The Alternative Bride’s Guide to Epic Elopements
We know it can be intimidating to plan a wedding, but what about planning an alternative style of wedding, like a popup wedding or an elopement? It can be tough, simply because of the lack of inspiration and advice available. So that’s where I come in. I’m Maggie, a wedding photographer and half of Pop! Wed Co. We plan epic elopements and popup weddings, and I’m here to share some insider tips and tricks to make your planning process a breeze.
The first rule of weddings (that we don’t hear nearly enough) is that they can be absolutely whatever you want them to be: There are no rules. If you’re married to the love of your life at the end of the day, your wedding was a total success, and I bet it was awesome too.
They can be as styled or relaxed as you are
If there was such a thing as a “wedding rulebook,” the second rule would be that you should never feel pressured to include anything in your wedding that you don’t feel awesome about. Your wedding is about celebrating you and your partner, and however you want to do that is perfect.
You can elope in your backyard, at a local park or even at a more traditional wedding venue. You can use the space as-is or bring your own decorations to add more of your own style.
If you love to play dress up, have a fancy elopement! Everyone will fawn over you in the street as they see you all decked out walking around and enjoying your big day. Grab a fun location or make one yourself in a local park with geometric garlands, pops of neon, balloons… the decoration possibilities are endless.
If you’re more casual, stick with something that feels right for you. I’ve photographed relaxed elopements with no frills and it’s a blast! When people are celebrating in their own personal style — whether that’s a giant retro circle skirt dress, an awesome pants suit or their favorite pair of Levi’s — the happiness is absolutely contagious.
If you love to DIY but you’re nervous about it, pick a project or two and go for it. The best part of elopements is that the “minimum viable wedding” is already there — the two of you and a wedding officiant. Anything else is icing on the badass-elopement cake!
Your elopement doesn’t have to be a surprise. And it can include guests.
Elopements used to mean that you’d run off to Vegas or the courthouse and get married in secret, but that is definitely not the case any more. The term has grown into a way to describe a wedding that’s not centered around feeding hundreds of people, leaving elopement aficionados with tons of options. You can invite your parents, siblings, a few friends… whomever you’d like! They’ll be expecting an event-type wedding (because those are traditional), so just make sure you tell them about your elopement and why it’s going to be the most fun wedding ever, and they’ll be over the moon.
Wear whatever you want
I mean, you can wear whatever you want regardless of what type of wedding you have. It’s pretty much the best.
Your ceremony doesn’t have to take place at the courthouse
Location options for elopements are plentiful. With just a few guests, no microphones, aisle runners or other disruptive wedding pressures, you can get married pretty much anywhere. You can get married at your favorite local park, at the sculpture garden, in front a piece of street art that the two of you love or even at your favorite small business (brewery weddings for the WIN!). Here are a few of my favorite locations from our recent weddings.
1. Parks: Head to your favorite local park for a low-key wedding filled with greenery. Parks are great places for events with guests, because they’re more open so everyone has room to roam. Plus, parks are great for post-wedding picnics or barbecues. The wedding shown above is a great example. See all the photos here.
2. Museums: Museums can be fun places to get married as long as you don’t disturb anyone in the museum. Some museums aren’t super thrilled about weddings, so choose yours wisely! One real life example is Jennifer and Michael‘s wedding at the Natural History Museum.
3. A Local Business: Your favorite small business — like a local brewery (with permission, of course) — is a great option. When it comes to small businesses, it’s easy to email, call or just walk in and ask about getting married there. When you explain that your wedding will have 0-10 guests, no microphone, no music and no fuss, many people are excited to welcome you. DC Brau made Hillary and Gwen’s wedding extra special by letting them do the ceremony right in the middle of the brewery during their open growler hours.
4. Your Home: Your house is an awesome place to get married. There’s probably no other location that represents the two of you so deeply. From rooftops to backyards — the options are endless and the location is free. Sara and Barry’s rooftop wedding was a great home-based elopement.
It doesn’t matter how “wedding-y” your elopement is or isn’t
Weddings are weddings regardless of the color of your dress or the traditions you involve. Many of us have ideas of what constitutes a “wedding” which have been carefully placed in our heads for decades by advertising, traditions and things we see around the interwebs, but here’s the real truth: Wedding dresses can be any color. Weddings can be a couple and their best friend as a witness who go out for ice cream afterwards and then go back to work that afternoon. Just know that your wedding will be memorable no matter how you choose to celebrate. Now go forth and get married awesomely.
Did you plan an epic elopement? Share your best piece of advice for other couples in the comments!