Considering Eloping During The Pandemic? Learn How To Celebrate Again

bride walking towards mountain as sunsets. She's happy that she is eloping during the pandemic

The question is burning, should we consider eloping during the pandemic? Maybe you just got engaged and you’re feeling confused on how to proceed with wedding plans, or you’ve rescheduled, scheduled and rescheduled again. The one question we want to ask you is: Is your wedding day about getting married or about celebrating with every one you want to be there. If the first, you should elope, if both maybe you should consider Celebrating Again. 😉

No matter where you land eloping during COVID is seeming pretty amazing, but you’ve got a few questions like:

  • Should we elope during the pandemic?
  • How do you elope during the pandemic?
  • Should we try to have guests?
  • How do we keep ourselves and everyone safe?

 

Hey friend, we’re Emmy and Brittany, Oregon and Colorado based elopement photographers here at Celebrate Again. We are here to support you in making the best decision for you two, with no regrets and only excitement to let a different plan become an epic plan. Let’s get to it!

bride and group happy they are eloping during the pandemic as groom tilts brides wheelchair playfully and she kicks one leg out

Pandemic aside, we first want to ask you the question: What is most important to you about your wedding day?

Is it getting married, or is it celebrating with your family and friends?

Or is it both?

What if you could still have both, but on different days?

You see, we’ve been told that our wedding celebrations need to happen on one big day. But what if you said “I do” on one day, then had another or a handful of mini celebrations with your family and friends who couldn’t be at the ceremony itself?

You take your epic elopement photos, then get to relive your day with family and friends later.

You get to Celebrate Again.

couple sitting on the edge of a row boat looking off into the distance smiling as they decided to elope during the pandemic

Will We Regret Eloping During The Pandemic?

Many couples think they’ll regret eloping, but we’ve done some polling, and a majority of couples who have ever eloped while traveling to a destination they loved or including adventurous activity in some way on their wedding day had zero regrets.

Still Unsure about Eloping During The Pandemic?

We’ve got you covered, friend! Head to our free Should I Elope Quiz to help you really nail down if eloping is a good idea for you!

How Do You Elope During The Pandemic?

You may have always loved traveling, but now it seems that a destination wedding is out because: COVID. But what if you could have a super fun road trip or fly with just the two of you (and perhaps also your immediate family or a friend or two) to someplace epic around the U.S.?

Pro Tip:You can find similar epic landscapes across the U.S. For example, a lot of Oregon actually looks similar to Iceland. Or parts of Colorado are actually called the “Switzerland of America.” Those are just two examples, but there are plenty more incredible, exotic locations on our own soil if you do some digging!

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#1 Plan A Guest List Or Just You Two

While everyone thinks eloping means just the two of you and an officiant and or witnesses, it can actually include up to 30 or so people.

But if you’re wanting to play it safe, you could just get married with only the two of you present or with only your immediate family. While your plans may very well have gotten disrupted due to the virus and constantly changing local restrictions, there are still creative ways to celebrate your wedding and navigate gathering-size limitations while keeping everyone safe!

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#2 Pick A Date

Ok, this is tricky because when you’re eloping during a pandemic, it causes things to change quickly. We get it. Pick a date, but then also pick a handful of backup dates around a month later.

Know You’ll Have To Be Flexible

Restrictions change quickly, so a lockdown could happen or things could open up more depending on what’s happening. If you want to travel someplace lovely to elope, you’ll want to be as flexible as you can.

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#3 Go Super Local

You could also consider finding a superb local elopement photographer to help you enjoy getting married right where you already are! Your elopement photographer and guide may surprise you with the gorgeous spots they know about in which to exchange your vows! Who said eloping during a pandemic cannot be epic!?

P.S. Brittany is in Denver and Emmy is in Portland!

Check out our guide about our best places to elope in Colorado, these waterfalls in Portland or our Cannon Beach elopement guide!

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#4 Decide On Where - Ish

groom kissing brides forehead as they sit cozily on a wooden log near an alpine lake so happy they eloped during the pandemic

Before you feel like you need to know the exact location of where you want to get married during the pandemic, it can be helpful to hire an elopement photographer and guide (shameless plug here!). 

Say what? Why would we hire a photographer before we know where we’re gonna get married?

Pro Tip: Elopement photographers and guides like us actually help YOU figure out where to have your ceremony, find other epic places to visit and we can even plan out your wedding day timeline. All we need to book you is a general location (ex: Colorado or Oregon) and your ideal wedding date. That’s it!

Consider A Goregous Outdoor Location

While you may not be a crazy backpacker or rock climber (or maybe you are!), you can pick someplace accessible and beautiful to say your vows and experience a fun elopement wedding day even during the pandemic!
bride and groom kissing in front of an epic waterfall during winter who are eloping during the pandemic

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#5 Plan Out The Details Including Your Experience

While most couples get stuck on the ceremony of eloping, they forget about the possibility of a whole day wedding experience. You may not be able to do ALL the celebration activities you want because you’ve chosen to elope during the pandemic. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot have your own epic day full of celebration with your partner.

Imagine starting your wedding day someplace beautiful, having every moment curated to be as close to a perfect day as can be! Have every activity planned out to a T or do a more freeform, loose day to go with the flow. Include adventures like hiking, a private helicopter tour, hot air balloon ride, visiting a hot spring, surfing, going to a local brewery, having a beachside fire with a privately catered meal, taking a canoe ride across the lake… Let this day be anything you want!

Check out our elopement timeline examples to get an idea of what your day could look like!

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#6 Know The Laws & Steps

leather straps tied together with rings hanging on the straps

For more info about how to elope in general, check out our easy guide! Complete with info about how to elope in Colorado and other places.

How To Elope During The Pandemic:
#7 Know Your Refund/Rescheduling Policies with Vendors

Before you hire vendors, make sure you really understand their refund and rescheduling policies. We already know that sometimes the worst can happen, so make sure you’re prepared to handle rescheduling, knowing that in some cases you may not get a refund.

Reasons why you might not receive a refund? Many wedding vendors begin putting labor hours into your wedding ahead of time and they lose out on other opportunities if they reserve your date for you.

You’ll want to make sure that if you have to reschedule due to the pandemic, you’ll still want the option to maintain these businesses as your wedding vendors.

Deposits & Services Fees For Eloping During A Pandemic

We aren’t one to beat around the bush, so if you hire us to be your elopement photographers, know that part of our contractual agreement being paid is a non-refundable retainer fee to reserve your date as well as a service fee which covers our location scouting, activity suggestions, vendor recommendations and a timeline creation. Many other vendors may be the same.

Meaning, if you cancel your wedding entirely, those funds are likely not refundable because the work has been done and reservations have often already been made.

Pro Tip:Make sure you want these wedding vendors to be YOUR wedding vendors no matter how much your plans may have to evolve. With our contract specifically, this is what the commitment is. We’re with you no matter the changes.

Eloping During The Pandemic:
Should You Have Guests

view of a wedding ceremony with guests on a green grassy area and trees in the background

Another big question to consider when deciding if you should elope during the pandemic is if you should have any guests at all. Here are a few questions to ask yourselves and the guests you’d invite.

  • Can you (gently) uninvite them if restrictions get tighter?
  • Can you Celebrate Again with them at a later time after the ceremony itself?
  • Are they going to be a constant support system to your marriage?
  • Have you always envisioned them being there for your ceremony?

Have Wedding Guests Attend Digitally During A Pandemic

If you feel safer without guests present, but still want to share the ceremony, you can always consider doing a live stream of your wedding!

How To Live Stream Your Wedding During The Pandemic

Here are a few tips to have a successful live stream:

  • Make sure you have good WiFi or a strong cell signal at your ceremony location ahead of time and have a plan B if you cannot stream it live.
  • Purchase a phone tripod to set up your phone or network-connected device in a stable spot to get a great view of the event.
  • Use a streaming service that allows you to record your ceremony to save it for later
  • Consider hiring a videographer to help you take your live stream to the next level with professional quality audio and video.

Eloping During a Pandemic:
Consider A Videographer or Vlogging

If you want a full video of your ceremony, consider hiring a videographer to capture your ceremony on video for your guests to watch again later.

Or, if you’re feeling creative yourself, take your own videos throughout the day to document your elopement wedding day!

Pro Tips: While this may seem fun, make sure you know your own tendencies well enough to not get caught up documenting everything on video and forgetting to actually enjoy and experience the day yourself!

COVID Elopement Wedding Safety Tips

In order to stay safe while eloping during the pandemic, make sure to follow the recommendations from the CDC or your own country, as well as the local restrictions for your home base and where you’re going to elope. You may have to quarantine after your elopement when you come back home. 

bride and groom snuggling after the wedding day choosing to celebrate again because they went eloping during the pandemic
Idea Alert:If you have to quarantine after traveling from your elopement, consider extending your elopement experience to include a honeymoon time to just enjoy being away. Then, when you return, have an extended stay at home, stay in bed and take time to relax together. Grab your favorite books, binge some shows, and enjoy all the extra cuddles. Take this additional time to bond and dream about your regular day to day life.
bride and groom not dressed up snuggling up on a couch cuddling and laughing
  • Wear your mask when not taking photos. 
  • Wash or sanitize your hands before eating or touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Make sure your vendors are going to be respectful and wear masks. (We certainly do!)
  • Make sure your vendor’s gloves are not coming in contact with you or your food.
  • Have your guests wear masks if they’re not eating, especially indoors if you have a small reception.
  • Socially distance your guests into their households during meals.
  • Talk with your wedding vendors about any other safety concerns you may have.

Hire an
Elopement Wedding
Photographer + Guide

We would also adore coming alongside you to help you navigate all the rules, permits and locations around eloping during the pandemic. With our 10+ years of experience we can handle all the bumps in the road!

Brittany and Emmy, Colorado and oregon elopement photographers in a beautiful location

We believe that your wedding day is meant to be cherished as an experience and not just an event. We’d love to help guide you in crafting a wedding day experience that you’ll never forget. Learn more about hiring us as your Colorado elopement photographers.

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couple cuddling as they are happy they decided to elope during the pandemic

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About the Author

emmy on mountain to laughing
Hey, I’m Emmy, the main voice behind Celebrate Again. Here you’ll find ways to live the Celebrate Again lifestyle. I want to help you to embody the joy of life by learning to Celebrate Again in everything from the practice of intentional breath to taking on major life events. I believe your life should be full and be what you make it. Whether you’re joining me to plan your wedding, celebrate an anniversary, adventure around the USA, stay connected to your beloved, practice yoga or whip up a plant-based recipe, I’ve got you covered, friend.

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