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!
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