Congratulations! If you’re reading this, that means you’re engaged and trying to decide whether to have a wedding, elope or you’re just curious about this option for the future! So…. let’s get started. When you hear the word elopement, there’s a bit of a negative association to the word right? Well I hope as time passes, society will normalize this option because every couple celebrates diferently. I hope this post can help you feel more confident and comfortable in your decision to elope! You CAN make a whole day out of it and truly feel like you just celebrated an intimate marriage.
We have all heard the horror stories on the wedding planning process and the wedding day itself. From psycho controlling in-laws to you turning into a bridezilla freak- it can be such a bitch having to deal with the pressure of putting on a wedding. Now I know not ALL weddings are like this, but knowing how much of a perfectionist I am, I would’ve gone mad. We all have our preferences and please keep in mind these are just mine! Some might love a huge wedding celebration and that is okay too!
Let’s go back in time. As a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of having a massive wedding. Over the top decor with butterflies/ doves being released, horse carriages pulling me up to the alter, dramatic wedding gown, and an insane amount of flowers everywhere. Glamorous, fabulous and the classic Disney movie scene was what I dreamt of because that’s all I knew. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that the intent behind why I wanted these things was because it’s the “norm” and a part of me wanted to put on a pretentious show. Thank god we grow out of those phases am i right? Well most of us do 😉
For David and I, we didn’t feel a wedding fit our vibe as a couple. It would’ve been a very forced day to please certain family members and that should never be the intention in having a wedding. From feeling forced to invite specific people to dropping insane amounts of money on materialistic things to feeling discomfort while guests stare at us and having to fake our joy the entire time, we ultimately chose not to have a wedding and guess what, it was the BEST decision we’ve ever made. Reminder: your wedding day is about YOU (& your partner) It is NOT about pleasing family or continuing traditions that you have no interest in or fulfilling social etiquette.
Below I’ll be sharing tips, recommendations on how you can still create an intimate ceremony just the two of you if you choose to elope! There are still traditions that you can implement to create your special day without having the wedding. Maybe years down the line you wish you had a wedding, you STILL CAN! There are renewal vow celebrations for a reason! Keep on reading!
MAKE THE DECISION TOGETHER
Okay, you and your partner finally decided that eloping is how you want to do it, what’s next? BEFORE you alert anyone about these plans, make sure you’re BOTH on the same page, like 100% sure on this decision.
Make statements that aren’t wishy washy so people do not think they can talk you out of your decision. Stand your ground- you don’t owe anyone any explanation.
YOU get to decide when and how you want to announce your marriage plans. There is no proper etiquette to follow and do not feel the pressure to have to tell people beforehand. I am tired of hearing the whole “but they’re family so they should know.” It honestly depends on the relationship you have with your family/friends. For me, my family are my bestest of friends- I run every thought, idea through them and never fear a judgemental response or feel that they would impose to change my ideas. There was never a single moment where they inserted their opinions on what I should or shouldn’t do- the response was pure genuine happiness!
However, not everyone will be like that. IF you decide to tell people beforehand, expect pushback from family (esp the older generations) Insecure people will take it personally (that is on them, not you) and if you know deep inside that people will have certain reactions to this announcement, then make the decision to not tell them so the special occasion doesn’t get spoiled.
Make sure you both make the choice together. If you choose to tell people ahead of time, go ahead! If you don’t want to, do not feel guilty about your choices. IF people project negativity towards you, don’t let it get to your head. This is not their wedding/marriage.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE YOUR ELOPEMENT
- RENT A SPACE!
Choose where you want to celebrate this intimate ceremony! A bucket list hotel, destination, event space- somewhere you normally wouldn’t splurge on. Changing up your environment will automatically make this moment special!
We found a stunning airbnb in Tulum that was perfection! The moment I saw the interior, I knew this was where I’d shoot my wedding photos. If you’re obsessed with our wedding photos, you can also rent out this space for yourself! Check out the listing here!
- SAY YES TO THE DRESS!
Get that dream dress you’ve always wanted to wear! Grab a couple girlfriends, pop that champagne & go wedding dress shopping or check out Nearly Newlywed for a second hand dress. You deserve to have that fairytale moment in your wedding gown (only if you want to) and there are a ton of options out there! There is truly a special feeling when you put on that dress to say your vows and you can still have that princess moment you’ve dreamed of!
I knew exactly what dress I wanted from BHLDN, but guess what? It was thousands of dollars for something I’d wear for a photoshoot and I wasn’t comfortable with dropping that much money…. My heart was so attached to it and no matter how many other websites I checked out, I kept going back to the dress. One day, I stumbled upon an online boutique called Nearly Newlywed, that sells authentic, preloved designer dresses. They had 1 listing with the exact dress/sizing and it was the universe aligning with my wishes. I was able to buy it for 3X cheaper!
- WRITE PERSONAL VOWS
Expressing your own vows is impactful. Creating a genuine, heartfelt declaration is something that will be appreciated by your partner and establish a meaningful moment to the day.
We each wrote our own vows weeks earlier and took turns sharing them while we were dressed up. I set up cameras & recorded the whole thing for our personal keepsake. Our vows made us laugh, cry & ultimately feel closer together.
- THE FIRST DANCE
Dance it out! Every relationship has a song that reminds them of a period of time together- when you had your first kiss or when you met this song was playing. If you don’t, you can pick one! Play it, dance to it and have your moment! We all have iphones nowadays so set up the camera on a tripod and record your moment for yourselves!
- BRIDAL BOUQUET
Grab your favorite flowers and create the bouquet of your dreams. Use it as a prop to add an elevated elegance to your wedding look!
- CAPTURE THE MOMENT
Capturing the precious moments is priceless! Hire a photographer or set up a tripod and take some cheesy wedding shots to document the process! You can decide to share or keep them to yourselves! You’ll be able to look back on the moment & still feel like there was a mini celebration for this joyous union. This will also allow you to include & share the news with everyone else when you announce that you’ve gotten married!
- A PIECE OF CAKE
Bring on the sweet treats! Get your favorite go-to cake & savor it! You can even keep the tradition of saving one slice for the one year anniversary by freezing it too!
We opted for Lady M Mille Crepe Cake which I totally recommend. Lady M is a luxurious brand marries French pastry techniques with Japanese sensibility in creating 20 alternating layers of soft cream and French crepes. The green tea & passionfruit flavors are divine.
- THE ALTER
Love the look of standing at an alter? Buy an affordable arch, decorate it with florals or find a business to rent out that has wedding backdrops!
- CULINARY CELEBRATION
Hire a private chef for a luxurious meal at home/abroad/hotel or go out for a meal that you normally wouldn’t splurge on. If you’re a foodie, book that Michelin star restaurant you’ve been eyeing to go to!
- SURPRISE GIFTS!
Planning a surprise for your partner can be such a sentimental way to show your partner the love you have for each other. A gift doesn’t have to be pricy- it can be an inside joke between the 2 of you, something symbolic or you just want to spoil each other!
- SEND OUT WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT
After you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your moment and you feel ready to share the news, you can send out a photo announcement to update everyone! That way, people still feel included and get a sneak peek. No pressure to feel the need to share the news- do it whenever you’re ready as a couple!
I chose to share the news a month later to savor those precious moments & truly be in the moment. Below was my announcement!
Gathering legal documents abroad can be difficult and time consuming. Every country varies in their marriage law certification process. Local courthouses can also take some time to process and does not offer flexibility with specific dates/times. My recommendation is to go directly to a private business that offers efficiency and flexibility.
We decided to officially sign the documents at a quick drive thru chapel and travel to a destination to capture the intimate ceremony of just the 2 of us. We went to Albertson Wedding Chapel in LA (fun fact: Alaric from The Vampire Diaries also got married here! AH!) It was such a smooth & pleasant process- you can opt for them to complete all the paperwork for you and it simplified the process. They were SO generous with upgrading & offering us to come inside their beautiful chapel to seal the deal!