How to Cancel Your Wedding and Elope Outdoors Instead


So, you thought you wanted a big wedding and have started the planning process. Maybe you are even in talks with vendors and venues, about to make a deposit but there is a conflicting voice in your head. Or maybe you just got engaged and you realize you and your partner want something different than a big, traditional wedding.

If you are in the early stages of big wedding planning or haven’t yet begun and are considering ditching the big affair for something smaller, this article is for you! Read on for strategies to cancel the wedding with class and how to plan an elopement!


How to Open up Conversation with your Partner to consider Eloping

Our best advice is to approach the topic of eloping with your partner with sensitivity and an open mind. Here are a few tips!

Pick a good time to talk: Bring it up when the two of you are relaxed and not too busy so you can talk calmly about it. 

Be honest: Share your feelings and explain why eloping appeals to you and why you think it would be great for both of you. 

Listen: Listen to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and priorities. Make the effort to be open to their perspective and their needs as well.

Be flexible: Be willing to compromise and consider different options.

Share your excitement: Tell them what you like about eloping and how it can be a special, intimate experience for just the two of you.

Keep in mind that ultimately, the decision should be a mutual one, and one that both of you are happy with.



How to Politely tell Vendors & Venues that you have changed your mind

Canceling a wedding can be hard to approach, especially when it comes to telling vendors that you have changed your mind.

Here’s how to do it professionally and with the least friction.

Be Prompt: The sooner you let vendors that you are canceling the wedding, the better. This lets them make other arrangements and minimize their losses. 

Be clear & straightforward when communicating your decision to cancel the wedding. Don’t make it seem like it’s a maybe for instance, if it’s a definite thing. 

Be apologetic + respectful: Express your apologies for the inconvenience that your cancellation will cause. Vendors are running a business, so show respect for their time and work, and expect cancellation fees and that deposits won’t be returned. 


How to Tell Family you are Eloping

Once you know you’re eloping, we recommend sharing the plans with your closest family and friends as soon as you can. The sooner you share the news, the sooner you can relax about it and feel good about planning the elopement.

Remember that for many, re-evaluating the big contemporary wedding is a new concept. It might not initially make much sense to them that you don’t want a big wedding with everyone you’ve ever known there in one place. But once you share with your family and friends that eloping fulfills your desire to connect with your partner in this once in a lifetime experience, as well as any other reasons a big wedding doesn’t fit your needs, they may better understand. Your honesty and vulnerability will go a long way!

Consider sharing the news face to face or on Zoom just to make it more personal. Let them know if you plan to involve them in any way with the planning or celebrating after the elopement. Whatever you can do to make them a part of it, even from afar, will go a long way. Remind them that they will get to see all of the photos and even consider getting a videographer to really help make them feel like they were there with you!


Why I Eloped – Firsthand account by Bride Gaby 

Gaby & her partner Nick eloped with Elope Outdoors in 2022!

“There is a sense of peacefulness when we recall our elopement day. I’ve always been told that weddings aren’t meant to be about the couple and instead the celebration. I’ve always thought that was a silly thought—why can’t it be both?

Eloping allowed us to celebrate our love for one another while resting in the peace of knowing that everything was going to turn out okay.”



Steps to Eloping

Choose Date/ Season to Elope

Decide if any guests are coming (family, friends, dogs, or solo-elope!)

Find your Location

Determine Lodging

Hire elopement planning company/vendors

Choose Attire & Rings

Write Vows & Prepare Sentimental Pieces



Choose Date/ Season

Choosing a date for your outdoor elopement falls largely upon your availability. But you should also consider the season you would enjoy marrying outdoors in. Consider the temperature of the area during that time of year and make sure to research or ask your planner about what to expect before choosing your date. 

You could also choose to elope on a full moon to balance yin and yang energy into your marriage, your birthday or a holiday like New Years Day, or  other significant days like the Summer Solstice or First Day of Spring. 

We definitely recommend you choose a weekday over weekends. On weekdays, it will be less busy on the trails and vendors will be more available to provide their services at elopement prices since it doesn’t compete with bigger weddings that tend to book out months or years in advance.



Decide if any guests are coming (family, friends, dogs, or solo-elope!)


If you are bringing guests, here are some tips for making it as chill as possible.

Choose those who will light you up, not bring you down. Drama is not welcome on your day!

Less is more! Don’t overdo it. More guests = more needs to consider. Feeling the need to take care of guests is normal, which is why we call them guests. If you don’t have guests you get to focus on what you want entirely. We will say that bringing just 2 guests is the sweet spot as it doesn’t feel like a crowd and there are fewer people to “take care of.”

If there is any way you can honor a family member, especially a parent, in the process by giving them a role to help you make plans or participate with anything creative, this is a great way to let them know they are special to you.

Show them the types of photography they will see by sharing the photographer’s portfolio so they can get excited about what your final professional images might look like.

Share the location including where it is located on the map and images of it, plus fun facts. If there is a hike involved in your elopement, share that so they can understand other reasons you aren’t having guests, like the fact that the location is not as accessible as a venue.

Share the date, what you might wear or bring, and any of your plans that you feel comfortable involving them in. It’s an awesome way to make them be a part of it.

You might even consider asking for their input and help finding your dress or choosing other aspects like color schemes, etc.

Here’s more info on best guest etiquette for your elopement.



Find your Location

First, consider your style. Are you looking for a beach, mountain, or city to elope? Is there a city or location calling your name?

Next, do your research online. Search for elopement locations online via Instagram, social media sites, wedding elopement blogs, and travel websites. Be sure to look at photos and reviews and any first-hand accounts. Be sure to search for an elopement planner or photographer who can help you plan the elopement from afar if this will be a destination wedding elopement. 

Check the logistics out. Consider how you will get to the location and the availability of accommodations, restaurants and transportation.

Make sure to check the regulations of the location. Some places require permits or have restrictions on where you can have the ceremony and this is why working with an elopement planner or team can make all the difference in saving you time as they know the area well and have locations in mind. 

Of course, be sure to consider the weather at the location and the time of year and if it aligns with your preference.

Finally,  if possible, visit the location to get a feel for it and to see if it meets your expectations.

Ultimately, you want to find a location that feels exciting and meaningful to you and your partner, and that aligns with the style and atmosphere you want for your wedding elopement.



Determine Lodging

Where you stay on your elopement can be one of the most fun and exciting parts of the planning process! Eloping at a destination that you love or have always wanted to visit is like combining your honeymoon with your wedding – or at least combining your wedding with a really fun vacation!

Jumping on Airbnb and VRBO in the area you are eloping is definitely a good move, but also check out if any local vendors have assembled the best and most accessible cabins or houses in the area that are great for elopements. Sometimes couples choose to elope at their rental cabin or home, while others simply pick somewhere that is close enough to the trail or vista they are eloping from.

In Asheville, NC, we’ve found a ton of cabins and houses you can rent that are amazing!

Check out our list of faves! 



Hire elopement planning company/vendors

Hiring an elopement planning company can be a great way to ensure that your elopement runs smoothly!

 Here are a few tips to find the best team to work with: 

Research: Search for elopement planning companies and vendors online and read reviews. Ask for referrals from friends or family, or even social media friends who have eloped.

Take note of experience: Look for vendors who have planned elopements, especially in the location, as they are most familiar with the unique challenges and logistics. 

Check availability: Make sure that the vendors you are considering are available on your elopement date.

Eloping in Asheville and ready to get started? Contact our coordinator Cassie today to get started!

Contact us



Choose Attire & Rings

Choosing what you will wear and picking out rings can be exciting, but it could also feel like A LOT if you aren’t big into aesthetics or fashion, or you just have a busy schedule. 

Luckily, we’ve got the good ole’ world wide web and online shopping to help remedy that!

But before you start adding items to your cart, consider these variables before you buy:

Consider the location: Choose attire that fits the place and weather. For example, if you’re eloping on a mountain, you may want to choose a warmer dress or suit, or consider a cute jacket or shawl to bring along. 

Coordinate with your partner: talk about color schemes and style to be sure that your attire complements each other.

Decide on a ring style: Decide on a style of ring that you both like, whether it be classic, vintage, or modern. That will be a good jumping off point to begin looking. 


Write Vows & Prepare Sentimental Pieces


Writing vows for your elopement really impresses upon the intimate nature of the experience. It’s a time to be a in quiet place and share your deepest held thoughts, feelings, admirations, and memories of your partner and relationship.

The biggest tip we can give is don’t feel the pressure to say everything! Keep it brief enough that each word can be impactful and remember you have the rest of your lives to say the rest! 

Here are a few more tips: 

Start sooner rather than later: Give yourself plenty of time to compose your vows. The more time you have, the less stressed you’ll be, and the more thoughtful and heartfelt your vows will end up being. Use inspiration: Get inspired by books, movies, songs, and other sources to help you find the words you are looking for. But don’t let this research overshadow your voice. Speak from the heart and let your emotions guide you.

Practice! Say your vows out loud to get a sense of how they’ll sound when the big moment comes. 

And besides vows, consider bringing along sentimental pieces. Collect special items or mementos that have significance to you and your partner and incorporate them into your wedding ceremony, such as a special song, a letter, or a locket. 



Interested in learning more about eloping? Here’s a link to our contact form below where you can share with us your elopement vision and start the conversation.

We would love to help plan your Asheville, NC elopement and bring together everything from your dream location to photography, videography, officiant, florist, cake, and more!

Reach Out

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