A couple standing on a mountain peak with a beautiful view, on a hiking adventure elopement

Ultimate Guide: How Do You Elope FAQs and Tips About How to Elope for a Perfectly Intimate I-Do

Greetings, lovebirds! As a seasoned wedding and elopement photographer, I, Lauren, am here to guide you on the exciting journey of eloping. Imagine a wedding day tailored to your desires, intimate, adventurous, and away from the hustle and bustle of traditional wedding planning. Intrigued? Buckle up as we dive into the thrilling world of elopements and explore “how do you elope: FAQs and tips about how to elope”!

Key Takeaways

  • Navigate the elopement planning process with an experienced photographer to help bring your unique vision to life.

  • Discover and customize environments, activities, attire & decorations for a meaningful celebration that reflects you & your partner.

  • Craft a tailored timeline and budget for an exciting stress-free journey of creating unforgettable memories!

Navigating the Elopement Planning Process

A couple standing on a mountain peak with a beautiful view, on a hiking adventure elopement

There’s something thrilling about elopement planning. Unlike a traditional wedding, the journey begins with you and your partner, and the unique vision you hold for your special day. It revolves around you, your dreams, your love story, and how you wish to celebrate it. This extraordinary event is not about impressing hundreds of guests but about creating an intimate and memorable experience that reflects your personalities and love for each other – an adventurous elopement.

An experienced elopement photographer can be an invaluable companion in this adventure, guiding you to captivating sites and helping freeze unforgettable moments in time. The thrill begins when you select a significant date, find a location that mirrors your love story, and align these with your dream plans. You get to decide whether you want to share your wedding day with a small number of your closest friends and/or family members or have it as a moment for just you two.

Pinpointing Your Dream Elopement Vision

The first step towards your dream elopement is envisioning your perfect day without any constraints. This is your chance to craft an intimate and meaningful celebration that is truly a reflection of you and your partner. Start by exploring your preferred environments and activities. Do you fancy a sunrise ceremony on a mountain peak or do you dream of saying ‘I do’ on a lakeside at sunset? Reflect on what season and time of the day you enjoy most and let that guide you towards a location that truly resonates with your personalities. If you don’t already have a specific location in mind your photographer or celebrant may be able to offer some suggestions.

Dressing up for your big day is another exciting aspect of planning to elope. Think creatively, choose wedding attire that reflects your personal style, and makes you feel incredible. Don’t forget to consider the environment and the adventure of getting to the location.

Moreover, including details like food, drinks, and personalized decorations can truly elevate your elopement experience, making it more memorable and reflective of your personal taste and style.

Crafting a Tailored Elopement Timeline

Creating a detailed timeline is indispensable for ensuring a smooth and stress-free elopement day. For destination weddings, an ideal time to start the ceremony is one to one and a half hours before sunset. This allows for beautiful natural lighting and a leisurely pace to walk to the ceremony site.

After the ceremony, you can enjoy a picturesque trip to capture beautiful moments until after sunset. Following that, look forward to a delightful evening of dining, savoring delicious food, wine, and music, making such a big event even more special.

Another popular time particularly for couples choosing to elope alone is sunrise. The lighting at sunrise is magical. However, be aware this will mean an early start. Incredibly early at some times of the year.

The Legalities of Love: Getting Legally Married

Mountain top wedding day elopement

Indeed, elopement is legally recognized, and navigating through the various legal processes to legitimize your intimate wedding can be an intriguing experience. The adventure begins with obtaining a marriage license from the state where the ceremony will take place, which may involve specific requirements for witnesses or officiants.

If you’re dreaming of a destination wedding or an adventure elopement, you can officially get married in your city’s city hall and then hold a symbolic ceremony at your chosen location. This avoids the stress of navigating different legal systems and allows you to focus on your adventure. Just remember to send your signed marriage certificate to the courthouse in the city where the marriage occurred, either in person or by mail.

Selecting an Idyllic Elopement Location

A scenic location with a beautiful landscape, ideal for elopement

Selecting the ideal location for your beautiful elopement injects a thrilling element into the planning process. The location is where your love story comes alive, where you’ll be happiest, and where you’ll create memories to last a lifetime. Depending on your chosen location, you might need to acquire a special use permit, adding to the adventure of your elopement.

Considering Accessibility for Loved Ones

Should you decide to include loved ones in your elopement day, the accessibility of your selected location must be taken into account. Not only does an accessible location ensure that all guests can fully participate and enjoy the event, but it also creates an inclusive environment where everyone can join in and celebrate together. Factors such as:

  • logistics

  • favorable weather conditions

  • manageable travel distances

  • accommodating mobility needs

all contribute to the accessibility of the location.

And for remote locations, there are exciting options like helicopter rides for seclusion and an amazing experience.

Deciding Who Makes the Guest List

With regard to your elopement, the guest list should only comprise those who genuinely value and support your decision to elope. This is your day, and you get to decide who you want to share it with. Managing the guest list for an intimate elopement ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to:

  • Communicate your wishes for a smaller wedding

  • Consider booking a venue with limited capacity

  • Ensure everyone understands the non-traditional nature of the event

It’s essential to determine how many guests feels right for you, not everyone wants a big wedding.

If there’s any backlash over your decision to elope or hurt feelings, you could consider planning a post-elopement celebration with family and friends. This allows for an intimate ceremony while also celebrating with a broader circle afterwards, creating a wonderful and inclusive experience for everyone involved.

Curating Your Elopement Wardrobe

A helicopter elopement

Selecting the ideal attire for your elopement adds a spark of excitement to the planning process. You want to choose attire that is:

  • Comfortable and appropriate for the location and weather

  • Lightweight fabrics for warmer days and layering for colder days

  • Dress with a full skirt or a long train for outdoor elopements to add a touch of drama to the stunning outdoor scenery

  • Fabrics that are not only gorgeous but also durable enough to handle the rigors of the great outdoors

  • Layer your clothing to trap heat, wear wool leggings or tights under your dress or pants, and opt for a winter coat, wrap, or cape for eloping in cold weather.

  • A lot of brides who opt for a hiking elopement choose to carry their wedding dress and get dressed at the top of the mountain or other location and then hike back down in the dress after they get married.

  • Consider whether you would like a makeup artist to do your makeup on your wedding day and whether this impacts the time of day you choose to elope.

Coordinating with Other Vendors

Your wedding day involves not only you and your partner but also the team of vendors who unite to make your day extraordinary. From the photographer who captures your precious moments to the florist who creates your bouquet, each vendor plays a crucial role in your elopement. It’s ideal to start looking for vendors after you’ve picked a date and location.

And don’t forget, local vendors can be a fantastic choice, especially if you’re traveling for your elopement.

Announcing Your Union: Sharing the Big News

Once you’ve eloped, you’ll be eager to communicate the thrilling news to your family and friends. Discussing your elopement plans with your partner and deciding how you’re going to share the news with everyone is a significant part of your elopement journey. You can share your reasons behind your decision to elope instead of having a traditional wedding, making the moment even more touching and personal.

After sending out your elopement announcement, you have the option to host a traditional reception or a casual party to celebrate with your loved ones. Both offer the opportunity to joyfully mark the occasion with friends and family. Some wonderful ways to announce your elopement to immediate family include having a heartwarming face-to-face conversation, sending delightful announcements or ‘we eloped!’ cards, and sharing a favorite photo from the elopement.

Making It Memorable: Personalizing Your Elopement Ceremony

A close-up of a couple getting married

Designing a personal and extraordinary elopement ceremony is what sets your day apart. From reading heartfelt letters from friends and family to arranging a delightful picnic with favorite foods, incorporating a beloved pet into the ceremony, or any other fun ways you can think of to personalise your wedding, these thoughtful touches can create an intimate and meaningful experience.

Seamlessly incorporating cultural traditions is another wonderful opportunity to include significant cultural rituals or elements that reflect your heritage, adding deeper meaning and personalization to the ceremony. You can make your ceremony script truly special by:

  • Adding personal rituals or symbolic gestures

  • Writing heartfelt vows and declarations

  • Consulting with professional officiants who can guide you in customizing your ceremony to reflect your story.

Incorporating Sentiments from Home

Incorporating elements of home into your elopement can genuinely enhance your ceremony. This could include traditional elements like a bouquet toss or recorded toasts, adapting cultural traditions, or exchanging hand-painted favors or meaningful gifts.

Including heartfelt messages from family members can add a beautiful and personal touch to your ceremony. You can weave them into the ceremony by having friends and family write letters or notes that you can read aloud or privately. They can also be integrated by inviting loved ones to read verses or share messages during the ceremony, making the moment even more touching and personal.

Creating a Unique Ceremony Script

An exceptional ceremony script that mirrors your love story and personal beliefs can render your elopement genuinely unique. Most wedding ceremony scripts, including those for traditional weddings, have common elements like:

  • Welcome or introduction by the officiant

  • Processional

  • Opening remarks

  • Exchange of vows

  • Exchange of rings

You can personalize your script by customizing the vows, including personal anecdotes, incorporating cultural or religious traditions, adding meaningful readings or poems, involving loved ones, and customizing the order of events. Including personal stories by narrating your love story, sharing anecdotes of how you met, or writing your own account filled with memorable moments can also add a heartfelt touch.

Anticipating the Unexpected: Budgeting for Your Elopement

Budgeting assumes a central role in wedding planning, especially when it comes to the planning of an elopement. From determining your budget to understanding potential savings from having an elopement, having a clear financial plan can help ensure a stress-free event.

You’ll want to consider expenses like the ceremony location, venue, ceremony, clothing, hair and makeup, rings, marriage license, officiant, photography, food and drink, and travel and lodging.

Start Planning Your Elopement Today!

Eager to launch this thrilling journey? There’s no time like the present to commence planning your dream elopement. From deciding who to invite to creating the perfect elopement ceremony, these are the first steps in planning your elopement.

With the guidance and support of Lauren Hollamby Photography, you can navigate the planning process with ease. From choosing a stunning location to creating an efficient timeline for the day and providing valuable tips on styling and posing, let’s make your elopement an unforgettable experience.


To conclude, an elopement is a beautiful and intimate way to celebrate your love. With careful planning, you can create a day that is truly unique and meaningful to you. From selecting the perfect location to curating your wardrobe and coordinating with vendors, every aspect of your elopement can be personalized. With the guidance of Lauren Hollamby Photography, your dream elopement can become a reality. Start planning your elopement today and embark on an unforgettable adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start planning an elopement?

Start your elopement by choosing a location, deciding on the best time of year and date to get married. Then research and book the necessary vendors and photographers. Apply for a marriage licence and any permits you may need, decide who will be your witnesses, book your travel arrangements, and order and prepare your wedding essentials. Make it a special day with thoughtful planning!

How do you elope in Canada?

Eloping in Canada is easy: get your marriage license, a celebrant, two witnesses and pick a date, time, and location anywhere you’d like. Add some romance to make it special! P.S. Don’t forget a great photographer!

Is eloping legally recognized?

Yes, eloping is legally recognized and the varying legal processes involved can help ensure your intimate wedding is legally valid.

What is the average cost of an elopement?

Elopements can be an affordable option and the perfect solution to officially marry without the often large unexpected costs that come with a traditional wedding. Costs for eloping can vary depending on your aspirations and vendors, there is no simple answer, but typically anything from $2000 upwards.

Can I invite people to my elopement?

Yes, you can invite a small group of loved ones who matter to you and support your decision to elope. Depending on the location you use their may be restrictions so be sure to check this in advance.

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