The journey from dating to being married can have many steps and “thresholds” that you two cross as a couple—so the final big-picture decision to make about your experience of getting married is how many days your whole trip is going to be and if there’s any additional celebrations you plan to have along the way.
Who says your wedding has to all fit into one single day? It doesn’t. Many couples choose to spread the joy over multiple days. You may want to consider a multi-day elopement if you want some of your time to be with friends & family and some of it to be just you two. You may also have grand plans of exploring multiple places or going on a lengthy adventure just the two of you that spans multiple days. Make sure the overall trip you are planning includes time for your celebration to extend beyond just one day so that after you book travel & lodging, so you don’t look back and wish “Ah, I wish we had carved out more time!” In my experience, no one has ever said they wish they had planned a shorter trip, so when in doubt, go for more days rather than less.
One very popular route many couples take that helps more friends and family feel included is to have a party or celebration after their elopement day. You can have a reception the day-after your elopement or in the same week—but from experience, I’d suggest you plan it 3-6 months afterward so it’s not stressing you out on your actual wedding day. A reception can be anything from a casual BBQ in your backyard, to taking over a local brewery or restaurant, to doing something fancy in a catered venue. Deciding to have a reception may change who you want to invite to your actual wedding day or where you decide you want to elope—so this is a great decision to make early in the process, before you’re too deep into planning.
Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have an engagement session! Engagement sessions are a fantastic way to enjoy the excitement of being engaged, have another fun adventure with your partner, and practice being relaxed in front of the camera. If you two have never been photographed professionally before, it can be really fun to go out on a totally casual adventure with me (your photographer) in your everyday attire and do something fun together that I’ll document before your wedding day. Engagement photos are also perfect to use in elopement announcements, intimate wedding invitations, a guest book, or in décor for your elopement.