Updated: Oct 5, 2020
You’ve met the most wonderful and amazing person and you're going to get married! Congratulations! I’m super excited for you!
You're pondering whether to elope, but what does that mean?
Are you low on funds, is it a “shotgun wedding”, you’re saving up to buy a house, you just don’t want to deal with the family of who sits where, and there’s also Covid-19? My favorite is... you don’t want to plan and get married in 8 months or a year. You want to start your life with this person NOW! For any of those reasons, go for it! But, you don’t and shouldn’t have to sacrifice your dream wedding just because you’re going to elope. You’ll want to take pictures to show the sparkle that's in your eyes so that you can one day share with your kids and future grandkids.
When you think about someone eloping, you envision the crazy couple running away together to the courthouse. The one picture from that day is the couple in blue jeans and t-shirts. Nowadays, you can elope with all the beauty you’ve always dreamed of. You can have fresh-smelling flowers, a flowing veil, and sparkly shoes to walk in. The people invited are just you two. Any more people and it will be considered a small wedding, which is great, but that’s a whole different description!
What’s your wedding celebration budget? Do you have a budget of $100 or $4000? No problem!
If you’ve got a super low budget and can’t afford much more than the marriage license, make it spectacular. Look in your closet, your sister's or your best friend's closet and find a cute outfit. Put some gloss on your lips and enjoy the moment. Make sure that your phone is fully charged so that you can take lots of selfies. You’ll always look back at the laughter and smiles and think, "our life together started today." Look up the city where you're going to get married and check out their marriage license requirements and cost. The cost is usually under $100. Pick up a couple of cupcakes to celebrate with and last but not least, shoe polish. Write Just Married on the back windshield. Shoe polish easily washes off! Ta da…. Here comes the bride!
You can create a free wedding website online at the Theknot.com. Just sign up, create a hashtag that fits both of you, enter your information, upload some pictures, and done. You can direct your friends and family to your website and they can be part of your big day! (Super legit-looking!)
"The mellow flame of their love was prepared to turn to a raging fire. Separation was not an option for them." - by Mukta Singh-Zocchi, Game of Big Numbers
Here are some specifics on your marriage license. Every county has different marriage license requirements, so make sure that you review their website or call in advance. Here are some basic Texas requirements.
Marriage license application
Social Security Card
Form of ID
Certified copy of your birth certificate
US Pass Port
You will sign the application in front of the clerk
Pay the application fee
As an example, below is the link to the Dallas, Texas marriage license information.
If your budget is bigger, you can wear the wedding gown of your dreams. Hire a newbie and local photographer to capture every single moment. Again, pictures will allow you to relive this exciting time! Even if it's just you and your soul mate in attendance, it will be worth it!
Make a realistic budget of what you can afford. Pinterest has some princess-worthy ideas. Keep in mind, the more that you do, the more expensive it becomes. Make a list of bare-bone wedding essentials:
Decide what is most important to you and cut out the rest. The best part about eloping is that there will be no one there to judge you or your decor. That’s awesome!
You can purchase a dress online very inexpensively. Amazon has incredible dresses with real pictures and reviews. The cost ranges from $45.00 and up (link below). You don’t know your wedding dress size? Go to a wedding gown boutique and try some dresses on. Its free and many do not require appointments. This will allow you to try on multiple dresses and styles. (Some boutiques do require appointments, so check their websites to make sure that they don't.) You’ll get to see what style looks pretty on you and you can feel what size fits you the best. You can also buy from one of these boutiques on the spot! David’s Bridal has many styles to choose from and you can view your gorgeous self in lots of full-length mirrors!
You can also save a lot of money by getting married during the week. Getting married Monday through Thursday will allow you to work with wedding vendors at a cheaper cost. This is especially true for venues and photographers.
Venue choice will depend on the budget. If it’s going to be at the honeymoon location, opt for a stupendous Tuesday or a wonderful Wednesday to say your I do’s. You can choose an exotic resort, bed and breakfast in the hill country, by the river, or a little more remote location overlooking scenic cliffs next to a waterfall. Another more cost-effective option is to get married at a local park. You can check out the city website for picturesque park locations. All of these options will be good for the two of you. The photographer and officiant will also have more availability during the week. You can use one of the awesome photos for your wedding announcement.
Working with a local bakery is easy. If you get a cake, try to get it with 2 tiers and save the top tier. If it's a one-tier cake, remember to save a slice. If you get cupcakes, make sure that you order 3 of them and save one. Wrap and freeze it to eat in one year. Traditionally, back in the 19th century, couples saved their top tier or slice for the christening of their first child. Today, the top tier of the wedding cake is often saved for the one year anniversary, or your first child’s christening (which would be within that first year of marriage).
It's time to go on a honeymoon. Honeymoon also depends on your budget. Maybe that’s why you decided to elope. You want a once in a lifetime adventure with your partner for life! If a honeymoon was not on your wedding essential, no big deal. Wherever you go for the next week is your honeymoon. Relax, enjoy, and focus on your forever soulmate. Remember to remind your new spouse that this is going to be an amazing journey. Share soft moments by whispering in their ear. Whisper softly article has some great examples of what to whisper to make your loved one fall deeper in love!
After the big kiss and the start of a blissful and happy life, its time to let your friends and family know about your big news. Break the news… kindly. Most will be so happy for you, but some might be hurt that they were not included in your life-changing decision. You will make it up to them at your housewarming party (because you saved money on your big day and had the money for the down payment of a home) or your baby’s 1st birthday. Just remember to be kind and thoughtful in breaking the news.
If printed announcements are part of your budget, you can include a picture, date, time, and location of the big event. The announcement will be for family and friends to see your smiling and glowing faces. They will be able to see how happy you are and celebrate with you now and on your anniversary. The announcement will also be a beautiful keepsake for you. Depending on the choice of paper and quantity, the cost starts at $25.00. You can make your own announcements with online sites like Shutterfly or Vistaprint. Either of them is great and easy to work with. Start an account, write in the information that you want to include, and upload one or a few of your lovely wedding pictures. There will be different backgrounds, sizes, and styles to choose from. Both companies have templates that you can work with. Follow the steps on the template and you can preview what the cards will look like on the screen. I would start this process before your big day. A link to both websites is below. If you have all of the information entered and set up, all you’ll need to do is upload the picture or pictures from the wedding, hit submit, pay, and you'll get your order in a week. Once you receive them, you can mail them out or deliver them in person to family and friends.
You did it! Congratulations!