, like a DJ, photographer, videographer, photo booth, and florals for centerpieces. Many couples opt for speeches from a would-have-been best man and maid of honor.
8. Revel in the Romance– Remember, an elopement is one of the most romantic ways to get married. Laugh when things go wrong and feel relieved when things go right. Really think about the reasons why you want an elopement; is it for the intimacy, to avoid family drama, or are funds limited for a traditional wedding. Any reason is fine and its important that you don’t feel guilted by friends and family for not going the traditional route. A part of the reason why many brides decide to elope is because there are less opinions involved and that leaves less drama and a ceremony that is about the love that you and your partner have.
A brief list of useful items to take on your elopement:
- Travel Adapter
- Jet Lag Preventative
- Airborne– to give your immune system a boost while coming into contact with different bacteria in airports and taxis
- Evian Facial Spray– Brides and grooms need to look hydrated on their wedding day, long flights in high altitudes can dry out your skin.
- Carry On Garment Bag– Airlines are typically not careful with luggage so there is a risk of the bride’s wedding dress and the groom’s tuxedo/suit being damaged. To reduce the risk, I advise using a carry-on garment bag.
- Travel Steamer/Iron
- Heel Protectors– These little plastic attachments keep from heels sticking into the grounds while walking, perfect if you are eloping outdoors.
In the end, your wedding isn’t about family and friends and what they want, it is about the union and love between you any your partner so do what you want to do. If that means having a large wedding or a courthouse elopement as long as it make you happy, that is all that matters.