Usually when you google elopements, you will be inundated with images from across the globe, of people eloping in caves, onto of mountains, jumping out of planes…you get the picture. The basic idea is that all elopements are wild, adventurous, outgoing, elaborate, and probably quite expensive too. There doesn’t seem to be such thing as a laid back elopement.
If you’ve read any of the other blogs on this site, or you’ve listened to me on instagram, you will know by now that elopements generally do not play by any defined set of rules. In fact, that is what is usually so appealing about them. You get to do what you want, how you want to do it.
So can an elopement be all of the above? Absolutely. But can it be laid back, chilled out, cruisy? Also absolutely! But since you probably aren’t seeing a lot of this online, you might be stuck wondering how that would work. So let me show you exactly how to plan a laid back elopement.
1. Just go for a picnic
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Often times people want to go for a huge hike, or to some epic location for a picnic, but ignore the fact that they could simply have a picnic in a cool spot they could drive too. Take it from me, carrying food and drinks 5km each way takes a toll on your body!
So why not pick a location you love and have a connection with, even if it’s local, somewhere that has some emotional significance to you! If you want to go a bit further out, you could picnic at a spot like Lincolns Rock in the Blue Mountains. Here you can simply drive right up to the cliff edge where you would want to picnic. This way you get your picnic, without any of the need to hike, get sweaty and tired.
2. Stay indoors
For me personally, this one has winter elopement written all over it! It also is going to better suit a couple who would consider themselves ‘home bodies’. So many people think they HAVE TO go on an adventure for their elopement, when in reality, they can chill at their airbnb, at the hotel room, or even at home.
Here’s an idea. You elope out in Tasmania in winter. It’s cold, obviously. You and your partner love red wine, board games and these boards (which sounds very reasonable to me). So you spend the morning cooking breakfast, having coffee, enjoying the view from your balcony. You meet with your celebrant on the balcony, they chat with you for a while and in the presence of your photographer, and 1 other witness, they legally marry you. You then head into town (dressed in wedding attire, or not, your call) to get some food to cook up, and some cheese and red wine. You spend the day around a fireplace, playing board games, drinking and eating.
At sunset, you jump in the car and head off to a nearby mountain you can drive right up to the top. You do some gorgeous portraits, enjoy the first sunset as a married couple. You return back to the room, cook up your favourite meal as newlyweds, sit around the fire and enjoy into the night. This, my friends, is how to have a laid back elopement!
I’ve mentioned this many times before, but the number of guests, and the type of guests you invite, can and will greatly impact whether your day is laid back, or whether it’s wild and adventurous. This point is best outlined using examples, so let’s do that.
A few years back I shot an elopement, well, it was referred to as an elopement. The couple invited about 12 friends, which was fine of course. However, when I turned up on the day, it was like I had visited a frat party. It was loud, wild, crazy, I could barely get my bearings. Worst part is the couple did not seem to be having a good time. The friends were yelling during the intimate ceremony, and it took me 20 minutes to explain to them they couldn’t;t come along for portraits! This was the opposite of laid back.
Fast forward to about 2 months ago, I shot an elopement in the mountains, were the couple invited 8 people. This could not have been a more different day. These friends were all about keeping things simple and easy. While the couple got ready they were making cheese and meat boards. While the couple were getting married they were silently crying. While the couple were doing portraits, they actually ran into town to get pizzas for when we got back.
So if guests are on your radar for your elopement, just remember, your elopement can go one of two ways depending on who you invite. Neither option is wrong per se, but it may be wrong for you and what you want.
4. Time of day?
Probably not something most people think of if I can be honest. Most people who have attended weddings would know, ceremonies are usually around 2-3pm, receptions around 5.30-6pm, and the night ends around 10-11pm. It’s a pretty simple formula, and it tends not to change too much.
So how can the time of day change the feeling of your elopement? Well, what kind of people are you? For example, I shot an elopement back in 2022 where both partners were super early morning people due to their jobs in the mines. Without knowing this initially, I suggested an elopement timeline that took us through sunset to around 9pm. However, once I found out, I suggested flipping it, and making it a sunrise elopement. Starting around 4am and going through to around 11am. The couple were stoked by this, this was their window of the day when they felt the best and most vibrant. It also meant they would be able to avoid all the ‘sunset traffic’ at their chosen location and enjoy the most laid back elopement of their dreams.
This is just one example of how choosing a different time of day can make your day more laid back. It could be because of ‘traffic’ at locations you wish to visit, or it could be because of your wake/sleep cycle, but whatever the reason, this could be a game changer for you.
5. Don’t do too much
This is something I see all too often. People see amazing things on Instagram or Pinterest, and they want to have that too, so they copy it. And there’s nothing wrong with this approach, but often what they are seeing is an adventure elopement (which are the kinds of posts that do the best on social media).
So if you’re wanting to have a laid back day, trying to do too much is going to be pretty counterproductive. Going on an epic adventure is probably not what you had in mind. And that’s cool, I love it! You’ve maybe got an epic Airbnb and you want to enjoy it (check out the video, the most laid back elopement ever). Maybe you are normally so busy that you want your day to be completely different, and you want to slow it down, soak it in and enjoy it before it races by.
Let’s make this YOUR day
I think you get the point, your day can be wild and adventure filled, or it can be a laid back elopement, and cruisy as fuck! Neither is right, neither is wrong, only right or wrong for you. And now that you have some information on ways to make it laid back, I hope it gets you thinking. Theist of things you could do is limitless, and no one knows better what would make your day perfect than you, so get thinking. Talk with your partner, and if in doubt, reach out to me by contacting me here.