What Do You Need to Know If You're Thinking About Eloping?
As weddings get more elaborate and more expensive, eloping for your wedding either in the UK or abroad has been rising in popularity over the last few years. Although there are many reasons why couples choose to elope, this trend will be accelerated after the coronavirus pandemic this year, as couples seek more meaningful and intimate experiences and are keen to finally tie the knot.
Gretna Green, located on the Scottish boarder, is famous as a romantic wedding destination where couples from all over Britain run away to get married. They estimate 5,000 marriages take a place a year, which works out at an almost a crazy 14 weddings a day if they operated every day of the year! Whilst eloping may seem like a spontaneous and romantic option if you want to marry the love of your life, there are still some practical aspects to consider before planning your big day.
What does it mean to elope?
Eloping doesn’t mean that you have to run away and keep it top secret with just a small ceremony at a registry office. A lot of couples who choose to elope tell their close family and friends and often even invite a select few to be there with them as witnesses.
Couples can choose to elope abroad or elope elsewhere in the UK. Eloping also doesn’t mean that you can’t have décor and amazing photos of your day. Styled elopements are becoming hugely popular as more couples choose to elope but still want the attention to detail on their big day.
Why do people elope?
There isn’t just one reason you may choose to elope, and each couple will have their own motivations.
Budget Eloping can dramatically reduce the requirements of your budget as you’ll be paying for a lot less - or even zero - guests! You can elope get get married for only a couple of hundred pounds.
Family Politics Not all families get along like a house on fire, and inviting some may upset others. Eloping gives you the option to reduce your numbers to two or three very close relatives which can simplify this dramatically.
The Pressure: Planning a full wedding is stressful - trust us, we know! If it’s not organised well, the whole experience of planning can be a nightmare and for some couples, the thought of planning a wedding isn't appealing at all. There's also an element of competition - many couples want their wedding to be bigger and better than everyone elses, which can make the costs - and pressure - skyrocket.
You are introverts And you don’t want everyone staring at you! Although, a wedding is all about the two of you, that doesn’t mean you want a hundred beady eyes watching you say your vows. Many of our brides have been extremely anxious about being the centre of attention, so you're not alone!
Eloping in the UK
As much as we hate to say it, eloping isn't quite as spontaneous as you might think. The normal rules still apply (you can find everything you need to know here) and you'll still need to give notice at least 29 days before your ceremony. You'll.need to have decided on your ceremony location in order to do this and be able to provide proof of identity and address. Your ceremony location needs to be licensed, just like any other wedding venue, and you'll need two witnesses. If you really don't want to invite anyone to share your special moment, some venues will offer witnesses for you, but always check this before assuming!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Eloping
DO: Hire a photographer You want to be able to look back fondly on the day for years to come. A great photographer can capture some really beautiful moments
DON’T: Forget to check if you need witnesses
In the UK, a minimum of 2 witnesses is a legal requirement. Some venues abroad may provide witnesses for you, but don’t assume, and always check. You don't want to be disappointed on the day.
DO: Get dressed up!
Styled elopements are all about keeping all the magic of a wedding, with just the two of you. If you choose to elope, you can still wear a big white wedding dress, have a beautiful bouquet and get your hair and makeup done - that's if you want to, of course!
DON’T: Expect gifts
Close family and friend’s are likely to still buy you wedding gifts of course, but don’t expect a gift from everyone you would have invited to a big wedding.
DO: Decide if you would like to use a wedding organiser If you’re hoping an elopement will be stress free, then hire a wedding organiser. Whether you choose the UK or abroad they will be able to make the day completely magical, so you can remember it for years to come.
DON’T: Decide lightly All couples only plan to get married once, so be certain you don’t want a big wedding when you decide to elope. If do you change your mind, you can always have a big party to celebrate at a later date.
DO: Your research Is there somewhere special to you both that you would choose? Or are you choosing based on pictures and atmosphere. Make sure you explore all your options before you make a decision so that there are no regrets later down the line.
DON’T: Assume marriage laws in every country are the same as the UK Make sure you check what documents you’ll need - it's also important to know that if you get married in some countries, it doesn’t always mean it’s legal in the UK so you'll need to have a legal ceremony here too.
Eloping isn’t for everyone and there’s lots of decisions to make. The number of couples opting to elope has risen in previous years and figures aren’t expected to drop any time soon, especially as couples' values change following Covid-19. If you want a beautiful elopment but don’t know where to start, then get in touch and we would love to help!