Is Elopement an Option for You?

February 1st, 2024

Planning a full-scale wedding is an enormous task, and even though things are slowly moving back to something we consider normal, it may still not be the best option. Many couples are choosing to elope!  

Historically the dictionary defines elopement as follows: Elopement refers to a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one’s place of residence together with one’s beloved with the intention of getting married without parental approval.

While this may still occur in some cases, it is very different now and has transformed into an alternative way to get married and still have an amazing and memorable day. Opting for an elopement has become widely acceptable and in many cases is more like a very scaled-down destination wedding. Choosing an elopement significantly simplifies planning and preparation, but does not eliminate it completely. The key thing for the day is to get the legal marriage completed, and then enjoy the rest of the day by making it something that is special for you as a couple.

Planning for the elopement means not having to find a venue for the wedding that accommodates a large number of guests and all that goes with that. You can still choose to dress up and pick that special place for getting married. It can be anywhere from your hometown to somewhere in Iceland! (Texans going to Iceland in mid-summer may be rather attractive.) If you are based in central Texas you have many locations within a few hours drive, like the Fredericksburg area or a bed and breakfast in a Hill County winery. Or if you prefer the beach you could choose Galveston or a bit further south like Padre Island. Many other options are possible, visiting a city like New York and taking in Broadway shows may be more your thing. Make sure you pick a place with activities you love to do, or have always wanted to do.

The key is to choose a location where you can both do the things you enjoy, have fun and create wonderful memories.

Pick a location you enjoy being in

So what do you need to have on your planning list? Let’s see what you need:

You need to pick your date. Remember you will most likely need to either go to a local courthouse or locate an officiant, so that may impact the dates you can choose. The courthouse is not going to be open on Saturday in most locations. Officiants will often work any day of the week.

Pick the location where you want to get married, and the one you want to have the celebration in. Most couples either pick one where they can do everything, or a place near their target playground. One popular elopement option is going to a wilderness location or to a state or national park. That may require planning to get an officiant that will travel to the needed location (including some hiking).  

What are you going to wear? A wedding dress and tuxedo are still commonly used, but it is your wedding, you pick what you wear. Consider the location when choosing the clothing and shoes. Running across a field or the beach in 4-inch heels may not be all that much fun. You do not want to be needing hospital care for a sprained ankle!

You can still dress up even in more rustic settings

You can have flowers if you want them, but it is not required.

Flexibility is a key factor, you can have flowers or not

One of the great things you can do with an elopement is to work with your photographer to do some really unique and special photographs. Only three people can potentially go to locations that otherwise would be challenging with a larger group, or at the best time of day for great light, and hence amazing photographs. If you are going to a location that is also a tourist magnet, taking photographs at sunrise is a great option as most tourists will still be sleeping and the scenic locations are usually deserted.

Make this a really special day filled with great moments that you will always remember!  

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