Although many couples forego the planning, pack up their bags and fly to the nearest epic location they can get to in 24 hours the majority of eloping couples actually plan pretty far in advance! Almost farther in advance than a “regular” wedding. Simply because of travel. Travel rates and expenses can be super pricey last minute, as can a photographer and an off-the-rack dress or suit that fits you perfectly enough to hike a trail or not get ruined in your backpack.
We all know, the further you book a flight, place to stay, transportation, etc. in advance the more money you are likely to save. Which explains the reason why Eloping can be super affordable, yet super epic.
When you’re planning an elopement you should also think about what region you want to elope in and when their busy season is (if they have one).
For example, in the Midwest, you will most commonly find couples Eloping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, at the Sand Dunes or Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. Our busiest time of year in the Midwest is definitely July through September. Which means transportation prices will most likely be higher, and hotel rooms or airbnb’s may be booked for months in advance.
(pictured below - left: pictured rocks, MI. pictured - right: hocking hills state park, OH)
This is one of the sole reasons why to plan your Elopement in advance. In fact, on average most engaged couples started planning their Elopements 1 to 2 years in advance.
This is likely due to cost of travel to the region you plan on eloping in, along with other factors like finding the perfect elopement dress, booking an elopement photographer in advance (because you’ll want to snatch the perfect photographer for your elopement before they are booked) and researching any permits or licenses you might need to get married in a certain location.
When you Elope close to home, your timeline can be a bit more quick, because travel costs will be low and you can be pretty flexible. Most couples who tend to arrange their elopements months or years in advance are probably eloping somewhere epic or having a crazy adventure elopement that (quite literally) needs to be planned. The chances of you and your significant other running off the buy plane tickets to Africa to Elope in Kenya in even 3 weeks is possible, but doesn’t have a high probability of working out the way you want it to.
(pictured below - Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya because how cool of a place to elope if you really did decide to go to Africa!?)
A lot of couples who elope have a specific vision for exactly how they want their day to be, and they want it to be perfectly and authentically for them! Which is why a lot of couples put so much time and effort into making their Elopement day the most perfect day they can imagine for themselves, and that includes planning in advance!
Here is a list of variables you may want to consider when starting to plan your elopement;
1. Photographer (of course this is first on my list)
2. Epic (or meaningful) LocationPermits/Licenses to be able to be married there
3. Someone to marry you! (DUH!!!)
4. The perfect dress
5. The perfect suit
6. Wether or not you are going to invite any family
7. If you are going international do you need to be updated on vaccines, health check, etc.
8. If you are eloping in the mountains what gear will you need
9. How long are you going to stay at your elopement location
10. How long do you need to have transportation and lodging for
11. Will you have any other plans for the day
12. Time of year
13. Busy season for tourists
14. Any other plans for the remainder of your time on your trip until you go home
15. Any other hidden expenses or fees you might run into
As you can see there are tons of different variables to planning just one day even for an Elopement. This is why extensive planning can be put into many couple’s elopement day!
Take initiative and start planning! I always say, the earlier the better!!
You can never go wrong with planning in advance! (The Type 1 in me couldn’t leave this blog post without saying that).