Elopement Planning Checklist

Wedding Planning Tips


Okay, so you’ve decided you’d like to take a much smaller approach to your wedding day and you’d like an adventure? Let’s elope!

Just keep in mind the things you love, what is important to you and at the end of the day you will be marrying the love of your life!

Let’s begin with a checklist for your elopement –

  • A location
    • Choose a place that is meaningful. 
    • Use your favorite season as a guide. 
    • Have a vow exchange spot in mind. 
    • If you’d like to get married at the local courthouse, do your research. Go to the website for your city/county’s Clerk’s Office for the specifics on how your day will go.
      • Here are some issues to be aware of:
        • Some courthouse locations don’t even take appointments for marriages—meaning it’s first-come, first-served, with DMV-style waiting.
        • Some states require two separate appointments—one for your marriage license and (within 90 days of that) another for your ceremony.
        • Oftentimes couples getting married at a city hall aren’t allowed to read their own vows during the ceremony.
          • One more thing: Some city hall locations put a limit on the number of guests you’re allowed to bring (including witnesses).
  • A Marriage license
    • Be sure to double-check the following:
      • Do you need an appointment in order to pick up your marriage license?
    • What’s the waiting period? Some states require up to a week between when you file for a marriage license and when you can legally get married!
    • Do you need witnesses? Most states require that two witnesses be physically present to sign the marriage license, but some states/countries have different requirements. Some states even allow you to self-solemnize, which means you don’t even need witnesses! (Again, be sure to check!)
    • What are the officiant requirements? Unless you’re getting married at a courthouse, you may need to book your own—or ask a trusted friend to get ordained!
    • Are there any other legal issues you might run into? Maybe, so keep birth certificates, divorce papers from previous marriages, and other important docs on hand. Even if you elope abroad, you’ll need to get your license beforehand.
  • Travel arrangements & accommodations
    • Buy or coordinate transportation
    • Book lodging — a fun Airbnb, boutique hotel or a resort
  • Ceremony plan & vows
    • Figure out your officiant
    • Write your vows
    • Buy wedding rings
  • Decide on vendors.
    • Hire a wedding planner. If you have ever planned a trip to a foreign destination then you know how difficult it is to put together all of the pieces when you are unfamiliar with the area. The same goes for destination weddings. Hiring a wedding planner allows you to sit back and relax while they sort out the small yet important details.
  • Get your rings, attire, and flowers
  • Invite close family and friends (optional)
  • Celebrate (optional)