Rachael shoots Morgan and April on their elopement day in Albury. April in a white short wedding dress, and Morgan in a cropped suit

4 Unwritten Rules Of Planning Your Dream Elopement

My top 4 tips you should consider to make your elopement a magical experience – to you, your partner, and everyone else you love.

As I’ve said in my other article, the best thing about eloping is that there are no rules. You can do whatever your heart desires – and nobody can judge you for it.

With that being said, there actually are a few rules – or rather: guidelines – that you might want to keep in mind if you don’t want to stress about giving off the wrong vibe with how you choose to do your elopement.

So, in this article, I’ll give you the top 4 things you should consider to make your elopement a magical experience – to you, your partner, and everyone else you love.

Rule 1: Who should you invite?

Eloping is beautiful in a sense that it gives you a unique opportunity to leave traditional rules, expectations, and obligations behind. Instead, you get to focus on the magic of your time spent together and feel present in every moment of your special day.

When you elope, you get to slow things down to breathe it all in. You get to lose yourselves in all the joyous moments without stressing about something going wrong. And you can choose to only have people around you who truly understand and embrace your love for each other.

Basically, I’m telling you to follow your hearts. You don’t have to invite anyone out of obligation. If you want an intimate adventure, it can be just the two of you. If you want your closest friends and family to join you in your celebration, you can opt to invite a few more people. Or you can even go for a “mini-wedding” and invite up to 30-40 people. It’s really up to you.

And even if you do choose to run away together…
…you can still include your closest friends and family in your romantic adventure – if you want to.

Making time for a short video call with your closest circles is a great way to have your cake and eat it too. You still get to experience the thrill of delving in love, joy, and excitement with your special someone – you know, that “you and me against the world” feeling. Without excluding the people who love you the most.

Rule 2: Who should you tell?

Some of my couples took the word elopement literally. They ran away together, said their vows in secret, and returned from their great romantic adventure as husband and wife. Nobody knew what they were up to – not until they returned home and announced their elopement.

But – in case you were wondering – this doesn’t work if you want to invite your nearest & dearest to be there for you and witness your elopement. You have to let them know well in advance. You can also decide to let your closest circles in on your secret, even if it will be just the two of you.

There really are no rules here, but whatever you decide to do, make sure you tell the most important people in your lives first. After all, learning about your big plans from a nosy neighbor or a chatty aunt might turn into a confusing and even hurtful experience to your loved ones.

Rule 3: What should you wear?

Anything. I mean, anything you want.

Choose something that you feel beautiful in. Choose something that feels like You. Because here’s the thing: you’re the most beautiful when you feel happy, confident, and content – and NOT when you’re clinging to some imagined tradition or expectation.

So, your clothes don’t have to be formal, elegant, bridal, groom-like, or even white. You can say your vows wearing what you feel suits you best. But if you love that magical & classy white, bridal look, then by all means, go for it. The secret is to follow your hearts – and not someone else’s. 

So take a moment to imagine your favourite colours and favourite styles. Maybe even picture yourselves having a themed elopement – if that’s something you’re both into. Set your imagination free, but if you do decide to go the non-traditional route, I have a few additional tips for you.

First, make sure your shoes are comfortable enough to walk, dance, and explore the terrain of your elopement, without compromising your overall look. Secondly, if you decide to think out of the box with your outfits, and opt for more colors (instead of white), then try to find something you’ll love to wear over-and-over again for special occasions for years to come. Finally, you don’t have to choose just one outfit: many of my couples actually like to change their looks up during their elopement.

Rule 4: Should you ask for gifts?

I mean, are gifts even appropriate at an elopement?

Well, again, nothing’s set in stone here either.

But if you’re not planning on having an actual reception after your elopement, it might be a bit weird if you started asking for gifts. I mean, think about it: you’re basically running off to get married – and running off after saying your vows, too. Why should anyone bring you a gift just for the sake of it if they can’t be there to celebrate with you?

On the other hand, you might want to set up a small reception – even if it’s just something casual, like a relaxed cocktail party, or a laid-back BBQ. You’ll still get to do all the fun stuff – without feeling pressured to entertain your guests. In this case though, it’s perfectly fine to let your guests know that you’d be happy to accept any gifts they might have in mind.

You can even decide to extend your circle of guests for your reception. That way your elopement can be a sacred and intimate experience, but you’ll still get to celebrate your eternal love with people who you’re close – but not that close – with.

So, the rule here is simple: if you host a reception after your elopement, you can – and should – let your guests know that you’re expecting gifts from them. But if you’re just running off together in the sunset, then don’t be weird about it. And just let the greatest gift of all – the gift of love – be all you need.

+1: Should you hire a photographer?

My short answer: Duh!

But really: imagine you had your elopement without hiring someone like me (or, you know, ME) to capture all your beautiful emotions and favorite moments on your big day.

Wouldn’t it suck to let your most cherished memories drift off into oblivion?

You’ll be so overwhelmed by all your emotions and all the impulses on your elopement, that you won’t even realize it’s over until it actually is over. And then you’ll want to relive it all over again. But a few sloppy photos made with your uncle’s iPhone (with half of them being accidental selfies) probably won’t cut it…

And even if it’s just gonna be the two of you – do you really want the adventure of your lives to fade into the past? When it all turns into a distant memory – don’t you want something to bring it all back to you?

So, it’s time you hired a professional to capture your fleeting moments of pure joy for eternity. And tell your beautiful love story with incredibly emotional photos that speak louder than a thousand words. With photos that will help you relive all your favorite memories and tell your story to your grandchildren.

And if you’re still searching for someone who can bring your vision to life, I have some good news for you. Elopements are my jam. And I’d be honored to capture the happiest day of your lives, and tell your love story the way you want it to be told.

So, feel free to reach out to have a quick chat about your vision and how I can help you bring it to life.