If you’re still deciding where to elope OR if elopement is even for you…this post is for you! If you’re drawn to the idea of an elopement, but aren’t sure how to turn these swirling dreamy notions into an actual day of activities that ends with you tying the knot, keep reading. ?
“Getting married on a mountain sounds amazing, but which mountain? And what do we do before and after? How can we personalize this elopement when we don’t know anyone else who has done it, so it’s hard to even think of examples?”
I’m an elopement concierge. No really, it’s part of my job title! I nerd out about how to take you from ‘vague idea’ to ‘finished itinerary with backup plans’ – and we can start right now while you’re reading this post!
How? There are four things you can put into words that will make the rest of the elopement planning journey easier. And don’t worry, you’re already an expert in all of these areas. ?
First, check in with how you want to feel on the day of your elopement.
Think of a few words or phrases that represent that feeling. Peaceful and in love? Excited and we-can’t-believe-we’re-doing-this?
Look away from the screen for a second, close your eyes, and really think about this. AND don’t let the impending question of “how do I go about deciding where to elope” interrupt this process. What floats to the surface? Ignore anything that says “I should want to feel X.” If ‘lazy and relaxed’ sounds delicious for your wedding day, that is completely acceptable! No judgment. Take a moment to uncover what you really, truly, want this day to be at its heart.
Secondly, to help decide where to elope, think about your best experiences together with your partner.
Make a mental highlight reel of your greatest hits together:
Climbing at Hope Trail. Forgetting to bring rain gear and getting soaked, laughing all the way back. The cabin at Shenandoah, and all the hiking we did around there. Oh, that time we took sandwiches to the park and had a picnic instead of eating inside again. We really liked that art gallery in downtown Charleston, too.
Now look at the list, are there any common themes? The themes might be activities (hiking, climbing). Maybe there’s a foundational place for your relationship in there, like the trail where you realized this was not just a regular date, there was something deeper happening.
If the activities in your highlight reel are not much alike, look for common feelings.
Art galleries and Shenandoah might not have much in common on the surface, but dig deeper. Maybe it’s that both days you were completely unplugged from phones. Maybe it was that you got to sleep in both mornings and felt relaxed going into it. Or maybe you just light up when you get to do something brand new, together.
Deciding where to elope should align with those extra-feel-good themes.
What themes do you pull out of your favorite moments together?
Third, start to envision a day/weekend built around those themes.
You don’t have to get specific yet! Maybe you’d want to be near water, or watch the moonrise. Maybe you do want to return to that special trail or favorite park. Or you’d want to fold in a certain kind of food.
The purpose of this step isn’t to make a whole plan, it’s to see what happens when you take those initial seeds of feelings/activities, and see if any tendrils connecting your ideas or priorities sprout up from there.
Give it a moment, and ponder.
Fourth, and please just trust me on this one: Where’s the place you have always wanted to go, but you’ve told yourself you could never go there?
Sometimes, big dreams need an occasion. And what occasion is better than your wedding?!? It’s totally appropriate to bring up your bucket list here.
Think about what brings you joy, what you’d most look forward to, and what looks and feels aspirational – because what could better symbolize how excited you are for your future with your new spouse than doing that thing?
Let yourself think big for a minute, even if you aren’t sure whether your partner would go along with it! You never know what dreaming will lead to. ❤️
And don’t let yourself fall into the worrying-about-guests trap: “Well, I can’t really see my mom Jeeping in the desert’ or ‘none of my family would want to visit a glacier.’
People can be very surprising. Inviting guests into a space you love is an adventure for them as well. Maybe they’ve never been to the desert, or gone jeeping. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them too, to experience this with someone they care deeply about. Your crew loves you, and it’s okay to create your elopement as a way for them to adventure in a way they never expected to adventure. (You can read more advice on guests and elopements here).
Remember that there are also many ways to set up an elopement. You can have a day for family and a day just the two of you. You can elope to an adventure spot, and come home and have a celebration afterward.
The point is, sweep all other considerations out for the time being. There’ll be a time when we sort out “practicalities,” but this is not it! This is your time to say “What if we…” and really, truly include your BIG dreams in the discussion. Deciding where to elope deserves some big dreams. Don’t hang “no entry” signs on ideas you love just yet – they may lead to the perfect setting!
The themes of your best experiences.
How they connect, and your big dreams.
This is how you brew the most beautiful elopement adventure.
When you work with me, we walk through these four areas, and I help you turn your thoughts into a unique-to-you plan. If you tell me you want to climb a cliff next to a lake, I will deep research and give you specific location options. As a lifelong adventurer and sporto, I know how to find the spot you’re dreaming of, and locate the jeep or catamaran to take you there.
But all that detail and planning is only right when the initial ideas and feelings come from you. We will let your feelings lead the way – everything starts there. It is those feelings that can help you when deciding where to elope!
If you’re still thinking over what your themes are? No problem! You might want to read more about how much an elopement costs, or my unorthodox take on how to decide how many guests should be at your wedding.
Ideas already bubbling your head? Awesome! Grab a time to tell me what you want to feel on your day! I’d love to hear all about it, make some suggestions for plans, and you can see if you really want to do this thing!