I believe if you are going to have a destination elopement, you should choose your ideal team and fine tune everything to your story rather than having a cookie-cut elopement or better known as an “elopement package.” They seem to be flooding the market and are offered by many venues and wedding vendors as well. Everything is inclusive, and usually, the quality is low. How these “elopement packages” work is basically, you show up on your wedding day, and everything is pre-arranged.
I highly suggest if you have a destination elopement you should fine-tune every little detail to make it about “your story.” Moreover, the first thing after choosing a location is to select your ideal elopement team.
Here are a few suggestions to look into when choosing your wedding team for your destination elopement:
- Try to stay local or pick an expert in the area that also knows the culture
- Make sure they understand your language
- Make sure they have photographed or done at least ten elopements
- Call, Facetime or Whatsapp with all the vendors if you can’t meet them in person
- Make sure the WP knows the legal part and double check with your state/county laws. Each nation has its laws.
If you plan to get married in a special destination, where you may not speak the language, know the culture, or have the slightest idea how to negotiate the bureaucracy, you’ll need help. Have no fear, I’ve created a step-by-step guide to get you through this seamlessly. Here’s a sample of the some of the information you’ll find in my book, THE ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE. In the book, I’ve listed specific sources to make your elopement easy and flawless. These ideas will help you get started.
Let’s say, you’ve found the perfect setting for your unforgettable elopement. Now you’ll need to find local experts to help you navigate the process, and create a unique experience, precisely tuned to the two of you. The size of your team will depend on how hands-on you want to be.
If you are planning on anything more than a symbolic ceremony, you’ll need an expert to negotiate the paperwork for you. The red tape varies from country to country and you’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t even speak the language. This is where a wedding planner comes in.
Try to stay local. A local wedding expert will know the venues, the laws and can do the footwork for you, taking all the stress out of the process.
I recommend you consider at least three different wedding planners. Check out their websites, social media, and by all means, if you can’t meet them in person, set up a WhatsApp or Skype date. You’ll want a wedding planner who is on your wave length, someone you can communicate with easily, whose style harmonizes with yours. On the website, you should be able to check out the team each wedding planner uses. Do you like their photographer, flowers, overall look?
Once you’ve found the perfect wedding planner, be sure to sign a contract stating exactly which services he or she will provide. If you’re not comfortable choosing your own hair and makeup artists, finding the venue, the menu, the flowers and so on, your wedding planner may offer a full-service option, providing all services and vendors. On the other hand, if you’re a designer, florist or makeup artist, you may want to be more hands-on, and choose to use some of the services on offer, but not all them.
Do It Yourself
You may decide to do all the work yourself, or let the wedding planner take care of some aspects of your elopement but not others (my favorite option). Some couples want to be involved in every detail, others just want to show up and say “I do.” You and your partner will discuss how hands-on you want to be.
Since you’re eloping, not everyone will be able to the share the experience with you, so a photographic record of the ceremony is especially important. Make sure the photographer you choose is experienced with not only weddings but also elopements. They should have shot at last ten destination elopements before they get to you. Shooting a big wedding is a very different experience, and doesn’t require a close connection between photographer and subject.
Finding someone who makes you feel completely comfortable is essential to getting good photos. With an elopement, the photographer will be at your side throughout the most intimate day of your life, so chose someone you like as a person! Look at their work. Whatsapp or Skype with them. If they don’t know the location well, be sure they’ll check it out in advance, to find the ideal backgrounds and get familiar with the peculiarities of the light. And, of course, sign a contract.
If you’re choosing your own elopement team , you’ll need to research florists, hair and make-up artists, venues, and if you’re planning a celebration after the ceremony, you’ll need to find a caterer or restaurants. Even if you all your planning is a romantic dinner for two, you’ll need to research the ideal place and reach out to them to see if the date is available.
Whether you choose to use a wedding planner or decide to do it all yourself, THE ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE will give you the information you need to get started. The book is designed to help couples focus their ideas so that the elopement is the realization of the wedding they’ve dreamed about, a true reflection of who they are and the love that brought them together.
I created this three-part series to give couples a taste of my new book, THE ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE:
If you’ve missed previous posts on:
- Three Things to Help You Decide Where To Elope
- How to Elopement Without Guilt
- How to Choose your Wedding Team for your Destination Elopement