Yeah, there’s a bunch of guides, tips and tricks, and lists for planning your elopement. But what about if you’re just starting out with the idea of eloping with your partner? Where do you start? What do you consider? Where do you elope, exactly? More so, how do you choose your elopement location?!
Rather than give you a list of locations to inspire you (which I do have if you’re interested in eloping in New York State, mind you), I thought it would be helpful to create a guide for you on choosing your elopement location. Not a location that you’ve seen all over Insta. Not a location that feels touristy. (Unless that’s what you’re dreaming of, of course.)
Rather, this is more to help you really think about what matters to you and your partner when making this decision. Something that will truly feel like it’s been tailored to you, versus a carbon copy of what is going around on socials. More than anything, your day should focus on your love story and that means going to a place that you both will love, no matter where it is. So definitely take the time to sit and reflect on what location(s) would make you and your partner feel the most fulfilled.
Consider the Season
The time of year you plan to elope will have a big impact on the location you choose. For example, if you’re planning a winter elopement, you may want to consider a location with snowy mountains or a cozy cabin in the woods. On the other hand, if you’re eloping in the summer, a beach or a national park with lush greenery might be more appealing. Consider the temperature, weather, and overall vibe of the location during the season you’re planning to elope in. Keep in mind that some popular locations may be crowded during peak season, so consider alternative dates or times of day when you choose your elopement location.
Think About Your Style
Your elopement should reflect who you are as a couple, so think about your personal style when choosing your elopement location. Are you outdoorsy and adventurous? Consider a national park or a secluded hiking trail. If you’re more of a city couple, look for a location with a skyline or urban scenery that speaks to you. There are also a lot of unique venues that can accommodate elopements, like an art museum, botanical garden, or even a private yacht. Choose a location that feels authentic and special to you both when you choose your elopement location. What’s amazing is that New York offers all of these amazing vistas! From snowcapped mountains to bustling cities and everything in between.
Factor in Logistics
Even though elopements are simpler than traditional weddings, there are still logistics to consider when you choose your elopement location. Think about how easy it will be to get to your location. Maybe you’ll need to get permits or hire a local guide. You’ll also want to take a look at what accomodations are available.
Make sure you have all the information you need to make your elopement day as stress-free as possible. Consider working with a local elopement photographer (like ya girl!!) or planner who can help guide you. They can help you through these details and make recommendations for vendors or activities when you choose your elopement location.
Consider Your Budget
Eloping can be a more affordable option than a traditional wedding, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t associated costs. In some situations, there are additional costs to consider when you choose your elopement location. You’ll want to think about the cost of travel, accommodations, permits, and any vendors you may need to hire. Make sure you have a clear budget in mind before you start looking at locations to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
Remember that some locations may have additional fees or permits required, so research and plan accordingly. Nearly all State Parks require a ceremony permit. Whereas all National Parks require them. If you plan on having a post-elopement celebration with a larger guest list, you’ll want to consider those costs too.
Do Your Research
When choosing your elopement location, it’s important to do your research. I cannot emphasize this enough!
Make sure you are aware of any local laws or regulations that may affect your elopement. For example, some locations may require a permit or have restrictions on the number of people allowed in certain areas. You’ll also want to research marriage license requirements and any other legal considerations that may apply for that location.
You may want to hire vendors or services like a photographer, officiant, or hair and makeup artist. Research the availability of these services in the area and read reviews from other couples who have used them. Some locations may have limited options, so it’s important to plan ahead and book early.
Consult a Professional
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options, consider consulting a professional elopement planner (or photographer). If you opt for a planner, make sure that they have experience in elopement planning. While elopement planning isn’t planning free, it takes a different level of planning versus a traditional wedding. Many traditional wedding planners may not know some of the things that must be considered when elopement planning!!!
Where as elopement photographers, this is our bread and butter. We specialize in small weddings and elopements because we love everything about them, planning included! We know how to find the best lighting, no matter the time of day, terrain, or time of year. Not only are we able to help you plan for a specific location, but we can help you create a day-of timeline with lighting in mind. This is especially important if photos are high on your list of priorities.
We can help you narrow down your options and suggest locations that fit your style and budget. Plus, we’ll help you take care of all the details, so you can focus on enjoying your special day. Just note that not all elopement photographers offer planning assistance to their couples! Definitely make sure to verify!
Choosing the perfect elopement location may take some time, so don’t stress if it takes a bit.
In the end, the most important thing is to choose an elopement location that speaks to you and your partner. Remember, this is your day to celebrate your love story and create lasting memories together. Take the time to consider what matters most to you and what location will make you both feel the most fulfilled.
Whether you decide to elope in a national park, on a beach, in a secluded cabin, or in a unique venue like a museum or botanical garden, the key is to choose a location that truly reflects your personal style and values.
By considering the season, logistics, budget, and doing your research, you can ensure that your elopement day goes smoothly and stress-free. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional elopement planner or photographer who can help guide you through the process.
Remember, your elopement is a celebration of your love and commitment to each other, and the location you choose is just one small part of that. With a little bit of planning and thoughtfulness, you can create a day that is truly special and unique to you and your partner.