How to Elope in the United States: Your Ultimate Guide

Get the inside scoop on how to elope in the United States – no tired traditions here!
How to Elope in the United States: Your Ultimate Guide

How to Elope in the United States: Your Ultimate Guide

October 3, 2021

Micro weddings, minimonies, elopements. Whatever you’d like to call them, intimate celebrations are on the rise, especially luxury elopements. Which is the perfect choice for you? Today, we’re giving you our best elopement ideas and advice. 

What does elopement mean? 

Brides defines elopement as “a marriage conducted without the knowledge of the couple's family and friends, particularly their parents.” 

Traditionally, elopements were exclusively for couples looking for a quiet ceremony. However, elopements are changing. In 2020, 84.2% of couples told friends and family that they plan to elope

If you’re thinking of eloping with your partner, there are many things to consider. These include your budget, style, location, and whether eloping with family and friends is something you’d like to do. 

Couples who do want to include their close family and friends can consider a micro wedding instead of an elopement. Micro weddings, also called minimonies, are intimate events and can take place anywhere in the world, so they still have that traditional elopement appeal. 

If you’re looking for more information about elopements vs. micro weddings, the Lovecast blog has got you covered! 

Our answer to the question “what does elopement mean?” is this: whatever you’d like it to mean. Ultimately, this is your day! You get to choose what it looks like and who’s involved. That being said, here are our best tips for eloping. 

How much does it cost to elope? 

You can elope with a budget of any size. Depending on the details, eloping could cost you anywhere from $60 to $15,000 or more. 

If you have a tight budget, first it’s important to remember the legalities of your marriage. Obtaining a marriage license and paying any state fees should be at the top of your priorities list. Then, delegate the rest of your budget to your most important vendors, such as a photographer. 

Amazing elopement ideas for every style and budget 

When planning your elopement, your only limit is your imagination. 

If elopement photography is most important to you, splurge on that. If you’re dying to have a stunning floral installation, spend big on your florist. Adjust your budget to fit your priorities, and don’t forget to research eloping packages! 

If you have a larger budget, treat your elopement like a mini wedding! Just because you have a few guests instead of a few hundred doesn’t mean you can’t create a personal and memorable experience. 

Best Places to Elope in the US

Your elopement location sets the tone for the entire event. Because elopements are usually smaller events, your opportunities are virtually endless! 

To avoid overwhelm, you can begin by picking a landscape or a region. Landscapes could be mountains, the desert, the beach, or an urban location. Or, if you know what location you’d like to get married, you can start there. A simple search of “elopement venues in” + your location should give you plenty of results! 

And you don’t need to stay close to home! 81.5% of couples elope outside of their home state. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with state laws before you travel.

Public spaces are a great option for elopements. Cedar & Pines is a fantastic resource if you want to get married without an official venue (think: state parks!). And of course, you can always choose to elope at your local courthouse! 

Elopement Vendors 

Which vendors you choose to hire, if any, are entirely up to you. Simply Eloped found that the most common vendors hired for elopements in 2020 were photographers, florists, videographers, hair, and makeup artists, and officiants. 

If you’re traveling, decide if you’d like to hire vendors that are local to your destination. Many vendors are willing, if not eager, to travel, for a fee. 

Most vendors and professionals offer discounts or specific elopement packages for small weddings. Some vendors even specialize in elopements! Do your research before you settle on your vendor team. 

What if you want to include family and friends? Plan a virtual wedding! 

Livestreaming your wedding is a great choice if you want to include your loved ones on the big day without having them with you physically. There are many elopement venues that allow small groups, but if you want a truly intimate ceremony between the two of you, this is a great option. 

The Coronavirus pandemic significantly increased the number of people searching for virtual weddings, by nearly 500%, but this isn’t the only reason livestreaming your wedding is a great idea. 

Family and friends might not have the means or the ability to travel to your destination. You may want to celebrate your ceremony alone and join your loved ones for a celebration afterward. No matter your reasoning, Lovecast is here to help! Our live streaming services are perfect for elopements (and any other sized event!). You can read about even more benefits of a wedding livestream on our blog!

Eloping Etiquette

Elopements often get a bad reputation because of their tradition and history, but you don’t need to elope in secret. In fact, it’s really important to let your loved ones know you plan to elope. Have a conversation with those closest to you before you send out formal elopement announcements. This will keep anyone from being surprised. 

Be prepared for a range of reactions from friends and family. You may see disappointment, confusion, and even negativity. 

Once you’ve let your crew know, you can send out announcements, save the dates, and even invitations if you’d like. 

Considering proper eloping etiquette is important so you can avoid unnecessary drama on your big day. 

Let’s revisit the “what does elopement mean?” question. Has your definition of elopement changed? 

Remember that no matter what you hear, you choose how to elope. How you choose to celebrate your wedding day is entirely up to you and your partner. It’s your day – celebrate it however you’d like! All of your amazing elopement ideas are welcome.

And when you’re ready to bring your elopement vision to life, we’re here to help! The Lovecast App can bring your wedding celebration to your loved ones, no matter how far away they are. Check out our website to see how we can make live streaming your wedding an easy, stress-free experience. 

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