The Do’s and Don’ts of Eloping

A bride and groom at their elopement in a wedding.

Is throwing a huge wedding not exactly your thing? Maybe you and your partner are particularly adventurous. Or maybe you’re more concerned with saving money for a house than spending it on a wedding. Whatever the reason is, if planning a big wedding gives you a sense of anxiety, then you and your partner might want to consider eloping. But while saying “I do” with the just the two of you is a simpler option, it does come with its own set of considerations and concerns. So if you’re thinking of getting hitched on the sly, these are the top do’s and don’ts of eloping to pay attention to.

Do Prepare Yourself for Friends and Family to Get Upset

Despite the best of intentions and reasons you might have for eloping, be prepared for some of your closest friends and family not totally understanding why you’re doing it. In fact, some of them might not even like it. Just know that not everyone will support your decision, and that’s OK. They’re entitled to their opinions—but they’re not entitled to telling you what to do or how to live your life, even if they are your parents. Communicate your reasons in a sensitive way, and if they still refuse to see your side of it, then just understand that it’s out of your hands.

Don’t Tell Your Loved Ones at the Last Minute or After the Fact

A young man and woman eating dinner with their parents on a rooftop.

If possible, inform your closest loved ones about your intention to elope as soon as you’ve decided that’s what you’re going to do. Shocking your nearest and dearest family and friends with a surprise social media announcement or an impromptu “guess what we did?” at a family dinner can be hurtful. Let them know before you take the plunge. That way, you will lessen the blow and they’ll have time to warm up to the idea.

Do Take Care of the Legal Details Beforehand

Thinking of jetting off to Europe for your elopement? Be sure that you take the time to research all of the legalities of your impending marriage before you go. Many countries have different legal requirements when it comes to saying “I do.” Also, you will need your legal marriage certificate from the United States before you can get married anywhere else. Being aware of all the stipulations will alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress and surprises.

Don’t Go for a Cliché Elopement

A couple eloping under a colorful arch on a field overlooking a river.

Eloping doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get married in a Vegas chapel or at a courthouse—that is, if you don’t want it to. An elopement can just be as romantic as a traditional wedding. Just because it’s only the two of you doesn’t mean you can’t add special touches to your special day. After all, this is your wedding day and it’s a beautiful memory that you want to last forever. So take the time to think about what you really want your nuptials to look like. Do your research about locations and resorts, and try to make it as personal as you can. You might even consider hiring a wedding planner. Remember: an elopement doesn’t have to be casual; it can definitely be as elegant as your favorite Pinterest vision board.

Do Include Your Loved Ones in the Experience

So maybe your family and friends weren’t part of your wedding, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of your new marriage. There are a number of ways you can involve your favorite people with your wedding—whether it’s one of them serving as an officiant, inviting two of them to come along as your witnesses and/or your maid of honor and best man, or simply holding a post-elopement party. You might not realize it, but your loved ones will want to help you celebrate and by including them with your special day in a way that feels true to you, you also might be helping some of them come to terms with the elopement.

Don’t Apologize

A bride and groom who just eloped and are sitting outside at a cafe and kissing.

This is your wedding day, which means you get to celebrate any way you and your partner choose to do it. Whatever your reasons might be, they’re your reasons and they don’t need to be justified or apologized for. Ultimately, this day is about you and your beloved, so when in doubt, be true to you. Savor your wedding and relish knowing that you and your partner had the wedding of your dreams, and no one else’s.

With the above tips, you’ll be able to accept your plan of elopement with more ease, knowing you and your partner are celebrating your love in exactly the way you want to do it.

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