Hosting Garden Weddings For Nature Lovers

Hillside |








Hosting Garden Weddings for Nature Lovers

Juniper Gardens



Intentional Elopement Guide for the Non-traditional

Congratulations on choosing to embark on a unique and intentional elopement journey! Elopements offer non-traditional couples the perfect opportunity to celebrate their love in a way that truly reflects their personalities and values. Whether you’re adventurers at heart, eco-conscious enthusiasts, or simply seeking an intimate celebration, this guide will help you plan an intentional elopement that is both meaningful and unforgettable.

The key differences between an elopement and a traditional wedding day is often the scale of the wedding, the amount of time to plan/logistics, and the formalities. Either way, it ends with a beautiful commitment. Elopements are not a good fit for everyone, but regardless, weddings can be an intentional experience and expression of love for the couple. The definition of an elopement may vary from person to person. Oxford dictionary still has a bit of an outdated definition: “run away secretly in order to get married, especially without parental consent.” A modern elopement may not be as as much of a secret, and may include a few close friends, but will still come with a feelings of intimacy, spontaneity, and intention.  

While You Plan

The Vision

It’s best to start with a vision and intentions for the planning process and the wedding day. After all, the true meaning of an elopement is that it’s a wedding day that skips all the traditions and just secures the wedding day quickly but full of passion and intimate moments. That starts by envisioning your dream elopement. Discuss with your partner what elements are essential to you, whether it’s a breathtaking natural backdrop, an intimate ceremony, or an adventure-packed experience at a national park. If planning starts to get stressful, it is helpful to go back to your intentions for the wedding – re-centering yourself on the priorities for the intentional wedding day. 

The Location

Intimate setting for group to gather
Photo by Rhianon Brown Photography

The location is a key part of this planning process because it will often dictate if any decor will even be needed, and how many guests can realistically attend. An adventure elopement can be so dreamy, but often hard to even include the best friend. If including your closest friends and family is an important part of the elopement and that will help you determine the perfect location. You could also select a location that holds significance for both of you. It could be a majestic mountain peak, a serene forest, a hidden beach cove, or even a place where you shared a special moment together. If you are getting stuck on the location, seeking an elopement photographer may be a good way to get ideas on locations – many offer to location scouting and to act as an elopement planner  to make the big day come together flawlessly. 

The People

As non-traditional couples, you have the freedom to invite only your closest family members or friends who truly matter to you. Keep the guest list intimate to ensure a genuine and personal atmosphere. A small wedding can help avoid family drama or the cost of a big party and keep the entire day focused on just you and your partner. Many couples share that avoiding family drama is the main reasons why they are eloping, or they are worried they will not be able to have the wedding they envision due to the pressures of others. These intimate celebrations can be a way to ensure that it’s a great experience for you. 

If you decide last minute that you may want to include a few more in the celebration, you can always include them virtually. Consider live streaming your ceremony or arranging a virtual toast to involve them in your special moment. Or if virtually just won’t cut it, host a reception after the elopement. During this reception, you could skip the bouquet toss and share photos of your intimate adventure together. 

We highly recommend that if you’re eloping in a new destination, work with local experts who know the area well. They can offer valuable insights and recommendations to enhance your elopement experience. Even if it’s just giving you the details on the best local croissants to enjoy while you get ready for your first look. Most couples don’t have much time to research and plan every last detail with an elopement since they typically come with some spontaneity – local resources can be key! 

Personalized Details

For an intentional elopement, it is all in the details. These details you may not want to miss out on:

Photo by Hanna Sher Photography
  • Personalized vows: Craft heartfelt vows that express your love, dreams, and commitment to each other. This is an opportunity to be authentic and share your innermost feelings. These can be captured for forever with a beautiful vow book too, like this one!
  • Embrace Sustainable Choices: If you’re eco-conscious, incorporate sustainable practices into your elopement. Choose eco-friendly vendors, minimize waste, and leave no trace in nature.
  • Capture the Moment: Invest in a skilled photographer or videographer who understands your vision. Their artistry will ensure that every precious moment of your elopement is beautifully documented in their elopement photography style.
  • Curate the Perfect Attire: As a non-traditional couple, you have the freedom to choose attire that complements your style. Whether it’s bohemian chic, vintage-inspired, or completely unique, let your personalities shine. This can also extend to the guests to make sure that the photos captured are all cohesive.
  • Plan Unforgettable Activities: Consider incorporating adventure or meaningful experiences into your elopement. Go hiking, have a picnic, share a first dance under the stars, or engage in activities that hold significance for both of you for an even more meaningful wedding day. 

During the Intentional Elopement

The actual elopement day looks different for everyone. Since it’s an intimate wedding experience, you can opt to spend the entire day together or have a first look moment at the elopement ceremony. It truly is what fits your intentions for the day. During that day, you can also honor the traditions that matter to you. While you’re breaking away from traditional norms, feel free to include elements that are meaningful to you. Adapt traditions to suit your unique vision. The beauty of elopements is that you make the rules. 

But without the traditional structures of weddings, you will need to be prepared for the unexpected. As with any adventure, be flexible and embrace the spontaneity that comes with eloping. Weather changes or unforeseen circumstances can add a touch of excitement to your elopement story. Some crazy mishaps during the elopement can make for the best wedding day and become a part of stories that get told for ages. After all, you are marrying the love of your life, all the rest is just a bonus. 

Common Misconceptions

​Elopements have gained popularity in recent years as couples seek more intimate and personalized ways to celebrate their love. However, like any concept, elopements are sometimes subject to misconceptions. Here are some common misconceptions about elopements:

  1. Misconception: Elopements Are Only for Secret Weddings
    • Reality: While elopements were historically associated with secret or spontaneous weddings, modern elopements can be planned and celebrated openly. Many couples choose to elope as a deliberate choice for a more intimate and meaningful wedding experience.
  2. Misconception: Elopements Lack Meaning or Significance
    • Reality: Elopements can hold deep emotional significance for couples. The private setting allows them to focus solely on their commitment to each other and the intimacy of the moment.
  3. Misconception: Elopements Are Always Last-Minute Decisions
    • Reality: While some elopements are spontaneous, many couples plan their elopement carefully. They may select a meaningful location, prepare vows, and make arrangements well in advance. Keep in mind, many locations offer discounts for last minute events though! This may be a good way to save money on your budget!
  4. Misconception: Elopements Are Inexpensive
    • Reality: While elopements can be more cost-effective compared to larger traditional weddings, they are not necessarily cheap. Costs can add up, especially if couples choose unique or remote destinations, professional photography, and other special touches.
  5. Misconception: Elopements Exclude Loved Ones
    • Reality: While elopements have a small guest list, couples often include a select group of family members or close friends as witnesses. In some cases, couples plan a separate celebration or reception to involve a wider circle of loved ones.
  6. Misconception: Elopements Lack Romance
    • Reality: Elopements can be incredibly romantic. The focus on the couple’s connection and the meaningful setting often enhances the romantic atmosphere.
  7. Misconception: Elopements Are Spontaneous and Unplanned
    • Reality: While some elopements are spontaneous, many couples carefully plan the event. They may research and secure locations, hire vendors, and curate meaningful details.
  8. Misconception: Elopements Are Only for Young Couples
    • Reality: Elopements are chosen by couples of various ages and life stages. It’s a choice based on personal preferences and values, not solely age.
  9. Misconception: Elopements Are About Avoiding Family Conflict
    • Reality: While some couples may choose elopements to avoid family tension, many couples simply prefer the intimacy and personal nature of the experience.
  10. Misconception: Elopements Are Trendy and Temporary
    • Reality: Elopements have been around for a long time and continue to be a meaningful choice for couples. Like any wedding, they reflect the couple’s unique love story and preferences.

It’s important to recognize that elopements, like traditional weddings, come in a variety of forms and hold different meanings for each couple. Ultimately, the decision to elope should be based on the couple’s desires, values, and the type of wedding experience they envision.

After the Elopement

Remember, your elopement is an opportunity to celebrate your love authentically. Embrace the freedom to plan an intentional and non-traditional celebration that reflects your love story. Whether it’s an adventure-packed escapade or an intimate ceremony under the stars, your intentional elopement will be a cherished memory for years to come. 

LGBT couple running through field in outdoor elopement ceremony
Elise Abigail Photo

Keep the celebration going!

After an elopement, it’s important to remember it doesn’t all end that day. There are several important steps to take to ensure that you properly document and commemorate your special day, as well as to handle any legal and practical matters. Firstly, take some time to really celebrate and savor the intimate moments you shared during your elopement.

Once you’re ready, announce the elopement to your close family and friends if it was a secret! Bring them in on that joyous occasion! 

Get it legal!

Then you’ll want to make sure its legalized and official documents ordered. This really depends on your location or the location of your elopement but you will likely need to complete certain legal steps to officially register your marriage. Obtain the necessary marriage license, ensure that your officiant signs and files it, and follow any local requirements for legalizing your marriage. And then, you’ll be able to use that paperwork to request certified copies of your marriage certificate for legal and administrative purposes. These copies may be needed for name changes, passports, updating identification, or other official matters.

Celebrate with Others!

Once that is squared away, you may want to plan a post-elopement celebration. It doesn’t need to be a formal celebration or directly after the elopement. Just consider a celebration as an excuse to gather with friends – and maybe with some wedding cake too! Make it a backyard potluck, a gathering at your favorite restaurant, or go big with a reception at your favorite local venue. Whatever post-celebration event you hold, you may want to share photos and memories of the day to help them feel more included and a part of the original elopement day.

Send Thank-you notes!

Also take the time to thank the vendors and other people that may have been involved in the elopement with a heartfelt thank-you note for their part in your special day. Many vendors hold on to these Thank-you notes and really cherish this extra step. Vendors are often working in wild conditions and pouring their heart and soul into your day! The Thank-you note truly means a lot to them.


You should consider taking an honeymoon if your elopement wasn’t combined with one already. While honeymoons are a staple in traditional wedding experiences, it can still a great way to celebrate the marriage and spend quality time together. Quickly making more memories together!

Time for Reflection!

Lastly, take time to reflect on your elopement experience. Write in a journal, create a scrapbook, or simply talk with your spouse about your favorite moments and what made the day meaningful. You can solidify the memories of the day by doing those activities – It’s far too easy to get swept up in the day, and for it all to feel like a whirlwind. But this reflection helps keep the intentionality of the elopement continue on throughout the marries. 

Remember that the post-elopement period is a time of transition and adjustment as you start your life together as a married couple. Take things at your own pace, communicate openly with your spouse, and enjoy the journey ahead.

August 8, 2023

share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hosting Garden Weddings for Nature Lovers

Fair Grove, Missouri



Read the

Privacy Policy

Copyright 2020

Social Media Link Page