You're engaged and you and your partner have decided you want to elope. First off, woohoo!! This is such a huge milestone and I encourage you to really soak in this moment. it really does fly by and I want you to feel every happy emotion and experience every happy memory. With all that being said, you've now decided to elope. How do you that though? What does it mean to elope and how do you do it? While it may seem as easy as waking up one morning and deciding "today is the day", there can be a lot more thought and intention that surrounded eloping. So in this guide to eloping, I am going to show you step by step on how to elope!

First things first, you're going to need to know what eloping is and what it really entails. I could go on and on about how much I love elopements and why more couples should do them. However, I have compiled a list of some must-need read blog posts for you instead! You can read some of these blog posts below that will help you give a better understanding and foundation for the next steps!

  • What is Eloping?
  • Elopement vs Intimate Wedding
  • Why You Should Elope

what type of elopement are you planning on having? What is the "vibe"?

The first step in knowing how to elope all starts with determining what type of elopement you want and what your "vibe" is. This is essentially saying, what do you want the look and feel of your wedding day to be! Are you wanting somewhere more rustic? More city-like or industrial? Are you wanting to hike to the top of a mountain? Are you wanting to let nature do all the talking or are you wanting to decorate and make it your own? Are you wanting to travel to your elopement location or is it somewhere close by? The possibilities are endless but it's important to know this above anything else. This will be the foundation blocks of building your perfect elopement and making sure that you are getting everything you want for your special day. Knowing this will set you up for success when it comes to the next step!

what is your budget for your elopement?

Determining your budget for your elopement will be one of the most important discussions you have with your partner. Your elopement budget is essentially how much money you're wanting to spend on your elopement and where you choose to allocate your money. This can all be determined based on what type of vibe and feel you're going for your elopement. If you're wanting to travel for your elopement, then you're going to need to allocate money for travel costs as well as rentals and anything else you would need for your elopement. Budgeting for your elopement, while not the most exciting thing to talk about, will be incredibly helpful when it comes game time to start booking your wedding vendors/venue.

knowing the law when it comes to eloping

Another one of those not so exciting things when it comes to eloping is knowing the laws behind it. Now, if you're planning on getting married where you currently live then this doesn't need much explanation. However, if you're planning to elope somewhere where you don't currently live, they may have different laws and rules that you need to follow. Knowing this ahead of time will save you a ton of worry, especially if you are just *crossing your fingers* and hoping for the best.

how many guests do you want in attendance?

Before running off and getting married to your best friend, you also want to know how many guests you're planning on having attend your elopement. The idea of elopements is to have a small guest count, that's why they are called elopements. However, eloping does not always mean you're there with just you and your partner. It can include an officiant and even a small guest count (between 2-10 people). This is going to be a big decision if you're having a tough time narrowing down who are the most important people you want to witness your elopement.

Keep in mind as well, that when you choose to elope and have guests, they too will have to head to where you're going. So if you're planning on hiking, make sure that every guest will be able to make it to your ceremony location.

determine which vendors you want to hire

Okay, in comes the fun stuff. So now that you have determined the feel for your elopement, you've brushed up on laws and determined your budget, now it's time to start booking your vendors! Your vendors for your elopement can play a major role in turning your wedding day vision into a reality. It's important to determine which vendors you feel are important in bringing your wedding day to life. Do you value your wedding photos? Invest in a wedding photographer *cough cough*. Do you value a seamless planning process? Hire a wedding planner! Are you wanting a ton of fresh florals? Hire a florist! Who you decide to hire and where you choose to budget your money will be entirely up to you, your partner and the budget that you two have created.

what do you want to wear to your elopement?

Knowing what you want to wear to your elopement will obviously be determined by where you choose to elope. However, having a general idea and knowing where you're going to elope will help you in choosing the right wedding attire. If you're planning on hiking to the tallest mountain you can find, you may want to consider a more breathable dress or changing it once you get to the top. If you're planning on eloping in a climate that is much warmer, you may opt for a thinner and more breathable material. If you're planning on eloping in a climate that is much cooler, you may opt for a more thicker and durable material. Whichever you choose, determining what you're wearing is a key component to knowing how to elope.

make sure to let everyone know (sometimes)

If you're planning to elope, you're also going to want to inform everyone of this decision. Now, I'm not saying you need to blast it all over social media and as your Facebook status. What I am saying, is that you're going to want to notify friends and family of this decision. Especially if some of them are *expecting* an invite, you're going to want to let them know of you and your partner's decision to elope.

Keep in mind, that when choosing to elope and not invite everyone this may cause some shocking responses. Prepare for what family members & friends might say and let them know that your decision to elope has nothing to do with them! You also have the option to not tell anyone that you're eloping as well. While this may be a bit jarring for some of you, if you know that outside opinions may influence your decision then you always have that option to not tell them until after it's done. All in all, just be aware that everyone's reactions may be different.

the elopement after party

When you and your partner decide to have an elopement, it's because you're wanting to explore, go somewhere new, and have a bit more intentionality and privacy on your wedding day. However, that doesn't always mean that all of your friends and family are excluded from the celebration. While you may decide to get married just you and your partner, many couples choose to have what I like to call an elopement "after party". The after-party is essentially a planned party/reception for your elopement. See, what this does is it makes your friends and family feel included on such a special occasion, but you're still able to have the dream ceremony and privacy that you've wanted. I would highly recommend considering having a dinner/reception with guests not invited to the ceremony. Everyone is in good spirits and it makes eloping that much more enjoyable.

a guide to eloping: how to elope

At the end of the day, choosing the elope is entirely 100% you and your partner's decision. No one else's. If you choose to elope, hopefully, a few of these tips on knowing how to elope will help you out in planning the perfect elopement for you and your boo. Just remember your day, your wedding, your way.

Gayle does more than just take photos of people. Rather, it is capturing moments of LOVE and HAPPINESS. Singing to the skies, dancing in a field, smiles that hurt because they’re so big. There is nothing else I would rather be doing than photographing these unique details that make you and your significant other a couple. If this blog puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!