Planning a destination elopement is a trend that many couples are embracing due to the intimate, simple, and freeing nature of planning a wedding for two. When it comes to elopement planning, there are far fewer details to worry about than traditional wedding planning. But, there are still a few things you’ll need to figure out before your big day! From location and accommodation to attire to actually making your marriage legal – each is an equally important piece of your elopement.
Big weddings with all of your family and friends present can be fun and memorable, but they can also be expensive and overwhelming to plan. Here is some advice for planning your own destination elopement:
Choose a spot that has a meaning to you like the place you met or your favorite hiking spot. Remember this day is about you and your love. Make it personal. Eloping doesn’t have to include a trip to the courthouse or Vegas.
Research the best time to visit. Beyond making sure you’ll have nice weather, you’ll want to check things like peak seasons and local holidays. If you’re going to a remote location, crowds might not be much of a concern, but local holidays –especially in smaller towns or villages - could make it harder to find accommodations, food, and other requirements. If you’re going to a place that’s guaranteed to have lots of adventure-loving tourists, we recommend looking into a date in what's called the shoulder season so you’ll have a better chance of securing the location — and tourist-free photos — you want.
When eloping to a destination, hire a travel advisor who has a specialty in romance travel and has contacts in and knows the area. I know the people who know the right people. I’ll work with you to find the best vendors that will accommodate you with your special needs so you can focus on the fun things, like planning your honeymoon! By the way, I'm here for that planning, as well!
Use your favorite season as a guide. Because you’ll be out in nature, you should choose a date that you’ll feel comfortable outside! If you want to get married in the mountains but hate cold weather, opt for a summer wedding. If you love the idea of a desert adventure elopement but don’t want to break a sweat, choose a fall or winter date when temperatures are cooler. When doing your research on seasons in specific regions, be sure to look at average temperatures, rainfall averages, and so on. While you can’t guarantee the weather on your elopement day, you’ll have a better chance of getting ideal weather if you plan ahead!
If you’re going to DIY a few meaningful items for your destination elopement wedding, choose the items you’ll create carefully. Limit the number of projects to work on, and create on a small scale. Don’t plan to take on too many projects requiring many hours of work. This will only create the very wedding stress you are looking to avoid when planning a destination elopement!
The Legal Stuff
Get your marriage license. It’s crucial that you get your marriage license within the specified window of time for your wedding location.
Determine whether you need a witness. Marriage laws vary by state and by country so do your research to determine whether you need a witness or two before you jet off to tie the knot.
Ensure your officiant is legally authorized to perform the ceremony. By law, officiants must be authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. Be sure that yours is!
Collect all other legal documents you might need. Depending on your destination, you may need legal documents such as birth certificates, affidavits, blood tests, visas, etc.
Remember to register your marriage when you return. Once you're back home, register your marriage with the state where you are going to reside. It's a trip to the local courthouse. You won't be considered legally married in the United States until you complete this step!
You're Married! Now the Post-Elopement To-Dos
Plan a sweetheart celebration or a post-elopement party. Consider an intimate picnic as a post-elopement celebration. Even if you are planning on having a reception later on with friends and family, take the time to plan a quiet celebration as newlyweds.
Call your parents, closest family, and friends. If you are not intending on hosting a party, call your closest family and friends and tell them right away. Expect some surprised looks and lots of questions.
Send announcements to share the good news with everyone else. Don’t forget to announce to your friends, loved ones, and colleagues that you’ve gotten married.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? We just covered a lot of considerations here. Take a deep breath and repeat after me, “Resplendent Nuptials is here to help take care of everything."
Where2Next? Travel, LLC is a Special Needs Group™ Certified Accessible Travel Advocate and a Scootaround Certified Blue Star Ambassador Advisor - with knowledge in accessibility needs for luxury travel. I'm also a member in good standing of the Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA).
When you're ready to start planning your romantic getaway, whether it be a chic couple-only ceremony, a picturesque proposal, an haute honeymoon, or an intimate elopement, it would be my pleasure to help you pull together all of the elements of this romantic journey so that you can travel confidently and rest easy about your plans. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or set your Quick Chat appointment (https://link.where2nexttravel.co/16187) to talk about this exciting travel experience for you.
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