Did you see yesterday's elopement in Venice? Or last month's elopement in Hawaii? What about this civil wedding for two in San Francisco last year?

We've been seeing a huge increase in elopements over the past year or so, it seems more and more couples are scraping all the planning and politics of a big wedding, and making a break for it, with something a lot more intimate.

And that's pretty cool!


Photo by Silvana DiFranco via Bridal Musings

Couples plan elopements for lots of reasons, whether they're simply shy, want to marry on a budget, love to travel, or have tricky family set-ups. For some couples the idea of a big wedding is simply too daunting/stressful/unnecessary for them.

Whatever the reason you're eloping, and wherever you're eloping to, it's still just as important to make it special – whatever you're kind of special is, whether that's a luxe beach supper in the Caribbean, a twilight picnic under the stars in the Pacific Northwest, or a bubble bath in a swanky hotel in Europe.

10 Dos & Don'ts For Planning an Elopement

So, to help you plan your perfect party for two, we've recruited an expert. Emily of Weddings by Emily Charlotte, is a destination wedding planner, co-ordinator and stylist, specialising in weddings in the UK and Italy.

She knows a thing (or ten!) about creating a day to remember, so, she's put together a list of helpful dos and dont's for any couple planning an elopement of their own.

Take it away Emily…

1. DO make it all about you!


Photo by Angie Diaz Photography via Bridal Musings

If you’ve decided to elope (how exciting!) then one of the biggest benefits is that you can make it all about the two of you!

Make sure you do exactly what YOU want to do, be as formal or as informal as you like, all that matters is that the day is special to you as a couple…so say goodbye to wedding conventions and hello to your personalities!

2. DON’T feel guilty


Photo by Francesco Spighi via Bridal Musings

Couples often feel guilty about their decision to elope.

Whilst this is completely natural, you shouldn’t feel you have to justify your decision to anyone. Your wedding day is exactly that, YOUR wedding day.

So do what’s best for the two of you. All good friends and family will understand, and for any that have difficulty coming to terms with it, try to remember it’s only because they love you and want to share your moment too, not because they’re being difficult (in most cases anyway!)

3. DO plan an event at home


Photo by Claire Eliza Photography via Bridal Musings

If you’re struggling with point number 2) then why not plan a drinks evening at home?

Nothing extravagant (we don’t want to defeat the point of eloping), but a few casual drinks with a couple of your nearest and dearest can be a lovely idea.

If you wait until after your wedding day then I recommend playing a slideshow of your wedding images; a great way make your loved ones feel included.

4. DON’T worry about the guest list


Photo by Jenny Soi Photography via Bridal Musings

A serious benefit to eloping is you don’t have to face the usual guest list politics…no further explanation needed!

5. DO make the most of savings


Photo by George Pahountis Photography via Bridal Musings

A common reason for eloping is that costs of a larger wedding can easily get out of hand.

Make the most of elopement cost savings and treat yourselves to something a little luxurious, be it an amazing meal or gorgeous accommodation (you know you want to!)

6. DON’T expect everything to be cheaper

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Photo by Chic Wedding Day via Bridal Musings

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but not everything is more cost effective just because there’s only two of you.

In the world of weddings people tend to charge for their time; for example, a photographer may still need to be with you for the same number of hours as a wedding party of 100, similarly a wedding venue can only give exclusive use once a day whether it’s to 2 or to 50 people…be prepared for fees like this so that you don’t get caught out with unexpected expenses.

7. DO hire a wedding planner


Photo by Tonie Christine via Bridal Musings

There is a tendency to think that on a smaller scale you can manage things yourselves…and potentially you can.

However, if you’re eloping, it probably means you’re going abroad and are unfamiliar with the area, in which case my advice would always be to hire a wedding planner (yes I’m a little bias!)

There may only be two of you, but you still need to source each of the suppliers, so hire yourself a helping hand.

8. DON’T limit yourselves


Photo by Elaine Palladino Photography via Bridal Musings

With a much smaller wedding party you’ll have plenty more options available to you so don’t limit yourselves to wedding venues only.

Broaden your search to include intimate, boutique venues. I find they’re usually more than happy to help with creating your special day.

9. DO enjoy the moment


Photo by George Pahountis Photography via Bridal Musings

An elopement is a very special thing.

Make sure you enjoy what is an intimate moment between you and your partner; this will be a memory that’s only between the two, away from all the other craziness in day to day life…how amazing is that?!

10. DON’T miss out


Photo by Ashley Ludaescher Photography via Bridal Musings

When it’s just you and your partner you may be thinking of keeping things simple.

That’s absolutely fine if that’s what you want, but don’t miss out just because everything is on a smaller scale…if you want the whole shebang, you have the whole shebang!


Photo by David Bastianoni Studio via Bridal Musings

So many great tips – I love the one about doing something luxurious! Be sure to click through under any of the pictures too, for lots of gorgeous elopement inspiration!

Thanks to much to Weddings by Emily Charlotte for sharing her wisdom! Visit her website to see the beautiful events she's created, and read more of her expert advice.

Read 10 Dos & Don't for Planning a Destination Wedding.