One of the best parts of an elopement is the sense of truly being able to own your ceremony and make it yours. This can leave couples asking however, what in the world do you actually do on your elopement day?
Bucking the traditional wedding format means you can pretty much do whatever you want, but this is where confusion can set in.
When do you have the ceremony? Can we squeeze in a romantic photo shoot in the park beforehand? Do we have to have a reception at a hall on the same day? What about entertaining our guests?
The freedom that elopement offers can seem daunting when it actually comes time to plan everything, but that’s why I put together this handy guide.
An elopement doesn’t have to follow the typical structure of a classic wedding. In fact, part of the appeal is in mixing it up and adding activities and events that you wouldn’t normally be able to cram into a traditional wedding day, such as viewing a parade, a night on the town, or a whimsical garden photo shoot.
The possibilities are truly limitless and that’s why it’s important to plan your elopement day well beforehand to get the most out of it. Sure, the idea of spontaneity is probably one of the things that attracted you to the idea of getting eloped in the first place, but too much of it will just lead to a mass of confusion and headaches you don’t want.
Maximize the excitement, fun, and carefree feel of your elopement by structuring your day with some of these popular ideas.
Private Photo Session Pre-Ceremony
Isn’t it bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the actual ceremony?
Not when you’re eloping!
In fact, a rising trend that couples love involves having your own private scheduled photo shoot before the ceremony even begins.
Not unlike an engagement shoot or something similar, couples work with their elopement planner or photographer to pick a romantic location such as a garden, public park, or hotel balcony just to have some personal time together before everything gets rolling.
Couples claim that pre-ceremony photoshoots (also known as “first looks”) ease tension and can be extremely romantic. Even during an elopement, things can get busy, leaving little to no private time for the couple. Sometimes a little quiet intimacy goes a long way.
You can even incorporate the photo shoot location into the ceremony itself if you want. Just make sure to work it out with your elopement planner.
Museums and Tours
Why not see the sights while you’re getting married?
It’s popular to get eloped in cities that are rich in history and culture. Sure, you could wait a couple days to take advantage of these attractions, but nothing’s stopping you from incorporating them right into your special day.
If your ceremony is scheduled for the morning, why not spend the afternoon touring a famous museum or spending it exploring the historic streets of places like the French Quarter?
These are the kinds of perks couples love about eloping that you simply can’t get with a traditional wedding.
If you really want to go all out, you could schedule a tour or witness a parade before your actual ceremony. Embrace everything your location of choice has to offer!
Add in Some Adventure
Nothing says you can’t add some real spice to the day of your elopement ceremony. Just remember to dress for the occasion and plan accordingly.
Want to say your vows on a carriage ride or hop on a steam boat? Or maybe you want to visit an historic cemetery or have a picnic in the park? The choice is yours!
An elopement doesn’t have to mimic a traditional wedding at all, if that’s not your thing.
How about a Spa Treatment?
You’re saving time by not having to deal with a drawn out wedding ceremony, and you’re also saving a ton of money by getting eloped in the first place. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself!
Take a slice out of the day to splurge on your hair and nails at the finest place in town. Coordinate with your elopement planner and dedicate a solid block of time for a good pampering.
Not only will you look and feel great before the ceremony, this can also act as a stress-reliever.
Because you’re not going to be bogged down trying to corral 100 people at a wedding reception, eloping leaves more time open for you to unwind and enjoy life!
Romantic Dinner for Two!
Yes, you can cap off the night with a classic candlelit dinner.
In New Orleans, great food comes with the territory. There are no shortages of five star restaurants and romantic locations to choose from.
Because you’re not flying out to your honeymoon destination right after you get married (since you’re already there!), the night of your ceremony is open for you to do what you want with.
This means less headaches and more romance.
After the ceremony is over, feel free to trot back to your hotel (or ride there in style with a rented limo or horse drawn carriage), get changed into something more comfy, and live it up with a night on the town.
What about the Actual Ceremony?
This is all up to you as well! Exchange your vows and rings, play some music of your choosing, share a kiss, or mix it up.
The beauty of an elopement is that there is no one right way to do anything. Include religious content or don’t. Include traditions like throwing the bouquet or don’t. Or go all out with a unique theme and invent traditions of your own.
What’s important is that your elopement speaks to you and that you fill the day with purposeful and meaningful activities. Don’t include anything just because it’s tradition or you think you’re expected to. Own your elopement!