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!
Isn’t an elopement already an affordable alternative to a traditional wedding? That may be true, but what if you want to get eloped on a strict budget?
We’ve put together the ultimate clear cut guide to eloping with a preset small budget, so you don’t have to crunch the numbers (that much!).
While many want an elopement or wedding ceremony to be this big, flashy event that spares no expense, that’s just not a realistic goal for a lot of people.
Many couples these days would prefer to invest that large sum of money into a down payment on a house, or at least their first nice apartment. Or perhaps for going back to school and expanding their career.
Either way, there’s a lot of ways to spend several thousands of dollars, and more practical couples are reluctant to blow it all on one day, even if it’s for their marriage.
After all, it’s not about the money. If you know what you’re doing and how to budget, you can have an unforgettable ceremony for only around $1000.
Sound too good to be true?
It depends on where you want to go and what you want to include, but we’ll help you trim down your expenses and focus only on the core elements of what makes an elopement magical. You can honestly make $1000 or so go a long way if you know what you’re looking for.
Elopement Packages VS Winging It
The first and perhaps the most essential element of this is that you don’t want to wing it and piece everything together yourself.
There are many great elopement specialists out there who have already cut deals with the best photographers, florists, and hotels in town, and have put together super affordable packages that roll everything into one. Better yet, they even take care of all the arrangements, essentially taking all of the boring guesswork out of actually planning a ceremony.
While it is true many elopement packages with all the bells and whistles can cost in excess of $5000, if you look around, you can find them for a fraction of that price tag and often around the $1000 mark.
It also depends on how big a ceremony you want from the outset. It’s unlikely that you will be able to have a truly “budget” elopement if you are planning to cater to 30 people, unless they don’t mind cheese and crackers.
The catering is part of what inflates average wedding costs. If you’re looking for a more simplistic, romantic, and cost-effective ceremony, only invite a small group of your closest friends and family. Some of the most magical elopements are the ones where you can just about count everyone involved on two hands.
This makes catering and “people managing” a whole lot easier and cheaper, and is one of the biggest reasons couples love elopements. Zero hassle when you don’t have to worry about relatives you haven’t seen in a decade and catering to 100 different people’s food tastes and expectations.
Simple and Affordable Elopement
Looking for a dirt cheap getaway to gorgeous Colorado? This elopement package only costs $900 for an officiant and expert advice on getting your wedding license, where to hold your ceremony, and more, as well as an hour of professional wedding photography.
Sometimes the best elopements are the ones that are all about the romance and the simplicity of a union in a whimsical, beautiful location. If you’re looking for something simple, you should investigate this package or ones like it. If you look around, you can find similar packages in many other popular elopement locations around the country!
Don’t forget to work travel expenses into your budget. If you’re going for a simple, budget-friendly ceremony, you might want to think about looking for airfare deals or even taking a road trip to your destination! Don’t be afraid to make an adventure out of it, rather than blowing money on luxuries.
Incredible New Orleans Elopement Packages
If you want to go all out but still want to keep a strict budget in mind, there’s packages for that as well!
There are great elopement packages put together by professionals all around the country that go to great lengths to meet the various needs of couples looking for budget-friendly ceremonies.
Here are some of our recommended New Orleans elopement packages. If you’re not aware, New Orleans is an elopement Mecca, sporting some of the finest hotels, restaurants, parks, and weather in the country, making it an ideal spot for couples wanting to tie the knot in style!
These packages start at $1495 and include everything from seasonal bouquets, personal wedding cakes, champagne, and even balcony ceremonies and luxury hotel suites.
All for less than the price of a traditional wedding’s catering bill!
Even More Budget Elopement Packages
Still looking for awesome elopement deals? We’ve got a list of our favorite budget-friendly elopement options right here.
When it comes to deciding which elopement package is right for you, just narrow down what you think you need, and what you can afford on top of the package, such as hotel expenses if they are not covered.
The best part of package deals is that typically, the overall price of everything offered is lower than if you went out and found these services individually. And even that is a service in and of itself, since you’re not always going to find the best officiant or florist if you aren’t from the area or have no knowledge of event planning.
In terms of working on a budget, elopement packages are typically the way to go, but we do have some advice in case you want to strike off on your own!
Manually Planning Your Elopement
We don’t personally recommend going without an elopement package because elopement professionals have been planning and putting together weddings and elopements for years, often for decades, and are extremely knowledgeable about which local services are best and the most affordable.
However, if you insist on going it alone, here is some general advice to get you started!
The rest should be a piece of cake. You can definitely put together an unforgettable elopement on a small budget, it just takes a bit of planning and ingenuity.
Click HERE to learn the 5 secrets to a successful (and stress-free) elopement and BONUS checklist!
Think about it, what could be more romantic than getting eloped on a beautiful beach?
Even if this is your dream come true, putting it all into action is another story. You might be wondering, how do you even begin to put something like that together?
You’re not alone. Thousands of couples every year opt to get married on the beach, whether through an elopement or more traditional means, and there is some planning that has to go into it if you want to get everything right!
Choose a Beach Destination That’s Right For You
Not all beaches are the same! The first step in planning any successful beach elopement is deciding where you want to have it.
There’s the obvious choices of tropical hotspots like the Florida Keys and Hawaii.
However you may want to go for the simple charms and rugged shorelines of Maine or Washington. You may also be interested in the sightseeing and quaintness of New Jersey’s white sand beaches or surfing at California.
Maybe there’s a beach that has sentimental value for you as a couple.
Regardless of your choice, this is a major part of making sure your elopement is just the way you want it.
We personally recommend beach elopements in Florida simply because of the gorgeous shorelines and attractions available all within a short distance of each other.
Dress For the Occasion
With any exotic wedding or elopement comes additional challenges.
You might want to hold off on wearing that long trailing gown or anything too elaborate if you have your heart set on an amazing beach elopement.
Shorelines tend to be naturally breezy, and even under nice weather conditions can be downright windy. Add trudging through the sand, and you have the perfect recipe for an elopement blooper reel!
Take the time to pick out a simpler dress that fits the occasion and your style, which isn’t too billowy, long, or delicate. Boho style gowns and tropical style party dresses work remarkably well for beach elopements.
Don’t feel pressured into sticking with the traditional white wedding dress. Part of the benefit of having a beach elopement in the first place is comfort and the ability to do what you want to do, without tradition weighing you down.
In other words, yes you can get married in that simple flowery tropical dress you love!
Don’t Worry About a Chapel
You could have your ceremony at a nearby chapel and then migrate over to the beach of your choice, but why bother? Hold the whole thing at the beach!
One of the benefits of a beach elopement is the freedom to make it as whimsical as you want. Do away with tradition and let your imagination call some of the shots.
If you’re looking for a bit of cover from the sun and a kind of centerpiece to the ceremony, you could always hold everything on a gazebo at the beach. What could be more perfect than getting married under the shade of a white gazebo only feet from the rolling waves of your favorite shoreline?
Evening Works Best
Unless you’re a stickler for crystal clear blue skies for your ceremony backdrop, we recommend evening hours as the best time to get married on the beach for multiple reasons.
One, it’s simply a more romantic mood and atmosphere. You’re already imagining what it would be like to get married on the beach with the setting sun in the background, aren’t you?
There’s obviously other perks as well, such as better lighting for photography, cooler temperatures, less risk of sunburn or dealing with a harsh bright sun in general, and the ability to immediately follow your ceremony up with a nighttime party on the beach!
Party on the Beach?
Speaking of which, if you’re going out of your way to get married on the beach of your choosing, why not take advantage of it?
Depending on what city or location you choose to get married, there are certainly no shortage of activities you could do after you tie the knot, but if you invited several guests, you might want to think about having a classic party on the beach.
If you take the time to plan your ceremony with a party event in mind, you could have catered food, raffles, and other activities right on the beach, without having to disrupt the magic and go to another location.
Alternatively, if you haven’t invited many guests and wanted your elopement to be more personal, a romantic dinner for two on the beach following your ceremony might be the perfect end to an unforgettable day.
The key to having the ultimate beach elopement is not letting yourself get confined to typical wedding traditions and don’t be afraid to take some risks and have fun. After all, it’s your special day!
Just remember to plan everything ahead of time. Even the most whimsical weddings need a bit of foresight to go off without a hitch!
There’s a lot that goes into an elopement to make it so magical, but the photographer might be at the top of the list.
The photographer is arguably the lynchpin of the entire ceremony, who is often tasked with capturing every moment and helping to make the vision of the couple come to life.
It’s important that you have someone reliable behind the camera, almost like a conductor, ensuring that your special moments are preserved forever.
So you’ve made up your mind, you know where you’re going, when you’ll go, the color and cut of your dress, and even what kind of cake to have.
But you haven’t picked a photographer yet?
No worries, we’ve put together this guide to help you know what you’re looking for and what to expect at every step of the way.
Plan Ahead and Do Your Research
First things first, if you’re in the market for an elopement photographer, you have to be prepared to do a bit of research.
Elopement photographers live and die by their online reputations. This isn’t an industry where you can mess up too many times and get away with it. So you know right off the bat that the crème rises to the top, and good reviews and praise are a great indication that you’re dealing with someone who knows how to capture the magic.
Once you narrow down your search, begin to compare packages and prices. This is not an area where you want to skimp, however. In the photography world, cheap usually equals bad.
Photography is an art, and it’s a lot harder than just snapping pictures. Just the editing process can take hours of labor, to say nothing of having the skill and intuition to know when to capture the perfect moments and bring out the best in the bride and groom.
Elopements are typically cheaper than weddings and elopement photographers understand this, so don’t expect to be paying wedding prices for a simple elopement package. Typical elopement photography packages range anywhere from about $700 to $1200 depending on the quality and location.
Your primary goal here is to simply make sure the photographer is in your budget and does quality work. See their reviews and social media comments. Do they get glowing praise or are their socials pretty empty? Do they have 3 reviews at 4.1 stars or 50+ reviews at 4.8 stars?
If you do the research, the results will meet your expectations.
Make Sure Your Elopement Visions Match
This is crucial. Just because the price is right and the work seems quality, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the perfect photographer. There’s different styles to think about.
You want a photographer that will match up well with the vision you have for your elopement and can help you bring it to life. You want to be sure that the person you’re entrusting with this responsibility knows exactly what you want and how to bring it about.
Photographers all have different styles, different areas of expertise, comfort zones, and other factors that all make them unique. There is also personalities to think about.
This is why it’s important to get in touch with potential prospects you may consider for the job and get to know them a little. Do your due diligence, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
A great elopement photographer will also do the same. They will take the time to ask questions and take interest in your plans, so that they can help bring your vision to life. Even if it’s as simple as a basic chapel elopement, you’re going to want those memories preserved the right way, and that means finding the right person for the job.
Integrate Them Into Your