Once you’ve made the brave decision to elope – to let go of the expectations and the pressure from the wedding industry, and maybe from the people around you – you may not know where to start with planning your adventure! Maybe you’ve turned to each other, excited about all the possibilities, and asked, “so, where should we elope?”
But a lot of couples quickly realize that with so many possibilities, choosing just one elopement location can seem like an overwhelming task! One of the best things about eloping is that there are no rules – but the drawback of having so much freedom is that when anything is possible, it can be difficult to know where to start or what to do.
This guide will help you answer the question “where should we elope?” and give you some tips and actionable steps to help you pick the perfect place to tie the knot!
When planning any wedding, even a tiny elopement, it’s important to talk about budget, and we recommend doing this first before you start dreaming about potential elopement locations! Sitting down with your partner and getting on the same page will help you set your expectations, and will ensure that you don’t set your sights too high as you start looking at elopement locations.
Talk about finances and your total elopement budget. Keep in mind that your elopement is a once in a lifetime experience, and it’s still your wedding day – and that’s worth investing in! For a full budget breakdown and an overview of how much it costs to elope, check out this guide.
Discuss your total budget with your partner, as well as how much you’re willing to spend on travel and accommodations, as this will have an impact on where you decide to elope.
The next thing we recommend doing to answer the question of “where should we elope” is to decide if you’re inviting guests to your elopement. Some couples want a day that’s just for them, while others want their friends or family around – so this is totally up to you, but it can impact your options for an elopement location if you have guests that aren’t able to travel as far or that have accessibility needs.
Along with this step, decide if you’ll be having any four legged guests too! If you want to bring your dog along for your elopement, this will narrow down some location options as well, so it’s good to know ahead of time before you start looking.
Now, the fun stuff begins! It’s time to start dreaming of all the things you want to do, see, and experience on your elopement day. Talk about this with your partner, and get on the same page about what you want. It can help to make a list of priorities for both of you.
Here are some things to talk about – it can help to make a list of priorities, and you can rank them, deciding which ones are necessities, which ones are preferences, and which ones aren’t too important for you.
First, ask each other if either of you already have a place in mind for your elopement! Sometimes, couples choose a place that has sentimental value or is significant to them, like a favorite park or a nearby trail. Getting married at a place that already means a lot to you can be really special, so talk about whether either of you already has places in mind that they’re leaning towards. During this time, you can also talk about places that you’ve wanted to visit or new experiences that you’ve wanted to have, and decide if maybe you want to go somewhere new to tie the knot!
Next, think about how far you’re willing to travel. Is an international elopement in the cards? Do you want to stay in the country? Stay close to home? This one can help you narrow down your possible elopement locations a ton – so talk about travel, time off from work, and your preferences for how far you go to tie the knot.
If you have an elopement date in mind already, this could help you narrow down your options, because some places aren’t accessible, or aren’t great to visit during certain times of year. Staying flexible with your date will give you more options, but if the date, season, or timeframe you elope in is important to you, use that to narrow down your location!
Next, discuss what kind of scenery you imagine yourself in on your elopement day! By the way, it’s okay if you don’t have answers to these questions, or if you find yourself thinking that you don’t have a preference. This isn’t about finding the “right” answers, it’s about talking to each other about your expectations and what you want.
Think about the types of landscapes you’re drawn to – is it mountains, forests, deserts, beaches, wildflower meadows…? Is there a type of view you want as you say your vows?
Along with scenery and landscape, talk about what you actually want to do on your elopement day. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to how you get married, so dream big! Do you have a favorite hobby, or something you’ve never tried but have always wanted to? Are you into hiking and want to incorporate a summit into your adventure? For some ideas of things you can do when you elope, check out this guide! And remember, an adventure doesn’t have to be an adrenaline inducing experience or a once in a lifetime thing (though it can be!) – it can be anything from stargazing, to picnicking, to relaxing in a hot spring. Think of anything that would make your day amazing.
And along with thinking about things that you want to do on your elopement day, think about things that you don’t want to do. Some couples want to hike, but don’t want to do something too intense. Other couples don’t want to hike at all – and that’s perfectly fine! There are plenty of places to elope and things to do that don’t require anything too strenuous, so talk about this and decide what the journey to your elopement location should be like.
Now, you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for in an elopement location. No matter how broad or how specific your vision is at this point, we recommend chatting with an elopement expert to help you pick the perfect spot!
We’re a husband and wife team offering elopement photography and videography – but our packages are designed to make sure you have the most stress free, laid back, and completely personalized experiences. We’ll take your ideas, what you want and don’t want in an elopement location, and what you’re dreaming of, and give you a customized list of recommendations! You’ll have all the tools you need to plan the most perfect adventure, and we’ll be by your side the whole way.
Contact us to get started!
If you're thinking about eloping or getting married in NorCal, our blog is an excellent resource for inspiration. We've got sneak peeks of recent weddings, tips for eloping in Northern California, and more. Let The Adventure Begin is the perfect place to start planning.
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