Lessie McFarlane

May 8, 2020

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Eloping and Where to Start in the Pacific Northwest

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A Guide to Eloping in Washington

Wedding planning can be more than stressful – a bit ironic for something that is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. From the endless guest list to the countless formalities, the entire planning process can take a lot out of the couple. Anyone would be snappy if they had to spend hours differentiating between napkins, venues and guest lists.

As the pressure builds, couples often joke about how much easier it would have been just to elope. And the truth is that they are probably right. Elopement, by its very definition, means to run away secretly to get married. When you think of elopement, you think of star-crossed lovers, a quick getaway to Vegas for a quick-fix ceremony, and a hushed-up event shrouded in secrecy and whispers. But eloping can be so much more.

As we know it today, elopement is the idea of rejecting the traditional wedding and to have, in its place, a simple, intimate ceremony surrounded by the people that you love. By forgoing the grandeur of a big wedding, you can focus on celebrating the essence of what it means to join in holy matrimony. And when you think about it, that’s what matters, isn’t it?

The spontaneity and rebelliousness of the very act can make eloping a more exciting and romantic option for some couples. And though impulse is a considerable part of the appeal, even an elopement requires a bit of planning. Before you commit to the act, you do have to plan your elopement and iron out the details. To help you out a bit, here is a checklist of things that you need to get in order before you elope.

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Vision Board and Vibe

Choosing to elope throws open the doors of possibility for your wedding. The beauty of a small wedding is that you can do whatever you want. The sky’s the limit.

Have you always wanted a wedding under the sea? Done. A ceremony in the freezing cold surrounded by snow? Some might call you crazy, but why not? It is your day, and anything is possible.

Think about the style, location, decor, color palette and start putting together a vision board for what you want your wedding to look like. Picture and plan your elopement to the T. Allow yourself to be swept away by Pinterest and its captivating aesthetics and put together your dream wedding.

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Budget and Planning Your Elopement

With your dreams in place, it is time for the trinity of truth, logic and money to shape your vision a little more realistically. Eloping gives you far more freedom and flexibility than a traditional wedding. This freedom, however, is contingent on the logistics. Though not as fun as vibing with your wedding, budgeting is a crucial step in the elopement process as it tells you how viable your dream wedding is.

To get started, set a base figure that both of you would be comfortable spending and then create a list of things that need to be accounted for. This could include venue permits and fees, hair and make-up, photography, decor and so on.

Though there will be a few deviations from the original budget, sticking to the figure that has been decided upon is extremely important. Creating a budget should help you prioritize the items on your list as well as find areas where you can cut down costs. Whether you are planning a more indulgent elopement or a more minimalistic one, this will allow you to plan your elopement with much more efficiency.

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Venues and Where to Go

Whether you want to travel across the world or find a place in your backyard, plan your elopement venue precisely the way you pictured it. If you are Seattle based, for instance, you can plan your ceremony at the beautiful Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle, enjoy a wedding at the historic Union Station, or give yourself the ultimate fairy tale and wed in the beautiful mountains of Mount Rainier.

The beauty of elopement is that you can get married in a venue that is unique and special to you. From a sunset ceremony at the beach where you first kissed to a stereotypical runaway wedding in Vegas just for a laugh, your wedding can be exactly what you want it to be.

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Vendors and Wedding Details

Though eloping doesn’t require even half the planning of a full-scale wedding, there are still specific details that you might need to outsource from vendors. Based on your venue, you will need to account for these aspects as you plan your elopement. An indoor location might need more decor and lighting than an outdoor one, for instance.

Once you have fixed on your vendors, meet with them a few times in person and really iron out the details of your elopement so that everything goes off without a hitch (pun intended) on the final day.

The most anticipated decision of any wedding is what you are going to wear! When you elope, factor in the convenience of your outfit based on the location and activity that you might be doing. If you get married in the cold, for instance, you might want to choose a warmer outfit or carry a change of clothes that you can slip into once the ceremony is over.

Besides that, from the traditional white dress to an utterly wacky outfit that defies all norms, the day is entirely yours to choose for.

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The Elopement Announcement

The final step before the big day is to announce your elopement to friends and family. And for the added razzle-dazzle, let them know only after the deed is done. Have fun with this step. Tell them over a meal or go all out mysterious with an elaborate dinner. The reactions will make the effort you took to plan your elopement a hundred times sweeter.

Share the happiness that you feel with the people you love and enjoy the look of shock, surprise and joy on the faces, as they slowly piece together the news! An elopement isn’t quite the same as a traditional wedding, and you may feel like you are missing out on something by giving up the tradition. But eloping can be beautiful in its own way. Make it entirely your own and enjoy every step of the way as you plan your elopement.

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