Oh darling, lets elope!

I just love the idea of eloping. The notion of sacking the guest list, the budget spreadsheet, the logistics, and jetting off somewhere exciting to say your vows, just the two of you! I mean, what a story for the grand-kids! But even if you’re opting for a no-frills wedding, planning your elopement still deserves a little thought. You need to figure out where to do it, what to wear (important!), how to make it special, and what to do afterwards, while handling all the emotions that come with it. And, of course, you’ve got to make a plan for telling your parents and pals. That’s why we’ve put together a little guide on how to elope – the must-dos, and the most definitely don’ts!

1. Do It For the Right Reasons

Eloping can be something of a statement in itself, so if you’re planning to get married without your friends and family by your side, make sure it’s something you really want, and that you’re doing it right reasons. Saving money, avoiding fuss, keeping things intimate and personal, or avoiding family drama, are all completely valid reasons to elope – just make sure you’ve thought a lot about your decision, and it’s what you both want.

2. Don’t Feel Bad About It

There can be a lot of guilt associated with elopements so this might be easier said than done, but try not to feel bad about your decision – you don’t have to justify it to anyone. Of course, some friends and family might be initially disappointed with the idea of not sharing your day with you, but once they get over the shock, chances are, they’ll be nothing but chuffed to bits for you. I think the adage of “prepare yourself for the worst but expect the best” is key for this. Hopefully everyone will be rooting for you, but try not to be upset if a couple of people aren’t as excited about your news as you’d hoped.

3. Do Have a Reveal Plan

You might want to throw a big party when you get back, and let all your friends know you’ve eloped, you may want to send out announcement cards, or perhaps you want to quietly tell your nearest and dearest about your good news and leave it at that. However you let people know about your elopement, make a plan. When it comes to parents, siblings and close friends, it’s important that they hear the news from you, ideally in person, and not through the grapevine or worse, on Facebook! Have a bit of a script ready to go – as I said, you don’t need to explain yourself, but you both need to be on the same page when it comes to letting friends and family in on your big surprise.

4. Don’t Dismiss the Legalities

Make sure you read up on the legalities of where you’re getting married; how long you need to register in advance, what ID and paperwork you need to bring, and whether the marriage will be valid in your own country or state. We all have a romantic notion of an impromptu wedding where you just book your flights and say “I Do”, but sadly, even the most fanciful gestures require some forethought. Oh, and don’t forget to collect your marriage certificate before you fly home!

5. KISS Package includes a Photographer

Booking a photographer is a sound investment for your wedding day, and even more-so if you’re eloping. Having pictures to show your friends and family will make them feel part of your day. Plus, you’ll have keepsakes of your vows to keep the memories alive. After all, if you don’t have photographic evidence, did it even happen?

6. Do Make It Special

Just because you don’t have 120 guests to wine, dine and entertain doesn’t mean your elopement shouldn’t be special. Whether it’s writing personalised vows, splashing out on a fancy limousine, eating wedding cake for breakfast, or going to a five-star restaurant for dinner, do whatever it is that will make your wedding day feel special and truly memorable. The best thing about eloping is that you can do whatever you want, so make sure you do!

7. Do Rock Something Gorgeous

It doesn’t have to be white or formal. It doesn’t have to be a dress or a suit. And it certainly doesn’t have to be “wedding appropriate”. But do make sure you wear something special to you on your wedding day, whether it’s a sequin bridal jumpsuit, a little white dress, your granny’s pearl necklace, your favourite Hawaiian shirt – or indeed full formal wedding day attire. Have some fun with your look and make sure you feel incredible on your wedding day, even if you’re only dressing up for yourself and your other half.

8. Don’t Write-Off a Wedding Day Timeline

You might not think you need one – after all, eloping is about throwing out the rule book, right? – but thinking about the structure of your day is the best way to make the most of it. If the ceremony takes 20 minutes, and dinner takes two hours, there’s still a lot of day to fill. Take time with your hair and makeup, have a long breakfast or pre-ceremony lunch, have a couples’ massage, or go all out with your photography session – just make sure there’s a flow to your day so you can keep up the excitement and momentum.

9. Don’t Overlook a Package Deal

Many suppliers now offer dedicated elopement packages. These often include the ceremony, a photographer, flowers and a romantic dinner, sometimes along with accommodation. These packages can be handy, and cost effective, especially if you’re not really into the details, but make sure you’re happy with all the elements – especially the photographer – before you book.