Eloping should be simple, but as you’re digging into understanding what an elopement is and what it could be, you’ve found yourself wanting a simple, easy checklist to guide you along your way. Well, friend, we’re so excited to simplify the process, and provide you with some ideas to inspire you to create a wedding day about you!
Let’s begin simply, though, with a quick elopement checklist! So, what do you need for an elopement?
- A vision for your day
- Choose vendors to help you
- A Destination or Location
- A Marriage license
- Possibility an officiant & witnesses (more on that soon)
- Travel arrangements & accommodations
- Ceremony plan & vows
- Decide on vendors.
- Get your rings, attire, and flowers
- Invite close family and friends (optional)
- Celebrate (optional)
- Possibly announcing your wedding more publically (optional)
- Elopement Checklist PDF
Simply put, that’s all you need for your elopement checklist. If you’d like more guidance on each of those, keep reading, or click on the section above that fits your needs. We’re so excited to guide you along the process!
Elopement Checklist: A Vision for Your Elopement Wedding Day
Table of Contents
- 1 Elopement Checklist: A Vision for Your Elopement Wedding Day
- 2 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Vision
- 3 Elopement Checklist: Choosing Vendors To Help Guide Your Vision
- 4 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Vendors
- 5 Elopement Checklist: Choosing A Destination To Help Guide Your Vision
- 6 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Destination
- 7 Elopement Checklist: Get Your Marriage License
- 8 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Marriage License
- 9 Elopement Checklist: Travel Arrangements & Accommodations
- 10 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Travel Arrangements & Accommodations
- 11 Elopement Checklist: Ceremony Plan
- 12 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Ceremony Plan & Vows
- 13 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Finalize Vendors
- 14 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Rings, Attire, and flowers
- 15 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Invite Family and Friends
- 16 Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Plan A Party
- 17 How To Celebrate After Eloping | What To Do After Eloping
- 18 Elopement Checklist PDF
- 19 Free Elopement Wedding Checklist PDF Download
- 20 Elopement Plan | Other Adventure Elopement Tips
How To Plan An Elopement | Vision
Can you use your imagination with me for a hot second? As we begin in this elopement checklist, I want you to begin dreaming. I’m a firm believer that the best things in life are already within us, that deep within our souls is the beauty we hold. It’s that that I want your wedding day to reflect – a perfect combination of you two joining together in a lifelong promise to each other.
Take a moment with your partner to both sit and imagine. Write your answers down and share your thoughts on what the most idyllic wedding would look for you. Take a deep breath, knowing your desires likely won’t exactly align, but by combining elements from each of your visions, you may find that the most amazing experience is awaiting your dream wedding day.
Start with Where: Imagine The Best Place You Could Ever Be
Close your eyes, imagine the most epic places you’ve ever been or have dreamed of going. What did they look like? Were there trees, moss, ocean, mountains, wildflowers, wildlife? What were your surroundings characterized by?
Imagine The Textures
Imagine the textures you’d feel from what you’d be wearing, what the ground would be like that you walk on. What shoes are you wearing? Are you holding flowers or surrounded by them as you exchange your vows? Are you having an intimate meal?
Imagine The Tastes & Smells
What does your meal taste like? Is it breakfast, lunch, or dinner? What are you drinking? Is there dessert? Keep dreaming about a full day experience.
Keep your eyes closed and imagine what things smelt like? Was there freshwater around you, saltwater, sprinkling rain, the smell of fresh grass, pine trees?
Imagine The Sounds
Are there familiar voices around, your family or best friends? Do you hear the trees rustling, a river gurgling, or the ocean waves crashing? Is your best friend laughing and cheering you on in the background or your grandma’s whisper in your ear that you look beautiful and she’s so proud of you?
Use your visions to craft your ideal wedding day
Write down your imaginary experiences. Talk together about what you experienced. Listen to your partner. Reflect on how some of these pieces match together or how you could compromise to include desired elements from each of you. What visions and experiences define both of you and your story together?
Allow this vision casting to help guide you to the next easy steps in how to plan an elopement.
Elopement Checklist: Choosing Vendors To Help Guide Your Vision
How To Plan An Elopement | Vendors
Will hiring vendors be helpful to carry out your intentions? The next step in our elopement checklist is deciding if vendors are necessary and ideal for your scenario!
Elopement Photographers & Guides
Did you know we as adventure elopement photographers and guides help couples create their vision by providing location and activity suggestions? We also contribute by crafting your wedding day timeline based on your chosen location and our knowledge of that area and its conditions.
Check out our adventure elopement packages Colorado!
Need help crafting your ceremony? Did you know most officiants can help you craft your ceremony to fit your family or religious traditions, symbolic acts, spiritual practices, or even accomodate your own unique traditions?
Did you know in the state of Colorado you can marry yourselves and have a self solemnization marriage ceremony? Check out our How To Elope in Colorado guide for a self solemnization script to help you!
Videographers are great at being able to film your wedding and transform the day’s events into a captivating narrative in a way that allows friends or family who couldn’t attend feel like they got to be there. Videos are such a fun way to relive your own elopement wedding experience too. We love videos so much around here that all of our eloping couples also get a video slideshow from our photos!
Flowers are, of course, a HUGE wedding tradition. There is a lot of interesting back story about why flowers have appeared at weddings for so long. The one that has fascinated me the most is the fact that in ancient Rome, brides carried flowers as a symbol of new beginnings and hope.
Make sure to chat with your florist about where you’ll be getting married and if these flowers will harm the environment you’ll be in. As Leave No Trace Aware Photographers, we want to keep educating couples on how they too can Leave No Trace (aka keep places just as beautiful as they are and preserving them for future generations). When you hire us, we give you a complete guide on how to do just this!
Caterer or Private Chef
As you were casting your vision, did the food you imagined include a specific meal? Is this something you’d want to have at a restaurant “in public” or privately by reserving a separate room? Many private chefs can come to you for an intimate meal, or even make a picnic to-go for you.
Did you envision a small party at a rental house with your close family and friends and tables set out? A caterer may be more equipped to help guide you in this area.
Did you imagine lush designs with beautiful objects and furniture out in the wild, like a romantic living room setting on the beach or mountaintop with just the two of you having a picnic? A stylist may be a great help in choosing stylish attire and in some cases, multiple outfits for the day to craft an unforgettable scene.
Hair and Makeup Artist
How did your hair feel in your vision? Was it something you could replicate yourself, or did you imagine having it done by a stylist to remove some stress from you? Hiring a hair and makeup artist can help take the stress off of you. It may be better than trying to find a YouTube tutorial on how to DIY your dream hairstyle. Also, who doesn’t love being pampered a bit!?
Elopement Checklist: Choosing A Destination To Help Guide Your Vision
How To Plan An Elopement | Destination
Choosing your destination can be a bit tricky, especially if you have endless options. This is one of my favorite steps in our elopement checklist because this is a part of what we specialize in here at Celebrate Again! So, here are a few steps to help narrow down your ideas.
Do you have a Bucket List?
Is there any destination you’ve been DYING to visit? Why not skip a separate honeymoon destination and simply elope where you want to go, then stay there for the honeymoon!
Have you fallen in love with a place?
Head back there! Did something significant happen in a location or you had an amazing experience, why not get married there?
Use your Vision Casting To Guide you
Refer back to your vision casting, what was the environment like? Are there accessible places for you to find these environments?
We love that in Colorado you can find all of these kinds of environments in one state: alpine lakes, desserts, red rock formations, mountain tops or deep valley views, winter wonderlands, camping elopement, ice caves, and waterfalls.
Check out these Colorado Elopement Locations!
We love that in Oregon you can find all of these environments: epic waterfalls, ocean cliffs, moody rock formations on the beachfront, mountain beaches, moss growing on the trees, epic volcano peaks, alpine lakes, and sand dunes.
Or for more inspiration, check out our Best Places To Elope guide put together by us and 20 other adventure elopement photographers!
Photographer + Guide
Want to share your vision and have us come up with locations for you? This is why we are more than just elopement photographers–we’re elopement guides! We’d love to help take your vision and make it come to life!
Elopement Checklist: Get Your Marriage License
Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Marriage License
If you legally want to be married, (you know, just in case you don’t enjoy playing pretend haha), you’ll need a marriage license, of course! This may sound like a complicated step in your elopement checklist but obtaining it and filling it out properly is pretty simple, though it depends on where you plan to get married.
Eloping in Colorado
If you’re eloping in Colorado, you can marry yourselves. Just head to a local marriage license office (some are even online), have your ID and checkbook ready and you’re all set to go to exchange your vows and sign your license. Or click here for more info about How To Elope in Colorado
If you get married elsewhere, you may need to hire an officiant. Or in some cases, like ours, your photographer or videographer is an ordained minister and can legally marry you. The secret of the trade: anyone can get ordained by The Universal church, so your best friend could marry you too.
In other states outside of Colorado, you may also need two witnesses over the age of 18. This could be your photographer and videographer, or we’ve even had couples ask a random person walking by to sign too! Your officiant or photographer can help you navigate this, but most of this information is a quick internet search away!
To find the marriage license information, just Google the local county of where you want to get married and follow their instructions.
Some couples legally get married in a courthouse the day or two before, then have their wedding ceremony and celebration outside of the legal proceedings.
Elopement Checklist: Travel Arrangements & Accommodations
How To Plan An Elopement | Travel Arrangements & Accommodations
If you love to travel, this is a fun step in your elopement checklist steps!
Pro Tip don’t be afraid to reach out or even sign up for AAA, as they could even do a lot of this for you!
Book Your Travel
Book your flights, rental car or transportation, and don’t forget to plan for the worst and arrive at your destination a day or two before your elopement wedding day. Just in case your flight randomly is canceled due to weather or something else comes up. The last thing you want is to be stressed before your wedding day!
Book Your Accommodations
If your elopement is doubling as your honeymoon, consider going all out for your accommodations! Or if you enjoy camping, check out HipCamp for some cool places to camp! (With this link you’ll get $10 towards your stay which is a good little bump for how affordable most HipCamps are!)
On the other hand, if you’re considering renting a rental property for you and your guests to have an epic party, check out Airbnb!
|Home Stays Like AirBNB Pros||Home Stays Like AirBNB Cons|
|A private place to yourself: if you select this||Weekly Cleaning|
|Supporting local homeowners||Have to make your own bed|
|May have a very curated guidebook to the area||Staff isn’t usually on site|
|Usually has kitchen||Owners may not be reachable 24/7|
|Feels more like home|
|More affordable for needing more than one room|
|More remote locations|
|Having a local stay feel|
Elopement Checklist: Ceremony Plan
How To Plan An Elopement | Ceremony Plan & Vows
You’ll want to plan out your ceremony, including whatever traditions you want to include or none at all. Next up on your elopement checklist is maybe the most important part of getting married! Exchange your traditional vows or write your own. I love when vows are more than just a love letter but promises you’re going to uphold for each other! Don’t forget to check out our How To Elope in Colorado guide for a self solemnization script to help you!
Or if you hire an officiant they can guide you through this process.
Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Finalize Vendors
If you didn’t hire any of the above vendors to assist with your day, do you need to hire them now?
Scroll back up to see vendors that can help you!
Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Rings, Attire, and flowers
Wear what you want friend, this is why we love elopements, you get to do things how you want to. If you love heels, wear them (and if you hate them–don’t!). Whatever adventure elopement shoes you wear, make sure to consider the environment you’ll be in. No one likes cold or hurting feet. You can always change your shoes for your ceremony or pictures!
Consider your elopement jewelry. Don’t forget to ask family and friends, as you never know what kind of secret family heirloom might surface that you could wear on your wedding day!
Need some guidance? Check out our How to find your Elopement Wedding Dress guide!
If you’re eloping in Colorado, check out our vendor guide for florists we love. If not, consider silk flowers from an Etsy artist if there isn’t a florist in the area you’ll be traveling to. We love that you can pack silk flowers and don’t have to worry about how they may interact with the environment you’re in!
Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Invite Family and Friends
This is a completely optional step in your elopement checklist! We want you to consider this carefully and know there is no pressure to have anyone on your wedding day because, in the end, it’s your union as partners.
Not sure? We have a Should I Elope quiz that may have some great tips for you to consider in this area!
Elopement Checklist: How To Plan An Elopement | Plan A Party
After your ceremony, you’ll want to plan a time to celebrate! We love this step of the elopement checklist! This could be with your family and friends. This could be just the two of you with a privately catered meal having a beachside romantic picnic. Step back to your vision casting and let this guide you on how to celebrate!
Here at Celebrate Again we’re BIG fans of having epic, yet intimate ceremonies with just the two of you or with some close family and friends, then having that dance party you’ve always wanted but didn’t want to throw a big wedding. You can do both!
Some of our clients have intimate weddings with 25 guests here in Colorado or Oregon, then head back home and have a handful of mini celebrations with other friend groups or families! Some even go so far as to have a big reception with dessert, a DJ, the whole nine yards.
No matter what you decide, we hope it’s as fabulous as you want it to be!
What To Do During Elopement?
What do you love to do together? Head back to your vision and do that.
Are you skiing down the slopes together on your wedding day?
Are you camping near a breathtaking alpine lake?
Are you flying in a helicopter over the mountain peaks to take breathtaking photos and/or exchange your vows in a place few others have ever been?
Are you exploring waterfalls or taking a stroll along the beach?
Are you changing into swimsuits and going hot springing or swimming in the ocean?
Let your adventure’s hearts roam, especially on your wedding day!
How To Celebrate After Eloping | What To Do After Eloping
While you could completely skip this step in the elopement checklist process, you could:
- Throw an after-party with family or friends.
- Make a mailing elopement, announcements to send out to people, or just send your wedding day photo gallery and have an intimate phone or video chat about your day!
- Share your wedding day slideshow or video on social media, or don’t!
Elopement Checklist PDF
Want to have this elopement planning checklist as a PDF to print out and download for you to write in your organization? I see you all those binder-loving planning people out there! I get it, I love writing things out by hand too. Even if you don’t, we made our worldwide and Colorado elopement checklist able to be filled out digitally too! Let’s do this!
NEED HELP PLANNING YOUR ELOPEMENT?
Free Elopement Wedding Checklist PDF Download
Ready to make wedding planning easier? Download our free elopement checklist PDF!
Elopement Plan | Other Adventure Elopement Tips
Our best tip is to do the things you love:
Let your adventure’s hearts roam, especially on your wedding day!
If you feel in love with Colorado, don’t forget to check out our Colorado Packing List to help you be best prepared for the different weather!
Wondering what the elopement cost breakdown is? Check out our guide on How To Elope Step 3 Set your budget!
Read more and get inspired on our elopement wedding blog!