December 6, 2017

How to Plan an Elopement!

Elopement. Talk about a wedding trend on the rise! This, once-taboo method of marriage has now become a HIGHLIGHT in the wedding industry for adventurous couples all over the place. As a wedding photographer who has shot my fair share of vows around the U.S.A. (and the world!) I would be remiss if I didn’t provide some education for all of you curious lovers! So here you go friends, a blog that is ALL ABOUT ELOPING. 😍😍😍

(DISCLAIMER! Although I and my husband did NOT elope, I will tell you right now that I considered it SEVERAL times during the wedding planning process!! [#honestmoment haha] However, I still believe that blessing your friends with a great wedding is an incredible way to get married. I will never regret having a real wedding and I KNOW you wouldn’t either! ❤️)

The Reasons Why

How to Elope by Naomi Lynn

It has never been easier to elope. With services like Uber, Airbnb, etc. etc. (etc. etc. etc.) you literally have NO excuse NOT to hop on a plane and see the world! So why wouldn’t you combine your wedding into a traveling adventure? Eloping was once considered a scandalous affair for the most part, and there are still a LOT of folks who shy away from the idea! Grandparents especially will find it difficult to discover their grandkids have decided to run off and get married without having a traditional wedding. So, because of the delicate nature of this decision, it is good to take a minute and ask yourself a few questions before pulling the trigger and buying those tickets!

1. TOO Many Friends

If it seems simply IMPOSSIBLE to narrow down that guest list without hurting DOZENS of peoples’ feelings, then eloping could very well be a legitimate option for you! A 500 guest wedding is a recipe for stress, and if you don’t like the attention being on you anyway, then consider eloping in order to keep everyone decently happy. 😉

2. Avoiding Drama

I will tell you right now, EVERY family has tension on the wedding day! However, sometimes there are relationships that can’t even handle being in the same venue without causing melt-downs and blow-ups. 😶 Only you can determine whether or not it would be a good idea to avoid putting certain people together on your wedding day. If you have an especially difficult relationship or two to preserve, then eloping is a great way to avoid any family drama and still have an incredibly meaningful wedding!

3. Saving Money 

Hello! This one is a no-brainer. Although eloping can cost JUST as much as a real wedding depending on where you go, you automatically save a TON of money by not having 200 people to feed! If you have a tight budget and would rather not spend the majority of it on food, then consider saving a lot of time and money by eloping to a place you’ve always wanted to go. 🌏

4. Prioritizing Your Spouse-to-be

We all know what a hectic experience a wedding can be! You barely have a minute to yourself, much less your significant other! Sticking to a timeline, saying hi to all your guests, and making sure your makeup doesn’t run can all take away from the moments that you so desperately want to remember. On the other hand, Eloping is an incredibly intimate experience. With only a few people surrounding you, you are free to take your time, breathe deeply, and focus 100% on the one you are marrying. 

In conclusion, simply do your best to love and honor your friends and family when making the elopement decision. 😊

2. Choosing the Destination

How to Elope by Naomi Lynn

This is the fun part! Depending on your budget, you can literally go anywhere in the world!! What a great way to combine your wedding AND your honeymoon. The basics of this are easy-peezy! You pretty much go online and book a plane ticket! However, there are several other items to consider before you hop on board that jet. Here are some things to go over when choosing your elopement destination:

1. Time of year 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared for the climate!!! Destinations range from dry to humid, hot to cold, sunny to overcast. Be sure that wedding date corresponds with the type of weather that you want to be in!

2. International vs. Domestic 

This is the big one! If you have your heart set on an International destination, then be sure to take care of this little check-list:

  • Get your passports and any visas required
  • Be sure to bring cash in order to exchange currency 
  • Look into the marriage license requirements for wherever you’re going!
  • Add in even EXTRA time on the elopement day to accommodate for any language barrier
  • Try to find out how friendly the country is towards tourism 


3. Time Difference 

This is an easy one to forget! Even just a 2 hour time change can make a difference in how you feel, so be sure to give yourself enough time before the wedding day to adjust to the difference! 

4. Elevation

Another easy factor to forget is the elevation of where you are traveling to! If you are from Florida and want to elope to Colorado, then get ready for some altitude shock! Climbing that perfect mountain for your vows is going to be a lot harder than you think. So give yourself plenty of time to get used to the altitude before you go running up any hills! 

On top of choosing the general destination, you also want to have a plan in place for the EXACT SPOT on which to exchange your vows! This is a great project to work on with your elopement photographer. Use their expertise to choose the best location! From mountaintops to meadows, waterfalls to castles, there are endless possibilities for this magical time. Arrive a few days early and use that time to look around with your photographer!


4. Who and What to Bring

Even though eloping is an escape of sorts, you still want to be sure and bring the essential people! Here are the ones you don’t want to forget:

  • The officiant (Somebody’s gotta do it!)
  • A Photographer (Documenting this moment is 100% non-negotiable!)
  • Key family members (If Mom and Dad want to come along, then consider bringing them as well! Even with a small group of family, eloping can be a very private and intimate experience.)


In addition to the key people you will bring along, there also may be some local vendors that you’d want to utilize! I would recommend booking a local florist, hair stylist, and makeup artist for your elopement. Aaaaaand putting someone in charge of driving you around is ALSO a good idea. 😉

Now for packing! Thankfully, eloping is pretty straight forward! Just pack what you normally would for a trip like this. But just in case, here are some items that you do NOT want to leave behind:

  • Wedding Dress / underclothes
  • Jewelry
  • Groom’s attire
  • Special heirlooms
  • Wedding rings
  • Wedding shoes + a change for walking/hiking
  • Marriage license


5. The Accommodations

There is nothing I love more than booking an overnight somewhere!!! Your options range from high-end resorts to cozy Airbnbs. In this case, I would recommend finding a place where everyone can be in the same general area. The type of stay all depends on your budget and personality! Just be sure to have a food plan as well for the duration of your trip. Do some research and find a place that isn’t too far away from the spot where you want to say your vows! Also, keep in mind that the further you are from civilization, the harder it will be to any last-minute errands or coffee-runs.

Here are some fun ideas for your accommodation dreaming:

  • A castle (Italy? England? They’re everywhere!)
  • A forest cabin (Can you just hear that babbling brook?)
  • A beach resort (Nothing like falling asleep to the sound of waves!)
  • A historic hotel (Oh so elegant)
  • A mountain camp (Firepits! Hello!)

7. Day-of Tips

Planning an Elopement by Naomi Lynn

At long last, the day of your vows FINALLY ARRIVES! Thankfully, you have all the time in the world to enjoy this occasion. 😊 Here are a few tips for enjoying your day to the fullest:

1. Take Your Time

Sleep in, take a hot bath, spend some time praying and journaling, and pour yourself a cup of tea while you’re at it! This day is ALL YOURS. 

2. Pack Everything You Need 

Put someone in charge of packing a bag for you as you journey to your ceremony spot! Remember to bring a blanket just in case you need to wrap up against the wind. ☺️

3. Take a LOT of Pictures

Let your wedding photographer start shooting moments as soon as possible! She is there to tell the FULL story of your day. 📸 Either before or after the ceremony, take an extended period of time with just your photographer to document every romantic moment. The benefit of eloping is that you don’t have a crunched timeline to follow! This means enjoying your photographers talents and roaming around with your lover for as long as you want. ❤️

4. Celebrate!

Once you’re married, be sure to take some time to celebrate JUST the two of you! Go out to eat or to star-gaze for a while!

8. The Return Home / After Party

Aaaaaaaaah you’re MARRIED!!!! At this point, everyone has returned home and you have wrapped up your honeymoon. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to recuperate before you jump back into work!

Also, a great way to bless your friends when you return home as a married couple, is to have a barbecue! No fanciness here, just a way to greet the friends you love and share the stories from your elopement.☺️ In any case, be sure to catch up with the key people that you weren’t able to bring along!

Planning an Elopement

Whew! I hope you have enjoyed this little blog about elopement! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me directly. ☺️ No matter what you choose for your wedding day, I KNOW that you will have the time of your life!!! Love you all. ❤️

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