Many couples travel to Cornwall to elope and in Part 1 of this guide – ‘The Ultimate Guide To Eloping’ – the traditional definition of eloping was explained.
It was also looked at how you should decide if eloping is for you, typical questions were answered and the pros and cons of eloping were highlighted.
In this section, I’m going to look more closely at why couples elope, what goes into planning an elopement wedding and the considerations that must be taken into account when eloping.
Planning An Elopement Wedding
Book Your Travel and Find Your Suppliers
Do this as far in advance as possible to save money and to also relieve stress.
While the destination of your elopement doesn’t have to be an exotic, far away locale, it’s something to keep in mind.
Plan the Ceremony
What will you wear? Are you exchanging rings? What about the vows? Do you want to have a bouquet?
While you may not be walking down the aisle as such, you’ll still want your elopement to feel special.
Throw a Post-Elopement Party
Whether that means a private celebration for just the two of you, or an all-out celebration with friends and family, or a mix of the two.
Send the Announcements
After you’ve tied the knot, let the world know the big news.
You may want to have some cards printed with a photograph of you both printed to send to your loved ones.
You may want to consider planning a celebration dinner/party with everyone afterwards, so they can share in your good news.
DO: Prepare yourself for close family and friend’s reactions
The most difficult part of eloping is the fear that your friends and family will be disappointed that they weren’t part of your day.
It will be worth considering telling your parents before you elope to minimise hurt feelings and surprises afterwards.
Try to find a way to involve family and close friends somehow, whether that’s sharing photos with them first or perhaps hosting a post-wedding dinner.
Be aware that not everyone is going to support your decision; be prepared for their reactions.
Telling your closest friends and family via a social media announcement will also always be a huge no-no.
DO: Hire a local planner and wedding photographer
Just because you’re having an intimate wedding, doesn’t mean that you’re completely on your own.
Consider hiring a local wedding planner who can remove a lot of the potential stress involved.
Also, make sure that you hire a wedding photographer to document your day.
This is especially important for elopements because it allows you to share the moment with friends and family who couldn’t be there.
DON’T: Be afraid to ask suppliers for special pricing
Due to the smaller scale and shorter time commitments, many suppliers will offer special pricing for elopements, especially if you are getting married mid-week.
DO: Choose guests/witnesses
Guests at an elopement? Why not!
Whether you decide to invite a couple of loved ones to act as witnesses, or you just want a few there to be part of the moment, you can still bring a few along and call it an elopement.
DO: Budget responsibly
Even if you manage to arrange some discounted quotes from your suppliers, once you factor in travel and accommodation, your elopement can turn into that small wedding cost that you were trying to avoid.
Sit down with your partner and discuss any financial concerns you may have.
Assuming that you’ve involved your parents from the start, they might be willing to offer some monetary support.
DO: Send a marriage announcement
Send a marriage announcement after your elopement as some people might be wondering whether they will be receiving a ‘save the date’ soon.
A marriage announcement lets people know that you’ve already tied the knot and it’s the perfect opportunity to show off your beautiful wedding photographs.
DON’T: Down-play your elopement
Just because you’re eloping, doesn’t mean that the day can’t be special; it’s still your wedding day and there’s a reason to be excited and celebrate.
Don’t forget to indulge in the bridal aspects of the day.
Wear a special dress, consider a bouquet and having a special meal afterwards.
The Ultimate Elopement Checklist – Everything You’ll Need
Eloping is much easier than planning a full blown wedding.
You don’t have to worry about securing large venues with caterers or sending out invitations to hundreds of guests.
Even so, eloping still requires some preparation, especially if you are traveling.
There are suppliers you will need to book, like a wedding photographer and a officiant/registrar.
You will also need to think about the paperwork and post-elopement tasks such as sending out wedding announcements.
Travel and Accommodation
Finalising your elopement wedding location will be the first step.
For many couples, planning an elopement is a bit like planning a big trip away; reservations like the accommodation and any restaurants will need to booked in advance.
Secure your officiant/registrar
With many wedding venues across Cornwall now offering elopement weddings, once you have decided on a venue, contact the local council to arrange your officiant/registrar.
Book your suppliers
Many couples arrange suppliers for their elopement.
You will want to book a wedding photographer to capture your big day or perhaps a chef to prepare a celebratory meal, depending on where you are eloping and staying.
It’s important to consider which suppliers are vital for you to have at your elopement wedding.
Just because you’re eloping, it doesn’t mean that you may not want a hair stylist, make-up artist or florist involved.
Remember that you will need two witnesses to your marriage and these suppliers can easily double up as these, as long as you have confirmed they are happy to do so beforehand.
5 Wedding Traditions You Could Include In Your Elopement
Just because you’re skipping the big wedding, doesn’t mean that you can’t include some of those classic wedding traditions in your elopement if you so wish.
A first look
First looks are a relatively new tradition on the wedding front and they are finding their way into elopements as well.
Many couples who elope also hire a professional wedding photographer to capture the day and make a first look part of the itinerary.
Like a traditional wedding, couples collaborate with their photographer to find an idyllic location for their first look on the day.
For elopements, this can be rather dramatic given locations such as woodland, cliff edges and beaches that are a better fit for smaller groups, rather than a classic, larger wedding.
Walk down the aisle
Why not make a grand entrance at your elopement wedding?
While not all elopement wedding venues have aisles as such, there’s no reason why you can’t arrive to your favourite song as a couple, or walk down a designated ‘aisle’.
One of the many popular wedding traditions that couples include in their elopements is reciting their own vows.
Use elements in your intimate wedding that reflect the things that make your relationship wonderful or unique, including what you say during the exchange of vows.
A champagne toast
Bring along a special bottle of champagne to get the party started, even if you’re keeping the celebration private.
A first dance
Having a first dance at your elopement can be just as impactful as it is in front of 200 guests.
Playing your favourite song can be as simple as playing it through a Bluetooth speaker and embracing the moment as newly weds.
Why not consider hiring a musician, such as a violinist or guitarist, to play during this special moment?
Don’t be afraid to get creative; just because you’re not having a big wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t go big on some things…
I would love to hear your plans for your special day.