As the world slowly returns to some semblance of normalcy after the fallout from COVID-19 and the mass quarantining that took place all around the country, it is becoming clear that there may be a “new normal” taking effect in some areas of society.
One in particular is in how we conduct wedding ceremonies. Up until now, we took it for granted that most common and traditional wedding ceremonies crammed dozens, if not hundreds, of people into small areas such as local churches, hotel dining halls, and other such venues, and expected them to hug, share food, and in general enjoy themselves without a care for such things as social distancing.
Now however things are a bit different. We’re seeing the first signs everywhere, from new ways in which schools will be conducting business to how airports and local retail outlets operate. Social distancing, at least for the foreseeable future, might be here to stay in one form or another. Some businesses and social mores may change forever, with everyone’s new heightened awareness in terms of smart and safe hygiene practices.
But then, what does this mean for the wedding industry? Of course, with the advent of the Coronavirus, weddings and elopements in general came to a screeching halt. 2020 will be known worldwide as the year most couples simply forgot, with a supreme lack of wedding and even dating options available. Many of these restrictions for wedding venues and planning are expected to lift later this year or early next year, but it begs the question, will things really return to normal?
Are couples and their families really going to feel safe being in cramped little churches with a hundred other people, including many of whom would be considered “high-risk” due to their age? Is this really something we’re going to be seeing as early as this winter?
While for some, it’s to be expected that things will chug along as normal. After all, there are already beaches opening around the country, with oversized crowds that make it seem like these past few months never even happened. For others however, going back to the old way of doing things may just be one step too far.
The End of Larger Weddings Being the Norm
This was already the trend anyway: the past couple of years have seen an upswell in the amount of couples getting happily eloped, as well as holding more intimate wedding ceremonies that include up to a couple dozen people, if that. These small weddings are beneficial in a variety of ways, which is ideal if you are a stressed out couple who wants to get the messy stuff over with and would prefer just to get on with the honeymoon, thank you very much!
In terms of smaller weddings, they are much easier to plan, far more friendly and intimate, require less people-managing, cost less, and are more adaptable. You can hold smaller weddings at a larger variety of venues, and in general they are much easier to make come together.
Smaller weddings also are much less pressure for the bride and groom. Stress is a massive problem for couples leading up to their big day. Between the planning and the financial side of things, many traditional weddings can seriously put a damper on things.
Elopements and intimate weddings were definitely the trend even before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, but now we’re seeing more evidence that traditionally larger weddings may be a thing of the past in a certain sense. While they will always be the preferred way to get married for many couples, others see the practical side of smaller weddings and with the added threat of Coronavirus floating around, they may just be the smarter choice overall.
In an uncertain world that also requires a bit of social distancing to ensure proper health standards, it makes sense that smaller weddings would be the answer. Couples are going to want to make sure everyone gets a proper amount of space, that no one feels cramped and that there is plenty of room to mingle without being crammed into corners or feeling hemmed in. Room for proper social distancing in lines, and in seating arrangements, will come into play as well.
These are very real circumstances that will have an effect on the way weddings play out for years to come. With that in mind, it’s important to take a look at the benefits of small weddings and realize that they may be just what you’re looking for on both the practical and romantic fronts.
The Benefits of Smaller Weddings
Less costly and potentially far more intimate, small weddings may be the way to go in 2020 and beyond. Couples are already seeing the benefit of holding smaller ceremonies because doing so provides an array of key benefits.
One of the largest hurdles in holding a wedding is in the planning. Oftentimes, a wedding ceremony is a massive planning endeavor, requiring multiple people and a ton of scheduling, collaborating, and luck just to go off without a problem. Even when everything is going right, they can still be stressful.
Reducing stress leading up the ceremony is one of the best parts about small weddings. This adds to the air of romance and also improves the quality of the ceremony itself. With less stuff to worry about, you can focus on making the ceremony amazing.
This stress issue is also related to the cost as well. Smaller weddings are significantly cheaper, due in part to things like catering costs and decorations, which can add up if you book larger venues and have to appease 100 hungry mouths. Deciding instead to wine and dine 20 of your closest friends and family is much cheaper, and can allow you to spice up the menu with more options as well.
Speaking of which, smaller weddings permit a larger variety of venues and events. You can bring a lot more magic into your ceremony when you don’t have dozens of people to manage and think about. When the venue is smaller and everything happens faster, you are open to holding your ceremony in a larger variety of places and perhaps add other parts to it. You certainly have more leeway to make your ceremony your own and do what you want with it when you have less restrictions and don’t have to worry about so many different factors.
The last major benefit of smaller weddings would be in the intimacy itself. Many couples don’t like how formal and on-display a traditional wedding can feel. Couples don’t even get to spend all that much time together in these ceremonies, whereas with smaller weddings, they typically include much more casual events, including before the ceremony photo shoots and an increased emphasis on romance and intimacy rather than tired formalities.
Though COVID may have greatly impacted ourdaily lives, it’s not going to stop couples from getting married and having the wedding of their dreams!
In light of the recent circumstances surrounding COVID-19, traveling has certainly become somewhat less desirable. As couples come to grips with this new elopement landscape, they are looking for options and alternative places where they might be able to have an amazing and memorable experience.
The truth is, a local elopement can be just as magical as one that is held halfway across the country. The beauty of an elopement is you can infuse it with your own personality and energy.
There is no reason why you can’t craft an elopement that’s just as interesting and exciting as one in a faraway city without having to travel far, and if you choose, you can always save up the bulk of the money you had set aside for a “honeymoon” style destination for after the Coronavirus restrictions lift.
Local Activities and Sights
It’s a fairly common idea that the area where we grew up or currently live is the most boring place in the world and the only way you could possibly experience anything fun and exciting is to leave your town and travel someplace “exotic.”
The truth is, there is beauty, fun, and magic everywhere. You simply have to take the time to discover it. This might require looking at a place you think you know very well in a new light.
Maybe that large park near you wouldn’t be so boring if you decorated a bit and set it up for an elopement celebration. Perhaps that small forest ten minutes away would actually make for a fun elopement adventure. There are museums, theaters, caves, woods, lakes, beaches, hiking trails, expeditions, and helicopter rides just about everywhere in the country if you know where to look.
Take some time and really delve into your area and research the various tours, nature preserves, parks, and other features that are present. Most of us live within only an hour’s drive of some incredible sights and amazing adventures. Just because you don’t need a flight to get there doesn’t mean it’s not exotic or can’t provide a stage magical enough for your elopement. Quite the contrary, it could become a place that you visit time and time again just because it’s so close to home!
Local Accommodations for Elopements
Part of the excitement of staying in a faraway location when you get eloped is certainly the hotel. Who doesn’t love a ritzy 5-star hotel experience?
While you may not get an ocean view or exotic cuisine, most cities in America have at least a few incredible hotels. If you don’t want to save money by staying at home for your local elopement, you can simply book a stay at one of these amazing establishments or perhaps even arrange to have your elopement there.
Keep in mind however that at the moment, many hotels and other similar venues are not open for business due to COVID-19. So while this may be a perfectly viable option in a few months, right now it’s questionable.
If this is the case, you may want to plan your stay through Airbnb. Owners develop special rooms and units specifically for couples looking for places to stay on their small weddings or elopements, and you are likely to find such services in your area, even during this time.
Local Amenities for You Elopement
Just because it’s small and local doesn’t mean you aren’t going to need elopement staples like a dress, floral bouquet, and a cake, to name just a few of the essential items. The key to holding any sort of elopement at this time is to strike a balance: don’t expect that you will be able to throw this grand event, because not all of the pieces will be there to work with.
However, if you do your research, you’ll find that quite a few local places of business are still open and are providing services such as curbside pickup and delivery. You can certainly arrange to have your elopement needs met right around your own town if you take the time to reach out to these establishments and get them on board with what your plans are. Most businesses are aching for customers right now and would be happy to accommodate you as best as possible.
Final Points About Eloping You Should Consider
Remember, everyone is dealing with the same restrictions you are. If you develop a long-term strategy and reach out to the right businesses in your area, you will certainly be able to have an elopement ceremony right in your own town.
You should consider however that many of the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted over the next couple months, so as we inch into the summer, there will be a much greater chance that local businesses in your area will be able to accommodate your needs better. While formal elopement and wedding planning has been put on a small hiatus until the world returns to normal, that doesn’t mean people have stopped getting married.
Use your common sense judgment on whether it’s the right time, and remember to take your time with the planning. There is absolutely no rush, and if you do feel pressured or rushed, you should step back and discuss with your partner or family or whoever is applying the pressure and speak with them directly about the matter. Your safety and health and more important than anything, and the better you plan out your elopement in this time, the less you have to worry about when the magical day arrives!
When it comes to wedding ceremonies, there is certainly no one right way to have one. They come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. In recent years, however, more intimate kinds of ceremonies have been rapidly gaining in popularity, one of which is the micro wedding.
What exactly is a micro wedding? Technically, it’s defined as a typical wedding ceremony involving less than a few dozen guests. They are known for being more intimate, more affordable, and more casual than your average wedding.
This is important, because while many couples would prefer to have a more intimate and affordable experience, they may not specifically prefer to elope, which is the most popular way of going about it.
Rather, couples can choose to “elope in place,” or have a much smaller, casual format wedding without traveling to an exotic destination or incorporating honeymoon elements into the ceremony itself.
The Benefits of Having a Micro Wedding
There are numerous benefits to having a micro wedding. Perhaps the most important one is that it is far easier and more affordable to “personalize” a small wedding than a larger one. You have far more leeway with venues, menus, and other factors besides. You have more freedom to do what you want because you don’t have to accommodate 100 people and coordinate everything around them.
In fact, a micro wedding is great for couples who don’t really want to go over the top with their wedding proceedings and would much prefer a smaller, humbler kind of event that focuses more on the romance and being able to connect with your guests rather than trying to wow them with how much money is being spent. A micro wedding has the power to make everyone feel closer and more connected to the ceremony itself.
Of course, another huge benefit is simply the money you will save. So much of the cost of weddings is eaten up by having to cater to so many guests. This means seating for them, table decorations, a longer ceremony in general, and a ton more food. The costs for these kinds of things can add up pretty quickly.
Smaller weddings do away with much of these problems by limiting the guest count considerably. This opens up an array of possibilities, such as a smaller, more affordable venue, as well as a much easier time in customizing the menu. Because of the overall casual nature of a micro wedding in general, it’s also much more likely that you’re not going to be ordering crazy expensive food or decorations in the first place.
A micro wedding is about the union itself, the intimacy, the romance.
Which brings me to the next point, these kinds of ceremonies tend to stress free. They are easier to plan for, there’s far less chance of family drama, they aren’t breaking the bank, and overall they are far less nerve wracking for the bride and groom to be.
One of the reasons why so many couples are choosing alternative forms of wedding ceremonies is due in part because of the stress factor. It seems anymore we can’t escape stress, it’s everywhere. The last place you want it is in the planning of your wedding ceremony, or even worse, the day of.
Micro weddings by and large are much more casual, which means less headaches and stress for everyone involved.
Is a Micro Wedding Right for You?
The main concern here is that you are comfortable with your choice. If are fine with only inviting a couple dozen guests and you are looking forward to a ceremony at a smaller venue, then this might be the choice for you.
The main concerns usually fall into one of these categories:
Notice how these points don’t concern the bride and groom at all. It’s usually outside influence that plays a huge role in the nature of our wedding ceremonies. That’s something that should change, and you can see this sentiment more and more as couples everywhere are choosing to have weddings that fit their needs rather than the needs of others.
How to Start Planning for Your Wedding
If you already have a theme and a possible venue picked out, that’s great!
However, many couples who are just learning about micro weddings don’t really know where to start or how to go about planning one.
If that’s the case, you should sit down with your significant other and plan some of the details. Where would you like to have the ceremony? Do you want the theme to be closer to a traditional wedding style or something more exotic or unorthodox? Just how many people will you be inviting?
It’s so much easier to plan for a small wedding than a larger one, once you get into the details. If you still need more information about how to plan for your micro wedding, please refer to this amazing resource for micro wedding plans.
So you’ve made the decision to get eloped over a more traditional wedding, and excitement is already building. You’ve picked out your destination and know what theme you’re going for.
There’s only one thing left to do: announce that you’re actually eloping!
However, this can seem like a daunting premise.
After all, friends and family that may have expected you to have a full blown wedding and may have even been counting on an invite might not react exactly as you would like them to.
And how do you tell your parents?
This little guide will help you break the ice about your elopement and ensure everything goes as smooth as possible. While you can’t control how people react, it is your decision and part of making your decision is owning it.
Be upfront, be strong, and most of all, don’t be afraid to display how happy you are. If you are shy and unsure about your decision, you will only give other people ammunition to use against you and attempt to “talk you out of it.”
With that being said, here are a few key suggestions to making sure your elopement announcement doesn’t ruffle too many feathers.
Don’t Wait to Announce
The longer you wait, the more awkward it’s going to be and if you get into the planning stages of your elopement, you’re likely going to have to keep secrets from people that are close to you.
It’s best to avoid all of that dramatic stuff and come clean.
Yes, there is a certain mystique to the idea of jetting off to a faraway locale in the dead of night to get married, but this isn’t realistic or practical. You may even be planning on inviting your parents or close friends to your elopement, or relying on them to help you plan.
Don’t keep anyone in the dark. The sooner you announce, the better.
Also, while it’s not advised to show up to everyone’s doorstep and tell them in person, don’t let your close friends and family find out through social media. This is not what you want at all.
It’s best to pay a visit to your parents and tell them in person, at your earliest possible convenience.
There is no guarantee that they will fully support your decision, but if you own your choice and are sure in it, and they can see how happy you are, it is unlikely that they will make a big fuss.
The important thing is that they know.
One way to mitigate negative reactions and clear the air is to ask for their help in the planning phase, even if superficially.
If you are not personally inviting your parents, ask them for suggestions or advice on what to do or what to wear. Get them involved somehow, make them feel like they are needed.
Many of the negative reactions that occur because of elopement stem from the feeling of not being a part of what parents and close friends feel like is the most important day in your life. By extension it’s supposed to be one of the most important days in their own life.
If they are at least involved in the planning of this event, they will be far less likely to argue about it.
The key takeaway from this should be a focus on personalizing the announcement for your closest relatives and friends. Wait to announce your plans on social media until well after all the most important people have been notified.
Then feel free to post away!
Make Extensive Plans to Document Everything
This isn’t just for your sake.
There’s going to be a lot of people that want an inside view as to the goings-on of your elopement.
Yes, you’re going to want photos and videos for your own memories of course, but keep in mind that anyone who doesn’t get invited is going to feel left out. This will go double if they can’t see pictures on social media or get cute little video clips from you on their phones.
Your elopement is about you and your significant other, but you can’t ignore the fact that you have friends and family that are personally invested in you.
Return this investment by ensuring that you hire an amazing elopement photographer who knows how to get all the right angles and make other people feel like they are part of the moment.
A professional elopement photographer / videographer is worth their weight in gold, for so many reasons. They can be the difference between a bunch of lukewarm pictures you never look at or a lifetime of memories you share with your family for decades to come.
Make plans early on to seek out a great local elopement planner or photographer who can help you stage great photoshoots and who you know you can rely on during the ceremony to capture all the right moments and “deliver” these moments to your friends and family.
Your parents and other close friends and family should be made aware that you are going to document as much of your elopement as possible and that they will feel “almost as if they are there.”
It’s the least you can do if you aren’t inviting them, and this will go a long way in ensuring that there is no hurt feelings.
Don’t Get Worked Up Over Negative Reactions
There’s always going to be people who don’t understand.
You are choosing to get eloped in part because you don’t want all the stuffiness and drama associated with typical weddings.
The last thing you want to do is escalate any negative reactions that come from announcing your plans.
So when the time comes for you to announce, expect negative reactions ahead of time and make the mindful decision not to reciprocate.
A huge life lesson is realizing you can’t control other people and you can’t control how they react. Sometimes people get upset and angry and there is nothing you can do. You don’t want to get in the habit of replying to these sorts of reactions with negative reactions of your own.
You could make the argument that you could have avoided the reaction by caving and canceling your elopement. But then you are basically being controlled by other people’s imbalanced emotions that come from a place of ignorance and not understanding.
It’s best in these kinds of scenarios to keep an open mind and reciprocate any negative feelings with open understanding and patient love.
Also remember that one person’s “no” can easily be transformed into a “yes” after a few weeks of seeing how happy you are. Set a good example and don’t exchange negative emotions.
If a parent or close friend does react very negatively to your decision, that says a lot more about them than it does about you. Gently accept their reaction but tell them you will not act on it and will wait happily for them to come around.
After all, this is your special day and you want them to be a part of it. Make sure they understand that.
If you inform them that you will be waiting with love for them to come around, you have a much greater chance for them to see your point of view than reacting negatively.
You will also find that this will reduce your own stress level, even if you would have much preferred if they just agreed with you and were happy.
But you can’t control everyone’s emotions or expect certain reactions from them.
Just own your decision and approach the subject from a place of love and you will get a much better result than if you announced your choice with arrogance and an attitude.
Don’t Leave Anyone in the Dark
Share your reasons for getting eloped. Make a statement!
You made the decision, so don’t be afraid to tell people your reasoning behind it.
Are you saving money for a house? Are you trying to have a more stress-free wedding than a traditional ceremony typically allows? Did you want more personal time or a chance to see an exotic location or do something that has more meaning for you personally, rather than getting married at your local church?
Your decision matters, so share it so people understand.
People aren’t mind readers. Some may even think the worst, like you are trying to avoid family or that you are hiding some secret or something.
While you aren’t likely to encounter such dramatic reactions, you never know. Don’t leave anything to chance. Be free to inform your friends and family why an elopement is right for you.
This will clear the air and allow for a better understanding all around.
Remember, your elopement is supposed to be your time. The last thing you want to do is complicate it by hiding your decision or keeping people out of the loop.
Put in the effort and share your plans with the ones who love you. Guaranteed this will get the best possible reaction and provide the least amount of stress when it matters most.
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!
What could be more romantic than getting married in a cozy little bed and breakfast in the city of your dreams?
Bed and breakfast elopements are extremely popular, and for good reason. A great bed and breakfast is a magical experience in and of itself: inviting hospitality, simple luxury, delicious food, history and art, as well as easy access to the local attractions.
Imagine getting eloped in such a setting? Thousands of couples do just this every year, and rave about their experiences!
Here are our six picks for the absolute best bed and breakfast elopement experiences in the country.
BOXWOOD VILLA – Orange, VA
The epitome of southern charm, this cozy little bed and breakfast sits peacefully in the northern Virginia countryside, just waiting for people to make use of its charming 13.6 acres, wooded trail, and gorgeous accommodations.
Boxwood Villa is the perfect setting for a more intimate bed and breakfast elopement experience.
If you had your sights set on a quaint outdoor elopement ceremony under a magnificent oak tree, with views of the surrounding countryside and full catering and outdoor guest accommodations, the Villa won’t disappoint.
Make your reservations at the earliest possible chance, spots fill up quickly at this hot destination!
OLD RITTENHOUSE INN – Bayfield, WI
With an exquisite view of Lake Superior, and enough classy charm for a dozen bed and breakfast venues, this self-styled “country inn” has been hosting weddings, elopements, and other special events for decades.
They have two properties in the area that provide a seamless romantic experience. The Inn proper, and La Chateau, as well as a cottage that’s perfect for elopements as well.
With indoor and outdoor options for events, views of Lake Superior, on-site gourmet restaurant, seasonal events, and even a “Moroccan” suite, it’s easy to see why this Midwest bed and breakfast became an elopement hot spot.
NEWAGEN SEASIDE INN – Southport, ME
New England has always been a seemingly mystical place, and has long been a hot spot for couples all over the world looking for a romantic and peaceful wedding venue.
The gently rolling hills, the fall foliage, the serene countryside. The only thing that would make the setting better is a big cozy Victorian inn by the sea.
Well it just so happens that the Newagen Seaside Inn is all that and more.Overlooking the beautiful Boothbay Harbor, the Inn boasts a variety of attractions and accommodations that make it made for elopements.
Fine Dining at the Pub, honeymoon suite with an ocean view, an aquarium, kayaking, sailing, horseback riding, several lighthouses to explore, trips to nearby Monhegan Island by boat and more.If outdoor activities are your idea of fun and doing them with partner during your elopement sounds like an unforgettable experience, this is one bed and breakfast option you don’t want to pass up.
Known affectionately as an oasis in the heart of New Orleans, Terrell House is one of the most popular Bed and Breakfast’s in the city, and perhaps the one most well suited for elopements.
The building itself is a piece of art and history, built in 1857, and it has been lovingly maintained and refurbished to this day. Now it stands as one of the premiere bed and breakfasts in the area, not least of which because of its luxurious accommodations and world class service.
Each room is decorated uniquely and arranged with antique furniture, adding to the house’s quaint and artful appearance. Couples enjoy its simple, elegant atmosphere that takes you back to the turn of the last century, while still maintaining all the modern amenities you could ever ask for.
One of its greatest features is its expansive courtyard that’s perfect for wedding and elopement ceremonies. Talk about the centerpiece of any photo shoot.
MILL ROSE INN – Half Moon Bay, CA
For a touch of European style class right here in America, we have California’s Mill Rose Inn.
Located in Half Moon Bay, the bed and breakfast is known for its downright opulent setting, that gives couples a true sense of romance and mystique.
It’s main claim to fame has to be its luscious garden, which provides the perfect backdrop for couples trying the knot. They’ve got everything from a garden-enclosed gazebo with a private Jacuzzi, to fireplaces, claw foot baths, private entrances, massage services, and plenty of packages specially tailored for couples getting married.
To say that the Inn is luxurious doesn’t really do it justice. Described as “paradise” by some of its patrons, you would be hard pressed to find a better elopement venue in the entire area.
ARBOR HOUSE INN – South Fork, CO
Eloping in the Rockies? Why Not!
This rustic but extravagant Inn provides everything a couple could want for a simple country elopement in the mountains.
Known for its numerous fishing locations, the area is also home to a wide variety of other attractions, including river rapid boating, skiing and other mountain sport activities, nature hiking spots, bird watching, national parks and more.
The Inn itself prides itself on comfort and rustic charm: no expensive tapestries and antiques crammed into every room here. Just a warm atmosphere and an amazing backdrop for your mountain elopement!
The idea of a holiday elopement either sounds like a magical adventure or a recipe for a headache. Both outcomes are entirely possible if you go into everything blind!
If your dream is to get eloped during the holidays, we’re here to offer some quick and friendly advice to make sure that dream doesn’t turn into a mess.
With the holidays comes the warmth of friends, family, hot cocoa, and snuggling up by the fireplace, the beauty of winter with snow and decorations, and the promise of good times and long-lasting memories, so it makes sense that having your elopement at this time of the year would be romantic and fun.
The problem starts when you look at the logistics. It’s hard enough planning a Christmas party or navigating crowded streets and malls during the holiday rush, then you have to factor in Federal holidays and people’s tough schedules. How in the world do you plan any kind of wedding or elopement in all this?
It’s not as difficult as you might think, but a little planning goes a long way.
Pick a Day That Works Best For Everyone
If you’re having a lot of guests at your elopement, don’t expect everyone to be warm to your idea of having your ceremony on Christmas day. There may be some pushback, even if you announce this months in advance.
The idea of having your elopement on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Years Eve sounds like something from a fantasy come to life, but in reality it will end up being closer to a romantic comedy if you’re not careful.
You can capture the magic of Christmas and not actually have your elopement on Christmas Day. The weekend in between Christmas and New Years might better suit your needs if you are inviting a lot of guests. If there is travel involved, you may want to aim for the week before Christmas, or even two weeks before.
If travel is minimal or if you are only inviting a few close friends and family, a Christmas Day elopement might be in the cards however. This is something you want to plan way ahead of time and do all the necessary work toward well in advance, including anything to do with your marriage license. Which brings me to the next point.
Plan Around Federal and Religious Holidays
You don’t want to be in a situation where you arrive at your destination and find yourself unable to get your marriage license because local government offices are closed for the holidays.
Due to the nature of the holidays in general, you want to make sure you give yourself plenty of wiggle room when it comes to getting your marriage license. This means that you should expect traffic, long lines, and other random acts of holiday happenstance, to encroach on your schedule.
Remember also that just because there isn’t an actual Federal Holiday on certain days, doesn’t mean the local area you are in isn’t celebrating a holiday of some sort. December is a time of celebration for a wide variety of different religious faiths and cultures around the country.
You also have to factor in local holiday parades, as well as traffic congestion during times when towns have Santa drive through with fire trucks, and similar events. Do your due diligence, and planning around the holidays will be a breeze. Don’t expect everything to line up for you if you don’t research and plan accordingly however.
Embrace the Magic but be Practical
You may already have an idea in your head of what the perfect holiday elopement would look and feel like, and that’s okay. But you do want to remain grounded and plan things accordingly.
For example, if you are planning any kind of outdoor activities, including a romantic photo shoot, or the actual ceremony, you have to take into account that inclement weather is a very real possibility.
It may simply be too cold outside for you or your guests to feel comfortable. And though the idea of a snowy outdoor photo shoot sounds magnificent, it won’t be a fun time if you go in without being prepared to deal with the elements.
Dress for the occasion when holding any parts of the elopement ceremony outside, and that includes boots and appropriate accessories if it’s really cold. There’s nothing romantic about frostbite.
You also want to take into account the simple logistics of the holiday season. What venues will be open, what roads will be closed, what places will be packed with people.
Learn about the area you are planning for your elopement. What are the roads like around the venue you chose? What’s opened and closed? Make sure you book your hotel well in advance, because people travel during the holidays and make a ton of last minute reservations. Also remember flight delays and travel times.
You can certainly plan for a “Christmassy” elopement, but make sure you’re doing the work in the background to make sure it goes off without a problem. This is one reason why elopement planners are so important, they can handle a lot of these kinds of headaches for you!
The Reason for the Season
There are dozens of ways to incorporate loved holiday traditions and customs into your ceremony. Maybe your after-party will feature ugly Christmas sweaters, maybe your ceremony will have some coincidentally placed mistletoe hanging overhead. Perhaps your beverage of choice will be eggnog.
Whatever the case is, if you’re going to have a holiday elopement, play it up!
If you’re purposefully going someplace snowy for your ceremony, ice skating and skiing are two exciting and potentially romantic activities you can fill your week with. Consider holding your ceremony in a cabin or lodge, replete with cozy fireplace and holiday decorations.
Does the city you’re getting eloped in have a notoriously walkable downtown area full of restaurants and stores? This might be an opportunity to have a chilly night on the town, do some window shopping, purchase a couple early Christmas gifts for each other, and have a romantic dinner by candlelight to cap the night.
Another option for making the most of your holiday elopement is enjoying the Christmas holiday itself away from home. Do all the necessary planning and celebrate Christmas morning with your significant other in your own little world, or perhaps with some close friends and family along as well. What better way to spend your elopement “honeymoon” exchanging gifts and lounging around eating chocolate and drinking eggnog? Sounds like something out of a movie!
Because they are so much easier to plan than typical Weddings, you could say that an elopement is already a great “wedding hack,” but even the most effortless elopements come with their fair share of planning and little hurdles.
It doesn’t matter what stage of the planning you’re on, we think you’ll benefit from a few tips that will make your magical day even more enjoyable.
With just a few small adjustments, you can save a ton of work and really make your elopement an incredible flawless experience.
Focus on the Moment
Don’t worry about what other people are thinking when it comes to your elopement. Actually, don’t think about anything else at all.
Your elopement should be about you and your significant other. Not fancy stories on Instagram, not living it up every minute, not showing off, nothing like that.
To truly get the most out of your elopement, be mindful of the time you share with your partner, and any family and friends who are with you. These are moments you’re going to want to remember for a lifetime.
You’ll also appreciate the small things more if you aren’t mentally caught up in everyone’s perception of your elopement or what life will be like after you get home. None of that matters, it will work itself out.
The moment is all that matters.
Don’t Try and be Your Own Photographer
You’re not as savvy with a camera as you think you are!
It’s so important to hire a decent photographer and / or videographer for the elopement ceremony and any other events or parts of the elopement you want to capture.
There’s nothing wrong with taking plenty of pictures yourself with your phone, but when it comes time to really capture the moments that matter, you’re going to want to leave it to a professional.
When it comes to eloping, the lion’s share of the money you want to spend services on should be in the photography. This is not something you want to leave to chance.
Plus, having a good photographer means you don’t really have to think too much about the photography at all. They will be there to capture all the right moments, leaving you to focus on the actual elopement.
Save yourself a headache and don’t skimp in this department. Find a solid photographer in the area you are getting eloped at, and let them handle that aspect of the elopement.
Get the Legal Stuff Over With ASAP
Can’t stress this enough. Don’t leave the legalities of your elopement till the zero hour.
Actually, once you decide on a location and begin the initial steps to planning your elopement, this is when you want to contact the local municipal authorities or look up online exactly what you need to do in order to get married legally in that state or city, and then do everything in your power to take care of it then and there.
This way, when you arrive for your elopement, there won’t be any surprises. Nothing can put a damper on a fantastic elopement quite like legal snafus.
Pick a Theme and Stick to It
Early on in your elopement planning you should pick the location you want to get married in, and also choose an overarching theme.
This will make planning the smaller aspects of the ceremony easier. This includes what to wear and the location of the actual ceremony, as well as possible events before and after the ceremony.
For instance, if you have a general idea that you want to get eloped on a beach, you will want to craft your ceremony around this theme. This means that it’s probably a good idea to account for the weather and environment by not wearing an excessively large gown or anything that would make the ceremony uncomfortable.
Is your ceremony going to feel like a party or be more casual? Will it be intimate and romantic or exciting and fun?
Picking a theme will automatically reduce the amount of choices you have when thinking up color schemes, clothing options, or anything else you want to incorporate into the elopement, making the entire process of planning everything far easier.
A Little Goes a Long Way
One important thing to remember about your elopement is that you don’t want to try and cram too much in or be too elaborate.
The whole point of an elopement is to reduce the stress and clutter that sometimes comes with your average wedding. In fact, because of how easy it is to plan an elopement in comparison, some couples tend to want to tack on a bunch of events or ideas at the last minute.
This is something you want to avoid. A little goes a long way with elopements. The less you have to pack, the less engagements you have to attend, the less you feel like you’re being shuffled from one event or sightseeing spot to another, the better.
You want to capture a feeling of freedom in your elopement. You want to leave space for you and your significant other to relax, and allow the magnitude of the marriage to sink in.
Don’t feel pressured to turn every minute of the entire elopement stay into an Instagram photoshoot or wild thrill. You’ll appreciate everything a whole lot more if you have downtime between the events you have planned.
This goes for the day of the ceremony as well. Don’t try and turn the elopement ceremony into a 10-step extravaganza. Simple and small is almost always better.
Want more elopement hacks? Check out our tips on getting eloped on a Budget!
Considering marrying in New Orleans? Check out some stunning locations!
Even though there are some obvious similarities, there are some huge differences between traditional weddings and an elopement.
You might be wondering which option is the best for you and your significant other, so we’re here to help you make the decision.
Both typical wedding ceremonies and elopement ceremonies are perfectly wonderful choices if you’re thinking of tying the knot, but there are important differences you’re going to want to consider.
You also might find that you’ve had misconceptions about elopement and that it is a better option than a traditional wedding for you.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about the differences between getting married and eloping!
Elopements Typically Involve Travel
Part of the fun of getting eloped is that it’s almost like a traditional wedding and a honeymoon rolled into one.
Unlike a traditional wedding ceremony that might be held at a local church or some other upscale venue close to the couple’s home or family, elopements tend to take place further away, such as at resort locations and vacation destinations.
This is because elopements tend to involve far fewer people than the average wedding, so it’s easy to fly several states away to a magical destination rather than having to wait until the honeymoon.
An elopement is sort of like a getaway or retreat combined with a wedding. In this way it’s perfect for couples who want to focus on the ceremony and save some money at the same time.
Elopements Involve Much Less Planning
While there is still plenty of things to consider with an elopement, they tend to be somewhat more spontaneous.
There are just far fewer issues to contend with in an elopement. You don’t have to worry about catering to a hundred people and fully decking out a wedding hall, not to mention arranging all the different services.
Elopements cut out a lot of the pageantry of modern weddings and go for a more minimalist, couple-focused way of doing things. There’s less money and time being spent on floral arrangements and expensive catering and more time for the couple to do what they want over the course of several days.
Taking the time to plan out an elopement has its benefits, but it’s not something that takes half a year or more of never-ending fretting and micromanaging like so many weddings tend to. Elopements are carefree and are much less stressful overall.
Elopements Cost Less
You’re not going to be breaking the bank with your average elopement. Because you’re not catering to so many people and there’s a lot fewer service and other matters to attend to, they simply cost less even with travel fare included in the conversation.
It’s for this reason that elopements are becoming increasingly popular.
Even for couples who go “all out” with their elopements, they still wind up costing less than a typical wedding. When you’re not shelling out $500 for a 3-tiered wedding cake and several thousand for décor, you’d be surprised how cheap getting married can actually be!
More Private Time For The Couple
One thing that’s always been true about traditional weddings, is that they rarely leave much time for the actual couple. In fact, it’s tradition that the couples don’t see each other until the bride walks down the aisle!
Elopements are somewhat different. There’s no hiding and tip-toeing around.
One of the most popular elopement activities involves a pre-elopement "first look" photoshoot held privately just for the bride and groom. Sometimes there aren’t even other people involved with the marriage itself – just the couple, an officiant, and the witness.
In this way, the couples get to decide what they do and when they do it.
Want to go out to eat at a beautiful restaurant right after the ceremony? Sure. Want to go snorkeling instead? Why not?
Elopements are much more free-flowing and allow for more personal time for the couples involved. It’s more like a romantic getaway than a wedding, which is why elopements are skyrocketing in popularity.
Many couples often feel drained by the time their wedding ceremony is over and they can’t wait for the honeymoon to begin. When you get eloped, the wedding is the honeymoon!
Elopements Have More Variety
Sure, there are barnyard weddings and even outdoor forest weddings, but these are few and far between and are somewhat difficult to plan.
Elopements, on the other hand, are meant to include sight-seeing and adventure.
When you’re planning your after-ceremony activities, you can include plays, cruises, bar-hopping, you name it. It is also easy to incorporate this variety into the ceremony itself.
It’s certainly easier to have an elopement on a beach or in a park than having a full-fledged wedding in the same locations. Fewer people and less “extras” mean a much easier experience for everyone, especially the couple!
Elopements Are Just More Fun
Traditional weddings can certainly be daunting, even nerve-wracking. There are many positives to traditional wedding ceremonies of course, but between the average cost and all the stress involved, we’re seeing a movement toward elopements all across the country.
Maybe the biggest reason for this is that elopements are just more fun!
There’s nothing like being free to plan your ceremony exactly where and how you want it instead of being tied down to location, tradition, and the expectations of other people. It’s not only liberating, it saves time, money, and a ton of unnecessary hassle.
This leaves the couple open to actually have fun with their ceremony rather than being hogtied by responsibilities and obligations to other people on what’s supposed to be their special day.
Instead of all the headaches that go into planning a monumental event like a traditional wedding, you can plan a romantic getaway in a beautiful location of your choosing, and elope on your terms.
These are just some of the major ways in which elopements are different than your usual wedding. From our experience, elopements just offer the couple more options and freedom to plan the event their way, which creates a myriad of possibilities for fun, excitement, romance, and memories you’ll never forget.
If you’ve been considering an elopement over a traditional wedding, you’re probably looking for something more than the usual. That’s great! Please feel free to look around our site at all of the elopement resources we have, including packages for couples looking to get eloped in specific hot locations, such as New Orleans.
Elopements truly offer a world of possibilities. Don’t be afraid to buck tradition and have one all your own!
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!
The ultimate personal elopement experience, just you and your significant other on a beach resort or mountain retreat, ready to celebrate your union and your honeymoon-like getaway without any other obligations or family to cater to.
If getting eloped without any guests in some fantastical location sounds like something you might be interested in, we’ve got just what you’re looking for!
Evolving Elopement Trends
Because they are so versatile, elopement trends and traditions are changing all the time. Indeed, no two elopements are ever alike, and with all the things you can customize or leave out completely, it’s no wonder why they are skyrocketing in popularity.
For some, an elopement can be just like a traditional wedding, just held in some faraway or exotic location.
In these cases, couples basically arrange for a bunch of friends and family to fly out with them to a honeymoon-like destination and celebrate with them.
This of course can be a wonderful experience, but it is somewhat far removed from the classic idea of an elopement, where a couple madly in love picks a spot to get married in and just takes off with little planning and just romance to carry them in their travels.
It’s certainly great having a small entourage of family and friends with you on an elopement, but what about if you really just want an intimate experience? What if you just want to share the moment with the love of your life and not have to worry about entertaining or catering to other people?
That’s where the trend of Just Us elopements come in.
A Wedding Made For Two
There are so many obligations during a traditional wedding that it can be daunting for many couples.
Sometimes the stress can impact the day of the wedding itself. These stressors include having to cater to the dozens or even hundreds of people that are attending.
Imagine having to take time out of what is supposed to be the most romantic days of your life up until this point, to worry about your distant aunt’s food allergies the day before the wedding?
Doesn’t sound like a fantasy, more like a sitcom episode!
Bucking the trend of weddings being large family affairs, the “just us” wedding is exactly what it sounds like. A getaway package just for the couple getting married.
They are usually relatively cheap even compared to most elopement packages, and simply include accommodations and the necessary officiant for conducting the ceremony.
Examples of Just Us Packages
Because of the amount of freedom you have if you aren’t catering to a large group of people, just us wedding packages can vary wildly.
Here’s a few examples of great packages that help define the kind of experience you would expect.
Just the Two of Us Beach Elopement
This is the perfect example of a simple, affordable ceremony that cuts out all the fluff and just gets to the heart of the matter.
What if you and your significant other simply want to get married on a beach?
If you want to add on to the package, you can do that as well. This format of putting your own ceremony together saves money and frustration for the bride and groom.
At the end of the day, what could be better than just saying “I do” beside the ocean?
Florida Just the Two of Us Package
For couples looking for a little more structure and less decision-making, yet still want to get married on the cheap and by the shore, this package is perfect.
Instead of the add-ons, this package comes included with some photography, decorated table setup, and bouquet.
Still a very simplistic option but somewhat beefier. If you want a simple, magical beach experience with no frills, this is a great option.
Just the Two of Us Celtic Castle Package
How about a more exotic experience? For couples with a slightly bigger budget and looking for more memories to make, what could be better than getting married in an actual Celtic castle?
You’re still saving thousands and thousands of dollars compared to a traditional wedding (or even most traditional honeymoons), and you’re getting a bed and breakfast suite, champagne, a bouquet, the full ceremony, and more.
It even includes planning!
Imagine what kind of magical elopement experience you could have if you purchased a package like this and added on with your own sight-seeing and adventures after the day of the ceremony?
This is one of the reasons why the idea of elopements are taking off. Getting married in a castle in a faraway country sure beats the typical wedding imagery!
Romantic New Orleans Just The Two of Us Package
What could be better than a “just us” wedding in downtown New Orleans? The history, the art, the majesty, and the sights. To say nothing of the food!
New Orleans is known for being an elopement destination, because of its naturally congenial climate, litany of world class hotels and fine dining, sightseeing opportunities, entertainment, and charming chapels.
It also makes a fine destination for a “just us” ceremony.
This package is similarly priced as the previous and includes seasonal flowers, professional photography, makeup artists and vendors arranged by the elopement planner, and your choice of several beautiful ceremony sites in the heart of New Orleans.
The photography session in this package is worth the price alone, let alone everything else.
New Orleans stands out as one of the finest locations to have any kind of elopement, but it shines for intimate and just us elopements. You can take full advantage of the city and all its amenities.
Regardless of what your choice is, there are many upsides to having a “just us” ceremony. If you are trying to get married on a budget but still want an exotic destination elopement in a place like New Orleans, this might be the option for you.
The romance and allure of having an intimate ceremony, coupled with the affordability, means you have the freedom to do what you want without having to plan or worry too much about anything else.
And after all, that’s what your special day should be about: enjoying it!
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!
The beautiful part of getting eloped is the freedom you have to customize the ceremony in any way you want. One of the biggest draws of getting eloped is that feeling of not being tied to tradition and expectation.
Your ceremony is truly yours.
This means that many couples who elope tend to draw traditions and parts of all kinds of wedding and unity ceremonies in order to create what to them is the perfect or ideal marriage ceremony.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a unity ceremony is a non-traditional extension of a wedding, that typically symbolizes the coming together not just of a couple, but of their families and communities as well.
Some common unity ceremony traditions include burning a unity candle, or some kind of handfasting, where the couple has their hands symbolically tied together.
So what does planting a tree have to do with getting married?
Planting a Tree as an Act of Unity
These days, with so much talk of climate change and the rapidly escalating perils of an increasingly unstable environment, people everywhere are encouraging us to perform conservation activities, including plantings trees.
No matter what your reason is, planting a tree is indeed an important act. There are no drawbacks and numerous benefits from our neighborhoods having more green in them.
But what does planting a tree mean for a couple tying the knot?
Well, trees and wood have a long history of being used in weddings and marriage ceremonies.
Trees specifically are beautiful, long lasting, and symbolize growth and strength.
A couple can watch the tree grow as their marriage grows. What starts as a sapling will end up as a healthy, stable, and tall adult tree in 30 years.
Planting a tree together is a healthy, visceral activity, something that says “I’m in this for the long haul.”
Anyone can exchange an object, but when you symbolize your marriage with a “new life,” one that you know will grow with you as your marriage gets older, this holds powerful and potent symbolism.
Not only that, it’s a ceremony that is designed to bring whole families together. Over time the tree will come to be a recognizable symbol of your marriage. Your family members will remember the tree, they will be able to visit it, read under its shade, perhaps even enjoy fruit from it.
It’s a palpable, physical expression of your union.
This is why tree planting unity ceremonies are on the rise. They can be powerful, beautiful representations of a couple’s love and the coming together of two families.
So what better than to incorporate such a ceremony into your elopement?
How to Add a Tree Planting Ceremony to Your Elopement
Just because elopements tend to be more simplistic and light on the rituals, doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate something special and significant like a short unity ceremony into it.
Even if you are planning a more intimate ceremony with only a few friends and family, you can still plant a tree together during your elopement that symbolizes your union as well as your families coming together.
But here’s a quandary: it’s common for couples to hold their elopements in faraway cities or resorts. First of all, it’s unlikely that you would want to plant a tree in some park 1000 miles away from where you live, and one wonders what the requirements for something like that would be anyway.
You’re not going to be getting eloped in Hawaii and planting a coconut tree in the backyard of your hotel.
So when exactly do you plant a tree during your elopement if you want to hold a unity ceremony?
You have two main options: before or after the actual elopement.
For instance, you could plan your actual elopement and get married the way you want, and then after you get back home, plant the tree during an after party or after-ceremony with your family and friends involved.
You could also decide to plant the tree before you even go anywhere. Almost as if the unity ceremony symbolizes a journey that you are about to embark on. This also could serve to appease the family and friends who feel left out that you are flying to the other side of the country to get married and they won’t be invited.
Ultimately, your unity ceremony should feel like a natural extension of your elopement. If you are getting eloped to “get away from it all” and not involve too many family members or deal with too many obligations, you always can opt for a simple, pressure-free unity ceremony.
Your intentions are what counts in this instance. Maybe a full-fledged unity ceremony is not something you think fits your elopement, but you still want to do something that celebrates the unity of you and your significant other more than just the exchanging of vows and rings, or you want to celebrate your families coming together.
In this way, you could even hold a tree planting without any witnesses, or perhaps record it with the help of a close friend. It can be as intimate as you want it to be. After all, it’s your elopement.
Before leaving for your destination of choice, you could set aside a day to plant a tree in your backyard together. It could be an afternoon project just the two of you share.
The results would last a lifetime and the tree would grow to symbolize how your marriage grows and blooms into a mighty and beautiful thing indeed.
I can’t think of a more romantic ritual to kick off a marriage, can you?
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!
This blog is dedicated to information/articles about Eloping. We also will add useful travel tips as well!