9 Essential Elopement Do’s and Don’ts


Photo by Sascha Reinking Photography


By Megan Velez, GayDestinationWeddings.com

Widespread recognition of marriage equality brings with it an explosion of destination wedding possibilities for same-sex couples. World-class resorts now offer packages and custom events for groups large and small, and new venues welcome gay and lesbian couples every day. While over-the-top, elaborate celebrations tend to get the most press and attention, another type of destination wedding is on the rise and is especially popular with same-sex couples: elopements. Highly intimate, luxurious, relatively uncomplicated and enormously satisfying, elopements are the up-and-coming gem in the destination crown of wedding celebrations … and may be absolutely perfect for you!

Who elopes?

We find that elopements are the perfect solution to meet many of the needs and desires of same-sex couples. Often couples have been together for the long-term and now only need to add legal recognition to their relationship. While the local courthouse is one option, an exotic and romantic celebration is even better.

Timing plays a role in the decision of many same-sex couples to elope. Private elopements can be planned in much less time than a traditional wedding depending on hotel availability and the popularity of the season. In fact, it only takes a few weeks to get the ball rolling on the planning process with a destination wedding specialist.

Busy couples with little time also appreciate the ease of planning an elopement. Hotels and all-inclusive resorts are catching on to the trend, offering packages complete with flowers, professional photography, an officiant, dinner and cake just for two.


Elopement Do’s and Don’ts 

What do you need to know when planning or considering an elopement? These are our do’s and don’ts to help you make the best choices for your romantic getaway:

  • Do consider elopements budget-friendly alternatives to a traditional, elaborate wedding. Planning for two can certainly be more economical than planning for 200.
  • Don’t rule out high-end luxury elopements – there are plenty of options for the couple who wants the best of everything and, considering it’s only the two of you, you can allocate more of your budget to splurge on luxury details if desired.
  • Do take advantage of specials and perks that apply only to couples, or that are easier to confirm with fewer participants. These extras may include excursions, room upgrades and more.
  • Do choose an elopement if you are planning a second wedding and wish to focus more on the commitment between yourself and your soul mate rather than the public production of a traditional first wedding. You can always plan a post-elopement celebration at home to share your photos or videos. You can even theme your food and décor to match your destination and share a little of your experience with your guests.
  • Don’t forget to pamper yourselves! One beauty of an elopement is your ability to tailor your choices to suit yourselves and no one else. Find ways to enhance the experience that are meaningful and unique to the two of you.
  • Do determine if you are seeking a legal ceremony or symbolic one. Legal ceremonies may have local requirements (sometimes many of them). Research these rules early and recognize that legal ceremonies may require some legwork.
  • Do invest in professional photography. It is worth the added expense to preserve the memories of your special day, especially since you’ll want to share them when you get home. Look for a gay and lesbian-friendly professional with an excellent reputation and images you adore. It does pay to book the best photographers as early as possible.
  • Don’t limit yourself to the destinations “everyone” chooses. Explore exciting options like the beach paradises of St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos, and Hawaii, or unique locales like Santorini or Tuscany. Look for adults-only, all-inclusive resorts for the best values and most relaxing experiences.
  • Do take your traditions with you. Write personalized vows or blend your lives with a beautiful sand ceremony. Make your moments meaningful any way you want knowing that you are building your own new traditions free of pressure to conform to others’ expectations.

An elopement can be the perfect choice for your same-sex wedding. If ease of planning, exotic locales and complete ability to customize your perfect wedding day appeal to you, start exploring an elopement today.


Megan Velez is the vice-president of product at Destination Wedding Travel Group, the world’s leading destination wedding and romantic travel planning company. Destination Wedding Travel Group, which encompasses GayDestinationWeddings.com, DestinationWeddings.com and LuxuriousDestinationWeddings.com, has worked with nearly 25,000 couples and half a million guests to plan dream destination weddings around the world. For more information, visit GayDestinationWeddings.com