Does planning your elopement totally stress you out? There are so many details to coordinate. It can get real overwhelming real fast. Where do you start? How do you know in what order to check things off the list?
First things first, take a deep breath. Relax. Everything is going to be fine. Actually, it’s going to be better than fine. Your elopement is going to be awesome! Second thing: Read this post. I know planning your wedding can be hard and coordinating an elopement from far away can be even harder, but with this post, hopefully your stress comes down a few notches and you can start planning your elopement from start to finish with these 10 steps.
Step One: Create A Budget
Elopement or not, every wedding needs a budget. Talk to your partner about what it looks like. Talk to your parents and your partner’s parents to see if they are going to financially contribute as well. It’s important to be realistic with the budget so that you know what your priorities are during the planning process.
Step Two: Pick A Location
One of the best things about eloping means you can choose whatever setting you want in whatever location you want. Beachside or on the top of a mountain, you pick your perfect venue.
From Colorado to Italy, your options really are endless. Try thinking about places that have special significance to you or your partner or just somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel to and start researching venues. And if you’re stuck or just need some inspiration, check out this post where I give you 10 awesome elopement locations, both in Colorado, around the U.S., and internationally.
Step Three: Set A Date
Setting a wedding date seems like an easy task, right? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. If your elopement location is really important to you, you might have to work around their booking schedule or even the climate, which means you might not have much of a choice when it comes to the date. But if the time of year and availability of you, your partner, and any special family and friends are more important, then find an elopement location that can accommodate and work around your schedule.
Step Four: Select Vendors & Make Guest List
There’s a couple ways you can go about selecting vendors for your elopement. The easiest would be to hire a wedding planner that takes care of these tasks for you. Especially if you are far away from your elopement location, hiring a planner can alleviate a lot of stress for you. They already know the area and most likely have a list of vendors that they already work with. All you would have to do is pick ones that you like best.
The other way to go about selecting your vendors is to do it yourself. This approach does take a lot more time and research on your end, but knowing that you selected each piece of your wedding will be so rewarding when the day comes.
And lastly, start thinking about who you want beside you as you get married. Whether that’s just the two of you or 20+ family and friends, invite people that you can’t imagine not being there with you. Once you finalize that, start working on designing and sending out save the dates and/or invitations (if applicable).
Step Five: Choose Attire, Rings, and Essentials
One of the best parts (for women anyway) of wedding planning is finding a wedding dress. Start shopping and trying on gowns for your elopement. Keep in mind that most wedding dresses can take up to 9 months to order and come in so maybe bump this step up if you know your elopement is around the corner.
Also work on coordinating your partner’s attire, any groomsmen or bridesmaids outfits, select your wedding rings, and don’t forget about veils, shoes, jewelry, hair pieces, and any special items you want included in your ceremony.
Step Six: Plan Itinerary
From how to get to your elopement location to where you are honeymooning afterwards, make sure that you account for every day of your itinerary. Don’t forget about accommodations of getting to and from airports, etc. If you have a wedding planner or are eloping through an all-inclusive option, they should help you with this step.
Step Seven: Book Travel
Time to book those flights, hotels, and rental cars! Don’t forget about getting passports in order if you’re eloping internationally. If family and friends are joining you, remind them to take care of booking their travel as soon as possible as well.
Step Eight: Take Care of Legal Requirements
DON’T skip this step, you guys. Research the legal requirements for marrying in your elopement location thoroughly and make sure you have your bases covered. Your venue and/or wedding planner can help point you in the right direction with this, but Google is also your friend. There are usually strict requirements and waiting periods if eloping internationally, but if you are eloping in the United States, also make sure to check each state’s requirements.
Once you find out what is required of you legally, make the necessary arrangements to go with your partner to the courthouse to get your marriage certificate or to legally marry beforehand (if eloping internationally).
Step Nine: Pack
It’s almost go time! Make a packing list and start packing early so you have less of a chance of forgetting things. Planning a wedding has a funny way of clouding up your brain so by starting your packing a few days or even a week or two early, you’ll remember things you might have otherwise forgotten. Don’t forget to include your honeymoon items if you are leaving straight from your elopement.
Step Ten: Leave and Get Married!
This is it. You’ve planned, you’ve waited, you’ve probably had a nightmare (or three), but it’s finally time for you to get married. Grab your bags, get your partner, set that automatic response on your email, and go get yourself married!