I am sure we are all looking forward to a time where we can plan without the stress of worrying whether they will actually go ahead, and it is so difficult at this time, to be sure of anything. All we can be sure of, is love isn’t cancelled, and your ceremony and dream day WILL go ahead. In the meantime, if it means you actually have to reconsider several aspects, or separate your legal from your ceremoninal wedding day, then perhaps it’s a moment to step back and consider more options, thinking more about what YOU really want, and this is what made me think about Elopements! They are certainly not what they used to be – years ago running away to get married often meant a long arduous journey to Gretna Green, possibly followed by irate family members! And modern Elopements to are not about running away, being selfish, or just wanting to get married as cheaply as possible. Far from it! There are many many reasons why a couple would consider eloping, and I thought, as someone who has created several Elopement Ceremonies, it might be useful for me to share some of my experiences with you.
When it comes to planning your Wedding, I know that for some couples, it just seems totally overwhelming, consuming time and money, and creates unwanted anxiety and stress. It really is a huge task to create a one day event, and the time, money, and attention to all the small details, can really suck the excitement out of what is supposed to be a really lovely time – your Engagement!
You might love the planning and all the detail driven activities, and that’s great if you do – but if it does seem to begin to become a huge chore, and is causing loss of sleep, worry about costs and taking a toll on relationships, then perhaps it is time to have another look at what it is you really want for this special day.
So when a wedding plan begins to tip over into something bigger than the both of you can handle, perhaps it’s time to just take a step back, and think about whether or not there is something “out there” that really fits your style, personality and sense of what you really want your Wedding to be about. So perhaps this is a moment to think about whether to plan your Elopement, or Micro Wedding, and change the stress and anxiety up for something more manageable, accessible, meaningful, romantic and exciting!
CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION
This is of course where you will begin, once you have decided that a celebration of the two of you is the way you want to go. There are so many beautiful wild and fantastic places, particularly outdoors, where you can relax, be yourselves, and really have something that is magical and fabulous! From the chapels in Vegas to the Icelandic mountains, from woodland to desert, your canvas is ready to be drawn on. So choose to be in a space that inspires you, or comforts you, that speaks to you both and that gives you that sense that it would be the perfect place for you to just be, hold each other, look into each other’s eyes and make that lasting commitment.
Couples who are planning to elope will often use their Elopement Destination for a pre and post honeymoon, and this can also work out best for the budget too. Travelling far might also not be necessary, depending on when you plan to hold ceremony. This year, and with the current situation and venues closing or being restricted, perhaps a natural outdoor Elopement for just the two of you and your Celebrant and photographer might work best for you. And local beauty spots are just as fantastic as travelling further afield – and perhaps might even hold more meaning for you too if these are the places where your love blossomed, and grew.
PICK YOUR WEDDING HELPERS!
A big wedding will often need a lot of helpers and supporters, both from your Tribe and from other professionals. An Elopement is by its very nature, smaller, more practical and personal, but you may still wish to book some professional support you wherever you choose to hold your ceremony. Your hair, flowers, make up and wedding breakfast could all be handled by local professionals, and using an in-country Wedding Planner / On the Day Co-ordinator might also be a good option (unless you know the area well, and are happy to organise these details or do them yourself). Photographers and Videographers who know the local area often have amazing knowledge and ideas as to where to go for your Ceremony, to take those uniquely beautiful and imaginative shots. I have worked with some wonderful European Wedding Planners who specialise in Elopements to Europe, should you need any recommendations!
LETTING PEOPLE KNOW
An Elopement is not about escaping or running away from those you love but about giving yourself the chance to share some beautiful intimate moments in a location that you know represents your wishes and dreams. People will understand that you want to create those beautiful memories together as a couple. Taking time to focus on your partner and your feelings is healthy and builds strong shared bonds. Let people know your plans and how you’ll share your happiness with them later – perhaps through organising a wonderful party, or by sharing your elopement video afterwards. It’s also possible to elope and take your closest family with you on this adventure. Many couples choose to have parents and siblings present at their Elopement.
M and R (photo above) held their ceremony at Castle Berlepsch in Germany. It was absolutely wonderful emotional day as our lovely thoughtful Groom had secretly arranged for the bride’s brother to get permission from his military commander, to take time off to fly to Germany and walk his sister down the aisle. The look of wonder and surprise on her face when she turned to see her brother was just so touching!
You can also let people know by sending out a beautifully worded Elopement Announcement, which will allow you to tell those you love and care about, that you have “Tied the Knot” and also invite them to come celebrate with you at your “after party” or “Homecoming” party!
It really is possible to have that privacy and intimacy of your own which is all about you, and then share and celebrate with others – so go ahead and plan your Elopement your way, so that you can give yourselves everything you wished for, with the place, pace, content and timing that you have both chosen.
YOUR ELOPEMENT CEREMONY
This is the part that you really decided on together – do you want to write your own ceremony, or ask a Celebrant to write it for you? Do you want to just say your Vows to each other, or do you want your Celebrant to help you structure and hold the space for you so that when the moment is right, you can both share those words and emotions, and allowing yourselves to be totally present in the moment, and not thinking about the “next part” of the plan 🙂
Your Celebrant will create a personal and beautiful ceremony that celebrates you, your individuality, your strengths, and reflect your values, beliefs and your partnership, your goals and what inspires you. I have had the pleasure of writing several Elopement Ceremonies for couples and standing before them in that “love bubble” is truly wonderful and I am proud to be asked to create such magical moments.
Adding some symbolism or a personal ceremony to your day is another way you can make new memories, or invite close family to take part in the Elopement Ceremony itself. With R and M’s chapel Ceremony in Berlepsch, the bride’s mother lit their candle tapers for their Unity Candle Ceremony. For Lisa and JP, on board the SS Maria Theresa, it had to be a Sand Blending Ceremony, pouring the grains of coloured sand into a vessel, creating beautiful layers which symbolised their bond and their unity as a couple, and also giving them a lovely keepsake to take home with them after their adventures!
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOUR ELOPEMENT CEREMONY
If you have chosen to elope to a destination you love, then of course this will be the start of your honeymoon too! You may want to spend a day or two before the Ceremony day to familiarise yourselves with local attractions, spas, trails, cultural or other pursuits!
After the Ceremony itself though is a time to pop some corks, and to really indulge your romantic side, or your wanderlust – go for a hike in the woods, preferably with your photographer so that all your escapades are beautifully captured – or arrange for a small but intimate Wedding Breakfast, whether that’s a 16-piece Tasting Menu at a posh hotel, or a picnic by a lake. Just make some memories, enjoy the time you are spending together, and if you are with just close family then enjoy their presence in your lives at this milestone moment.
For more ideas on how to plan your Elopement, just get in touch, either by phone +447800543426, email firstname.lastname@example.org or through my contact page on my website here.
I am here to help, guide, advise and encourage you to have your ceremony, your way! Whatever your plans and ideas may be, plan your Wedding with the goal of making it truly and authentically about YOU! Happy Planning!
My thanks to my wonderful adventurous couples who have trusted me with their feeling, emotions and their love story (you all know who you are! ) and also to some awesome professionals in the wedding industry who make this role a real joy! My shout out goes to Peach Perfect Weddings and to Wild Connections Photography for their support, skills, enthusiam and just being all round awesome when it comes to helping couples have the BEST.DAY.EVER!!!