By Madison Rose Lovely
One of the hardest things about weddings is that they can very easily become about everyone except the bride and groom. Whether you’re feeling pressure to people please, feeling the tug to have a destination wedding, or you’re on a budget – eloping may be the answer for you.
In 2018, my husband and I eloped. Having already booked our traditional wedding venue, our guest list was picked out, and details upon details were laid out, but we suddenly felt a nudge in our spirit saying, “Is this what we really want?” My husband and I sat down at the kitchen table and discussed our wedding in detail, and he said to me, “I feel like we’re the type of people who would hop on a plane, take a handful of our loved ones and get married on a cliff overlooking the ocean!”
That was all I needed to hear and called off our traditional and expensive wedding. We were supported by all the family members whom I hoped, and we, of course, offended several more. This further proved my theory that weddings shouldn't be about anyone except the bride and groom.
Some of the perks of eloping:
- You get to choose a unique unforgettable location (outdoors or indoors)
- You are not limited creatively and you can flee to your favorite city or country or vacation spot
- It's intimate. You pick who you want at the ceremony.
- Social media? Worry about it later. Enjoy the peace and privacy until you're ready to let the world know.
Travel light! Get as many details together as you can before you go, and pick some last minute ones last when you arrive. I picked my bouquet in the city once I landed and opted for a faux bouquet that way I could have it preserved forever.
We chose to elope in our favorite place in America, Laguna Beach, California. I found my dream photographer on Instagram and my dream videographer who worked with my budget. I took my mom and my sister, and my husband took his best man. Our officiant was also dear to us, and my aunt and uncle attended as they lived minutes from our location. In total, we had five guests, each of whom knew us best at that time in our life. I called the city of Laguna Beach and paid the three hundred dollar permit to have private access to our cliff lookout. Our wedding view was worth millions, and I only paid three hundred; that’s one of the perks of eloping to a destination. I wore my grandmother’s sixty-two-old wedding veil, styled my hair and makeup, and met the best man I know at the “altar” of our choosing, surrounded by our closest family members.
Things you need to have planned:
- Plane tickets
- Location (it may or may not need to be reserved. Even outdoor locations have permits, though they're extremely affordable)
- Dinner Reservations for after the ceremony
Our photos turned out otherworldly and made for an unforgettable memory of dramatic ocean cliffs and crashing waves. After the pictures were done, we met at an incredible restaurant where we had our private table, wedding cake and live band awaiting us. The freedom that comes with eloping or having a small wedding is priceless. You can get as creative as you want and customize every detail to feel like a fairytale.
I know you may be thinking eloping is complicated... but it's quite the opposite. Eloping isn't an overwhelming process. It's actually the most stress free option. Whether you're doing it outdoors in a dramatic landscape, or inside, all you have to worry about is showing up on time in your dress or tux! There are countless destination & elopement photographers all around the world that you can connect with via social media. Whether you're staying in the US or traveling to another country, these elopement photographers make excellent tour guides! It's an even better investment if you choose to elope in the same place as your honeymoon, that way it's less travel & expense and you can transition seamlessly into your honeymoon!
I think how you set up your wedding day says a lot about how you’ll approach your marriage. You and your partner should feel like you are both honoring each other’s wishes and love language. Eloping is a great way to have an intimate ceremony, and you can always head to a huge after-party when it’s over, or you can choose an unforgettable destination wedding and take those who can afford their plane ticket and have the big party when you get home.
The peace I felt without a crowd of people watching us allowed me to feel safe enough to speak my vulnerable vows. I’ll never forget how freeing it felt to also know that social media didn’t know about it yet. No one was holding up their phones to video it or posting about us, and thus we were able to tell our world in our own timing which made everything that much more precious. Our wedding was a special getaway just for our intentionally picked guests and us.
My tip for newlyweds is this; have the same conversation that my husband provoked at the kitchen table, “Are we really doing what feels most true for us?” If the answer is no, then get creative!
My wedding turned out to be the most luxurious day, better than I could've ever imagined, and it didn’t even break the bank! It's that simple! Most importantly, elopement's are about having fun. It's a magical way to start your newlywed bliss and stumble into adventures, experience a new place, try need foods and get one heck of a trip out of it! When you are intentional with your special day, it is not only rewarding but also fosters a memory that holds zero regrets.