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What You Need To Elope: The Ultimate Guide

From picking the right spot to saying "I do," there's a lot to think about when planning your elopement. Here's everything you need to know!

Eloping isn’t just about running away to get married; it’s a chance to create a deeply personal and unforgettable experience that celebrates your love in a unique way. But, from picking the right spot to saying “I do,” there’s a lot to think about when planning your elopement.

In this guide, we’ll walk through what you need to elope: from the legal stuff to your dream destination, and everything in between. Ready to make your vision a reality?
Let’s dive in!

what do you need to elope

The Ultimate Eloping Checklist

Planning an elopement is exciting! But it’s important to make sure you don’t miss anything in the process.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

  • Legal Requirement
  • Destination Selection
  • Ceremony Planning
  • Backup Plans
  • Final Prep

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The Legal Requirements

The first step in the list of what you need to elope is understanding the legal requirements. The legal requirements can vary depending on where you elope to, but here’s a general idea of what you’ll need.

  • Marriage License: Most places require a marriage license to legally solemnize your marriage. This document is typically issued by a government authority and may have specific requirements regarding application, waiting periods, and fees.

    Research where and how to obtain a marriage license in your chosen destination. Some locations may allow you to apply online, while others may require you to appear in person.

  • Identification Documents: You’ll likely need to provide identification documents such as passports, birth certificates, and driver’s licenses to apply for a marriage license and verify your identity.

    Make sure to check the validity requirements for these documents, as some locations may have specific rules regarding expiration dates or additional forms of identification.

  • Residency & Waiting Periods: Some places have residency requirements, which may require you to be in the area for a certain period before you can obtain a marriage license.

    Additionally, there may be mandatory waiting periods between obtaining the marriage license and the actual ceremony. This could range from a few days to several weeks, so plan accordingly.

  • Legal Officiants: Ensure that your marriage ceremony is conducted by a legally recognized officiant. This could be a religious figure, a justice of the peace, or someone ordained specifically for your elopement.

    Verify that your chosen officiant is authorized to solemnize marriages in the location where you plan to wed.

  • Witnesses: Some jurisdictions require witnesses to be present during the marriage ceremony and sign the marriage license as proof of the union.

    Confirm the number of witnesses required and make arrangements to have them present at your ceremony if necessary.

  • Legal Recognition: It’s important to understand the legal implications of getting married in your chosen destination, especially if it’s in another country.

    Research whether your marriage will be legally recognized in your home country or any other places where you may need it to be acknowledged.

  • Extras: Be aware that there may be additional legal requirements specific to your destination, such as premarital counseling, specific documentation for non-citizens, and even blood tests!

    Research and comply with all relevant regulations to ensure that your marriage is legally valid and recognized.

everything you need to know about eloping

Destination Selection

Of course, planning your destination is the most important thing to know when figuring out what you need to elope. Here’s what to consider.

  • Personal Preferences: Do you dream of exchanging vows on a sandy beach with the sound of waves crashing in the background, or perhaps amidst the grandeur of a mountain peak?

    Considering what type of environment resonates with you and your partner is a great place to start narrowing down the destination.

  • Scenery & Atmosphere: Are you drawn to natural landscapes like forests, lakes, or deserts? Or do you prefer the charm and character of urban settings such as city streets, historic landmarks, or quaint villages?

    Take some time to think about the kind of scenery and atmosphere you envision for your elopement.

  • Meaningful Locations: Consider locations that hold personal significance for you and your partner. Whether it’s the place where you first met, a destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting together, or a locale that represents a shared passion or interest.

    Choosing a meaningful location can add an extra layer of sentimentality to your elopement.

  • Date & Time: Picking the date and time is definitely important.

    Take some time to figure out the weather, vendor availability, tourist seasons, flexibility to change dates, and (of course) consult with your partner to find the perfect date and time!

do you need an officiant to elope

Ceremony Planning

Ceremony planning is a crucial aspect of arranging your elopement, since it sets the tone for the entire celebration. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Vendor Selection: Choose vendors who align with your vision for your elopement and can help bring your dream day to life. Consider hiring:

    – A photographer/videographer to capture the special moments of your elopement.
    – An officiant who can conduct a personalized ceremony that reflects your beliefs and values.
    – Any additional vendors you may need, such as a florist for bouquets and decorations, a hair and makeup artist, or a musician for live music.

  • Flowers & Decorations: Decide on the aesthetic you want for your elopement and work with a florist to bring your vision to life. Choose flowers and decorations that complement your chosen location and enhance its natural beauty.

    Consider practicalities such as the durability of flowers in different weather conditions and how they will be transported to the ceremony site.

  • Wedding Design: Think about the overall design and style of your elopement, including color schemes, themes, and any special elements you want to incorporate.

    Whether you prefer a minimalist aesthetic, a rustic vibe, or something more bohemian, let your personal style guide your wedding design choices.

Backup Plans

As much as we hope for smooth sailing on our wedding day, it’s wise to prepare for unexpected bumps in the road. Here’s how to create backup plans to ensure your elopement goes off without a hitch.

  • Weather: If your elopement is outdoors, have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Scout out indoor locations nearby or invest in some sturdy umbrellas and rain gear. Flexibility is key – embrace whatever Mother Nature throws your way!

  • Vendors: While you’ve booked your dream team of vendors, it’s smart to have backup contacts just in case. Make a list of alternative photographers, officiants, and other key vendors who are available on short notice. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Logistical Hiccups: Anticipate potential transportation or logistical issues and have a backup plan in place. Whether it’s a rental car breaking down or unexpected road closures, having a Plan B will help you navigate any last-minute challenges with ease.

things you need for an elopement

Final Prep

Final preparations are the last steps you take to ensure everything is in place for your elopement day. These final touches can help alleviate any last-minute stress and ensure a smooth and memorable experience.

  • Get A Good Night’s Rest: It’s essential to rest well the night before your elopement day. Try to relax and unwind, knowing that you’ve taken care of all the necessary preparations. A good night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy your special day.

  • Confirm With Vendors: Reach out to your vendors to confirm all the details of your arrangements. Verify the time, location, and any specific requests you’ve made to ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Review The Timeline: Go over the timeline for your elopement day, including the schedule for getting ready, the ceremony, and any post-ceremony activities. Make sure everyone involved knows where they need to be and when.

  • Run through The Vows: If you’re writing your own vows or planning to make a speech during the ceremony, take some time to finalize your words. Practice saying them aloud if it helps you feel more confident.

Final Tip – Download The Air Doctor App!

Your elopement is all set! Now there’s just one thing left to do…

Make sure you don’t get sick abroad!

With the Air Doctor app in your pocket, you can access medical advice, get prescriptions, and receive expert medical guidance wherever you are in the world!

Air Doctor’s easy-to-use app gives you:

  • A global network of over 20,000 multi-lingual doctors and specialists
  • Choice of clinic, at-home (hotel), and video consultations
  • Active in 78 countries
  • Cross border prescription services
  • Telemedicine services in up to 21 languages
  • 24/7 multi-lingual support
  • Transparent pricing, and reviews
  • Most common medical specialties

Safe travels, and congratulations!

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.