Bride and groom at their elopement in sedona, arizona

How to Plan an Elopement During the Coronavirus Pandemic


Planning a wedding is already stressful enough… Planning a wedding during the Coronavirus (also known as CO-VID19) pandemic makes it a million times more stressful. I FEEL FOR YOU. With impending lockdowns and travel restrictions wedding plans are getting changed every day for thousands of couples around the world. Whether you’re planning an elopement because your larger wedding got cancelled or postponed, or perhaps because it’s the type of day you and your partner have always dreamed… I’m here to help you plan your elopement during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve made it my new life mission to help as many couples as I can during this pandemic. I’ve compiled a list of how to plan your elopement step by step to help make this process easier for you. I hope that this can ease your stress during this crazy time.

1. Imagine your dream wedding day 

The first step to planning your elopement day is to sit down with your partner and talk about what your best day ever would look like. You probably dont know of another couple who has eloped so it can be super intimidating to start thinking of your OWN elopement day. It can be as structured or spontaneous as you’d like it to be. It can be filled with all of your favorite activities (hiking, kayaking, picnicking, etc). I always ask couples “What would your perfect day look like” and use that as a starting point for planning their elopement day. 

2. Find your dream elopement photographer & book them soon! Or reschedule with your original photographer.

With many couples having to cancel or postpone their weddings it is causing photographers to be booked up very quickly! Imagine all of the people who have had to change their Spring 2020 weddings now also needing to rebook… it’s crazy! So many couples are cancelling their big weddings and opting to elope… so that means your favorite elopement photographer is getting booked up! Don’t hesitate to contact them asap. This pandemic is not forever even if it feels like it after 7 days of self quarantine. 

If you are one of the couples who had to cancel their big wedding I highly suggest that you reschedule with your original wedding photographer. I bet that they would LOVE to still be a part of your day! 

Bride and groom with their family at the sedona elopement

3. Choose Your Location

YES, you can still get married at your dream location! Like I said before, this pandemic isn’t going to last forever. If your dream location is out of state or out of country I do suggest that you have your wedding towards the end of 2020 or in 2021 to ensure that you won’t have to experience any cancellations. If you are wanting to get married ASAP to your social distancing partner I suggest you get married in your home state if there are not any lockdowns or travel restrictions. I do suggest waiting at least a couple of months because it is very important to follow the CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus! 

There are a few different routes you can take while choosing the location for your elopement. The first is to choose a spot that is special to you and your partner. That can be a national park, a state, or any other nature spot that holds a special place in your heart. The second route is to choose a place that you two have always dreamed of visiting together. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of doing a roadtrip to the southwest.. Or maybe you’ve been dying to go to Iceland! Your elopement would be the perfect opportunity for that adventure! The third route is for the couples who aren’t quite sure where they want their elopement to be. Ask your elopement photographer for some recommendations! More than likely your elopement photographer has an entire list of epic elopement locations. I’d suggest narrowing it down to what kind of scenery you want and then go from there! 

4. Choose your date

Once you have chosen your location I suggest that you choose the season that you’d like to get married during. Some locations are better during certain seasons. For example- you do NOT want to get married in the Arizona desert during the summer. Dont make that mistake! Research your desired location and figure out when the best time would be for your elopement. Once you choose a season, choose a date. Always check with your photographer to make sure they are available for your desired date. 

During this pandemic I am encouraging couples to stick to planning their elopement during the end of 2020 or 2021 to be sure that life is back to normal. If for whatever reason we need to reschedule I am offering rescheduling without any additional fee.

Pro tip: Have your elopement on a weekday. Trails are much less likely to have tons of hikers and tourists! This will make your whole elopement experience much more intimate. 

Gay couple at their desert elopement in arizona.

5. Choose your vendors 

Now that you’ve chosen your location and date, it’s time to nail down your other vendors. I always suggest for couples to wait until these two things are solidified so you can find awesome local vendors to help with your elopement day! Some vendors you may need to hire include: hair and makeup, florists, officiant, catering, and equipment rentals. Check with your elopement photographer to see if they have any recommendations! 

6. Book your travel accommodations 

One perk of this pandemic is cheap travel accommodations! If you had to cancel any upcoming trips, more than likely you were given travel credit through the airline. I suggest you book your accommodations in advance due to so many people having to reschedule trips in the future! Don’t forget to find a great airbnb and rental car for your trip if it’s out of state! 

Bride and groom at their elopement by a lake in Colorado

7. Draft up your guest list (or not)

The beauty of eloping is that you get to control every factor. That means you get to decide who comes (and doesn’t!) come to your wedding. If you decide to bring guests, I suggest you bring the people who are the absolute most important to you. Yup, that means you CAN include your parents and besties on your elopement day! If that’s not your jam, you can totally have a completely intimate wedding day. I’ve had dozens of couples choose to have a completely private elopement day and they LOVED it. It’s totally up to you and your partner! 

8. Work with your photographer to create your dream wedding day timeline

 This is where the fun begins! Now you get to work hands on with your photographer to build your elopement day timeline. It’s always good to have a loose timeline to have some sort of structure for the day. I always suggest to leave some room for spontaneity just in case you want to grab a beer or take a nap during the day #reallife. Think about if you want to have the day surrounded by a morning ceremony or afternoon ceremony. What sort of fun activity to do you want to do during the day? Do you want to do a first look? These are all important things to think about while building your elopement timeline.  

Bride and groom walking in the desert at the Moab elopement.

9. Wrap up all the little details 

Now that all of the major things are booked and decided, it’s time to focus on the little stuff! Here’s a list of the little things that are super easy to forget about: marriage licenses, house/dog sitters, vow books, restaurant reservations, permits, and making sure that everyone has the schedule for the day. Do your final check in with all of your vendors to make sure you all are on the same page. Don’t forget to make a packing list with all of your wedding essentials too!

10. Time to marry your best friend! 

           It’s finally here! After months of planning it’s finally your elopement day. Don’t forget to really take in the day. It will go by SO fast. Take all of the mental snapshots you can. Forget about all of the stress that you felt while planning. You get to marry your best friend! Have the BEST day ever! 

Bride and groom kissing during sunset in Flagstaff, Arizona

How to Elope in Arizona

Your Elopement Experience

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