A lot of my couples choose to elope because, heck, it’s the least complicated option. “I love you, you love me. Let’s do this.” That’s what my husband said to me.
If you’ve googled and searched for how to go about planning an elopement, there isn’t much out there. As a professional in the industry shooting and coordinating large weddings and destination elopements, I speak “wedding.” I have been the bride in a large wedding as well as eloped. You’re hearing the voice of experience, from all angles.
You want to elope. You’re not inviting anyone. You just want to get it done -BUT you want it to be beautiful; a day to remember that doesn’t hold the stress and fuss you’d expect. That’s why you’re opting for a simple elopement. And here’s how you do it:
Let’s say you’re getting married in the Austin area -Travis County, to be precise.
First, you need to get your marriage license. There’s a 3 day waiting period after you receive your license and you have to use it within 30 days of issuance. Click on the link for the full info including location if you’re interested in marrying in Travis County, Texas.
Then, you need to call me. Talk about your ideas for where you’d like to get married -outdoors, in a garden, hotel, on a hilltop, backyard, traditional wedding venue- and I’ll direct you to some wonderful options to select from. Many places are free or charge a small fee. You’re keeping it super simple, but you’ll want photography coverage for your quick ceremony and lots of beautiful portraits and candid shots of the two of you in newly married bliss.
Let’s find an officiant. I can help you with this, but if you know of someone who is a judge, pastor, etc. it’s lovely having someone you know officiate your ceremony. Some states allow folks to apply for a special license to officiate for a day. We had my husband’s best friend apply for the special license so he could marry us and it was fabulous. Someone who knows and loves you guys makes a far better officiant than a stranger.
Buy a snazzy new outfit. You’ve just got to -it’s your time to splurge a little, so look on pinterest for ideas, walk around your favorite stores, shop online and pamper yourself and your fiance with some new glad rags.
Visit a local florist. Depending on how quickly you’re eloping, you may be reliant on what they have in stock. If you have a week or two, they can special order your favorite flowers for you. You deserve a bouquet, even if it’s small and simple, and get him a boutonniere, too. You’d do it for prom, so do it for your elopement.
Buy a small cake. Yes, you know you want to. You can keep it simple -just order a 6″ cake topper in your favorite flavor. Honestly, I ordered mine from a local grocery store bakery and I loved it -though when Brian went to pick it up, he nearly walked away with a “Happy Birthday, Jose!” cake. The person behind the counter got mixed up. Now THAT would have been funny. Why have a cake? It’s delicious. Besides, you don’t need a reason to eat cake.
Honeymoon night. You’re staying local -keeping it simple- but you can still make it special. Want to get a deal? Try Priceline.com and get a snazzy deal the day before on a swanky place. Have a specific hotel in mind? Call ahead, let them know it’s your wedding night and see what they have that’s extra lovely for you. Some hotels offer a special honeymoon package -champagne, flowers, candles, etc. Our hotel created a heart shape with rose petals on our bed and lit yummy tea lights so we arrived to ultra romance. You can still create this on your own, but it’s nice to have it waiting for you.
Make dinner reservations. What’s your favorite place to eat together or a restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to? Book dinner for two and tell them that it’s your wedding day. They’ll make it a little extra special for you.
So, why are you hiring a photographer for your elopement? Even though you want to keep it simple, you are investing in your love story -the legacy you will pass down. And, selfishly, who doesn’t want beautiful pictures of the biggest day of their lives? You’re embarking on the greatest adventure with the person you can’t stand to live without. You need pictures -and not just any pictures. You need each moment lovingly captured by someone who knows how to keep you two having the best day ever.
Photos are from Rex+Cristina’s Crystal Beach, TX wedding at a beautiful beach house. Relaxed, surrounded by their four-legged children, fun and lots of bare feet. The perfect feel for an intimate wedding or elopement. These are the kind of photos you deserve to have, even for a simple union.