Pacific Vows

Pacific Vows Elopements

How to Elope

How do you get ready for your elopement? What are the exact steps? What about all the legal paperwork and permits?

All of these questions and more will be answered in this blog post, so keep reading, you’re on the right track.

“Eloping” does not mean “running off to get married in secret” as it did before. Nowadays eloping is the best way to have an intimate, adventure-filled wedding. Eloping means that you can get married in a more private setting without all the distractions of a traditional wedding. Eloping makes the planning process way less stressful than planning a traditional wedding, which keeps the focus on the two of you, rather than on putting together a production for hundreds of people. Eloping also allows you to be more adventurous in your wedding planning. Far more adventurous. You can choose to elope in a remote location or even go on a multiple-day adventure wedding. Eloping is a great option for couples who want to have a more intimate, fun, unique, and romantic wedding experience. So, if you are looking for an adventurous way to have an experience that is all about you two, consider eloping! By the way, the terms “elopement”, “intimate wedding”, or “adventure wedding” here are interchangeable.

Elope in 7 Easy Steps:

Step 1. Decide on the general idea for your elopement.

here are so many directions you can take your adventure in. When you start planning your day, anything helps. Maybe there is a picture you saw on the internet that makes you feel a certain way, and you want to recreate that feeling on your wedding day. Maybe it’s an activity you both want to do together that expresses who you are as a couple. What sparks your imagination? What gets you excited? Also, it’s important to remember that just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you have to skip out on the little details that make weddings beautiful. You can still have incredible florals, a beautiful dress, a suit, a cake, champagne bottles, and anything else that you’ve always dreamt of.

Step 2. Hire a Photographer & Elopement Team

After helping organize intimate weddings for years, we always recommend hiring a photographer as soon as possible because there is still a lot of flexibility in the beginning. Your photographer most likely knows the locations you might never even heard of and knows a bunch of little details, such as; the amount of foot traffic, the direction of sunlight, and trail specifics for the locations you’re most interested in. Also, they usually have a list of vendors you might need to create the experience. If you’ve already picked a date, there is a chance that the photographers whose work you fell in love with are already booked. It happened in our practice, and it’s heartbreaking to have to turn away a couple just because of that. So, the sooner you reach out, the better.

Step 3. Pick a Location.

Ask yourself:

-What kind of setting are you looking to create? What place do you envision? Maybe a quiet mountain cabin: if you and your spouse love the outdoors, what could be more romantic than getting married in a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains? Or maybe the beach: Eloping at the beach is the perfect way to combine romance and relaxation. Imagine exchanging vows as the waves crash behind you and then spending the rest of your honeymoon lounging on the sand.

– Are you looking for somewhere secluded, or are you hoping to find a spot that’s easily accessible?

– What kind of climate do you want on your big day? Maybe you like the snow, or maybe you’re more into sand dunes. You can choose anything you like. anything at all.

– Does the location maybe have a special meaning for you and your partner? It could be the place where you two met each other or a trail you had your first kiss on. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of going somewhere special together. Well, now would be the perfect time to make that happen. Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search and find the perfect place to elope. So get out there and start exploring! Talk to your photographer about all of your ideas, no matter how crazy they are. Who doesn’t love a fun brainstorming session where you all can get lots of inspiration, have a few laughs, and come up with the perfect plan together.

Step 4. Pick a Date.

After you’ve picked the location for your intimate wedding, it will be much easier to choose the time. At this stage, you might already have a general idea of what activities you can do and what time of year is best suited for those activities. If not, it’s totally fine. That’s what the brainstorming sessions are for.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when choosing a date for your elopement:

– Pick a date that works with your schedule. You’ll want to make sure you have enough time to plan everything and get all the necessary paperwork and arrangements in order.

– Consider the weather. When you’re planning on getting married outdoors, you always want to make sure the weather is going to cooperate. But if it doesn’t, there is always a backup plan 😉 Most parts of California have mild temperatures year-round, but if you decide to elope in the mountains, picking the right time for your adventure becomes a very important step. If you decide to elope in any other state, the process is essentially the same. You just have more options for activities.

– Think about the season. Certain times of year are more popular than others. If you’re looking for a more peaceful experience but want to elope at a popular location, try to pick an off-peak date.

– Try to elope on a weekday! Weekends are always busy when you think of more popular locations, so by eloping on a Monday or Tuesday, you’ll be able to avoid traffic, crowds, and unnecessary stress.

Picking a date for your elopement should be fun, and it’s always good to remember to stay flexible and go with what feels right for you and your partner.

Step 5. Start Planning Your Elopement Experience:

Decide on what kind of ceremony you want to have.

When you decide to elope, you create complete freedom in the planning process. Are you dreaming of reading your vows to each other on a mountain top, or having your first dance on a yacht in the middle of the ocean? You can do it all! Have the elopement ceremony you’ve always wanted, and bring any kind of religious or cultural experience into it. Show your talents or exciting surprises to each other. Mark this day with whatever defines you as a couple. Make it memorable, and ask Simon for suggestions for your ceremony!

Hire the vendors you’re going to need to create the elopement of your dreams.

Now, it’s time to reach out to vendors. Local vendors will usually be your best choice when you’re traveling for your elopement (who wants to fly with a cake). Whether you want to keep things simple, or you want to create a 3-day ultimate adventure wedding experience, there are vendors for that. We keep the list of all the companies we’ve worked with, and we’ll be happy to help you choose the right option to create exactly what you want.

Do you want to make your pets a part of your Adventure?

We love animals! Animals are a special part of the relationship for some couples. It is so meaningful to have your pets with you during one of the most meaningful days of your lives. It’s also a ton of fun when our couples include their furry friends, and it adds many different ways to get creative with your photos. And, honestly, we just want to meet your little friends too.


Makeup and Hair.

To look and feel your best you might want the help of a professional makeup artist and hairstylist. Some couples decide to elope at sunrise, and most vendors will still be happy to help you create the look you want, even if they have to wake up before you do. Some couples prefer to do makeup and hair themselves and, again, there are no rules here. However, you decide to create that look you’ve been dreaming of this step is important because you’ll have those photos to look back on for the rest of your life.


Flowers, what a huge difference they make.

Flowers are a great way to elevate your adventure wedding to the next level. You can simply order them to be prepared, or you can get flowers and put together a bouquet yourself, or maybe you can even do it together as a couple.

Let’s not forget about the Details.

Prepare the smaller details like jewelry, vow books, hair pieces, shoes, drinks, boxes… Anything meaningful to you, anything that reflects your unique style, and has special meaning can be a part of your big day. Take time to think about what small details can add a sentimental touch. After that, you can be ready for the next step.

Step 6. Legalities and Permits.

If you want to be legally married, you’ll want to check with the state you are going to elope in to get your marriage license, find out whether you’re going to need witnesses or not, and hire an officiant. Simon is officially ordained in most states and can legally marry you and complete all the necessary paperwork. Also, for the couples that don’t have an officiant, Simon can perform a complete ceremony no matter where you decide to elope. It’s been very helpful being able to get that off of our couple’s shoulders. We know it can be a lot, especially when you’ve never done it before, and your officiant refuses to climb the mountain or get into the helicopter for your ceremony 🙂

Step 7. Finalize the Details.

Okay, you’re in the final stages of your adventure wedding/elopement planning. It’s getting even more exciting the closer you get to your date. All the main pieces are put in place, and there are only a few little details left: Finalizing the timeline with your photographers and vendors, picking up your wedding attire and details, and maybe telling some of your close family and friends about your plan to elope (if you chose to). It’s also good to remember to have a backup plan and be flexible. If there is a storm or a road closure and we can’t get to a certain place, it’s all good. We’ve always been able to come up with a new plan on the spot, contact a different place(if a permit is needed), come up with and organize a different set of activities, or whatever else it takes to make your day fun, as stress-free as possible, romantic and exciting. Things happen, and it’s totally fine. We are a Team, and we’re on your side no matter what happens.

You’re ready! Let’s do this!

You did it! All the brainstorming, planning, and research are done. All you need to do is to enjoy one of the most epic, adventurous, and romantic experiences of your lives! Feel everything there is to feel, be present, and savor every second of your wedding day adventure. That’s the very essence of Eloping. Imagine what kind of photos can an experience like that create. Yes, that’s exactly why we do what we do. Nothing compares to the emotions we all get to share during your intimate wedding day. Love! Feel it! Embrace it! Listen to its whisper, and it will lead you to places you couldn’t even dream of.

We hope you found this information useful, and remember: All of the above is just a suggestion, and you can do whatever you want and however you want. No one is going to apply any kind of rules or have any expectations. Make it exactly the way you want it, don’t compromise!

If you want to share your ideas with us and start planning your dream elopement adventure, let us know, and we’ll start brainstorming together.

To learn more, follow us on Instagram, and check out our blog section for more tips and ideas to create your Incredible Elopement Adventure.

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