How to Start Planning Your Elopement + A Comprehensive Checklist

Why Choose an Elopement?

Are you considering the adventure and intimacy of eloping? Elopements offer a unique opportunity to exchange vows in breathtaking locations, away from the traditional wedding hustle. However, planning an elopement requires meticulous effort to ensure your special day unfolds seamlessly. In this guide, I walk you through the steps to start planning your elopement and provide a comprehensive checklist to keep you on track. Elopements have evolved from secretive ceremonies to intimate celebrations embraced by couples seeking authenticity and adventure. Here are a few reasons why couples opt for elopements:


Escape the crowds and cherish intimate moments with your partner.

Breathtaking Locations

Say “I do” against stunning backdrops like mountain ranges, beaches, or forests.


Elopements often cost less than traditional weddings, freeing up resources for your future together.

Getting Started: Your Elopement Planning Roadmap

Starting your elopement planning can feel like a daunting task but by following this step-by-step guide you’re going to have the most seamless day ever!


  • Location: Choose a destination that resonates with both of you. Consider factors like scenery, accessibility, and legal requirements.
  • Guest List: Decide if you’ll invite close friends and family or keep it private.
  • Theme and Style: Define the mood and aesthetic you envision for your elopement.


  • Determine your budget early to guide your decisions on travel, accommodations, vendors, and activities.


  • Research marriage license requirements and any permits needed for your chosen location.


  • Photographer: Capture your special moments with a skilled photographer who understands your vision.
  • Officiant: Find someone who aligns with your beliefs and can officiate your ceremony.
  • Florist, Hair and Makeup Artist, etc.: Consider professionals who can enhance your elopement experience.


  • Book accommodations for your stay and arrange travel logistics to and from the destination.


  • Personalize your vows and ceremony script to reflect your relationship and values.
  • Plan any special rituals or traditions you want to incorporate.


  • Decide on post-ceremony activities like a romantic dinner, adventure excursions, or simply soaking in the scenery.


  • Be sure to have backup plans for inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Always pack essentials like first aid kits, snacks, and emergency contacts.

Embarking on the journey of beginning your elopement planning is an exciting and deeply personal experience. By following this guide and utilizing the comprehensive checklist provided, you can navigate the process with confidence and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re exchanging vows atop a mountain peak or by the ocean’s edge, your elopement is a celebration of love, adventure, and the beginning of your shared life together.

Happy Elopement Planning!

Elopement Planning Timeline and Checklist

Now that you’ve started planning your elopement, I have a comprehensive timeline that goes over everything you need to know/should do in the months leading up to your elopement.

6-12 Months Before:

Research and Book Your Location

  • Before doing anything, create a list of potential elopement locations based on your preferences.
  • Consider scenery, accessibility, permits, and legal requirements.
  • Secure your chosen location by booking well in advance.
  • Obtain Marriage License and Permits
  • Research marriage license requirements for your chosen location.
  • Obtain any necessary permits for your ceremony venue.
  • Set Your Budget
  • Determine your elopement budget, including travel, accommodations, vendors, and activities.
  • Allocate funds for each aspect of your elopement.

4-6 Months Before:

Select and Book Vendors

  • Choose a photographer whose style aligns with your vision and book them early.
  • Find an officiant who resonates with your beliefs and values.
  • Consider hiring additional vendors such as florists, hair and makeup artists, and videographers.
  • Arrange Travel and Accommodations
  • Book accommodations for your stay at the elopement location.
  • Arrange transportation to and from the destination.

2-4 Months Before:

Personalize Your Ceremony

  • Write your ceremony script and vows, incorporating personal touches and traditions.
  • Decide on any special rituals or readings you want to include.
  • Plan Post-Ceremony Celebrations
  • Arrange post-ceremony activities such as a romantic dinner or adventure excursions.
  • Consider any special moments you want to capture after the ceremony.

1 Month Before:

Prepare for Inclement Weather

  • Develop a backup plan for your ceremony in case of rain or extreme weather.
  • Consider renting a tent or indoor venue as a backup option.
  • Create Packing List
  • Compile a list of essentials for your elopement day, including attire, documents, snacks, and personal items.
  • Ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and memorable day.

Elopement Day:

Follow Your Timeline and Itinerary

  • Stick to your planned timeline for the day, including arrival, ceremony, and post-ceremony activities.
  • Allow flexibility for unexpected moments and adjustments.
  • Enjoy Your Special DayTake in the beauty of your surroundings and the love you share with your partner.
  • Cherish every moment and create lasting memories together.

By following this structured timeline, you can start planning your elopement and ensure every detail is is thoughtfully executed, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – celebrating your love and beginning your journey together as a married couple.

Book your elopement photographer here!

NEED SOME inspiration?

here are a few of my favorite resources