Eloping no longer means running away and getting married without telling anyone. Having an elopement wedding is also more than just saying your vows and signing some papers. But how to elope, what do you need to know?
Eloping has transformed over the years. It is now much more focused on what couples want to do. Elopement weddings can be as personal, intimate, romantic, or alternative as couples want them to be. They are celebrations uniquely planned to each individual couple.
Planning your special day can feel overwhelming. Especially if you’re planning an adventure elopement abroad. Where do you even start?
Sit down with your partner with a bottle of wine or a cup of coffee. Write down a few things that are most important to you when it comes to your big day. Obviously, getting married is the number one priority, but besides that, what means the most to you? Doing this will ensure you tick all the boxes when it comes to putting your wedding day together.
Have a look at some elopement timeline examples for inspiration.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the logistics and legalities surrounding elopements, read on. I answer some of the most commonly asked questions I get from couples.
I am an elopement and wedding photographer with a 150+ weddings behind me. And I am here for you and for helping you create the best day imaginable.
I’ve got you!
Yes, it is. But there is a bit more to it. And one thing about elopements is that it is quite different than the ordinary wedding – which is kind of the point – but it also means, that is is not always super easy to navigate the logistics. Of course it depends on where you want to elope to. Marriage laws vary from country to country. It is recommended to get information about marriage requirements first before booking any vendors or making travel plans. Of course, if a specific location’s rules don’t feel right to you, you can still have your adventurous elopement there but simply deal with legalities at another time.
This is the awesome part. You have the choice of almost anywhere you can think of, when you’re planning to elope. Now, I know that it can feel overwhelming, when you have the option of everywhere. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. We talk about what you dream of and then I will guide you and find some great options for you to choose from. I’ll take in account your wishes for scenery, accessibility, privacy, activities and whatever you dream of for your wedding. We work together to create something amazing and uniquely you.
Absolutely! This is your celebration and you can do whatever you want. Elopements don’t have to be just you and your partner. An elopement wedding doesn’t limit you to not having any guests! A small guest list allows you to have an intimate ceremony and share your marriage with the most important people in your lives. And there really isn’t a specific amount of guests, that specifies an elopement versus a wedding.
I however do typically not photograph celebrations with more then 15-20 guests. This is very much about mindset. With too many guests, the focus starts to shift towards the classic and bigger ‘production’ feel weddings – they can be awesome, but it’s not what we try and create here.
Honestly, whatever you want. There are no rules. But if you’re looking for some guidance, here are a few examples of things you could include in your elopement ceremony.
Saying your vows.
Exchanging rings or any other symbol of your love.
First kisses or dances.
Any religious or cultural traditions.
Performing songs, poems, dances or anything else that feels comfortable to you. How about having your loved ones record some words for you and you play them back at the ceremony.
This is another question that depends on where you’re planning to have your elopement and whether you also want to get married on the day of your elopement. Every country has its own marriage laws, so the rules may vary from place to place. Some countries may require you to have an officiant on your elopement day if you want to be legally married. Some countries may require you to have a judge, or a minister, or another person appointed by the court to act as an officiant. It is important to confirm these details before deciding on a location for your elopement. Denmark has some very liberal regulations, but you do need an officiant and two witnesses. You do however not need to bring the witnesses yourselves, they will be provided by the authorities.
It depends on many factors. Some countries are fairly easy, but some are more difficult. Why? Because many countries require things that may complicate and lengthen your elopement adventure, including things like extra paperwork, fees and even blood work. It is best to do your homework long in advance to avoid any surprises. If you do decide to get legally married in another country, you may have to hire a wedding planner or lawyer. However, you can also opt to do the legal paperwork in your own country on any other day and simply have your adventure elopement or commitment ceremony separately! Denmark has some of the most liberal rules and pretty fast paperwork.
You can wear whatever you and your partner want. But keep in mind that more than anything else, it is important that you feel absolutely comfortable, beautiful and happy on your wedding day. Also, think about the location and the type of activities you will take part in on your special day. For example, will you be hiking in the mountains or walking through water? These factors may all influence what you decide to wear on the day. If you’re planning to travel, also make sure the attire you choose is easy and convenient to pack. See my guide on choosing wedding dresses.
This is completely up to you. You can choose to have flowers, catering and a reception venue, or none of these at all! What is important is to book an experienced elopement photographer if you want to capture your special day in an authentic way. And share and relive your magic day with your loved ones
Yes. Adventure elopements are very popular. Enjoy hiking? Work an early morning hike into your ceremony. Want to have a dip together after saying your vows? Take your swimwear along! There are no limits to an adventure wedding.
It’s your special day, so you get to decide who you want to celebrate with. But whether you invite all your loved ones or no one at all, it’s a good idea to let your family and favorite people know. Often, our loved ones have dreamt about our wedding day just like we have! So, letting them know ahead of time allows them some space to process the news and support you.
Copyright Kim Kjærgaard Sørensen
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