Elopement planning

February 24, 2021

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Joshua Tree Elopement

Dewitt For Love Photography

Elopement planning 101. With covid 19 not going anywhere, many of our couples are opting to elope. And honestly we are all for it! You do you boo. 

Catch the full episode on my channel, Talk with Tahnie

What is an elopement, and how to plan one?

Let’s first break down what an elopement is, shall we?

In the past, eloping meant ‘to secretly run away and get married’ without telling your family and friends. 

In 2020 times, an elopement has been redefined to couples choosing to not have a formal ceremony or reception and opt for a very intimate wedding ceremony only. For instance, there is not an exact guest number cutoff to be defined as ‘elopement’ but I would consider an elopement to be 15 people or less. 

Why plan an elopement?

  • There could be a pandemic and your state or county is legally restricting the amount of  guests who can gather.
  • Maybe your families don’t approve of your union, therefore, couples decide to elope in secrecy.
  • Budget constraints, eloping is a far less costly decision than having a larger wedding. 
  • Family planning. Perhaps you are eager to start a family or are already starting one, so you want to be married before that happens. (hehe I fall into this category)
  • There could be legal reasons to decide to elope, for example many couples elope to perhaps speed up their citizenship with their spouse. 

Whatever your reason, I suggest while considering if eloping is right for you, sit down with your spouse and write a pro and con list. Then compare your list with each other. 

Once you decide to elope, in all honesty, say it with confidence. You may get some pushback from friends, family, coworkers, and don’t let their opinions affect your decision for what is ultimately going to make you happiest. It should be something you WANT to do, not something you have to do. And once decided, I suggest sending an elopement announcement!

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Sunset Cliffs Elopement

Carmen Santorelli Photography

How to plan an elopement

Elopement Location

1. First, choose your desired location: beach, park, local, destination. Often an elopement involves so few people, therefore many couples want to plan a more adventurous elopement. Think Yosemite or Sunset Cliffs. 

Choose your elopement photographer

2. Secondly, choose your photographer. If you happen to be traveling to your elopement location and need vendors such as a bouquet, hair and makeup and a wedding planner, I highly suggest you choose local vendors.

Marriage license

3. This third one is SUPER important! Research how to obtain your marriage license and definitely bring it with you. Your wedding will not be legal if you don’t have this piece of paper. Whether you are getting the license from your hometown or getting it in the city you are eloping in, make sure you check the local county clerk’s office regarding your marriage license information. You may need an appointment so plan ahead of time. 


Heather Anderson Photography

Check for permits

4. Did you know many national parks or public beaches may require a permit for photography? This is something you particularly want to research ahead of time. 

Weather forecast

5. Check the weather! And prepare for it. Which also leads to the fact, that you should have a plan B just in case. With the unpredictability of our crazy weather patterns, you can never be too prepared for a sudden rain storm or fire in case it affects the trail you were going to trek because it closed down. 

Have an elopement timeline

6. You know how I am about my timelines, these help make sure everyone is on the same page and the goals are aligned. Many couples opt to have their photos around golden hour, which is 1-2 hours before sunrise and 1-2 hours before sunset, so you might want to plan your day around that. 


7. Know your elopement budget. Some couples like to book an all inclusive elopement package, some may piece together their vendors and activities themselves, whatever you choose, make sure it aligns with your budget and do really read what is included in your packages. For example, your budget can include airfare, accommodations, passports, and transportation. 

Attire planning

8. Think about your elopement attire. If you do choose to have an adventure, I suggest bringing a pair of good walking shoes and clothes then putting on your tux or dress when you get to your ceremony location. That way it’s pristine. 

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9.Ready to start planning? Call me! 

In the meantime, stay creative and be legendary. 

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