Planning the perfect
by Baylee Cordova
So, you’re engaged… First off, we’d like to say congrats! Like many new couples, you might be running around stressing about what comes next… And if you’re reading this right now, chances are you’re trying to navigate through all the glitz and glam that comes with eloping.
You may be thinking… “where do I start?” “Do I have to go to Vegas to elope?” “can I still have my fairytale day, with an elopement?”. Well looks like you’ve come to the right spot!
Whether it’s with family and friends or just the two of you, your big day is supposed to be special, and I can assure you it’s going to be! We’ve put together a step by step checklist to help ensure that your elopement is as perfect and stress free as possible.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you’re going to want to consider...
The first steps to planning your elopement
The logistics… date, budget, etc.
Choose a location
The marriage license
I AM AN ELOPEMENT AND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER LOCATED IN THE HEART OF THE DESERT. I GREW UP IN A SMALL TOWN IN NEW MEXICO BUT MY ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT LED ME TO EXPLORE THE WORLD. TRAVELING IS WHAT GETS MY HEART RACING. I LOVE DOING ANYTHING THAT REVOLVES AROUND EXPERIENCING NEW CULTURES, VISITING NEW COUNTRIES, AND CREATING ART THROUGH CAPTURING THE PRECIOUS MOMENTS OF LIFE.
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best southwest elopement wedding destinations
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I WOULD LOVE for YOU to BECAME PART OF MY TRIBE! JOIN THE COOL KIDS BY SIGNING UP TO GET WEEKLY UPDATES ON EXCLUSIVE SALES, MY LATEST ADVENTURES, TIPS & TRICKS BEHIND THE MAGIC, AND ANYTHING IN BETWEEN! THE BEST PART IS THAT ALL YOU HAVE TO DO SIT BACK, RELAX, AND ENJOY ALL THE GOODNESS TO COME.
Even though you’re planning an elopement rather than a traditional wedding, you will still have to figure out a budget. While elopements are oftentimes small and simple, you can also make them big and lavish.. It’s completely up to you! Of course, the beauty of eloping is there is a bit more flexibility when it comes to these things, but they are still very important and need to be discussed.
While these are not the most fun to think about, they are important, and should be done first and foremost.
What’s your budget?
When do you want to get married? (spring, summer, fall, winter..)
Do you plan on inviting any guests?
Will you be exchanging rings?
To give you an idea of what to expect, the average cost of an elopement can range anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000.. However, if you want to keep it short and sweet, you can elope for around $300..
Now to put it in perspective… According to NBC, in 2019 the average cost for a traditional wedding was $35,000. So yeah, elopements are typically less expensive, but here’s the best part about all of this… it’s ALL UP TO YOU. You decide what you want, and what you’re comfortable spending.
Once you’ve gone through these simple, yet very important questions, it’s time to talk LOCATION!
How to elope
in new Mexico
Whether you want to make it a backyard shindig or a destination wedding, this part is always fun… You may have noticed we are located in the Southwestern U.S., and let me just say if you’re looking for a hot spot to elope, the southwest is filled with breathtaking views, adventurous routes, and picture perfect places. Check out Best Southwest Elopement Wedding locations.
Nonetheless, we suggest you think of your budget when considering this step. If you want a destination elopement, think about if you will be inviting any guests.. Also think of where exactly you plan to exchange vows, and if you will need to book the place in advance..
And if you plan to do something close to home, of course this step is not as important, but still necessary… Think about where you plan to hold the ceremony. You can have it in your backyard, maybe rent out a spot, or maybe a church. Consider the arrangements you will need to make beforehand.
For whatever you choose, here are some key things to consider:
What time of year are you planning to elope? Consider the seasons… is it going to be hot or cold, will it be a busy time of the year...
Booking any travel accommodations? Plane, car, bus, train, etc.
Overnight stays? Hotels, airbnb’s, etc.
What’s the venue? Backyard, ballroom, national park, etc.
The Marriage License
Ready to tie the knot? Well, let’s first make sure you do it *legally. Obtaining a marriage license varies depending on the city, state and country.. Some states require blood tests, some require a week long waiting period.. But if you plan on getting married in the U.S., plan on bringing a photo ID and at least $25 bucks for sure.
In order to figure out what you need, you’re going to have to do some research.. Here’s a link to help get you started: https://rb.gy/bobovq
Now onto the fun stuff…
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Creative, Photographer, Mentor
It’s time to talk about the parts that help make your elopement that much more special, and keep those sweet sweet memories living on.
Even if you decide to have a small wedding, you're going to need an officiant, and more than likely you will want a photographer. An officiant can cost anywhere from $200 to $400… it just depends on what kind of officiant you want to hire. As for photographers, according to The Knot, an elopement photographer costs $2,400 on average. In my personal opinion, having a good photographer is always a necessity. You will want to make sure every moment is captured perfectly...SO INVEST IN THIS STEP. And good news for you, (we don’t mean to toot our own horn, but…) Frankie Gomez Photography knows how to do just that! (see above^) Just sayin ;)
Some other vendors to spice up the ceremony… consider hiring a florist for your bouquet or boutonniere. Also, FOOD. Everyone loves food, and I don’t know about you, but a big day like marrying the love of your life will likely build up an appetite. You can hire a caterer, or if you’re wanting something more unique, try food trucks or a picnic setup. This of course all depends on your desired destination.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of vendors you might want, it’s important to book as soon as possible. Of course, you probably have a little bit more wiggle room when booking for an elopement, but that doesn’t mean you should put this off until last minute. We suggest booking vendors, at the least 1 to 9 months in advance. Now, if you’re reading this and your planned elopement is sooner than soon, don’t worry! I promise you will still find a bomb ass team of vendors for your big day.
Oooo, now for the glitz, glam and all things fashion! What I love about elopements is that they let you think more outside the box than traditional weddings, especially when it comes to what you wear.
One thing’s for sure, we definitely recommend considering your location, and what time of the year you will be having the ceremony. We’ve seen some fun fits, anything from the traditional wedding glam, to a simple dress and sneaker or button up shirt and chelsea boots, either way it’s important to wear whatever YOU feel comfortable in. Also, consider what you plan to do after the ceremony. Are you going to have a reception? go bowling? go out to eat? Whatever you decide, make sure you’re comfortable (while also looking gooood).
As for makeup and hair… You can always do this yourself, but if you’re like me and have no idea what the heck you’re doing, then I suggest finding a makeup and hair team. Often times photographers can help recommend a good team, since we normally work with a lot of amazing artists on sets. This can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 depending on location, intrinsically and the professional. Many salons also do walk-in glam or by appointment. Another, cheaper option.. Think about friends or family that can help with this. We all have that friend that’s always looking top notch.. I’m sure they would love to help!
Overall, when it comes to your hot attire it can cost a lot or it can cost a little. Just think about your budget and how important this is to you and your partner.
Now this part can be really fun, and for other couples it can be a little stressful.. This of course depends solely on your reason for choosing to elope. But whatever the reason, I can assure you people are going to find out eventually.
This is when you can really get those creative juices flowing.. Do you want to make the announcement BEFORE or AFTER the big day? If you choose before, you can send out save the date type cards, and maybe even throw in a virtual link for family and friends to be able to tune in and watch you two say your “I do’s”.
If you plan to do it after, a card with a picture from the ceremony is always nice… Or you can do it big and CELEBRATE. Plan a party or if you want something smaller and more intimate, maybe try a nice dinner with everyone.
Whatever you choose, have fun with this step! It can be as simple or as spontaneous as you want it to be (similar to the actual elopement).
Ready, Set, Elope! Hopefully this helped you get a better idea of what to expect. Whatever you choose, and however you decide to go about things, just remember the day is about you AND your honey. When considering what you want, make sure your partner is always included.
We’re so excited for you! Get ready to embark on the greatest adventure of your life… Cheers friends
Lets stinking do this