Here are some things to consider if you and your partner are thinking of eloping.

1. Why are you choosing to get married this way?

If you’re thinking of joining your beloved in wedded bliss without any of the usual fuss and fanfare – just you and two witnesses present – think about why you’re doing it this way.  Is it to save money, avoid fuss, keep things intimate and personal, or maybe even avoid family drama? These are all valid reasons, but it’s important that you’re absolutely certain that you’ve thought it through and that it’s what you both want.

2. Once you’ve made  your decision, don’t second guess yourselves or feel guilty

This is your relationship, your wedding and the beginning of your lives together so you don’t have to justify your decision to anyone. Naturally there will some disappointment felt by family and a few friends who would love to share your wedding day with you. However, once the deed is done and they find out, most will just be happy for you. Having said that, try not to be upset if a few people aren’t as excited about your news as you’d hoped. If you expect some negativity, you can prepare yourselves but hopefully the majority of people will simply be delighted for you.

3. Plan how to tell everyone

Discuss how you will tell everyone once the deed is done. You could send out an announcement by card or post it on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, that you are now legally wed or maybe invite everyone to a big party to celebrate.  The most important thing is to let your family and closest friends know first and in person. Do not, under any circumstances, let them find out on social media! Decide between you what you will say, so you’ll both be telling your news the same way.

4. If you choose a ‘destination’ elopement, what are the legalities in that country?

There’s no point in heading off to a tropical paradise to get married only to find that it’s not recognised when you get back home. Make sure you check out what the legal requirements are in your destination country. Of course, if you get married in Australia, your marriage celebrant will make certain that everything is taken care of for you!

5. Think about the destination and research everything

Once you’ve decided where you want to go, and the feel you want from your elopement, you can start planning how it will all unfold. It’s probably a good idea to contact a local wedding planner, someone who can advise you on the legalities and introduce you to suppliers, such as a celebrant, photographer, anyone else you might want to hire to make it all perfect, as well as arranging transport on the day (horse-drawn carriage/vintage car/stretch limo/bicycle-built-for-two/Harley-Davidson?) and where you will eat afterwards. A local planner will be able to advise you on the best locations for your private ceremony and photographs. This could well save you a lot of time searching for florists, taxis and restaurants.

6. Don’t forget to book a photographer

This will definitely be a great investment for your wedding day because being able to show your friends and family your wedding photos and/or video will help them feel part of your day and you will have beautiful keepsakes of your special day to keep the memories alive.

7. Make it really special

Just because you’re keeping it intimate and private doesn’t mean your elopement shouldn’t be special. Write your own personal vows, choose a memorable way to arrive at your ceremony, organise a wedding cake or dine afterwards at a top restaurant; anything that will make your wedding feel truly special. Remember, you only have to please yourselves!

8.  Try to ensure that you can meet everyone before the ceremony, who has a role in your elopement

Hopefully you will have communicated personally with your celebrant/ photographer/hairdresser/driver, etc by email or phone during your planning.  It will be so much nicer to feel that you have already established some kind of connection rather than rocking up to your ceremony and meeting people who are complete strangers to you!

9. Do wear something special

It doesn’t have to be traditional wedding attire but make sure you both wear something that you feel fantastic in. Have some fun, maybe choose a theme if that’s your kind of thing or wear a piece of jewellery that holds meaning for you, e.g. Nana’s cameo brooch or Grandpa’s fob watch.

10. Don’t forget to work out a timetable for the day

Just because you’re eloping and don’t have to fit in with a reception venue’s timetable, having a plan of what you will do when, will mean that you can keep up the magical feeling all day.  Maybe have champagne at sunrise, book a massage together, don’t forget to devote time to getting ready (hair, mani/pedi, makeup) and book your photographer for plenty of pre, during and post ceremony pictures.

11. Realise there will still be some costs

An elopement can certainly save you the expense of a big wedding, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be costs. You will still have to pay for your celebrant, photographer, florist, hair and makeup person and transport. Some providers will have elopement rates that are less than their normal fees because you probably won’t require their services for as long, so it’s always worth asking.  And if you can save a bundle by eloping, consider splashing out on a fancy hotel suite on your wedding night and/or treating yourself to a fabulous meal with the very best of Champagne.

12. Don’t expect gifts

People won’t generally give you a wedding present if they weren’t invited but if some are kind enough to send something nice your way, make sure you send them a personal thank you. This is absolutely essential!

13. If you choose to get married in Sydney – CONTACT ME!

I specialise in elopement-style “Budget But Beautiful” ceremonies on Sydney’s Lower North Shore

Jane Gillespie

E: | Mob/Cell: +61 412 643 751 |

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