8 Simple Steps to planning the perfect elopement

Planning your elopement can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be! I find that all things are easier to accomplish when breaking them down into simple steps that add up to something big. Following these simple steps can make planning your day so much easier.

No. 1 - Envision your best day! Sit down with your partner and talk about what your dream elopement looks like for you. What is the scenery? Who is there with you? What is the weather like? You don't have to be specific in this step - just get the mood. It may be helpful to create a Pinterest board for inspiration.

No. 2 - Now that you have created the vision, it's time to bring it to life and decide on a date and location. Drawing from your dream elopement, choose a date and location with meaning to you but also fits your style, budget, and guestlist. Some popular elopement locations in Michigan include the sandy beaches of the Great Lakes, the lush forests and waterfalls of the Upper Peninsula, and the vibrant cities of Detroit and Ann Arbor. See an upcoming blog for a more specific list of these dreamy spots.

No. 3 - Choose your vendors. Decide who will officiate your elopement ceremony. This could be a friend, family member, officiant, justice of the peace, or me (I am ordained through the Universal Life Church and can legally sign your marriage license anywhere within the US)! Decide on a photographer. Find someone who specializes in elopements, fits your budget and style, and who you personally vibe with. Your photographer will be with you throughout your elopement so you want to make sure your personalities mesh. Other vendors to consider include hair + makeup artists, florists, musicians, chefs or caterers, and wedding cake or dessert vendors.

No. 4 - Plan your activities. Aside from your ceremony and reception, what other activities would you like to fill your elopement day with? Go back to your dream elopement vision. Is there a hike you want to take together for epic views and photos? Do you want to have a drink together at your favorite brewery? Maybe you want to take a kayak ride together or cozy up next to a campfire and make smores at the end of the night.

bridal florals
wedding elopement cake
lgbt couple elopement

No. 5 - Select your attire. Choose your wedding attire and any accessories, such as a bouquet or a boutonnière. Remember to keep in mind the location, weather, and any planned activities to assist you in choosing comfortable and practical clothing and shoes. This does not mean sacrificing your dream wedding dress in fear it may get dirty or you may be too cold, it just means you need to plan and prepare.

No. 6 - Craft your timeline. This is when you bring all the details together. How long will it take to get ready? What will your ceremony look like? When will your activities take place in terms of your ceremony and reception? Your elopement photographer should be able to help you with these details, just make sure to write down all the things you want to happen.

No. 7 - Get a marriage license: Before your elopement, you will need to obtain a marriage license from your county clerk's office. Be sure to check the requirements and allow enough time to complete the process. In Michigan, there is a 3 day waiting period and the license is good for 30 days.

And most importantly...

No. 8 - Enjoy your special day! On the day of your elopement, relax and take everything in. Remember to take time to savor the experience and to be present with your partner and your guests.

That's it! Your elopement day can be as simple or as full as you would like it to be. In the end, it should be a free of stress and full of love. Enjoy every moment.

*all photos by Kindred Light Photography from a styled shoot hosted by Juniper Woods Photography.