So, you want to elope? Congratulations! Eloping is quickly becoming a popular choice. Eloping may be as straightforward or as comprehensive as you want it to be. It can be a less expensive, less stressful, and more private alternative to a traditional wedding.

This article provides all the information you need to know about eloping. Courtly will guide you through each stage of the eloping process, from planning a budget to obtaining a marriage license post-elopement.

Things to Consider Before Eloping

Sometimes it is more challenging to decide precisely what you want to accomplish when there are many options and choices. Here are the things to consider before eloping:

  • Think with your heart, not your head, about where and how you want your elopement marriage.
  • Decide the number of guests to invite to your elopement.
  • Discuss if you need an elopement planner or other vendors with related services.
  • Research the legality of your elopement and the required paperwork.
  • Set aside your budget.

Plan a budget for elopement

The cost of elopement differs just as much as wedding prices. Even while elopements are less expensive than typical weddings, they still include fees associated with the ceremony and officiant, your outfit, and any activities you choose to add. Depending on the type of elopement experience the couple desires, costs might range from $500 to $15,000. Keep the following things in mind while planning your elopement budget:

1. Find a location to wed.

Finding the "perfect" place for elopement is one of your first significant considerations. This is perhaps the most crucial decision if you want to upscale your elopement. From there, everything else will follow.

2. Select a look for your elopement.

Your style is one of the most important things to consider before beginning to arrange the rest of your elopement. The core of your budget will be how you would like to style your wedding according to your preferences.

3. Hair and makeup

Whether you want to do your hair and makeup or pay a stylist, you must schedule and plan for it beforehand.

4. Flowers for your elopement

Whether you decide to use genuine or synthetic flowers, flowers are a simple way to elevate your elopement wedding. To make things blend together, stick to your color scheme. When choosing decorations, aim to use regional blooms, foliage, and other components to mix in with the surroundings. Furthermore, it will keep the prices down.

5. Consider your elopement as having a beginning, middle (the narrative), and a conclusion, much like a novel.

You want a beautiful, romantic meal to mark the conclusion of your elopement day tale. A couple of suggestions are to either hire a private chef at your Airbnb or visit a nearby restaurant, preferably one that is exclusive and has a separate space so you can be by yourself. Decide as per your budget.

Consider an online elopement

While you are at it, you may want to consider eloping through online marriage. An online elopement is less complicated, less costly and gives you the freedom to decide the rules. You may elope to any location of your dreams, have an online officiation and your marriage certificate in under 48 hours! The best part? You don’t need to worry about the legality of your marriage in the location of your elopement. 

For example, an online marriage company called Courtly walks you through the whole process of getting legally married online. A valid US marriage certificate can be obtained painlessly, without any paperwork, and in many cases in less than 48 hours. This is how the process goes with Courtly:

  • Courtly’s concierge will assist you in obtaining your license utilizing their safe ID verification system. To make sure everything is prepared for your big day, they'll look over everything for faults and coordinate with the authorities.
  • Choose a time and date, and they'll match you with a US officiant from the Courtly network who is legally certified to perform online weddings.
  • You can have a simple virtual ceremony in the comforts of your own home (or any other location with a reliable internet connection). The whole ceremony itself should just last a few minutes.
  • You'll receive a copy of your US marriage certificate online shortly after your online ceremony, and a print copy will be shipped to you within the following few business days.

An online elopement is ideal for all kinds of people, but especially for those who would prefer to keep their wedding a secret or with very few guests. It also happens to be one of the most affordable ways to elope!

Choose a location for an elopement

You don’t have to go to Las Vegas to elope. Whatever you want it to be, an elopement can be! The following are some elopement location tips to get you started:

1. Have a destination wedding of your own.

For a large family wedding, destination weddings aren't the most practical choice, but when it's just the two of you, you have considerably more creative flexibility! Select your ideal location, make plans for some activities, and you'll have the ideal elopement holiday.

2. Go camping in the woods.

For couples who like the great outdoors, think of eloping while camping in a tent or glamping in a yurt. Beautiful outdoor scenery might serve as the ideal backdrop for photos. You'll be prepared to get married in the woods if you only remember to bring a picnic lunch, dessert, and some champagne.

3. Visit a new country.

Spend your wedding dollars on a foreign vacation rather than a costly ceremony. There is nothing quite like traveling with the love of your life; an international elopement could be a lot better use of your funds.

4. Take a road trip.

Choose a place for your ceremony, make reservations for several Airbnbs or hostels, and then embark on a cross-country road trip to celebrate your love. 

5. Choose a romantic location.

Even if it's just the two of you, you may locate a range of reasonably priced venue alternatives using Peerspace. Both indoor and outdoor areas are provided, both with exquisite architecture, breathtaking landscapes, and comfortable lodgings. You don't have to sacrifice on the site, no matter how small your wedding is. 

Pick your wedding date

Most couples find the process of picking an elopement date quite stressful. There are several things to take into account when picking an elopement date. Let's look at a few of them to see if they might help you focus your efforts.

  1. Pick a day that means something special to the two of you.
  2. Choose a feasible and practical date for your elopement.
  3. Select a favorite time of year or season, and let venue and vendor availability determine the precise date.
  4. Choose a date that is a weekday if all other factors are equated.
  5. To choose the day of your wedding, you may consult astrology or numerology.

You may easily overthink things. When everything is said and done, give it the thought it deserves, but avoid getting too twitterpated about picking an elopement date. The tension is not worth it. Think of it this way: did you choose your birthdate? And there haven’t been any complaints all these years!

Should you elope with just the two of you or include friends and family?

Many modern couples who elope will bring a few friends or family to the ceremony, even though the traditional method is to travel somewhere in secrecy and roll back into town wearing a wedding ring. It's quite OK to invite a small group of people to your wedding, especially if you've decided to wed in a tropical locale or another stunning site you want to share with your nearest and dearest. In fact, a lot of couples decide to make their wedding the beginning of a family vacation. It's recommended to keep your wedding small if you do choose to invite guests. Remember the main reason you are probably deciding to elope: you want the ceremony to focus more on the two of you and less on the elaborate celebration of a traditional wedding.

Pick out your outfits and accessories

Have you decided on what you'll wear now that you've made the decision to exchange vows with just your partner? Whether you choose to exchange vows while hiking, on the beach, while visiting a new city, or online, here are some ideas for selecting the ideal elopement dress.

Naturally, a statement-making ball gown is rarely necessary for an elopement. But it doesn't mean you can't still give a particular dress or jumpsuit some thought. In fact, your possibilities increase as soon as you choose a more casual look.

The ambience and vibe you want to convey are the first things to think about. Is it going to be a simple dress? Maybe something lighter and more bohemian? Or perhaps a work that makes a reference to modernism in the arts (think architectural sleeves and elaborate detailing). The only remaining decisions after deciding on the direction are the length of the dress and any other elements that may differ based on the season (e.g., sleeves for winter, linen for summer).

Alternatively, you can wear whatever you want with an online ceremony! Since most online ceremonies happen when you’re at home, you can show up in sweatpants, or even your pajamas if you want!

Write your vows

You don't need to be a skilled writer to create unforgettable elopement vows. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your wedding vows.

  • Choose the top three qualities of your partner.
  • Recap your first impressions of one another before saying your vows in a private ceremony.
  • Don't hesitate to be sincere and transparent in your elopement vows.
  • Describe what your married life will be like.
  • Write your elopement vows as early as possible.

Last, but not least: Book any necessary travel arrangements

Make any necessary lodging and travel arrangements once you've determined the place and date of your elopement. To save money, complete the following steps as long in advance as you can:

  • Arrange for a flight.
  • Locate the most appropriate lodging for your needs.
  • Research overland transportation.
  • Pack your luggage smartly.
  • Arrange in time for any required documents like permits, health insurance, travel insurance, vaccinations, passports, and other important documents.

How to your legal marriage license after elopement

After you and the officiant sign your marriage license, the work to make it legal is not yet over! You must file the marriage license with your chosen County in order to officially register it with the government. 

Every county has different requirements for filing the marriage license. Some counties make it the responsibility of the officiant to file the marriage license after it has been signed. But some do not have any requirements and the couple may have to file it for themselves. As a rule of thumb, always make sure to ask your officiant how to file the marriage license and ensure your marriage is legal. 

If you decide to do an online marriage, it would be the officiant’s responsibility to file your marriage license after the ceremony. For example, with Courtly, an online marriage platform, the officiant handles everything for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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