• Mallory Regan

5 Tips for Planning the Perfect Elopement

Glacier National Park Elopement

I’ve always been a fan of eloping. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a big wedding with a huge party. But there’s something so romantic and special about running away together to get married privately. If you’re already planning to elope or postponing your big wedding because of COVID and still want to get married, I’m here to share my top 5 tips for planning the perfect, stress-free elopement.

Montana Elopement Photographer

1. Find An Officiant

Not every couple chooses to get legally married when they elope, but most do. If you do decide to make it legal, you need an officiant who is ordained to perform a wedding in the state that you are getting married in. This can be a friend who got ordained online, or you can find someone local if you’re traveling. Make sure you’re clear on the rules for whichever state you’re signing paperwork in and have a game plan to drop off the license at the courthouse!

Glacier Elopement, 40 Watt Photo

2. Choose Your Outfits

Just because your ceremony is casual doesn’t mean you have to be! You’re saving money by planning a smaller wedding, so use this as an opportunity to treat yourself and dress up. It’s a great opportunity to get the perfectly tailored suit or spring for the more expensive dress that you really love. Since not all of your family and friends will be there to celebrate, make sure you look your best for the photos!

Redwood National Park Elopement

3. Twist the Traditions

A benefit of not having a large, traditional wedding is that you only have to include the aspects that really matter to you and are a part of your style. Which traditions do you want to include, and which ones aren’t important to you? I’ve seen a lot of unconventional twists: a first dance with an iPhone playing the song in your pocket, stopping into a bakery to share a cupcake, a shot of whiskey after you exchange your vows, and a secret handshake after the first kiss. You don’t have to indulge anyone but yourselves here, so enjoy it!

Wedding Pie, Glacier National Park

4. Make Dinner Plans

You’re all dressed up, so why not have somewhere to go? If restaurants are open for dine-in, it can be really fun to have dinner together all dressed up in your wedding clothes. If that’s not an option or not your style, you could also order take-out or cook your favorite meal together at home. You could even invite a small group of friends to celebrate with you! Do whatever makes you feel special and celebrated.

Bozeman Elopement 40 Watt Photo Mallory Regan

5. Who To Tell

Decide ahead of time who is going to be in the loop beforehand, and who needs to be told before you share online! Talk this over with your fiancé well ahead of time so you aren’t stressed out the day of the wedding or worried about forgetting someone. Also, I won’t speak for all photographers, but I always send some preview photos to couples who elope so they have something to show their friends and family! If it’s an option, I recommend keeping it between the two of you for a few days. There’s nothing more romantic than sharing a secret!

Bozeman Elopement Photographer

No matter how you choose to celebrate your love, the most important people at your wedding are you and your new husband or wife. Any way you decide to get married will be beautiful with a little bit of thoughtfulness and preparation! I hope these tips help you if you’re leaning toward an elopement or tiny wedding. And if you need a photographer to capture your wedding of any shape and size, you know where to find me.