How to Plan an Out-of-State Elopement- Elopement Planning Tips

So you’ve decided to plan an intimate wedding… now what’s next? One of the most important aspects of planning an elopement is finding the perfect location for your adventure. Planning an out-of-state elopement is one of the fastest growing trends in 2020 for a ton of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is because of the adventure aspect of it. Imagine combining your wedding and vacation- that’s what you get when you plan an out-of-state elopement.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve dreamed of an out-of-state elopement your entire life (I got married in the Olympic National Forest in Washington State!). On the other hand you may feel unsatisfied with what you are finding in your home state and you feel like you have no other choice. No matter your position today I’m here to help you plan your out-of-state elopement! I’ve put together a few tips and tricks from my experience as a traveling elopement photographer.

Happy adventuring!

1.Narrow It Down to a State or Region

The United States is a huge country and we have so many amazing places to choose from when it comes to picking the perfect elopement location. A great way to start narrowing it down to a state or region is to imagine the scenery you want in your photos. Do you want the vast mountains of the Rocky Mountains? What about the red-tinged deserts of Moab, Utah? Once you figure out if you want mountains, deserts, ocean, lakes, or forests it should help you narrow down what states have which.

If you are having a hard time narrowing it down to one state I would recommend for you to have a chat with your elopement photographer and see if they have any places in mind for you.

2.Determine The Best Time of Year

Once you and your partner have found the state you want to elope in the next most important thing for you to do is to determine the best time of year. Certain regions in the United States experience very harsh seasons and it’s important for you to know what you are getting yourselves into. Spring and autumn are usually the best times of the year for elopements in most states but like I said, it’s important to do your research. Most national parks have pages on the national park services website that give you all the info you need in terms of weather. Here’s an example of that in Glacier National Park! You do not want to get stuck in a blizzard in Yosemite Valley or the 120 degree summers in Arizona!

3.Decide On Your Vibe Of The Day

You probably thought that with eloping that you wouldn’t have to think about this, but I think it’s important for when you start to plan what the day will actually look like. Do you want it to be a laid back day with your closest family filled with picnicking and bonfires? Or maybe you want it to be just you two with your hiking gear in tow. There are endless possibilities for what your dream elopement could look like. If you want to talk more about what your elopement day could look like contact me here!

4.Decide Who You Want To Invite

Going back to my last tip, it’s super important to decide what your day will look like so you can determine who to invite , or if you want to invite anyone at all! Some people can’t imagine their wedding day without their closest family, so why not invite them? What’s important is that you invite who you truly want to invite, not who you feel obligated to invite. This is your wedding day so you get to call the shots.

5.Book Your Dream Vendors

Once you decide on a place and the overall vibe of the day then the next important is to secure your vendors! This may include a photographer, videographer, florist, officiant, caterer, and any sort of experience that you are wanting to add to your day. As a photographer myself I urge you to book them first, especially if you have found one you love. Check their availability and work together to make sure they are free to photograph your special day!

If you’re having a tough time finding local vendors I would recommend asking your photographer for any suggestions. I love to help my couples in that way to make their elopement planning that much easier.

6.Book Your Travel Accomodations

Now that you’ve found the best location for your out-of-state elopement, determined the day, and booked your vendors it’s time to book the accommodations. Depending on the state you decide or what you want your wedding adventure to look like, there are a few different ways you can go about this. You may want to take a road-trip to your destination if you want to make stops along the way. If you hate long car rides then I’d suggest finding flights to the closest airport. Don’t forget to book your hotel/airbnb and rental car! Or if you want to camp out then don’t worry about the hotel, haha!

If you plan on inviting your family then I would suggest finding a larger airbnb to accommodate everyone and have a home base for your adventures. If it’s just the two of you then don’t be afraid to splurge on an airbnb that is unique- it’ll only add to your epic experience! Check out this awesome list of cool airbnbs in Arizona!

7.Figure Out The Legal Stuff

Getting married in a different state can be a little intimidating. Luckily, when it comes to eloping you have a few more options.

One of the easiest ways is to make it legal at home. Go to a courthouse before or after your trip to get it done the nice and easy way. You won’t have to worry about finding an officiant that has credentials in whatever state you choose, and you don’t need to worry about how/when you need to apply for a marriage license. This is what most of my couples do for their out-of-state elopements.

The other way is to do your research on the marriage laws in the state you are getting married in. Some states require you to apply for a marriage license in person, while some allow you to do it online. It’s also important to be sure that your officiant has the right credentials within that state since every state is different.

Fun fact about me is that I’m an ordained minister which means I can marry you and your partner! I became ordained for my couples who choose to do a private elopement experience so we wouldn’t have to worry about having an officiant being towed along. This is always an option if you choose to have a private out-of-state wedding with me!

8. Have The Best Adventure Ever

Who knew that having an out-of-state elopement could be so easy? I hope that these tips and tricks have helped you alleviate some stress or inspired you to start planning your out-of-state elopement!

If you want to start planning your own out-of-state elopement then don’t be afraid to reach out to me here! I’d love to help you find the perfect location and plan the most epic elopement day you can dream of.

Happy adventuring!

xoxo,

Caitlyn

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