Four Types of Elopements

Okay, so you got engaged, and you jumped headfirst into wedding planning, researching venues, comparing prices for caterers and you realize....THIS IS REALLY OVERWHELMING. 

OR MAYBE, you've know all along that you guys are the non-traditional kind of couple that would never in your wildest dreams have a huge fluff-filled event. 

SO YOU WANT TO ELOPE. But is there just one way to do it? Do you just run down to the courthouse and sign a piece of paper and within minutes be married? You totally can. BUT THAT'S NOT THE ONLY WAY! There are actually quite a few way to elope! 

Baltimore Intimate wedding by BreeAnna Lasher 

1. The Surprise Kind 

This can totally be the two of you at a city hall alone, but it doesn't have to be! You can include family member or friends if you want to! You don't have to wear a wedding dress (or even a white dress) if you don't want to, but you definitely can if you want to. This is YOUR big day, and it should go down exactly how you want it to, wearing exactly what you would like. And of course a courthouse wedding is a "real" wedding! You're married afterwards aren't you?! And if the thought of this kind of wedding makes you happy, FREAKING GO FOR IT. 

Baltimore woods elopement by BreeAnna lasher 
Baltimore elopement in the woods in autumn by BreeAnna Lasher 

2. You and Me + An Officiant Makes Three

If you and your sigoth (significant other) really want to elope with just you two but don't want to go to your local city hall, why not pick an awesome location and just do it?! Maybe on a mountain or next to the ocean? Why not go to Italy or Costa Rica and make some memories in a totally new place?! You'll need an officiant to make it legal, but that's basically it! 

Batimore intimate wedding in the woods by BreeAnna Lasher 

3. The Do It Yo' Self Kind

SO currently Colorado and Pennsylvania are the only states in the US that you can marry yourselves. Wonder how it works? Well first you pick up your paperwork from the courthouse but DON'T SIGN IT. If you do, SURPRISE, you're married! To self-solemize, take your paperwork to your chosen location, i.e. epic mountain view, beautiful ocean cliff, etc, say your vows and sign it! Congrats! You're married! (Don't forget to mail your paperwork back in!) On of the rules of self-solemnizing is that no one can actually marry you two. You can still have witnesses, but not an officiant! But isn't that why you're self-solemnizing anyway?!

Baltimore intimate wedding in the woods in the fall by BreeAnna Lasher 
Baltimore elopement in the park by BreeAnna Lasher

4. The Elopement You Invite Your Family To

This is when you pick a location and a date ahead of time and let your friend and family watch you get married! This can happen anywhere. A city hall, a mountain or the Eiffel tower. Want a tiny wedding overlooking Barcelona? You got it! Want to wed on the beaches of Hawaii? Go for it! This is still ALL ABOUT YOU, you just bring your posse along for support. 

Bride and groom in the grass elopement by BreeAnna Lasher 

Now that you have decided how you're eloping, you need to know how to pull it off! As it turns out, there is a little more to this than showing up and just doing it. Every country and state has its own marriage license laws, so you'll want to know what yours are! Pretty much, if your elopement involves a license, you need to know what the wait time is between getting your license and your wedding and if you'll need to make an appointment at city hall. You'll also need to know what the witness requirements are and who can be your witnesses!  

That's basically it.  

elopement in the fall in Maryland by BreeAnna Lasher 
Maryland elopement in the autumn by BreeAnna Lasher 

If you're not into planning, one of the biggest perks to eloping is that there is not very many things to think about. You don't need to concern yourself with all of the various diets of all of your guests or all of the different sizes of your bridesmaids dresses. Of course, that doesn't mean you need to opt out of everything! Do what feels right and feels like YOU. 

Noah + Aishe-36.jpg

Here's a few things that you may or may not want!

1. Vows. You don't HAVE to write your own vows, but you CAN. Think about it ahead of time if you want to have self-written vows or just follow the officient's lead. Ceremonies at your court house and generally pretty short but you can DEFINITELY bring your own vows if you have them. 

2. Rings: You can have them. You can not. If you want them, make sure you order them ahead of time!

3. Travel plans: If you are eloping out of state (or out of country), make sure you make travel arrangements ahead of time! This is your wedding! Treat yourself! 

4. Florals: Do you want a boutonniere or a bouquet? There's no reason why you can't have them! You can hire a florist OR just grab some pretty flowers from a local market! 

5. Hair and Makeup: Why not have some pros make sure you look great on your big day?! Or if that's not your thing, your usual mascara and chapstick will be PERFECT. DO YOU. 

6. Clothes! You absolutely do NOT need to where a wedding dress, but you absolutely CAN as well! Figure out what vibe you want to go for, and don't let eloping be an excuse to not pick the dress of your dreams! You're saving so much money already by not feeding 300 guests, so why not get that Chantel Lauren that you've been drooling over! 

7. Photos: I ONE THOUSAND PERCENT recommend hiring a professional photographer to capture your special day. Because there won't be very many guests, these photos are worth SO MUCH MORE than normal wedding photos. Because these photos are proof that your day EXISTED. You can use these photos to look back at your perfect day and remember how you said f you to tradition and vowed your love to your partner in a way that was entirely YOU. (and HI! I would LOVE to capture your special day)

8. Announcements: You may want to send out some "Surprise! We eloped!" announcement cards. OR you may not. A Facebook post works too. 

9. A Celebration: You might want to have a get together after the ceremony to celebrate your relationship with the people closest to you! Even if you didn't want them at your intimate ceremony, these people still mean a lot to you, and this can be a great way to include them in your special day!

Baltimore, Maryland elopement in the leaves bride and Groom Chantel Lauren dress by BreeAnna Lasher 
Baltimore elopement photographer breeanna lasher 

SO, would YOU choose to elope? Or if you already have eloped, tell me about it in the comments!

Best baltimore wedding photographer adventure eloprement by BreeAnna Lasher