Elopements were growing in popularity even before the pandemic—couples sought to avoid the hassle of a traditional wedding or just save some money. Wedding planners who’ve adapted to the pandemic by specializing as elopement planners say Covid-19 sped up the small wedding trend. Couples who choose to modify their wedding plans rather than postpone them find that a quickie ceremony can give them stability in the midst of uncertainty. An intimate, personalized ceremony can be just as beautiful as a large wedding. Here are tips to make eloping a priceless memory.
Hire an elopement planner.
Look for an elopement planner who can help you scout a location, find an officiant, organize the ceremony, line up permits, and design a pop-up reception. If you don’t enlist a professional, ask your maid of honor or bridesmaids to help coordinate if you need help. Putting together a wedding quickly with few guests doesn’t alleviate all the stress-inducing details. Get someone who will help with the heavy lifting. At the very least, have someone double-check that you have everything you need for a legal marriage.
Make a smart location choice.
You want somewhere that will provide a romantic atmosphere for the ceremony. Your local botanical garden comes with a photo-ready backdrop of lush greenery. The nearby beach sets a romantic vibe with crashing waves and a beautiful sunset, while the neighborhood park probably has a grassy, natural space. A national park is a leading elopement destination for an epic outdoor setting. Think about some of the practicalities of the venue you pick. Consider the limitations and travel capabilities of your must-have guests.
If you’re moving the ceremony indoors as the weather turns cooler, while following your states guidelines on group sizes, consider chapels and churches, but also think outside the box. Rent a yoga studio with exposed brick or consider small businesses such as antique shops, bakeries, cafés, or photography studios. Courthouses provide unique architectural elements—large columns, arches, and staircases provide visual appeal.
Cover the legal bases.
Once you decide where your nuptials will occur, find out whether you need to obtain your license at the city hall, the city clerk’s office, or the marriage license bureau in the county where you plan to marry. Most states have information about legal requirements (including what materials and documents to bring with you) on their government website.
Invite virtual guests.
The decision to give up flying in guests for a large destination wedding doesn’t mean you can’t share the special moment. Send out invitations to a wedding Zoom so your friends and family can watch the event. Set up a hotspot, put your laptop on a stand, and let the virtual good times roll.
Don’t neglect a reception (even if just for the two of you).
Celebrating with your new spouse after the ceremony will make the moment even more special. Take some time to savor the moment in a way that feels true to the two of you.
Take photographs or video.
Don’t miss out on the chance to capture the moment in photos you’ll treasure. If you don’t hire a photographer, ask one of your witnesses to do the honors. Even if it can’t be the wedding of your dreams, it will be a special memory for the two of you for years to come.