How to elope – logistics, planning and ideas to help you to plan your elopement
Elopements are becoming more and more popular, which is wonderful. I photograph at least a handful of weddings per year where the couple get married on a very small scale. I’ve photographed weddings with just the couple and two witnesses present and larger intimate weddings, with up to 10 guests.
There are a whole load of practical reasons to elope. Budget, the desire to marry quickly or not being able to have everyone you love present because they live abroad can all be factors. 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:
Your elopement budget
Eloping can save you a LOT of money. Alternatively you could blow the budget on your dream holiday and elopement combined.
You could go to Vegas and then do an iconic US road trip. Elope to Africa and marry on the savannah, before heading off on safari. Have an Icelandic adventure and then watch the aurora. Head to an exotic beach somewhere in the Caribbean and say your vows at sunset. The world is your oyster.
If you want to elope on a smaller budget you can visit the town hall and then go for lunch at your favourite restaurant. You can have a lovely afternoon tea somewhere. You can plan a magical champagne picnic on a hill. Work out what sort of budget you want to spend on your elopement and then work out details from there. If you’re looking for London elopement ideas you’ll find some here.
Making your elopement 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.
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. We did the legal bit separately and then had a friend conduct our wedding ceremony on the day.
Documenting your elopement
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, you won’t have guests so there will be no one to share those “do you remember when” stories with.
Professional photography of your elopement is a great way of sharing your day with the people who couldn’t be there. If it’s just the two of you, or you only have a small number of guests, your professional pictures are a great way to show people what they missed.
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
When planning a legal civil ceremony in the UK you’ll need two witnesses. Where it’s just the two of you, 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.
Keep in mind that who ever acts as a witness may be required to closely observe parts of the ceremony. If you ask me to witness your wedding as your photographer I may not be able to take pictures for part of the ceremony.
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. 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 outfits or perhaps you’ll organise a secret elopement party and announce it to everyone there.
As well as having a photographer you can commission a wedding highlight film that you can share with friends and family.
Own your decision
Finally own your decision! You are eloping because it is 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!
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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.
Thank you, Ed! x
Great submission! I know many people who are too sensitive for ordinary wedding, so elopements are their only chance of getting married…