The Elopement Checklist

The Elopement Checklist

One of the many benefits of eloping is the small list of to-dos on your elopement checklist when compared to a traditional wedding. However, there is still much to be done before the big day. 


You and your partner have to choose a wedding location, wedding attire, and wedding vendors, as well as obtain your marriage license. There may appear to be a lot to do, but planning your elopement does not have to be stressful. This elopement checklist will assist you in preparing for your elopement.

What Does it Mean to Elope?

Couples typically only have an elopement ceremony, which means no reception. But over the years, many couples have redefined eloping and celebrated their elopement in beautiful, unique ways. Elopements are a way for couples to travel to a new and beautiful destination together, or honor their love in their hometown and special location. 

Elopements, unlike traditional weddings, are small, intimate ceremonies attended by only immediate family and close friends if the couple invites any guests at all. 

The Ultimate Elopement Checklist

Before you can fully enjoy your elopement ceremony, you need to take care of crucial details on your elopement checklist, including booking travel and accommodations, getting your marriage license, hiring elopement vendors, and finding your elopement attire. 

1. Travel and Accommodations

If you're eloping, the first thing you should do is find out if your destination requires a permit. Before deciding on a destination wedding, find out if the location allows weddings. 

If weddings are allowed, check if you'll need a permit to have your elopement. Many state parks, national landmarks, or private beaches require permits for legal ceremonies, so consider permit fees when making your wedding budget.

In addition to permits, some countries don't perform legal marriage ceremonies for non-citizens.  If your chosen country does not permit a legal ceremony, consider holding a symbolic ceremony abroad before having your marriage legalized in your home country.

We recommend including a wedding planner on your elopement checklist because they will know what steps to take to acquire your permits and where to elope if you want a legal marriage ceremony.

If you're thinking about how to plan an elopement ceremony out of the county, research the best time to travel to your destinations. Each destination has a high and low season, which affects the cost of airfare and hotel accommodations as well as the number of tourists in the area. Also, restaurants and attractions may be closed due to inclement weather and during the off-season. Before deciding on a location, consider your priorities.

2. Marriage License

While going through your elopement checklist, you may be wondering if you need a marriage license to elope. To put it simply, if you want your elopement to be your legal wedding, you must obtain a marriage license. The documents needed for your marriage license vary depending on the state you're eloping in, so make sure you do your homework.

The location of your ceremony determines whether you need witnesses to elope and, if so, how many. Since your guest list must be limited if you marry in a courthouse, consider having your guests double as witnesses. If you want your elopement to be just you and your partner, some locations allow you to self-solemnize, which means you don't need witnesses or an officiant.

3. Book Elopement Vendors

If the destination you’re eloping in requires a wedding officiant, you need to contact one immediately because they are the most important among your hired vendors since they make your marriage official. 

Whether you decide to have a small guest list or keep your elopement ceremony between just you and your partner, we recommend booking an elopement photographer to capture the special moments of your big day. 

A wedding florist can add a lovely touch to your wedding photos, so talk with your partner about how you can incorporate both of your favorite florals in your wedding bouquet, boutonniere, or hair accessories on your wedding day. In addition, finding someone to do your wedding hair and makeup is a great way to treat yourself and elevate your photos. 

Jeanne’s Hair and Makeup Studio has an adorable wedding elopement venue that is perfect for a small wedding, and will allow you to check off both your wedding preparation and venue vendors off your list!

4. Decide on Elopement Attire

Your elopement attire should complement the environment where the ceremony is taking place. Floor-length gowns are a romantic and beautiful choice for courthouse weddings or indoor ceremonies. If you're planning an outdoor elopement, a breathable flowy outfit or short dress is best for when you'll be moving around a lot.

A formal tuxedo isn't necessary for an elopement, so dress business casual in a button-down shirt and dress pants for informal outdoor ceremonies. You're already going the non-traditional route by eloping, so take the time to get creative with your wedding look.

Jeanne’s Hair & Makeup Studio 

Jeanne’s Hair & Makeup Studio delivers top wedding hair and makeup in Asheville, NC. Our beauty professionals have teamed up to simplify your planning efforts by combining the best stylists in the business. Our goal is to make you feel confident. Everyone in your wedding party will look and feel beautiful on this important day of your life. 

Jeanne’s Hair & Makeup Studio also has a location on site for elopement ceremonies. By having everything in one spot, you’re sure to feel relaxed, calm, and comfortable for your elopement.

For more information about our on-site, mobile hair and makeup services for local and destination brides or our elopement venue, contact us.