You’ve made the brave decision to elope. Congrats! Whether you’ve known all along you wanted a non-traditional wedding day or you came to the decision after learning more about today’s elopements or were simply overwhelmed with planning a traditional wedding and found this alternative – you’ve made it here. Perhaps now, though, you’re now wondering where to begin planning an elopement.
Where to Begin Planning an Elopement
1. Find a Planning Pro
The very first step is already done: you’ve made your decision. From there, you have a few next options. Sit and think together: do you know where you want to elope? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. That’s important to figure out, though, because this step is finding a planner or photographer. Some (probably most) elopement photographers also act as your elopement planner, but not all do. It’s good to know as you’re researching photographers what services they offer beyond just photos. Do they help you find a location? Do they know the areas you’re considering? If they do nothing more than show up the day of, you’ll want to consider finding an elopement planner as well, as these services are so helpful in creating an easy and wonderful day.
2. Find a Location to Elope
So to recap: decide to elope, then decide who to hire to photograph it! Next step, begin to lock in your location. Hopefully your photographer will help with this step, and if not hopefully you’ve got someone local to aid you. Regardless there are some important considerations in deciding on where to elope. First, close your eyes and imagine you’re in your home, hanging a new photo on the wall. That frame holds an image from your wedding day. You gaze at it. Where are you? What sort of scene is in the background? Who is there with you? What time of day is it? The answers to these questions will be the foundation you work off of as you create your elopement plans.
First: where are you? What scenery is in the background? Are you in the desert, with cliffs or arches behind you? Are you by a waterfall or a mountain? Are you camping? Are you downtown with murals and breweries? Are you at a courthouse? Talk to your photographer about these ideas and see what spots they know and love, or have heard about.
3. Decide if You Want Guests
Be sure to let them know if you intend to have any guests, too. If you pictured eloping with guests, you’re allowed to have them there! If you imagined you’d have your dogs, that’s important for them to know as well so they can plan for dog-friendly locations or spaces that allow groups to gather.
4. Decide When to Elope
Once you have the where, you need to know the when. Do you have a favorite season? Did you imagine having wildflowers? Did you choose a desert backdrop? These things can all affect what time of year you want or need to elope to make those dreams a reality.
5. Hire Other Elopement Vendors
After you have the basics down (where, when, and who), you should take a breather. You’ve done a lot already! If you’re feeling good and ready to go on, the next steps are fun – promise. Next you want to figure out what you’re wearing, and what other pros you need to hire. Begin to look at the attire you were wearing in that imagined elopement scene. Think about whether you want to have flowers. Do you care to have an archway rented? Do you need to hire transportation? What about hair or makeup artists? Do you need any seating for guests?
A quick list of other elopement vendors you might need to hire include:
- Hair/Makeup Artist
- Vacation Rental
- Cake baker
- Food (picnics, private chef, restaurant reservations, etc)
- BYOB (mobile bar cart, beer burro, 420 goods, a six pack from the local liquor store, etc)
6. Plan an Emergency Kit
You’re likely going to be outdoors for your elopement, which means you need a certain amount of preparedness that goes above and beyond weddings. Having an emergency kit including things like bug spray, sunscreen, first aid, and other necessities is important to making sure your elopement goes off without a hitch. Your photographer or planner can likely help you with a full list of what to bring.
7. Enjoy Your Day!
At this point you’ve probably got everything figured out and are ready to go! Don’t forget to plan plenty of time in your day to enjoy and soak up every moment. The day flies by even if you stop to smell the roses. Have no fear though, because you’ll be able to relive every moment through your photographs too!
Looking for an Elopement Photographer?
Being a Colorado local means I can help you with in-depth but not-overwhelming location guides, helping you build your dream day, recommending elopement pros to help, what to bring in your emergency kit, what to do while you’re here, where to stay, what to know about weather, and so much more.