elopement ideas

Are you looking for ideas about how to elope?  Elopements are becoming more and more popular and I photograph at least one or two weddings per year where the couple get married on a very small scale.  I’ve photographed weddings with just the couples’ parents present and I’ve had a few weddings with fewer than 10 people present, including the couple.  Lots of couples also choose to elope with just the two of them present.

There are a whole load of practical reasons to elope: budget, the need or desire to marry quickly or maybe you can’t have everyone you want there when you marry because they live in another country.  Practicalities aside though an elopement can be a romantic way of tying the knot and having an adventure along the way.

Here are some things to think about if you’re considering eloping


Eloping can save you a LOT of money or alternatively you could blow the budget on your dream holiday and elopement combined.

Elope to Vegas and then do an iconic US road trip, elope to Africa and marry on the savannah before heading off on safari, elope to Iceland and then watch the aurora, or elope on an exotic beach somewhere in the Caribbean.  The world is your oyster.

how to elope If you want to elope on a smaller budget you could visit the town hall and then go for lunch at your favourite restaurant, have afternoon tea somewhere.

london elopement afternoon tea

Work out what sort of budget you want to spend on your elopement as your first point of call and then work out details from there.

Making it legal

If you’re eloping you’ll still need to tick all of the legal boxes required for the marriage to take place. You can find requirements for a UK marriage to take place here.

How to elope - the bride in short dress with the groom and a grand staircase - UK elopement photographer - London wedding photographer - Babb Photo
If you want to get married on the side of a mountain or on a beach somewhere you can have a humanist or celebrant led ceremony and do the official legal bit at a different time.  That’s what I did for my own wedding as we wanted to get married outside and you can’t legally do so in the UK, so we did the legal bit separately and then had a friend conduct our wedding ceremony on the day.

Document it

Having a photographer at a tiny, intimate elopement wedding might seem unnecessary or even over kill but I think it’s as important as having a photographer for a bigger wedding.  For one thing, as you won’t have any guests there will be no one to share those “do you remember when” stories with and you won’t have photos that guests take as a reminder of your day.

elopement ideas taxi wedding transportHaving professional pictures is a great way of sharing your elopement with the people who couldn’t be there.  You might not intend to invite anyone at all or you might only have a small number of guests, so your professional pictures are great to show people what they missed and the story of your elopement.

And as with any wedding photography long after your memories of your elopement have faded, you’ll really value those pictures as a reminder of your day.  If you’re looking for a photographer for your elopement do get in touch.

Think about witnesses

If you’re planning to have a legal civil ceremony in the UK you’ll need two witnesses.  If it’s just the two of you eloping you might grab a random person off the street or ask your photographer to act as a witness for you.  Your elopement venue should be able to give you more information about who can act as a witness.

It’s worth keeping in mind that who ever acts as a witness may be required to closely observe parts of the ceremony, so if you ask me to witness your wedding as your photographer I may not be able to take pictures for part of the ceremony.

how to elope intimate wedding


Break the news

It’s a good idea to think about the people you need to tell in person.  If you’re getting married without people like your parents or best friends present, they might be hurt by your decision and they may not react as you’d want them to.  You need to be prepared for the fact that their own feelings might stand in the way of them being as happy for you as you’d hope.  Of course they may be thrilled for you but it’s always good to be prepared.

Once your most important people know you can think about how to tell everyone else.  Maybe you’ll simply post a picture on Facebook of you in your elopement wedding outfits or perhaps you’ll organise a secret elopement party and announce it to everyone there.

As well as having a photographer maybe you’ll commission a wedding highlight film to document your elopement and make a highlights film that you can share with friends and family.

london wedding photographer babb tower bridge


Own it
And finally own your decision.  You decided to elope because it was the right decision for you and your relationship.  Remind yourself of your reasons for making that decision, enjoy it and have an awesome day.

Are you planning to elope? Get in touch for a chat about your plans!


Have Laura shoot your wedding!

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March 13th 2015
Great submission! I know many people who are too sensitive for ordinary wedding, so elopements are their only chance of getting married...
March 17th 2015
Loving your work. I have just spent a good half an hour taking a peek and getting some inspiration. I love the final shot on this page with the couple in the beams of light.
    March 21st 2015
    Thank you, Ed! x
January 29th 2016
[…] wrote this post about how to elope a while ago and since then a few people have asked for specific London elopement ideas, so […]
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