What if we don’t legally get married on our elopement day?
Here’s the secret you might not know: Not everyone gets legally married on their “wedding” day!
There are a few key aspects that make your elopement legal in the eyes of the state. Certain states require certain things — from a legal officiant, to number of witnesses, to waiting periods and more. In Colorado, we are allowed to self-solemnize a marriage, which means that you and your partner can sign on your behalf, and on the “officiating party” line of the certificate as well. No witnesses or officiants are required (though you can have them if you wish!) I can’t guarantee if your state or country will recognize that as a legal marriage (I’m not a legal expert!) but it’s one of the benefits to eloping here!
There are certainly reasons why you might decide against getting legally married on your elopement day. If the laws in that location don’t meet your needs you may certainly decide to officially tie the knot on another day to avoid having to mess all the red tape. That doesn’t make your elopement day any less special though! Your wedding day is about the love between you do, doing something you love in a place you love, and promising to love each other forever. It’s a special day whether or not you carry a legal license along with you.
Don’t forget: Your wedding day is the day on which you commit to each other forever, not the day the government gets involved.
So with that said, it’s not unheard of to get “legally married” on a day other than your elopement day.
What are some common reasons not to get legally married on your elopement day?
If you’re from Colorado but getting married somewhere with stricter laws.
You can sign the official papers before or after your elopement day, and fly away to get married at your dream location without worrying about the red tape.
If you’re getting married in Moab but want to self-solemnize.
Want the views of Moab but the laws of Colorado? Many of the couples I’ve worked with in our area have opted to get legally married at the courthouse here in Grand Junction before or after their Moab elopement day so that they can still elope just the two of them.
If you don’t want to mess with legal paperwork on your adventure.
Some couples just don’t want to worry about keeping track of the legal paperwork while out in the mountains, so instead they choose to get married before or after their elopement day.
If you want to involve family for the paperwork but not your elopement.
Sometimes the compromise my couples have made with family regarding their elopement has been to allow them to come to the courthouse and sign with them before sending them off on their private elopement day.
If you want to remove the legal pressure of marriage.
If the pressure of making the marriage official is adding stress to your elopement planning, some couples will choose to just go sign the papers early. Then if anything goes “wrong” on the elopement day, you can shrug it off and say “well we’re already married!”
If you want to get married in a certain state/country.
If the state/country of your marriage license matters to you, you may choose to get legally married in your home town or country before/after your elopement day.
If you don’t want the wait times of the place you’re eloping.
Maybe the state or country you’re eloping in requires a long waiting period before submitting your wedding certificate. Some couples will choose to avoid the red tape and just get married ahead of time.
If you can’t choose between wedding dates – celebrate both!
If you’re having a hard time deciding on a wedding date, you can legally sign the papers on one date and exchange vows on your elopement date, giving you two dates to celebrate!