Elopement is a decision that some couples make when they want to get married in a private and intimate manner, often without the involvement of their families or friends. In today's digital age, it's possible to plan and execute an elopement entirely online, maintaining the secrecy and intimacy of the occasion. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of eloping in secret online.

Please note that eloping online may not be legally recognized in all jurisdictions, so it's crucial to research and understand the legal requirements for marriage in your specific location. Additionally, ensure that both you and your partner are on board with this decision before proceeding.

Tips for Keeping Your Wedding a Secret

1. Importance of Planning Ahead:

  • Plan and organize the logistics of your secret wedding in advance to avoid last-minute stress or potential leaks.
  • Create a timeline and checklist of tasks to ensure everything is well-prepared and executed smoothly.

2. Deciding Who to Tell and When:

  • Discuss and decide with your partner who, if anyone, you will inform about your secret wedding.
  • Consider the potential impact on relationships and determine if it's necessary to share the news before or after the ceremony.

3. Handling Reactions and Questions from Family and Friends:

  • Anticipate various reactions and questions from loved ones when they eventually find out about your secret wedding.
  • Decide in advance how you will respond and handle inquiries, keeping in mind your reasons for eloping.

4. Ensuring Necessary Paperwork and Documentation:

  • Research and understand the legal requirements for marriage in your jurisdiction.
  • Gather and complete any necessary paperwork, such as marriage licenses, permits, or certificates, to ensure the validity of your marriage.

5. Consideration of Hiring a Professional for Assistance:

  • If you feel overwhelmed or require guidance, consider hiring a wedding planner or elopement specialist who can help you navigate the process and keep your wedding a secret.
  • They can handle logistics, provide vendor recommendations, and assist with legal requirements.

6. Taking Time to Relax and Enjoy the Moment:

  • Amid the secrecy and planning, don't forget to take moments to relax, enjoy each other's company, and savor the significance of your special day.
  • Take breaks from wedding preparations to focus on your relationship and the love you share.

Remember, keeping a secret wedding requires effective communication, trust, and mutual understanding between you and your partner. It's essential to be aligned in your decisions and supportive of each other throughout the process.

The Benefits of a Secret Wedding

1. Cost Savings Compared to Traditional Weddings:

  • Secret weddings often involve fewer guests, which can significantly reduce expenses associated with catering, venue rentals, and other wedding-related costs.
  • Couples have the opportunity to allocate their budget towards meaningful experiences or investments that align with their priorities.

2. Personalization and Customization Options:

  • With fewer expectations from guests or adherence to traditional wedding norms, secret weddings provide couples with greater flexibility to personalize and customize their ceremony and celebration.
  • Couples can focus on creating a unique and meaningful experience that truly reflects their personalities and love story.

3. Focus on the Couple and the Intimate Experience:

  • Secret weddings allow the couple to concentrate on their love and commitment without the pressures and distractions of a larger event.
  • The intimate nature of a secret wedding creates an environment where the couple can focus solely on each other, fostering a deeper connection and a truly personal experience.

4. Reduced Stress and Pressure:

  • Traditional weddings can sometimes involve complex logistics, numerous expectations, and the stress of planning a large event.
  • Secret weddings alleviate much of this pressure, allowing couples to experience their special day with a sense of ease, simplicity, and reduced external obligations.

5. Privacy and Intimacy:

  • Secret weddings provide couples with the opportunity to share intimate moments without the scrutiny or judgment of others.
  • The privacy of a secret wedding allows couples to be fully present and authentic in their emotions, creating a more intimate and meaningful experience.

6. Greater Spontaneity and Flexibility:

  • Without the need to adhere to traditional timelines or accommodate large guest lists, secret weddings offer couples greater freedom to plan their ceremony on their terms.
  • Couples can choose a date, time, and location that holds personal significance or allows for a spontaneous celebration of their love.

It's important to note that the benefits of a secret wedding may vary depending on personal preferences and circumstances. Couples should carefully consider their own desires and discuss their options to determine if a secret wedding aligns with their vision for their special day.

The Cons of a Secret Wedding

1. Strain on Relationships and Potential Feelings of Hurt or Betrayal:

  • Keeping a secret wedding can potentially strain relationships with family and close friends who may feel excluded or hurt by not being involved in the celebration.
  • Loved ones may feel betrayed or upset about not being included in such an important milestone.

2. Lack of Shared Memories and Experiences with Loved Ones:

  • Secret weddings typically involve only the couple, which means that family and friends miss out on being present for the joyous occasion and sharing in the celebration.
  • This can lead to a sense of missed opportunities for creating cherished memories together.

3. Difficulty in Maintaining Secrecy:

  • Keeping a secret wedding online or offline can be challenging, especially in the age of social media and interconnectedness.
  • It may be difficult to ensure that the news doesn't leak before or after the ceremony, potentially causing unintended consequences or strained relationships.

4. Limited Support and Assistance:

  • By not involving family and friends in the planning and execution of the wedding, couples may miss out on the emotional support and assistance that loved ones can provide.
  • Planning and organizing a wedding without external support can be overwhelming and may lead to added stress.

5. Legal and Practical Considerations:

  • In some jurisdictions, secret weddings conducted online may not be legally recognized, which can complicate matters regarding legal rights and obligations.
  • Couples may need to undertake additional steps to legalize their union, which can involve additional paperwork and potential costs.

6. Missing Out on Traditional Wedding Experiences:

  • Secret weddings often deviate from traditional wedding rituals, such as walking down the aisle, exchanging vows in front of loved ones, and having a large reception.
  • Couples may feel a sense of loss or regret for not experiencing these traditional elements and the shared joy they can bring.

It's important for couples to carefully consider the potential cons and assess the impact they may have on their relationships and overall wedding experience. Open and honest communication with loved ones is crucial to mitigate any potential negative effects and ensure understanding and support.

How to Have a Secret Wedding Online

Getting married online can be a convenient and stress-free option for couples seeking to tie the knot. With the right resources and tools, an online marriage can be just as meaningful as eloping in person. 

Since 2020, the United States has recognized the legality of online marriage applications, specifically through Utah, eliminating the requirement for physical presence during the ceremony. This development has opened up new possibilities for couples who prefer the convenience and flexibility of online weddings.

When opting for a secret wedding online, couples can explore the various online marriage options available, such as platforms like Courtly. These platforms offer convenience, legal recognition, and assistance throughout the application process. Couples also have the flexibility to choose a suitable time and date for their virtual ceremony, ensuring a personalized and convenient experience for themselves and their online guests.

To get started, couples can fill out an online application form, providing their personal information as well as details about their partner. It is essential to review all information carefully before submitting the form to ensure accuracy.

Once the marriage certificate is obtained, couples have the freedom to choose a time and date that suits their preferences and schedules. This flexibility allows for ceremonies to take place at any time, accommodating couples who may be in different countries or even separated by other circumstances such as military service or incarceration. As long as both partners have a reliable internet connection and a webcam, they can use Courtly to exchange their vows.


Having a secret wedding online can offer couples a range of benefits, including convenience, flexibility, and the ability to personalize their special day. By embracing the convenience and flexibility of online weddings, couples can plan their ceremony according to their preferences and circumstances, ensuring a memorable and intimate experience. 

Platforms like Courtly provide a convenient and legally recognized option for couples looking to have a secret wedding online, offering guidance, assistance, and personal concierge services throughout the application process. By exploring the possibilities and advantages of online marriages through these platforms, couples can create a unique and meaningful wedding experience while maintaining the desired level of secrecy.

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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