There are no rules here.
First things first - there are absolutely no rules here. That's probably half the reason you're planning to elope! There's no one who's going to tell you what you "should do." There's no tradition you need to follow. No one else to please. Just you and your favorite person and whatever adventure you've chosen (and maybe and officiant and photographer).
The beauty of eloping is you can make it whatever you want. It can be as adventurous or as leisurely as you want. Did I mention you can wear whatever you want? It can follow tradition or you can do something no one else has ever seen before. Either way, I'm here to help support you through planning your dream elopement.
This elopement guide consists of the following information (click it to navigate to that section or just scroll through):
Let's get with the times...
This isn't your grandma's wedding, so it certainly doesn't have to hold up to her ideals (sorry grandma, love you!). Eloping meant something different historically, and I'm excited to tell you that it isn't a selfish or shameful thing to do. It's quite the opposite. Here's what eloping in 2020 means:
Starting your marriage out in the most intimate and meaningful way possible.
Creating a wedding day that accurately reflects yourself and your love for one another.
Having an experience a wedding day experience that is big-screen worthy, elopements are what fairytales are made of!
Beginning your marriage in a more financially responsible way. Do you know how much the average wedding costs?
Your Destination Elopement Can be Anywhere.
Finding the right place to elope may be the most crucial piece of your puzzle! Picking your elopement location completely dictates how your day is going to go. You have the entire world to pick from! I advise clients not to solely select a destination based on the scenery, think about the activities you want to do, the experiences you want to have, and the memories you'd like to cherish for a lifetime.
Here's the best part of eloping: you can have your destination elopement anywhere you choose. No one else gets to hold you back from making this an epic experience. Elopements are so unique because they are entirely tailored to you - pick a destination that hosts the adventure you want, with experiences you dream of.
What kind of experience are you looking for? Beaches? Deserts? Scenic mountain views? There is an elopement experience out there for everyone. I'm happy to help you find the perfect location!
Are you beginning your elopement planning journey and need some help? I designed this free elopement workbook to help you and your fiance figure out the location that speaks the most to you both! You can fill it out digitally or print it; there's space for both of you. It covers everything from your elopement and travel budget, what scenery you prefer, weather, seclusion, transportation, activities, transit, and much more! Fill it out together or separately to narrow down to your mutual ideal location. Better yet, send it back over to me and I can help identify what locations across the world fit your dream and your budget!
Places to Elope - Elopement Workbook
A few of my favorite places to elope:
Do you remember when I said there are no rules? Well, I may have exaggerated because there are a few rules. Most states require you to have an officiant and possibly even a witness, so it's essential to check your laws! This law differs from state to state, so I won't pretend to be an expert on all 50.
Did you know your photographer could be an ordained minister? OH HEY THERE! I'm an ordained minister! That means I can photograph your day and sign your marriage license in most states. Keeping your special day small and intimate. Woohoo!
If You're Eloping in Colorado:
However, in the fantastic state of Colorado, you don't need an officiant. You don't even need a witness. It can just be you, your lover, and a majestic mountain view. That doesn't mean you can't have an officiant if you want, plenty of couples still chose to go this route. If you decide to have an officiant, I've had clients hire a public official, a friend, or even a parent. It's your moment, so you have the power to decide who's most important to have beside you.
If you don't have an officiant you'll still need to pick up your marriage license. In Colorado it's $30, you'll need your ID or Passport (you don't have to be a Colorado resident). You'll need to sign and date it within 35 days of picking it up! Oh, and you can apply online ahead of time to save time.
If You're Eloping Overseas
Great choice! However, things tend to get a little more difficult when it comes to laws and paperwork! If you choose to elope in a different country it's best to do the paperwork at home (either before or after you elope). This way things run smoothly and you don't have to have anything translated. In some countries, you may even have to hire a translator in addition to your officiant!
Does signing your marriage license on a different day take away from your wedding? I don't believe it does - just look at your license as paperwork. I firmly believe the moment you change vows makes you married - not a document.
Elopement Activities and Details
How do you want to celebrate? Watching the sunset while propped up on a cliff enjoying a picnic? Hiking a 14er? Camping under the stars? Snowshoeing to your elopement ceremony location? Wandering the streets of Venice, Italy, and getting lost? What about a Safari in South Africa? What about having your dogs join you? But what about your wedding attire? I'm here to help you gather ideas and inspiration for it all! Check back regularly for new blogs full of elopement ideas, advice, and epic activities.
Your vows are what makes it your wedding day - and this is the only tradition that's carried on through every elopement. This what "seals the deal!" Your elopement ceremony may have an officiant that you let do most of the work for you. However, chances are you'll choose to exchange vows. If you want to write amazing vows that are meaningful and potent, make sure you spend some time on them - and don't do it the night before, like a college essay. Your vows are something you remember and live buy for the rest of your life, so make them special! Also, download my free workbook below for help!
We can't all be Shakespear - nor do we want to be! However, you can still write meaningful and impactful vows for your wedding day no matter how good of a writer you dream yourself to be, or if you're not a person of "many words." I'm here to guide you through this process, so your significant other is stumped (in a positive way) by the depth and passion behind your words - or your comedic romance.
How To Write Tear Worthy Vows
Free Vow Workbook
You know that quote, "find joy in the ordinary?" Well, I'm going to tell you right now, that isn't me. I'm all about that razzle-dazzle, about feeling deep and potent emotions, finding adrenaline-pumping adventures, experiencing the unique, standing on the edge of a cliff, and making cinematic memories. My self written mantra is to "live life fully saturated," meaning I want to soak up everything it has to offer. You'll notice my photography takes on a similar form, capturing couples deeply in love in scenic places with epic sunsets, using bright, bold, vivid colors that demand you to feel an emotion.
I think we all seek two things in life: love and adventure; hence, why I photograph fairytales ( I mean adventure elopements) for a living. If you're bold and courageous, madly in love, and searching for an experience that resembles your wild heart, call me. Together we'll create beautiful images that capture your tale.
Kateri Kramer is an illustrator and lettering artist that I've worked with for several years now (she also designed my logo!). Kateri designs custom illustrated elopement announcements and commemorative illustrated maps with cute little details representing your epic adventure. Kateri is quiet the adventurist herself - she has snowshoed, hiked, camped, and fished all over Colorado and beyond. When you book with me you receive $150 off her services.
Speaking of epic elopement locations this picture was taken at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park! Jennifer (on the left) and I bonded over our similar business missions - she's a travel agent focused on life-changing adventure excursions (not trips to Disneyland). When you book with me you also receive Jennifer's expertise, and she'll book your flights, room, and board, any tours or activities along the way, at no additional cost to you (well I mean you have to pay for the flight, etc.). Jennifer and I currently working on a project together to curate the best adventure elopement experiences for couples in Estes Park, Colorado. Jennifer is the owner of a boutique travel agency Soul Trek.
Let's start planning your wedding day! Here's how it works:
1. You fill out the form on my contact page and tell me all a little bit about yourself so we can schedule a commitment-free hour-long zoom call. During this zoom call, we figure out if we would make a good team!
2. You decide you like me (wohooo!) and want to move forward with booking. I draft you a contract with the package that you've picked and a date!
3. You fill out my Places to Elope Elopement Workbook and send it back to me!
4. I research like crazy and come back to you with 3-4 destinations that fit your desires and budget.
5. You pick the location and I plan your adventure while my teammate books your flights, hotel, and excursions.
6. We have the most epic wedding day that exceeds your wildest dreams!