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Hi, I'm Michaela, the heart behind Lovely & Planned. This blog is all about elopements and destination weddings, but you'll also find general tips and advice on wedding planning. I'm so happy to have you here! Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while!

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Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid for a Dream Elopement

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid for a Dream Elopement // Lovely & Planned #elopement

If you have decided to elope, the chances are that your top priority is to have a stress-free, relaxed, budget-friendly, and adventurous wedding! The truth is though that even the tiniest wedding needs some preparation and mindful planning to go off without a hitch. So here are my Top 10 mistakes you should avoid when planning your dream elopement!!

Mistake 1: Not doing thorough research

There are a few things you have to find out before eloping, especially if you are traveling to another country:

  • When is the best time to elope to our dream destination? Consider the high and low seasons and the prices that come with it.
  • What is the weather like there? Temperatures over 40° (104F°) in the shade or constant rain might not be the weather you were picturing for your big day.
  • What are the country’s entry requirements? Do we need a visa?
  • Do we have to renew our passports?
  • Do we need any vaccinations?
  • What are the legal requirements to get married in this country?
  • Will we be able to tie the knot officially, or will we have a symbolic ceremony only?
  • What documents do we need?

Mistake 2: Not spending your money wisely

Eloping can save you a lot of money by simply following this one tip: go local! Hire local vendors, eat local dishes, use local and seasonal flowers for the decoration, and your wedding bouquet! As elopements often take place in beautiful, exotic surroundings, there is no need to spend a lot of money on decorating the venue, which can save a fortune!! ⠀⠀⠀

Mistake 3: Not including your loved ones

Don’t leave your family and friends out of your elopement! Show them that you care about them with these three tips:

  • Have a wedding website!! Put up all the information like where you will elope to, why you elope and include some cute facts about you!!
  • Send out marriage announcements. This personal touch shows people that you genuinely care about them.
  • Have a small celebration, an informal gathering after your elopement with the most important people in your life!

Mistake 4: Not hiring an expert

One of the most persistent myths about elopements is that the planning is super easy, and hiring a wedding planner would be a total waste of money. Now let me tell you: tiny doesn’t equal easy!

An elopement is a wedding after all! You still have to take care of the paperwork. You have to hire an officiant and a photographer (and yes, I do encourage you to have one- see mistake number 7!!). And you might choose to have a small wedding cake, a wedding bouquet, and a simple yet lovely tablescape. A local wedding planner will make sure that you think about every little detail, and your dream elopement does come true without any hassles!

Mistake 5: Not having a budget plan

You can definitely save money when you decide to elope! Nevertheless, an elopement is not for free! Don’t underestimate the costs, they can easily add up. Here some expenses you might have to calculate for:

  • Travel costs (e.g., airfare, hotel, transportation at the destination, vaccinations)
  • Legal documents (marriage license, visa, passport renewal, etc.)
  • Stationery (e.g., elopement announcements)
  • Vendors (e.g., officiant, photographer, hair and makeup artist)
  • Wedding attire and wedding bands
  • Other wedding ‘must-haves’ (cake, bouquet, bubbly to toast on the marriage, dinner for two)
  • Small, informal party after your elopement for your friends and family

Mistake 6: Not dressing the part

Choose your elopement attire according to your destination!! Eloping is not an excuse for getting married in jeans and a T-shirt. However, if that’s what YOU want, by all means, go for it. Otherwise here some inspirations:

  • For a beach elopement, wear a light and airy wedding dress and neutral-colored linen suits.
  • For an elopement at a chateau in France, choose a ballgown with embellishments and a three-piece suit.
  • Do you want to elope to Iceland? Pack a wedding dress cover-up and a warmer jacket!

Extra tip: If you fly to your destination, always carry your wedding attire and all other essential accessories on board with you. You really don’t want to take the risk that your wedding dress or suit gets lost!!

Mistake number 7: Not hiring a photographer

I get it! You are eloping to save some money! But please do not cut costs at the wrong end! One of the big 10 mistakes to avoid when planning your elopement is to hire a photographer! After all, your photos will help you keep the memories of that special day alive forever! And since your friends and family weren’t at the wedding, they are certainly eager to see as many pictures as possible!

Mistake number 8: Not thinking about traditions

Just because you are eloping doesn’t mean you have to go against everything that you would include in a standard wedding! Do you want to jump the broom? Light a unity candle? Break the glass? Then do it! An elopement is not about abandoning traditions and customs, but it is about making your wedding day perfect for you!

Mistake number 9: Not minding the details

Yes, you two are the only ones attending your elopement. But the truth is you still need to plan out all the details and have a (tiny) timeline and checklist:

  • How long will you need to get ready?
  • If you hire a hair and makeup stylist, when will they arrive?
  • When and where will you meet with the photographer?
  • Will you have a first look?
  • How long does it take you to get to the ceremony location?
  • When will the ceremony start and end?
  • What will you do afterward?

Mistake number 10: Not considering the consequences

This last of the 10 mistakes to avoid for your dream elopement is probably the hardest to deal with!

If you elope, you won’t have your friends and family around you. You won’t have your dad walking you down the aisle, and your mum won’t be there to give you a wedding day pep talk! So make sure you carefully think about the advantages and disadvantages before you make this big decision!

Don’t ever believe that elopements are not as special as standard weddings! They are equally important, magical, and legally binding (if you do your research homework)!! But eloping is not for everyone and that’s Ok!!

No matter what you decide, remember your wedding or elopement should ALWAYS be about the two of you and your love for each other!

Did you know that I’m an elopement planner for Amsterdam and Dubai? If you want to find out how I can help you plan your dream elopement, why not schedule a complimentary consultation? I look forward to seeing if we are a perfect match!

Love, Michaela

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