Back in the day, elopements were often seen as shotgun weddings that were a spur of the moment. But since then, the practice of eloping versus having a traditional wedding day, has evolved into some beautiful, unique, and intimate celebrations that truly reflect the love between couples.
In fact, if you're thinking about eloping, you're in good company!
In a 2022 national survey of more than 1,000 engaged couples in the U.S., it turns out that 62% of these lovebirds are totally down for the idea of having a smaller, cozier elopement-style wedding.
So, if you're in the process of choosing an intimate wedding or figuring out the details for your special day, you may be asking yourself how you can make your elopement extra special.
Whether you're choosing to run off with your fiancé, or if you've decided to invite the smallest handful of guests, even though you may be skipping out on a traditional wedding, you can still do things and incorporate fun ideas to make your day extra special.
1. Choose a Spectacular, Favourite, or Secret Location for Your Elopement
Your ceremony location serves as the backdrop for your special day, and it's a decision not to be taken lightly. And, when it comes to elopements, the possibilities are endless! Just like a destination wedding, have you considered a destination elopement? A city hall wedding isn't your only option!
Whether you choose to do it from the serene beauty of a secluded beach, or from a private boat you hired on a lake, or from the a jaw-dropping edge of a picturesque mountaintop, or even if it's from a small forest in a remote location, you and your partner get to decide what works best for you.
Take a moment to think about what places hold a special meaning for you as a couple and what kind of atmosphere resonates with your love story. Location is everything when it comes to making your elopement special.
Also consider the season, climate, and accessibility of your chosen location. Would you ideally like a sunrise elopement? A winter elopement? Are you doing something quick? Or will you have an all-day elopement? Once you've found the perfect spot, you can think about the logistics, such as permits and accommodations for you and your guests if you're having a small group attend.
Whether it's a natural wonder or a man-made marvel, your location should reflect your love and provide a breathtaking setting for your dream elopement day.
2. Ask Your Friends, Family, and Loved Ones to Send Messages Ahead of Your Elopement to Surprise You
If you've chosen to elope with just you and your fiancé, that doesn't mean you can't include your loved ones on your special day. Leading up to your elopement, you can encourage your nearest and dearest to share their heartfelt messages with you. Whether you want them to give you marriage advice, share memories you guys have created, or just share funny messages or words of congratulations, it's a great way to have them still feel involved while giving you messages you can cherish forever.
While you could ask them to send you messages, mailed letters, or emails, a great way to collect all of this is with a wedding video message montage. You can collect these messages very easily and inexpensively through Celebrate.buzz's Classic Video service.
It's an ideal way to enhance your elopement day with messages from your closest family and friends. And it's easy!
All you need to do is set-up an event page for your elopement. Then share the link via email, text messages, group chats, etc. with those you'd like to participate. From there, they can record their videos on the spot, or upload pre-recorded ones. The best part? Your loved ones won't have to download an app or sign-up.
Then, post-elopement you can go into Celebrate.buzz's video editing tool to put your messages together into one polished video montage. Drag, drop, and rearrange until you're happy with the final product to export.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Classic Video is the element of surprise until your elopement day. You don't have to watch the video submissions until after the ceremony. So drag, drop, rearrange and immerse yourself in the love from those around you.
Imagine the heartwarming reactions as you watch these heartfelt messages for the first time — then rewatch it and relive it for the years and wedding anniversaries to come!
And, if you'd like to make the video montage collection even easier, you can always use Celebrate.buzz's Q&A Video. With this option, you can actually pose questions to participants that they have to answer. It makes the coming up with well-wishes part even easier as family, friends, and loved ones can focus on specific answers versus trying to think about something on the spot.
3. Exchange Personalized Vows
One of the most touching and intimate aspects of an elopement is the opportunity to exchange personalized wedding vows. This is your chance to express your deepest feelings and promises to each other in your own words. You can write your vows separately or collaborate on them, whichever feels right for you as a couple.
When writing your vows, consider what makes your love unique. Share anecdotes, dreams, and quirks that define your relationship. These vows can be a beautiful keepsake, reminding you of the promises you made to each other on your special day. You can even have them framed or write them in a journal to revisit on anniversaries.
And because your wedding day may just be you, your partner, and an officiant, don't hold back: truly speak from the heart during this intimate moment.
4. Incorporate Your Hobbies
What better way to make your elopement unique than by weaving your passions and hobbies into the celebration? Think about what cool activities you both love to do together. If you're nature enthusiasts, imagine exchanging vows on a mountain peak or by a serene lakeside. For creative souls, consider having a mini art session where you both create something meaningful together as part of your ceremony. The possibilities are endless, and incorporating your hobbies and passions will make your elopement truly reflect your shared interests and values.
5. Include Loved Ones Virtually During Your Elopement
While elopements are typically intimate affairs, it doesn't mean you have to exclude loved ones entirely. In today's digital age, it's easier than ever to share your special day with friends and family, no matter where they are. If you'd like them to be somewhat present, set up a live stream or video call with your closest friends and family members so they can virtually witness your union and celebrate with you in real-time.
You can send out virtual invitations, create a designated online space for your elopement, and even plan virtual toasts and well-wishes. This way, you can have the best of both worlds — an intimate elopement and the presence of your loved ones, even if it's through a screen.
6. Choose Unique Rings
When it comes to your wedding bands, why not think outside the jewelry box? Traditional gold or silver rings are beautiful, but there are countless unique and meaningful alternatives to consider. For example, you could opt for rings made from unconventional materials like wood or gemstones that hold personal significance. These rings not only look stunning but also tell a story about your love.
Another intriguing option is getting matching tattoos or temporary ring tattoos for the ceremony. These can be a symbol of your commitment that's with you at all times. Whatever you choose, make sure it resonates with your personalities and the story of your love.
7. Bring Custom-Made Accessories to Elevate Your Elopement Experience
Your elopement is a unique and intimate celebration of your love story, and it deserves to be adorned with special, personalized touches. One way to do just that is by incorporating custom-made accessories that reflect your style and personalities. Whether it's a monogrammed or patchwork-covered leather jacket, beautifully crafted vow books, delicate hand fans, stylish hats, or fun custom sneakers and shoes, these bespoke details can add an extra layer of charm to your elopement.
8. Still Have Your First Dance
Making time for a first dance on your elopement day is a wonderful way to add a touch of romance and celebration to your intimate union. While your elopement may be a low-key affair, you don't have to skimp on meaningful traditions. To create the perfect moment for your first dance, consider selecting a meaningful song that holds significance for both of you as a couple.
Find a scenic spot near your elopement location, whether it's a picturesque outdoor setting or a cozy indoor space — and you can even set up some simple decorations like fairy lights or candles to set the mood. Or you can also just skip the decorations and play music off a portable speaker or even your phone.
Wherever you choose, and whatever song you choose, enjoy this special moment as a married couple.
8. Personalize Your Elopement Ceremony
Your elopement ceremony should be a reflection of your unique love story and the values you hold dear. Don't be afraid to customize it to make it truly yours. Incorporate rituals, readings, or cultural elements that have special meaning to you both.
For example, you could include a sand ceremony, where you each pour different colored sands into a container, symbolizing the merging of your lives. Are there prayers from your religion that you want spoken at your ceremony? Or perhaps you have a favorite poem or quote that speaks to your relationship; consider incorporating it into the ceremony.
If you're adventurous spirits who thrive on excitement, why not plan an adventure elopement? Consider exchanging vows on a hot air balloon ride, go scuba diving and say "I do" underwater, or even have your ceremony on a zip line in a scenic location.
Or, if you both love food and cooking, why not hire a private chef to host a dinner just for you two post-elopement ceremony?
The key is to make the ceremony (and even after) meaningful and personal, so it resonates with both of you and leaves a lasting impression on your hearts.
9. Document the Day
Your elopement is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you'll want to cherish the memories forever.
Hiring a talented elopement photographer and/or videographer is one way to capture every moment of your special day. With their expertise, they are skilled in snapping the emotions, beauty, and spontaneity of the day in a way that will transport you back to your special day.
It's also a nice way to share these memories and elopement photos with your family and friends, post-wedding day, so they can get a glimpse into what your day looked like.
10. Have a Day-Long Elopement Celebration
Your elopement doesn't have to be confined to a single moment. Consider turning it into a day-long celebration, creating a treasure trove of memories and experiences you can cherish with your soon-to-be spouse.
Maybe you want to start with a sunrise ceremony, setting the perfect backdrop for your vows. Then, after, maybe you'll want to enjoy a picnic brunch, complete with your favorite treats and champagne. You could even plan outdoor activities that resonate with you both, whether it's hiking, biking, or simply strolling through a picturesque garden.
As the day progresses, savor every moment together, basking in the joy of your commitment.
Come evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant, your first date sport, or in an intimate setting of your choice. And, whatever you choose to do on your wedding day, you can even consider inviting loved ones to different parts of the day, if you want.
The beauty of a day-long celebration is that it allows you to make the most of the day and really cherish every second of your union.
No Matter What You Choose, You Can Make Your Elopement Special
Making your elopement unique and special is all about embracing your love story and celebrating it in a way that reflects your personalities and interests. Whether you choose a breathtaking location, write heartfelt vows, or infuse your hobbies into the celebration, remember that your elopement is a canvas waiting for your creativity to shine.
Each idea mentioned here can be customized to suit your preferences and desires as a couple. So pick your ideal destination location, have loved ones involved with a Classic Video (or you can always amp up your final video montage with a Q&A Video instead) and have a first dance (and what song you'd choose) — the key is to let your love guide your choices and create a day that is authentically yours.
Go ahead and start planning your unforgettable elopement ceremony, full of love, personal touches, and unforgettable memories. Your elopement will be a testament to your unique bond, a day you'll cherish for a lifetime.