Eloping Etiquette: Tips Every Eloping Couple Needs to Know

So you and your lover have made two really big decisions: You want to spend the rest of your lives together and you’re going to make things official with an elopement.  Elopements are becoming more and more popular as older traditions begin to fade and the cost of having a wedding grows larger by the day.  But since elopements are not quite as common as weddings, there is a ton of uncharted territory.  Certainly oodles of questions come along with the decision especially when you think about the right eloping etiquette. 

Furthermore, little questions such as what do I wear and where should we go can quickly add up to a whole lot of confusion.  Luckily for you, we’ve put together some of our best tips on elopement etiquette for couples who are planning their intimate wedding ceremony. That way, you can plan your special day without major hiccups along the way!

7 Elopement Etiquette Tips for Planning Your Special Day

The time has come to plan your elopement, but you’re probably a little confused about some of the technicalities.  We want you to know that you’re absolutely not alone.  Just about every other couple that has opted to elope has been in your position.  And likely confused about eloping etiquette!  Our team is here with some resources to make this process much easier for you!  Here are 7 tips to guide you down the best path to plan your elopement…

1. Break the News of Your Elopement the Right Way

Announcing your elopement is a very exciting part of your journey to becoming husband and wife!  But it is important to figure out who needs to hear it from you, who can hear it from somebody else and who can find out from grandma, etc.

Those who are closest to you should find out about your elopement directly from you. For instance, this could include your immediate family and best friends.  If you’re having a hard time drawing solid lines here, think about who you would want to hear news of this level from. For example, would you care if cousin Sara called you to announce her engagement, or would you be fine hearing about it on Facebook?

Once you’ve told all of the most important people in your life, you might want to send announcements in the mail or share it to social media.  Mailing announcements is probably the way to go if you plan on including a registry or an invite to some sort of reception, but social media is great if you want to keep things basic.

We’ve come up with a few ways to break the news of your elopement. Check out our elopement announcement idea guide for some inspiration!

2. Decide Who to Invite (or Not to Invite)

The amazing thing about elopements—or any sort of wedding, for that matter—is that you get to decide who is there to watch you and your boo say “I do.”  While elopements typically include the two lovebirds, an officiant and maybe a photographer, you are free to invite a few people if that’s what your heart desires.  If you decide on having even the tiniest guest list, it’s still completely in your control.

Your parents, siblings, grandparents and closest friends would probably appreciate an invite, but you can invite whoever you’d like to have by your side.  Our biggest piece of eloping etiquette advice is this: Do not invite somebody because you feel obligated to. Invite those who your day would not feel complete without. 

Remember, this special day is about you and your partner, and the nature of an elopement is that you don’t have to invite anyone out of obligation.  It’s okay to nix the guest list if you so choose and plan a badass hiking elopement too!

3. Choose What to Wear to Your Elopement

Another eloping etiquette tip is concerning what you wear to your elopement!  Which completely depends on your location and preference.  You could go with fancy, casual or somewhere in between.  We recommend that you err on the side of comfort, especially if you’re going with a full-blown adventure elopement.

For example, if you’re tying the knot in Mexico, a faux fur coat is probably not a great choice, and going barefoot in Iceland probably wouldn’t be great either.  You’ll want to consider factors like terrain, mobility, cost, color, and style. Many non-traditional couples opt for elegant yet durable wear for their out-of-the-box ceremony.

For a little more help deciding what to wear, check out our guide to the 10 best elopement dress styles.  This may give you some more ideas on what to wear for your big day.

4. Make it Legal

Marriage is a legal ordeal and you have to make sure you go it the right way to avoid confusion when it comes to the custody of children, filing taxes, accessing employee benefits and more.

You will need to obtain a marriage license and have your ceremony officiated by a licensed officiant. Different countries have different requirements, such as blood tests and a specific number of witnesses.

Find out what you need to do before you hop on a plane and travel around the world to your elopement destination

Wondering how to “make it legal” in a foreign elopement destination? Contact us and we will guide you through planning a destination elopement anywhere on the globe.

5. To Party or Not to Party

That is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler to have a reception, cocktail hour or nothing at all is entirely up to you.

Some people choose to elope because they want to have a more intimate ceremony, and others make the decision to avoid the pricey party that follows.

If you have the budget and desire to have a party, go for it! You’re hitting a huge milestone as a couple and that’s surely something to celebrate.

You can wait for a few weeks after the actual ceremony if you’re going to be saying “I do” abroad or if that’s what makes you the most comfortable. 

Again, proper eloping etiquette says to think outside the box while also being considerate of friends and loved ones, if you so choose. Having a party can be a great way to involve the people you care about without inviting them to the ceremony.

6. What About the Gifts?

Since you’re not inviting most of your family and friends to your elopement, sending a registry and subtly hinting that you’d like gifts could feel a bit awkward. If you’re stuck between registering or not, there are a few things to think about before making a decision.

Thinking of having a cocktail hour or a small reception to celebrate your elopement? If you are, it is definitely appropriate to send a registry with the invite.

Even if you aren’t having a party, a registry could still be useful. People may ask for one once they hear the news of your elopement, so you can’t go wrong with creating a free registry on Amazon or at another one of your favorite stores.

If you and your new spouse are just moving in together and you were banking on those wedding gifts to fill your new home, there is no shame in sending a registry to your loved ones.

Either way, your marriage is something to be celebrated, and your family and friends will think so, too!

7. Don’t Forget: Your Elopement is What You Make it

Just because you’ve opted for the less traditional wedding option, it doesn’t mean you have to forgo all nuptial traditions.

If you want to wear white, do it. 

Want your mom by your side? Invite her.

If you want a cake, order a mini cake for two!

Wishing you could have a reception? Go for it!

Want to have nighttime wedding photos during your elopement adventure?!  Hire an elopement photographer that can rock it out!

Getting married is an exciting thing, so do what makes you happy. Go big or go small. It is completely up to you.!

ElopIng Etiquette Tips in Action

In conclusion, we hope that these tips and tricks make planning your elopement just a little bit easier!  Lastly, if you would like some guidance in planning your big day, we are certainly here to help!

When you are ready to plan the adventure elopement of your dreams, fill out our contact form so we can help you get on the fast track to “I do!” 

© 2019, Your Adventure Wedding, All Rights Reserved.

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