Ask any engaged person how they feel about the idea of planning a last-minute elopement or wedding and you can literally see their blood pressure rise at the thought. After all, there is a reason why some couples take a year to plan.
However, there are major differences between planning a large wedding and elopement and when it comes to a more intimate day there are fewer reasons for it to take as long to make all of the arrangements. However, that doesn’t mean that an elopement is necessarily easy to bring together. In fact, planning a last-minute elopement can be stressful if you aren’t organized going into the process.
So today, we want to share a few key tips that can not only help you plan the Colorado elopement or intimate wedding of your dreams but keep the process stress-free and enjoyable as well. Your elopement and the time leading up to it should be one of the happiest in your life. And we hope these tips help you feel that way!
Adopt The Right Mindset
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of planning your last-minute Colorado elopement or intimate wedding, we want to set you up for success with the right mindset. Please trust us when we say that it is totally possible to plan your elopement in as little as two weeks – so no need to panic! This is a happy time and we want you to prioritize the excitement of being married to your partner rather than stressing out over unimportant details.
Secondly, I want to encourage you to dream big for your elopement! Just because you aren’t having the “traditional” wedding doesn’t mean you need to scale back your vision for your perfect elopement or wedding experience. The truth is, there is a lot less for you to plan when you’re choosing to elope or have an intimate wedding so it’s totally possible, and a little bit easier, to make your day a dream come true without much time for planning.
A gentle reminder: Keep in mind that you may have to elope on a weekday to get availability, as many wedding vendors book up on weekends farther in advance. This is one of many reasons we recommend doing so, but we have an even deeper dive in our resources collection about why you should seriously consider eloping on a weekday.
Let’s Talk About Guests
I’ve got to be honest with you – most of the planning work for weddings has to do with arranging everything needed for guests. Accommodation, food, entertainment, the bar, party favors, place settings, etc – are all things you don’t have to plan when you elope without guests. However, we understand that you love your people (AND WE LOVE THEM TOO, WE PROMISE) So if you are planning a last-minute elopement, you may want to consider skipping the guests or at least downsizing to a very intimate group and celebrating with a bigger crew later on. There are lots of ways to still include family & friends in your wedding celebration without having them along on your elopement day.
Check out our posts on How to Tell Your Loved Ones You’re Eloping, How to Include Loved Ones in Your Elopement, and How to Throw a Post-Elopement Party or Reception for helpful tips for planning a guest-free elopement day.
Don’t want to plan a guest-free elopement? That’s okay too. We’re happy to provide resources for elopements and intimate weddings with guests, but we definitely suggest a longer planning timeline for that kind of experience!
Create A Manageable Plan Of Action
One of the best things you and your partner can do for yourselves is to make a chronological checklist of everything that needs to be done along with a deadline for getting it done. Being able to see the list and physically check things off as they are completed can be very reassuring and cathartic. Here are a few suggestions (already in chronological order) to get you started:
- Make a virtual vision board via Pinterest or even a written list of everything you hope to incorporate in your elopement or intimate wedding experience
- Choose a specific or a general location in Colorado
- Or reach out to local Colorado elopement photographers who can recommend the best locations to you (pssst…that’s us).
- Learn the legal requirements for eloping in Colorado
- Make a list of vendors you want to hire and ask us for recommendations after you’ve determined your elopement location so we can connect you with people that service that specific area (hair and makeup artist, florist, officiant, etc)
- Purchase attire (Attire that fits off-the-shelf saves you the time of having alternations)
- Book any necessary accommodations and travel for your trip
- Treat yo’self and think about your wedding day celebration meal – such as a personal chef coming to your Airbnb or a private room at a restaurant. We’re always happy to give suggestions for this too!
- Be married! (and let us take gorgeous photos of it all!)
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
The value of help cannot be understated! If you want to craft a perfect last-minute event, make sure you build a good team that will help you bring this dream to life! Many elopement photographers, like us, offer well-researched locations, plans, and options for your elopement or intimate wedding experience. Our team can really help you bring this event together in little time, especially if you’re having a destination elopement in Colorado. We provide all of our couples with location suggestions, breakdowns of permits rules and regulations for locations, vendor recommendations local to the location you choose, and more, all to help make the planning process faster and easier for you. Are we “full service” elopement and wedding planners? No. (And a planner is going to be your bestie and invaluable if you want a very hands-off planning experience, have a high guest count, want to incorporate a lot of decors (most of our favorites even carry a rental inventory or are partnered with rental companies), and/or are limited on time for communicating with other vendors) but we are always happy to be a resource in any way that we can be. We always suggest hair and makeup artists that come to where you’re getting ready and do our best to pair you with local vendors for any other needs. As an added bonus and a testament to how much we care about our clients: we’ll even pick up your flowers or dessert if you’re eloping in a mountain town that doesn’t have vendor availability.
Be Present And Have Fun!
One of the biggest perks of eloping in Colorado is that there is far less detailed work (and hopefully stress) involved in the planning process because we’ve been doing this for a lonnnng time and there are endless resources available. Not to mention, you’ll quite literally be getting married in a real-life postcard which means you can skip the decor if you want to. Elopements may show up in movies as last-minute trips to Vegas and a ceremony ordained by an Elvis impersonator or have a stigma of super speedy courthouse experiences but that’s not the case in Colorado and hasn’t been for a while. P.S. if that’s your style of elopement we don’t judge. We are firm believers that there is no wrong way to get married! Elopements gained a lot of traction and attention during the pandemic, but people have been coming to Colorado to elope or have a more simplistic and small wedding experience for years. Remember, this is a joyous occasion that is really only about the two of you and the promise you’re making to one another. It isn’t about flowers, and cakes, and all the rest. No matter what you are or are not able to accomplish in the planning process and no matter how your day looks compared to what you were envisioning, your wedding day is for the two of you to enjoy.
So let’s add one more thing to that chronological checklist we mentioned above:
- I promise that I will wake up with joy on my wedding day and allow myself to enjoy it because I deserve it!