Just like how there’s not just one way to elope, there’s also not just one way to plan an elopement. So, while these are generally the steps to follow, it’s not always a linear process. Remember, planning an elopement is not like planning a wedding, it doesn’t follow much (if any) of a structure. Your elopement maybe (and likely will) looks completely different to someone else’s, because it has to reflect you perfectly. This is probably where most people wanting to elope come unstuck. In trying to plan, they cannot find any resources that help them understand where to start. What to do first. So, if you’re feeling this way, don’t stress, that’s pretty damn normal.
I’m going to lay out 6 steps that I think should help most people get started in planning their elopement. And if you need help along the way, I’m here for you! Just reach out and we can get working on it.
1. Dream up your best day
This process is the bit that takes the longest to get off the ground. You might have thousands of awesome ideas floating in your head, but no idea how any of them could work together to create an elopement.
One of the things I offer is what I call an ‘exploration’ call. This is where you jump on a video with me, dump every single thought and dream and idea you have out onto the metaphorical table for me to see.
From here, we rearrange everything, discuss each idea and its validity, and put together all the options you could have for your day. It usually takes about an hour, but that’s because I do this all the time. You can do this with just your partner, but in my experience, it can take quite a while and it is very likely it will either overwhelm you, or you will become distracted. So if you want to dream up your best day with me, just contact me here.
2. Make the big decisions first
This should come as no surprise; you want to do the hardest stuff first. When it comes to planning an elopement, this usually means 3 things: booking your photographer, your videographer, and your celebrant.
People often overlook the importance of the celebrant, but trust me, they book out well in advance, especially if they are good.
My advice is this, go on google or Instagram, and do some looking. Make a short list of your favourite 2-3 vendors per category. Send these people a very personalised email (the more obviously personalised it is, the faster and more enthusiastically most vendors will reply). This way you aren’t researching hundreds of vendors, sending hundreds of emails and getting hundreds of replies to sort through. This will keep it simple and tidy and make pulling the trigger on the big decisions much easier and faster.
3. Plan out the details
This bit is much easier, usually in thanks to your photographer you will have already booked. The reason the elopement planning process becomes easier here is that your photographer will now be there to help guide you. They should be on your team. If you have a photographer that has no interest in helping with the details and the planning of your elopement, you probably have a wedding photographer who just wanted to shoot a cool elopement.
One of the things I offer to all my couples is planning services, included in my packages. What this means is that we will go over all the remaining vendors you need, I’ll research them based on what you want, and present them to you. I’ll also do location scouting for you (unless you are set on a location, in which case that’s awesome), and we will get things tight in terms of details.
Remember, unlike a wedding, planning an elopement means planning multiple locations usually. Weddings usually have most parts of the day occur on site, or nearby (for portraits for example), but elopements are not so. You might be getting ready in one place, doing a first look in another. Having your ceremony in another place, and your portraits somewhere completely different. So, this is where we get down on all those details, together, as a team.
4. Craft your timeline
This is the business end of the elopement planning process. Again, I am here to tell you that you are not on your own in terms of planning out your elopement timeline.
By now you definitely have all your vendors booked, especially your photographer. We are the people who should be putting your timeline together. Again, if you have a photographer who is asking you for a timeline, and not offering to make one for you, you’ve probably got a wedding photographer who is more used to the wedding venue putting together the timeline.
One of the things I do with my couples is send out a questionnaire with a bunch of seemingly irrelevant questions. I then build a timeline, given everything I know thus far, and present it to you on a video call. We then go through it, every step one by one. You can approve, remove, or modify anything along this process.
This way, you have a timeline that everyone understands, that includes everything you could have ever wanted for your day, and 95% of it is done without you having to lift a finger, no stress, more fun!
5. Get Ready to Go
It’s very important to have a planning and packing checklist. Part of what I do for my couples is put together a packing checklist for them remember everything for their day.
You might also need to send out a similar checklist to your guests if you are having any. They may need to bring a change of shoes to hike to the location in, sunscreen, a hat etc.
You will also need to communicate with vendors if they need anything for your day, but again, if you have a good photographer, they will likely take care of this aspect for you as they know best what will be needed in the chosen locations.
The day is nearly here, get ready to go legends!
6. Have the best day ever
All the elopement planning has finally come to fruition. Your day is here, you have an absolute legendary team of select vendors who are looking after every aspect of the day.
You can leave your phone in the room, your watch at home, you won’t need it today. Today is about you. It’s about a couple in love, celebrating themselves. You’re being selfish today, and that’s fucking awesome!
So take your time, soak it all in. Slow things down. The way I generally build my elopement timelines is with loads of additional buffer time built in, just in case you want to spend 15-20 minutes alone, here and there. Crack open a picnic, have a beer or a wine in only each others company.
This is your day. Remember that! So enjoy it, because it goes fast.
Need help getting started with your elopement planning?
Look, you might have read through all this, and still feel like you need help getting the ball rolling. That’s totally cool, no stress, I am here for you. Once you get the smallest bit of momentum, what once seemed overwhelming will quickly feel like a walk in the park. So, if you need this, let’s get a call booked in. We can get all your thoughts and dreams out of your head and move them into a couple of workable awesome plans. Trust me, once you do this, there is no stopping you, so contact me here, or flick me an email and let’s do this!