3 Things You Didn’t Know About Planning an Elopement

Mar 7

Dana Shular

couple's stories




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Your elopement documenting and planning team. We are here to support you make your stress free elopement dreams come true!

ascend together

Dana shular


about us

Twenty years ago, if you told someone you were eloping, it probably meant you were heading to Vegas to have an Elvis impersonator officiate your ceremony and shower you in poker chip confetti. Now, it’s something totally different. Elopements (especially amidst the pandemic) are becoming increasingly popular. Every day it becomes clearer and clearer to those of us in the industry that elopements come in every form. As a result, we continue to challenge our own ideas of what an elopement can be! It’s AMAZING, and we’re so lucky to have the opportunity to watch the elopement industry change and grow firsthand.

But still, there are some things about elopement planning that may surprise you. Our team has seen firsthand how often couples are surprised by what the elopement planning process really looks like. When you know exactly what to expect throughout your elopement planning journey, you can ensure the experience you and your partner have is seamless, lovey, and downright wonderful.

We could make a loooooong list of all the things that surprise people about planning an elopement. Instead, we’ve decided to share the three most common things we hear from our clients. These three things are important – so you may want to grab a pen and paper!

Your elopement can be whatever you want it to be.
When you envision your dream elopement, what does it look like?

You can still include everyone in your celebration

If you think eloping has to be just you, your partner, and an officiant, you’re smashes giant buzzer WRONG.

Many engaged couples are drawn to an elopement but decide against it for fear that their loved ones won’t feel included in their day. Hello, it’s us, the Ascend Together Myth Busters, and we’re here to say that’s a bunch of bologna. There are so many ways to include your friends and family in your elopement, either by having them with you physically or finding other creative ways to have them alongside you.

Torn between including a ton of people in your day, and celebrating your love in an intimate setting? You can have the best of both worlds. Here are some ideas for ways you can include everyone in your day.

There are many ways to include friends and family in your elopement - it just depends on your priorities!
There are endless ways you and your partner can share your day with your loved ones!

Ways to involve loved-ones without being physically present:

  • Update them throughout your planning process. Show your loved ones that you value their opinion and want to have them by your side as much as possible throughout your planning process. Ask them for advice on vendors and locations, bring them along to choose outfits, send links to your venue, etc.

  • Livestream your ceremony. This is a great way to include them fully in your ceremony while keeping things intimate!

  • Have a party. Whether it be a delayed reception, an engagement party, or a vow renewal celebration! There are plenty of great options for couples who want an in-person celebration with their family but don’t want to compromise the intimacy of their actual elopement day.

  • Share photos/videos. If you hire the right team, your photos and videos will make your loved ones feel as if they were right there alongside you. You can also include them in your day by sending them footage (i.e. a post-ceremony “We got hitched!” text).

  • Find unique ways to take them with you. We once had a couple read letters from their loved ones during their ceremony as a way to include them in their day. It was raw, beautiful, and deeply emotional. You could do this or something similar by opening letters or gifts from them during your day, including a family heirloom in your ceremony, or mentioning your love for them during your ceremony — be creative with it!

Ways to involve loved ones with your elopement in-person:

  • Have an intimate ceremony. Our rule of thumb is that an elopement is a celebration of 25 or fewer individuals. Instead of just yourself and your partner, you can invite your closest loved ones to join you for your ceremony.

  • Have a multi-day celebration. Your wedding can be whatever the heck you want it to be, and that includes being a multi-day event! Allow yourself additional time to celebrate your love in more ways than one. With a two-day ceremony, you can bask in the intimate moments and share in the excitement with your loved ones.

  • Do a half-and-half day. Spend half of your day taking time to yourself, celebrating with your partner, and enjoying one another’s presence. Then, take the second half of the day to include your friends and family in the festivities!

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate with your loved ones, tips on navigating relationships with friends and family, and best practices for sharing the news of your elopement with others, check out our full guide here!

The stressful planning and logistics are still a thing

A draw for many to the idea of eloping is that it’s “stress-free”. It’s the idea that, because you’re skipping all the fanfare of a traditional wedding, you’ll be able to plan your day without sacrificing any emotional or mental energy.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

No matter the size of your day, the thing elopements and traditional weddings have in common (aside from marriage, obviously) is that there’s a significant amount of planning involved. When you plan an elopement, you still have to navigate a lot! The coordination, logistics, timelines, task-juggling, legalities, and all the in-between to-dos that come with preparing for the biggest day of your life. You end up scrolling your life away just to find a few vendors you can trust. And then, at the end of the day, EVEN if you find vendors you’re happy with, you’ll still be left with that feeling of uncertainty — what if they don’t pull through?

We’re all about honesty, so here it is: if you and your partner value an engagement and an elopement that are stress-free, you need to invest in that priority. If you take on the planning on your own, stress will inevitably follow. You’ll need to search for venues, coordinate the logistical side of your day, research and hire vendors (photography, videography, hair and makeup, potential catering, lodging, officiant, florist, etc.) take care of the permits and paperwork, and more on your own. It’s a lot, trust me.

The good news? You have options. If bearing the planning stress yourself sounds like a 0/10, there are plenty of ways to make it a breeze. Maybe we’re biased, but we don’t think there’s anything more valuable than hiring an all-inclusive elopement service. In a nutshell, you make one investment and your elopement is taken care of for you. The photography, videography, and all the planning and coordination that goes into bringing that dreamy elopement vision of yours to life! No need to stress about the responsibilities of doing it on your own. Just enjoy your engagement, spend time with your partner, and when your elopement day comes around, experience it the way you’d always imagined.

If an all-inclusive elopement sounds tasty to you, click here to learn a bit more! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!

You can do whatever the heck you want

There are absolutely no limits to what your elopement can look like. Couples are constantly pushing the boundaries for what creative, wild, adventurous antics can happen during an elopement. You can have your elopement in whatever location you want, celebrate however you want, make it last as long as you want, and invite whoever you want. Set the rulebook on fire and roast marshmallows on it!

When you're well-prepared, planning your elopement can be fun, romantic and relaxed!
What landscape makes you swoon? What activities are representative of your relationship? You can include anything you want in your elopement!

You don’t have to elope in the mountains or hike 12 miles to get married in a beautiful location (spoiler alert: there are so many accessible, easy-to-get-to locations for intimate ceremonies). Your elopement can be boujee, or laid back. It can be free of drama, and it’s no less meaningful than a traditional wedding. If something is important to you, it can be included in your elopement day – if there’s a will, there’s a way! Your day should truly represent you, and if that means doing something totally out-of-the-ordinary, then DO IT! Bend the rules, break the rules, and craft a day for yourself that has your name written all over it.

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