Tips for Eloping

Tips for Eloping

When her March wedding couldn’t happen as planned, BHLDN bride Kiley Schiffman decided to go digital, streaming a tiny ceremony in her parents’ backyard for close family. “Our families were so excited to celebrate that we decided to go ahead with a small ceremony. Ultimately, that meant that we couldn’t invite everyone we wanted to, but we had our parents and siblings in person and streamed it via Zoom for my grandmother and some of our nieces!

If your wedding date holds special significance or you simply don’t want to wait to make your marriage official, you have lots of options for holding a small yet meaningful ceremony. Here are some ideas for a wedding elopement, city hall wedding ceremony, or even virtual I do’s.



Choose a Location

The first thing you’ll need is an elopement ceremony location. Due to COVID-19, many public spaces are currently off-limits, so check local restrictions when considering a park or public gathering place. Eloping at home can also be romantic; we love the idea of a peaceful backyard wedding or decorating a room in your house for a tiny ceremony. Finally, consider getting married at city hall if it’s open where you live.



Find an Offciant


To legally say 'I do,' you’ll need a marriage license and an officiant. If you aren’t planning to be married by a clergy member or justice of the peace, many states allow friends or family members to become ordained; some even allow self-uniting marriages. Rules for ordainment and marriage licenses vary widely, so check local laws before moving forward; this guide from Brides offers a helpful overview.



Dress to Impress

Whether you’re planning on professional photography or snapping photos with your phone, your wedding day style can help your memories feel special and celebratory. While we fully support wearing your gown, we’ve also curated a collection of elopement dresses. In addition, take a peek at our video tutorials for hair and makeup, and our style guide for grooms.


Add Meaningful Touches


Wedding photographer Kerri Carlquist offers this advice: “Think of the elements you were going to include in your bigger celebration. The details of your original day can still be fully present in how you're choosing to celebrate now.” Reach out to key vendors and see if they’ll provide scaled-down versions of your cake, bouquet, and more.


Continue the Celebration


After the ceremony, make more memories on your elopement day. Plan a special activity like a hike to a meaningful location, dinner from a restaurant you love, or minimoon getaway. Still want to celebrate with your loved ones? Consider hosting a reception later—we love the idea of renewing your vows with friends and family on your one-year anniversary!


Share the Moment

Though your loved ones may not be there in person, you can still include them in your celebration! Hire a photographer or videographer to document your elopement or ask your officiant to snap candid photos. Many couples are hosting virtual weddings by live-streaming their elopements for family and friends; Kiley set up a Zoom call using an iPhone and tripod. If your elopement is a surprise, use these photos for your elopement announcement; you can also add them to invitations for a future reception.


Final Thoughts

If you and your partner are considering an elopement, we’ll close with this advice from Nicole Seligman of Junebug Weddings: “Choosing to elope on your original wedding date is a sweet way to honor your love in this unusual, scary time.”

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