The elopement ceremony is basically the main event – this is what you’ve been waiting for! Getting officially married, exchanging vows, tying the knot, committing to spending forever together… it’s a big deal!
A lot of people have this misconception that an elopement is “less than” a big wedding – that because it’s a smaller ceremony, it’s also less meaningful, less important, and doesn’t deserve as much time or attention. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Deciding to downsize and prioritize the things that are important to you on your wedding day doesn’t make it any less meaningful, and you should make sure that the entire day reflects the two of you and who you are as a couple. Here are some unique elopement ceremony ideas, and some tips for making your elopement feel special!
One of the best ways to make your elopement ceremony unique, and to make your entire day meaningful is to choose a location you absolutely love! This can be somewhere you’ve been, or a new place you want to explore on the big day. Either way, choose whatever type of scenery speaks to you. Whether it’s mountains, oceanside cliffs, wildflower fields, or lush green forests, decide on a landscape to be the backdrop for the day.
For tips on choosing the perfect elopement ceremony location, check out this post!
There’s nothing more magical than being the first ones at a gorgeous spot, getting the whole place to yourselves, and watching the sun come up over the horizon as you say your vows. Or, staying past dusk and watching the last wisps of the pink and purple sunset fade away after everyone has left.
One of my favorite elopement ceremony ideas is to tie the knot at sunrise or sunset, because it gives you the most privacy for your ceremony, along with incredible lighting!
You don’t have to be the next Shakespeare to write your own vows! No matter how you feel about your writing abilities or your abilities to translate all those feelings into words, writing your own vows is always going to be so much more personal than using prewritten ones, or the standard “I do’s.”
To make your elopement ceremony more special, write your own vows to share with your partner. Tell them how excited you are to be getting married, all the promises you vow to keep, and all the things you’re looking forward to after the elopement day.
While some couples want their elopement day to be just them, with no guests, others can’t imagine tying the knot without their favorite people around. If having a few friends or some family around feels right to you, invite them!
You can just have them there as guests, but I’ve got some more elopement ceremony ideas if you want them to have a role in the day. This can mean having ring bearers, flower children, having your guests say a few words, or having one of them officiate!
You can also have your guests there for the ceremony, then split up and go off on a hike or an adventure just the two of you – that way you get the best of both worlds, spending time with your loved ones and getting some time for yourselves.
For couples who aren’t inviting anyone for their elopement ceremony, or if there are some friends or family members who aren’t going to be there, you can have them write letters for you to read on the big day. They’ll get a chance to share their thoughts and feelings with you and wish you well, and you’ll have parts of your loved ones with you as you tie the knot.
You can also call your loved ones from your elopement! FaceTime or a phone call right before or right after the ceremony (or even during, if you want to stream it for them) can be a fun way to include your loved ones in the elopement day if they aren’t there in person.
Live music is a ton of fun – and adding it to your elopement ceremony can be a ton of fun too! Hire a band or musician to play as you walk down the “aisle,” or to provide music for your first dance. It’s way more special than playing music through a speaker!
A unity ceremony is a symbol of the two of you coming together, becoming one family. Some couples have religious or cultural unity ceremonies they want to incorporate, but some elopement ceremony ideas include lighting a unity candle, handfasting, pouring sand, tree planting, and so many more! You can also come up with your own – like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
One of my favorite elopement ceremony ideas is to plan a surprise for your partner! This can be anything – a song you wrote, a surprise honeymoon trip, a letter from a loved one, an engraved ring, anything! Just plan something epic and keep it a secret until your elopement ceremony.
Elopements are all about freedom, and doing what you want on the big day. So self solemnizing is something every eloping couple should consider!
Self solemnizing means getting married without an officiant performing the ceremony – you marry yourselves, without having to worry about hiring someone and meeting them in a remote location.
This isn’t always easy, though, because most states require an officiant to sign the marriage license! In Wisconsin, Colorado, and a few other states, you can self solemnize. This ensures your elopement ceremony is private and intimate, and that you can do anything and everything you want.
To make your elopement day special, plan an adventure! This can be absolutely anything – hiking to your ceremony location, taking a helicopter ride over the park, camping and dancing around the fire, soaking in a hot spring after the ceremony, anything! Plan something totally epic, to make your elopement the perfect unique reflection of the two of you.
As an elopement photographer, I’ve helped countless couples plan their elopement day. Your day should be about telling your story, your way. It should be authentic, true to you, and totally unique! So I’m here not just to document your day, but to help you plan – from elopement ceremony ideas, location recommendations, permit info, to creating a timeline for the day, i’m ready to be your adventure buddy and planning assistance.
Ready to elope? Contact me!