Traditional elopements are marriages conducted without the knowledge (and/or approval) of family and friends. Couples in love run away to their local or international chapel and establish their union. Usually just the two of them, a legal document and an officiant, it’s meant to be a romantic demonstration of bliss and dedicated partnership.

Sometimes it’s a real-life nightmare for traditional parents or family members. More importantly, it’s an expression of excitement on behalf of the couple centered around their burning desire to be wed. Where one couple may do the deed during a drive-thru ceremony in Vegas, others take that long-awaited vacation and get married there. And, while elopements are often viewed as the road less traveled when it comes to marriage customs, this freedom allows the couple to do things exactly the way they’d like. Here’s our take on how to elope. 

What Is Eloping?

Experts say that eloping means “to escape.” Whether you’re escaping pressure, spending too much money or actually escaping to your coveted vacay, there’s no shame in doing things your way. Tradition has taught us that eloping is the act of getting married, by securing a marriage license, without the ceremony and without informing family or friends. For many couples, it’s an act of spontaneity that means extra money for the next chapter of their life whether that’s buying a home or going on vacation. True elopements are no less legal than marriages with ceremonies or receptions and no less meaningful. It’s simply a way for couples to remove the intensity and some of the attention while keeping all of the intention.

These days, elopements include inviting a few of their closest family and friends, investing in an outfit, some flowers and an experience – just on a smaller scale. If you’re wondering how to make this experience your own, we have some ideas, but you’ll need to get the logistics out of the way first!

How To Elope: Steps To Take Before Making It Your Own 

You’ll need to set a budget. This isn’t a step that’s reserved for weddings with ceremonies and receptions particularly if you’re trying to be mindful of your finances. Still, even if it isn’t about the money, knowing what you’re willing to spend will help you figure out what needs and wants will be met. It can also give you an idea of just how lavish you can make that honeymoon. Maybe you want to make both experiences equally as unforgettable. Jotting down the needs in terms of items and tasks won’t hurt whether it’s a tux and a dress or flowers and disposable cameras. However, far or short you want to be with your festivities, planning and keeping tabs on cost will only make it easier to fulfill that fantasy. 

Similarly, choosing a destination whether that be a courthouse or while on vacay will help bring the commitment to life while you’re in the planning phase. Maybe it’s a place that’s special to you as a couple or neutral without much significance. Either way, the energy that you’ll bring to your location will add or emphasize its importance especially with your legal documents are already in order. You’ll need to organize documents for travel too if you’re planning for the union to take place while on vacation. Gather your IDs, passports and such – no hitches when getting hitched! 

Making Your Elopement Your Own 

If it’s simplicity you want, you can incorporate that into every detail down to your rings. You can figure out where to shop for the expression of love that fits your style. This can also be captured in the dress or suit worn by the couple. It can also be a maximalist get together where colors are vibrant and the jewelry is grand. Ceremony-less and reception-less weddings don;t mean they’re any less representative of your personalities and vibes as a couple. You can still have a bouquet and a boutonniere. You can have the few family or friends that are on board or essential to this next major moment of your life. If anything, the style of the wedding is already an opportunity to make it your own. Really step into that agency, figure out what’s important to have and throw the rest away without a second thought.

And, if you absolutely must share part of the moment with the ones you love, there’s always the idea of a post-elopement reception. Sure, everyone may not RSVP or join in the joy of this celebration style, and that’s something you’ll need to accept. In any case, a wedding is not deserving of being minimized or downplayed for any reason. It’s a day of love: for you, your lover and possibly the select few (or hundred) that make the cut. For those of you considering, we wish you an elated elopement.