You need an elopement checklist. Here’s the thing with elopements – people usually elope and get married quick(ly)(er) specifically because they don’t want to deal with actually planning a WEDDING. So when you ‘plan’ your elopement – you generally want things to be as simple as possible.
Wait. No. You want things to be SIMPLER THAN POSSIBLE. (At least that sounds cool right?…)
How to Plan an Elopement Wedding (with an elopement checklist)
Okay! So you don’t really want to PLAN plan your elopement – but you want a few things to actually happen and generally not have it be some kind of sh*tshow right? Yes. Right. Probably. I hope so.
SO first – what do you need for your elopement?
- Rings! – it’s nice to still exchange wedding bands/rings – so have some and bring them to your ceremony
- Vows – even if you’ve chosen a super simple courthouse wedding, it’s nice to be able to say a few words of your own to the person you’re promising all your love.
- Photographer – Amazing photographers are super easy to find now – and there are millions of them. Literally, millions. And TBH you can always find one that will work with your budget and still do a great job. Especially if you’re eloping on a weekday. Seriously – email your favorite wedding photographer and see if they’d be interested in photographing your ceremony, some family formals, and a short portrait session of the two of you – and they’ll give you their fee – which should be considerably less than their full day wedding package. (So you’l want to ask for 3 hours of coverage tops, and during a weekday.)
- Hair & Makeup – hey you still want to look GREAT
- Outfit! – See above – you still want to look GREAT – and your photographer will appreciate it!
- Travel Plans – now that you’re saving a ton by not paying to feed and entertain 150 people – you can spend that money on a great TRIP. So get that wedding ceremony out of the way and plan a great honeymoon – or just get married ON that trip.
- Flowers! If you want flowers – just go buy flowers. Seriously. I know you were already going to do that anyway. Grocery store or actual florist shop – just go buy a bundle of flowers you like, wrap the stems in some ribbon and pins and DONE. (but don’t tell any florists I said this.)
- A plan to party with everyone later… – oh yeah – so tell people that you’re eloping right now but you plan on having a BIG actual party with everyone later. That’ll make most people feel better (because you know, what they think about YOUR wedding is Soooooooo important…) and then you’re actually off the hook for the most part. I mean… you don’t actually need to have that big party 6 months down the line. You’ll have been married for 6+ months at that point and you’ll have other things to spend money on/do than feeding and getting 150 people drunk. Or not. Whatevs. It’s cool.
And there you go! A perfectly sensible elopement checklist. How to plan-ish your elopement! Done. Now go do everything else.
Need help with your wedding schedule timeline? Try this.
Want more help? Try our friends at APW.
Or contact us for your wedding.
If you’ve never cracked open a wedding planning book or guide – most of them are geared around a planning time frame of 1 year. For example – what should you be doing 12 months away from your wedding day? What about 9 months? Or 6 months? Or 2 months? Yeah. Stuff like that. But really – it’s like this. You start out thinking – great – a whole year. PLENTY OF TIME. Plenty. So much time I’m just going to throw away half of it and do nothing. And then all of a sudden 2 months away from your wedding you’re freaking out, vomiting tulle and champagne and wishing that you had at least glanced at what you were ‘supposed’ to be doing over the past 8 months. You can avoid all of that vomit. Well – at least some of it.
SO. Lets get to it right?
Sample Wedding Planning Timeline – ONE YEAR
- It’s all fun at this point – one of the first things you should do (if you haven’t already) – is start day dreaming (envisioning) what your wedding could look like. Simple things – think in broad strokes and ideas. Outside? In a church?
- Get your budget numbers sorted out.
- Book your venues. All that envisioning and day dreaming you did up above? Start hunting down the reality version of those things. Find that perfect farm barn. Or that perfect industrial warehouse. Or that perfect… whatever…
- Hire the wedding vendors (pros) that you MUST HAVE. Like if you need an amazing, ridiculously good and silly wedding photographer – hire them. ASAP. If you want a specific band to play your reception – book them NOW. YES – you can always find wedding vendors for your wedding – but if they’re GREAT – they might get booked by other people first.
- Start searching for your wedding dress/wedding suit/wedding outfit
- Order your save the dates (you can go through a designer and have them personally, custom made or you can order them thru templates online.
- Propose to your wedding party – I know – WTF “propose”. Basically – ask people if they would be in your wedding party. Sometimes it’s an honor, sometimes it’s a big fucken hassle. Whether it’s an honor or a hassle is largely dependent on you.
- Create a wedding website. Because it’s 2017 and even hamsters celebrating their birthday have websites.
- Book your photographer, florists, musicians, and any other vendors for your wedding.
- Did I mention that you should book your photographer?
- Order your wedding dress (or suit) and schedule fittings
- Choose your bridesmaids dresses/bridesmaids suits – and get the groomsmen/persons suits in line as well (make sure people order them!)
- Start registering (that means you’re supposed to go to 2 stores and ‘register’ – make a list of things people can buy for you as gifts for your wedding! – and totally put everything on there.)
- Plan out your ceremony – talk with your officiant and of course your partner – and plan out what all will go on during your ceremony.
- Book your honeymoon trip! (cause that part is AWESOME)
- Send those save-the-dates out to people!
- Order your invitations and then also your thank-you notes
- Find and hire a day-of coordinator for your wedding (or a wedding planner if you’ve gotten this far and you’re going CRAZY)
- Schedule beauty trials (hair and makeup) – guys too if you want.
- Start planning out your rehearsal dinner. Where and who and when.
- Confirm and/or finalize your floral design with your florist
- Send out your wedding invitations
- Go through all of your wedding contracts and refresh yourself on what you’ve hired people to do
- Complete and confirm your wedding cake or dessert order
- Buy your wedding rings
- Setup and plan your transportation for your wedding day (often overlooked)
Example Wedding Planning Schedule and Timeline
- Look up and Find out what the process is to acquire a local marriage license – local to the city/state/country where you will be getting married
- Finalize your ceremony (what is actually happening during your ceremony) with your officiant
- This is when you mail your wedding invitations! (usually 6-8 weeks away).
- You’ll want to send out invites much earlier if you’re having a destination wedding or at least letting people that live FARRR away a bit more time to do some travel planning
- Work on your wedding vows – write them – copy them – steal them – whatever. Work on them.
- You’ll be having your first dress fitting around this time (oh and apparently you’re supposed to bring undergarments and shoes)
- Get your reception food menu finalized with your caterer
- Create a timeline for your wedding weekend (or at least the day before, and the DAY OF) – and then give/share that with your wedding party and other vendors (this is where having a planner can make EVERYTHING easier)
- If you have MUST-HAVE photos – make a list and send that over to your photographer (we actually have people do this at the two month mark – but we’re open to all suggestions from our couples at any times. Suggestions from uncles, cousins, and other people at your wedding?… we’ll humor them… and then tell them to go to the bar…)
1-2 WEEKS OMG
- You should have a FINAL HEADCOUNT of guests – share that number with your caterer and planner
- Complete and finish your dinner seating chart
- Go to your last dress fitting (YES!)
- Designate specific people for specific task – give them JOBS. Because that’s what friends and family are for right?
- Make sure all of your beauty appointments and planning is… planned and scheduled.
2-3 DAYS (WUT)
- Steam your dress(es) and/or suit(s)!
- Tell your Planner that they’re doing an amazing job
- Tell your Photographer that they’re talented and amazing people (they’re artists so you know they have self esteem issues)
1 Day BEFORE!
- Give the marriage license to your officiant (or put someone else in charge of that – seriously)
- Rehearse your ceremony with all the participants
- Have dinner with your family and close friends!
- Try to get some sleep okay?! YEssssssssssss.
See? That’s all there is to it. One year OF YOUR LIFE.
Also – Thanks.