Top 10 Tips for Planning an Elopement


So, you’ve decided to elope! An elopement is the perfect answer for the bride who wants a breathtaking, intimate ceremony free of stress and full of adventure. The web is filled with some of the most picturesque photos of couples eloping across the globe. But how do you go about planning such an adventurous wedding ceremony? We have put together a few tips to help you get started. Everything from choosing the location to the nitty-gritty; here are a few things to consider:


1. Pick a location with meaning

If you are planning on getting eloped, the easiest way of selecting a location would be to pick a spot that has sentimental value to you and your sweetheart. Have you travelled together before? Perhaps you knew you found the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with while you were having dinner together in Italy – selecting a location that means something to you will make the elopement even more special.

zarazoo photography elopements

2. Splurge on the Good Stuff

Let’s just say it how it is, shall we? Weddings cost plenty of money. The more people you invite, the more expensive the wedding becomes. However, if you are planning on eloping, you can afford to splurge on the good stuff. Do you want a romantic candlelit dinner for just the two of you in Paris? Do it! Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of having a picnic under the Eiffel tower. When you elope, you can afford to splurge on the good stuff. Instead of spending all of that money towards the venue, decor, food, ect. of a traditional wedding – put the money towards an unforgettable elopement just for the two of you.

3. Look for a venue that does it all

If you are planning on getting eloped, you want your wedding day to be as easy-going and stress-free as possible, right? The best way to do this would be to find a wedding venue that does it all. Plenty of wedding destinations offer wedding packages. Pick a venue where flowers/sound/champagne is included, it’ll just make your planning a lot easier. Warning – some venues might charge you for using outsourcing vendors so be sure to read the T’s & C’s thoroughly.

Elopement in New York City

4. Pick an amazing photographer

If you decide to elope, one of the most important elements of your wedding day should be the photographer. You’ve already picked an incredible location so pick a photographer that captures the essence of your wedding day and the beauty that surrounds you perfectly. There are even specialist elopement photographers across the globe that travel from continent to continent just to take stunning getaway-wedding photos. A professional photographer is a must-have for an elopement because these photos are the memories that you will be able to share with all of your friends and family who will not be in attendance. Some couples even get videographers to compile beautiful elopement videos with scenic views of the vow exchange.

5. Do it yourself (and do what’s good for you)

What makes plenty of brides feel under pressure when it comes to weddings is that they want to keep everyone happy. They want to please their parents, their in-laws and their friends. One of the best parts about an elopement is that you can actually do what’s good for you. Get the venue and the dress you’ve always been dreaming of, and plan the day you’ve always hoped for – without letting other people’s opinions influence you.

elopement photographers cape town

6. Combine your elopement & honeymoon

If you’re going to get married abroad, you should make a trip out of it! It doesn’t really make any sense going somewhere overseas for less than a week. And since you’ll already be there (be it Spain or Bali), you can save some money by having your honeymoon in the same location. Being able to save on the expenses of a traditional wedding is one of the main reasons people choose to elope. So why not put some of the money you saved towards a luxurious getaway for just the two of you.

7. Let your friends and family know (and plan a small event at home)

A big reason why brides may feel sceptical about eloping is because they don’t want to disappoint their friends or family members. If you want to elope, the best thing to do would be, to be honest with them from the start. Explain that you feel like this option is going to be the best for you and your loved one. When you return back home, you can have an event where everyone can be included. Be it a simple dinner, a braai, a picnic or a party. Your loved ones will want to celebrate this joyous occasion with you! If you are not sure yet, check out Pink Book’s 10 Reasons Why You Should Elope.

elope in africa photos

8. Don’t feel guilty

At the end of the day, you need to do what is going to be the best for you. So don’t feel guilty if you think that eloping is the best option for you. This is the one day where you are allowed to be selfish. Sure, some people are guaranteed to be disappointed but just explain the situation to them without feeling guilty about it. Those who love you will understand.

9. Pay attention to detail

If you elope, you can actually pay attention to the tiny details. Try selecting a venue that has a “just the two of you” package; they may include something like a couples massage, a candle-lit dinner or champagne and strawberries in the package. Find something that is going to make your experience personal and memorable.

10. Get it in writing

Even if it is just the two of you, you should still get everything in writing. Make sure to sign a contract with the venue, read over the T&Cs and get confirmations from all the service providers that are involved. Plenty of destination weddings only offer symbolic weddings. This means that you’ll have to get married legally first before you have the wedding there. The bottom line is, just make sure to be aware of all the legal aspects that are involved.

Elopement at La Residence


Have a look at some of ZaraZoo’s global weddings:

Resources for planning an Elopement in South Africa


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