We are Sam + Bryt, wife and wife elopement photographers, business educators, and LGBTQ+ activitists! We are so freaking excited that you are here!
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So you’re here because you’re asking our favorite “how to” question… How to plan elopements. WOW! We are gladddd you’re here! 🙂
You have come to the right place for anything, everything elopements!! If you’re new here, our names are Sam + Bryt and we live, breathe, LOVE elopements, hahaha! SO today, we are coming in hotttttt with our best game plan for How to plan elopements.
Why are you wanting to elope? Before you think “How to plan elopements” think,
There are NO WRONG REASONS to elope! We want to make a point to say that, haha! We promise! ALL reasons are valid. We just want to make sure, before you get to planning away, that your reasons and wishes are well thought out! This will help your planning go smoother! 🙂 If you are wondering the reasons why people elope…click HERE to see our blog that shares the REAL reasons why! We are just trying to have your back… continuing on to the good stuff…
We saw a TicTok the other day about an elopement photographer who eloped herself with her husband… even though she is in the wedding business and knows it like the back of her own hands… SHE forgot this little, tiny, important detail. She eloped and then had to get legally married later on because they forgot to get their legal documents! LOL. Happens to the best of us, and life moves on! 🙂 We want to make sure you don’t forget about these legalities when planning (unless of course you want to forget about the legalities and make it legal when you return! That is okay too!)
Every place is different, every state/country has their own rules about how to obtain marriage licenses, so be sure to look into that and keep up to date with any changes! Planning in advance is CRUCIAL for these kind of things, you don’t want to delay FINALLYYYYY being married because you didn’t plan ahead and your marriage license didn’t come in on time. That would be no fun, plan early and avoid that drama!!
Sometimes states say you can get married alllll by yourselves, sometimes they require someone to sign to say they witnessed, and in some states… the best states… your dog can even count as your witness! Point is, every state has different rules, be aware of them when you’re planning! Wedding Wire has an excellent blog about rules per state right HERE! Check out that awesome resource and get familiar with the laws in each state.
And don’t worry! When you book with us, we help you make sure you get all of these documents in order so that it is smooth sailing!
WOOOOHOOOO! One of the fun parts. Pick your date! do you think there a date that’s super special between you and your lover??? Is there a date that maybe contains your lucky numbers? Is there a date that’s just fun to write out? We don’t care about the date, as long as you love it and have your reasons!
Another thing that may impact your date decision is the seasons (aka the weather).
Are y’all an energetic couple who loves the wind blowing in your hair and nature’s noises? Do you prefer a day at the farmers market buying flowers and fresh baked bread? Are you a bunch of optimistic, always looking for a little sunshine? If this sounds like you… maybe Spring is your elopement season!
Do you like long walks on the beach, days spent reading a good book, or camp fires in your backyard? Are you a couple of lake lovers or fans of steak from your own grill? Chances are, if you’re one of these fairy light on the back porch and late night movie night lovers, Summer could be your elopement season!
How does a RED (Taylor’s Version) elopement day soundtrack sound to you? Maybe add in a trip to Starbs for a pumpkin spice latte, a little bit of comfort food, and some pumpkin patch walking?? If these sound like more of your vibe, we are going out on a limb and saying that Fall is your elopement season!
Lastly, are you a fan of layers on layers on layers? Do you love a good fluffy sweater + scarf combo?? Are you more of a drinks by the fireplace, INSIDE, kind of person? Hahahaha don’t worry, we are too! Are you and your lover big fans of snow ball fights and snow forts?! If you and your lover are biiiiiig nights staying in people… Winter is definitely your elopement season!
Think about what kind of season is YOUR elopement season!
Put together your elopement day guest list… or don’t, LOL! Elopements are “defined” (there are many definitions of elopements, check out our blog on that HERE!) as a wedding ceremony with less than 20 guests! But again, the definition can be taken in many ways. So, take the time to sit with your lover and decide what you want. Are you wanting to elope alone and be as intimate as possible with your soon-to-be spouse? Or are you wanting your nearest and dearest people to be there celebrating right there with you?? Either is okay and doesn’t make it anyyyy less of an elopement 🙂 Do it your way, just make sure y’all are on the same page! This is an important part of How to plan elopements…
YESSSSSS! This is where people like us come in to play 🙂 sooooo that means that’s where all the fun begins, hahahaha! Just kidding, kind of. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your vendors, to give you some insight, we are currently booking 2023 couples!!!!! WHAT?!!!! Yes. Life is crazy for people in the wedding vendor business… start the conversation early! Either way just make sure you find vendors that really vibe with you two and your values.
Ideas of people to start looking for/talking to:
The list can truly be as long or as short as you want it! REGARDLESS, we suggest to start looking for your soon so that you can make sure to get the ones that you love! Talk to them early and start building that relationship! We love our clients like besties and we look forward to making a special bond with each of them. You’ll know the vendor is meant for you when they genuinely want that connection with you, when they are HAPPY for you and your marriage (INCLUSIVITY is important here people!!!), and when they want to help you in any way they can. Your vendors should feel like friends by the end of this process!
ANOTHER big thing to do in advance! Find out where you’re going, what you’re doing, and when you’re doing it. The three W’s if you will, hahaha! If you’re planning an epic destination elopement this is EXTRA important! Make sure you’re aware of any travel restrictions in the area – as much as we would love to dismiss it, it is still COVID times people! Don’t get caught off guard – and make sure you plan accordingly.
Look for your hotels, motels, airbnbs, whatever you may be searching for, are free in advance. Don’t forget to book your car if you need to as well. And if you are planning to actually have your ceremony at your airbnb, make sure that the hosts approve!
Finally! Back to the fun stuff of How to plan elopements!!! The list of joys that eloping brings are endless, but this is one of the top ones. When you elope, you can stay wherever you are for a couple days after since technically, you’re probably already going to be somewhere cool.
Ideas for after elopement activities:
Click HERE to see an even longer list of the activities you can do to make your elopement special! The possibilities are truly endless!
And now it’s time to get real. Sorry not sorry, this is a vital part to planning any kind of event! DO calculate your cost so you know what you’re in for. DON’T surprise yourself down the line. HERE is a great article that explains the average cost of eloping.
Remember all those vendors we told you to get in touch with early on? THOSE are your expenses. Plus travel fees. How are you getting to your elopement location? Do you need to book a plane ticket? Train ticket? Add up the gas it’ll take to get there? Whatever you’re going to spend money on, keep a running total. Add it all up in the end and BOOM, you have successfully calculated your elopement cost.
One thing we have found that has helped is to set a budget ahead of time. Decide with your partner how much you’d like to spend and then plan for that budget. Deciding this ahead of time will allow you to know about how much you can spend on each vendor.
Timelines are the outlines for how your elopement day is going to go; if you want your day to be a smooth sailing ship, we recommend making a timeline when thinking How to plan elopements! A timeline can for sureeee be altered as need be, but it is a good little guide for your elopement day! But don’t worry, we help along the way and make sure that the day we plan is the exact day that you envision! You can find a sample timeline below or if you want a more detailed post about how to create a timeline, click HERE.
9AM – Wake up in your AIrBnB, get dressed, and head to breakfast with your lover. Start your elopement day off strong!
10AM – Breakfast as a local diner, we’re looking for the best vibes only here!
11AM – Head back to your AirBnB to get ready for the day!
12PM – Wedding attire, ON! Music to dance to, ON! Laughter filling the room, so ON!
2PM – Leave to meet your photographers for an epic hike to your ceremony location.
2PM – Take photos to last a lifetime, then head to your elopement destination.
3PM – Ceremony! EEEK!
4PM – You’re married!!!!! Take a minute to yourself. Pop the champagne. Time to celebrate!
5PM – Of you have guests, this is your party time!! If there are not guests, spend this time with some post elopement activities like the ones we mentioned above.
6PM – DINNER! The best part hahaha just kidding, plan a fancy dinner somewhere and eat your heart out!
7PM – Maybe plan for sunset photos with your favorite photographers, heyyyy! 😉
8PM – Head back to your AirBnB for the night… CONGRATS! You did the damn thing!
PHEW! The timeline and the cost calculations are the beginning of your prep, but don’t worry, the rest of the stuff gets a little more fun hahahaha! 🙂
Start prepping for EVERYTHING. Start scheduling fittings for your wedding attire, start looking at flower configurations to see what you like best!
Its never too early to start wedding planning and preparations. So snuggle up with your partner and dream away about your elopement day! The possibilities are endless!
The last step to How to plan elopements, but arguably the most important!! Take every step slowly and enjoy the process. Take the time to laugh away the little things, take mental (or real!!!) pictures of every milestone, and don’t forget to truly enjoy yourself. YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED, it’s the perfect time to celebrate! 🙂
This has been a beautiful, fun process of creating a “How to plan elopements” blog for you!! We enjoyed pulling this together and hope it takes some weight off of your shoulders and allows you to slow down, smell the roses, and enjoy this process! Congrats again!
Sam + Bryt