How far in advance should you plan an elopement?

Eloping is the easier way to wed. You get to forego the painstaking task of selecting the perfect table napkins, the attempt of whittling down the guest list, and the feeling of paying a small fortune for a one-day party.
Even though you no longer have to plan a million different details for a big wedding, if you’re eloping or thinking of eloping, you may wonder how it’s all done.
Do you just sound the alarm, decide “we’re eloping today” and run out the door?
That would, of course, not be optimal for most of us.
You usually need to do some planning in order to keep things organized and low-stress on the elopement day.
So, how far in advance should you plan an elopement?
That all depends on you, and your preference, but here’s a couple of approaches and the perks of each.

1 month in advance

This is for all those who either like to plan at the last minute or have no choice but to do so.
You can definitely book 1 month in advance or less and still have a wonderful experience – that’s the beauty of eloping.
This is a great choice if you just got engaged and want to elope now. Maybe you like the weather in the season that is upcoming and don’t want to wait for it to come around again. Maybe you have off of work for a certain period of time or have upcoming major life events like moving or expecting a baby in the future that you want to get ahead of. 
Whatever the reason, the biggest perk is that you don’t have to wait long for your big day and can ride the wave of spontaneity!
This means you won’t have to spend a large amount of time planning and possibly procrastinating. 
The cons to eloping with only month or less before the time frame is that you have to do everything quickly from getting your dress/outfits/footwear, choosing your location, and paying for everything right away.
With less than a month to go, you will have to hope your vendors like photographer, videographer, florist, and officiant aren’t already booked since it is coming up so soon. 
This being said, there are all kinds of random availability in vendor’s schedules and you will most likely be accommodated if you are flexible about the exact date. Let your elopement coordinator know the week that you are looking to elope and the preferred day, so that they can let you know what they have open.
Working with an elopement company is a great way to take any last minute planning stress away. Our coordinator Cassie helps all our couples by securing the location, developing the timeline, providing airbnb cabin suggestions, and bringing together all the trusted vendors on our team to film, photograph, officiate your day.


3 months in advance

This is the most common timing that we see with couples who are planning to elope.

A couple months out gives you enough time to research locations, choose your vendors, or find an elopement company to work with. You have enough time to order a dress online/etsy or get in person. You have the space to order any props you may want to bring like an elopement sign or custom cake topper.

It also gives you some time to design and get your announcements or send email announcements well before the date itself so that your loved ones have time to process the news before seeing you pop up online in your elopement photos.

While this definitely gives you enough time to plan your elopement, some couples want to book further in advance to have more time to save money for the trip and to find the perfect airbnb or cabin to stay in while there.  Additionally, some couples like to take their time telling people and planning further in advance allows them to do so. If that’s you, skip down to the 6 months+  heading below!


6-12 months in advance

Choosing this timeframe to start booking puts you away ahead of the curve!
With 6+ months to spare before the big day, you get several months to a year to save money up for your elopement and travel costs. This may allow you to have a bigger budget to hire a videographer, get the absolute perfect dress, or even travel further away where plane tickets or multiple overnight stays are easier to allocate money for.
You also have so much time to research locations and figure out where you really want to be when you are eloping.
Another perk in planning this far ahead is that you are more likely to get to book your top vendors because they will have more dates open on their calendar.
6 months out gives you so much time for planning your ceremony too. Want to write your own vows or search the world wide web over for the best quotes and readings? You will have all the time to do so and to send your ideas over to your officiant.
While it is not at all necessary to plan this far ahead, it is an ideal amount of time to leisurely plan and save up for your elopement!
Here’s a video with one of our favorite elopements. 
This Indiana couple has the best story of how they made their  dreams come true of eloping on a mountain!

Here are a few to do’s to put on your list when planning your elopement.
  • Determine your Budget (including travel)
  • Choose your Location (consider whether you want to fly or drive)
  • Plan your Ceremony (with the help of your officiant)
  • Select where you will stay overnight (read our blog for cabin ideas)
  • Decide if you want to Throw a Post-Elopement Party
  • Send Those Announcements
  • Prepare for Family and Friends’ Reactions (read our blog for tips)

Book with us ANYTIME!

Here at Elope Outdoors, we love helping couples book their elopements a year in advance or even 1 week prior to!

We respect the spirit of eloping: no fuss, low-stress, more wandering and less worrying. 

The Asheville, NC area is one of the most beautiful places in the world with not only gorgeous mountain vistas but rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. 

We will help you choose a location, assembles all of your vendors, and keep an eye on the weather for you. 

Reach out to start planning your greatest adventure!

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