If you are considering eloping and are unsure how to go about it, this guide will be just what you need.
What Is Eloping?
Eloping is a marriage conducted without the knowledge of the couple’s family and friends.
Typically, those who elope only have a ceremony and don’t host a reception or celebration afterwards.
Although these days, couples are making some changes to this traditional definition.
How To Decide If You Should Elope
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that getting married can be a magical, love-filled affair, no matter where it happens or how many guests are invited.
With the idea of what constitutes a wedding changing more frequently than ever, so too are the notions of what it means to elope.
An elopement is more commonly thought of as an intimate wedding that takes place away from where you currently live.
From there, the rules are yours to break!
Why Couples Elope
Perhaps the idea of a big wedding isn’t your thing, or you’re trying to save for your new life together?
Maybe you’ve realised that your next beach holiday could double up as your nuptials as well?
There are many reasons why couples are opting to ignore tradition in favour of an elopement wedding.
Questions To Ask Before Eloping
Do we want to marry quickly?
Due to the fact that elopements involve fewer people and less decor, they can come together much quicker than a typical wedding.
Where do we see ourselves getting married?
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s naturally beautiful and secluded, you could opt for a woodland wedding or perhaps a beach wedding.
Eloping to Cornwall certainly has plenty of options for this!
Whatever you decide, be sure to choose a location that has a certain significance for the two of you.
Perhaps your partner proposed to you on the beach and you would like to incorporate this into your elopement?
Is there something else we would prefer to spend our money on than a big wedding?
If you would rather save for a deposit on your first home, pay off debts, or use the money you would have spent on a large wedding towards your honeymoon, do it!
This is where planning an elopement wedding instead can be a great alternative.
How religious do we want our ceremony to be?
While you can still incorporate your religious beliefs into an elopement wedding ceremony, it may be more difficult to find a religious officiant willing to perform one outside of the bounds of their place of worship.
If adhering strictly to tradition is important for you, be aware that this might come with certain limitations.
Will we regret our families not being there?
There are many ways to involve your loved ones in your elopement, even if they won’t be attending the ceremony.
Make your plans known to then beforehand; this will then give them the opportunity to figure out how best to show their love and support on the lead up to the wedding.
Other Common Elopement FAQs
How many guests can attend an elopement?
While the more traditional understanding of an elopement is that it just includes the couple, the officiants and two witnesses, couples now are also involving their children, parents and/or a small number of close friends/family in their elopements.
What if it’s just the two of us? What about witnesses?
Don’t worry if you won’t have any guests in attendance; more often than not, your wedding venue and other suppliers (such as your wedding photographer) can serve as your witnesses.
Just be sure to confirm beforehand that they’re willing to sign your marriage certificate.
Should we write our own vows?
Certainly, but your registrar will also be able to provide you with a choice of formal wording for your ceremony if required.
Can I still wear a wedding dress?
Of course! Or alternatively why not wear something a little less traditional. The choice is yours…
The Pros and Cons of Eloping
PRO: You can be more spontaneous
When there are fewer people involved in your wedding ceremony, the less adhering to a strict timeline for the day really matters.
CON: Eloping has the potential to strain already fraught family relationships
If you don’t have a good relationship with your family, eloping is not going to help improve those relationships.
Not including those family members that you’re already on rocky ground with may further solidify the impression that you don’t want them in your lives.
If that’s not the case, be sure to explain this beforehand.
PRO: There’s no pressure to perform
A lot of people don’t like the idea of people watching them; if this sounds like you, why plan a wedding with a large guest list?
With an elopement, there’s no external pressure to behave in a certain way.
You’ll be free to act in and experience the ceremony as yourself.
CON: Hiring a great wedding photographer is even more crucial
Having a good wedding photographer is really important, due to the fact that there won’t be any guests at your elopement wedding.
You will want to find a photographer that is both experienced and consistent in their work.
On doing so, you will be proud to share those all important wedding photos with your loved ones afterwards.
PRO: You’ll have more freedom
As your not spending money on a reception, your ceremony can take place somewhere that perhaps you wouldn’t have been able to look at previously due to budget constraints.
Also, due to the fact that fewer people will be involved in your day, you’ll have fewer expectations to feel the need to live up to, meaning that you can shape traditions entirely as you see fit.
CON: You won’t receive many gifts
While those close to you may still choose to send gifts or money to celebrate your elopement, it shouldn’t be an expectation.
Part 2 of the Ultimate Guide To Eloping is coming soon…
I would love to hear your plans for your special day.