Plan Your Elopement In 5 Steps | Boston Wedding Photographer

Congratulations, you’ve decided to forgo a large wedding and elope! Now it’s time to plan your elopement.

Planning an elopement can sometimes feel overwhelming even though it is not a large-scale wedding. While traditional weddings have venue coordinators to help with the little details, elopements are largely DIY. Where should our elopement take place? Who should be in attendance? Should we do something afterwards? What types of vendors can we forgo and which do we want/need? These are some of the questions brides planning an elopement or intimate wedding have to answer for themselves. To help get you started, here are 5 Steps to Plan Your Elopement.

couple eloping in front of the hotel commonwealth in boston

1. Decide On an Elopement Location

One of the benefits of eloping is that you don’t have to worry as much about the logistics of a location. Think of a place that has special meaning to you and your partner. If it’s only available on a weekday at 3:00PM and only holds 5 people, so what!? You’re eloping so it doesn’t matter! Think about a special park that you visited on your first date. The spot you said “I love you” for the first time. The place you got engaged. Your own backyard. A city you fell in love in. All of these are great ideas for a good ceremony spot. Once you decide on a spot, check into any required city permits to perform a ceremony in that location and start working on obtaining your marriage license.

plan your elopement and get ready in a hotel suite
bride sits in makeup chair for wedding preparations
bride getting hair and makeup done for elopement
brides mother gets makeup done before elopement ceremony
everyone takes pictures of the bride before her ceremony

2. Avoid the Need for Transportation

This tip will vary based on where you’re getting married/how remote it is, but if you are in a city like Boston, consider planning everything based on walkability. Choose a hotel suite to get ready in (and sleep in afterwards) that is walking distance from your ceremony location. Select a restaurant (or bar, or pub, or food truck!) within walking distance from your accommodations and ceremony spot. Chances are you have a familiarity with the place you’ve chosen to elope and there’s no better way to experience it than on foot!

bride and groom walk down the stairs at BU Castle before elopement ceremony
bride and groom under umbrella for rainy photos

3. Decide Who You’d Like In Attendance

There are no etiquette rules for eloping like there are for a traditional wedding. That can feel both freeing and overwhelming to not have any guidance on making this decision. The truth is that the answer is personal to each couple. If having family or friends will feel stressful– don’t have any! Maybe your dog is your preferred witness. If you can’t imagine tying the knot without your sister, consider inviting immediate family only. Not close to your family? Maybe a select few friends that are basically like family are the best choices for you.

wedding ceremony at boston university alumni center
aerial view of elopement ceremony
elopement ceremony photographs in boston

4. Which Vendors Do I Really Need?

The truth of the matter is, you don’t *need* any vendors at all. You could decide not to plan your elopement– leave work during lunch, go to City Hall, get married, and go back to work without any pomp and circumstance. Today’s eloping brides like to make things a little more special. Most prefer to wear a wedding dress. This doesn’t necessarily mean a gown, but something more special than street clothes. Brides also more commonly than not get their hair and makeup done. Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean that you don’t want to feel a little pampered! Why not eliminate the need to worry about DIYing a hairstyle? I would also recommend getting a bouquet of some sort. I am someone who loves fresh florals so maybe some brides won’t feel the same, but holding a beautiful bouquet adds something special to your ceremony. Lastly, but most importantly (I might be slightly biased), hire a photographer! Your elopement is special and intimate and you’ll want to remember these moments. Don’t rely solely on your memory or your father’s ability to work his camera phone. Find a photographer to document this monumental moment in your lives.

bride and groom with clear umbrella during photo shoot
bride and groom in archway of door during couples photo session
rainy wedding day photos in boston
elopement couple portraits in boston

5. Pick Your Favorite Season To Elope

One of the best things about eloping is that this is all about the two of you. You don’t have to worry about the best time of year for Cousin Jerry. Auntie Linda’s travel schedule is a moot point. Things to consider when choosing when to elope should be: Do I have a favorite season? Do I want to be outdoors? Is there a honeymoon spot I have in mind that should be traveled to during a specific month? What dates work best for our work schedule? Does the place we have chosen to elope at have a more beautiful/comfortable time of year than others? Do we want a long engagement or do we want to get married at the first convenient time? Sitting together and talking through these points should help you narrow down the “when”!

bride and groom with cherry blossoms on boston esplanade
portrait of elopement couple in spring with cherry blossoms

Happy Elopement Planning!

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