The Simple Elopement Checklist for Your Special Day!

elopement portrait in Nashville TN, shot by Wandering Creative

Planning to elope with your partner? So exciting! Eloping is a super personal experience, and is unique for every couple. After all, you have chosen to skip a big wedding (ugh, so much planning) in favor of an intimate affair. This decision will dissolve many items in your checklist and relieve so. much. stress. However, there are still so many aspects that need to be considered, to help ensure your special day is everything you’re wanting. Not sure if you know how to plan an elopement? No worries! I have put together a simple elopement checklist that will enable a seamless experience. And, you can download it right here:

Here is my Simple Elopement Checklist to help you plan:


When it comes to elopement planning, discuss what number makes sense for you both before getting into specifics. One of the essential advantages of eloping is that the overall cost is far less than a traditional wedding. Swell and Stone has an AMAZING cost calculator for elopement planning and I definitely recommend checking it out!

Elopement Location and Venue

Once you have finalized the budget, the next thing is to brainstorm and decide where you would like to spend your wedding day. As elopements are intimate, you will likely have more options to consider when it comes to the location. If you are opting for a destination elopement, it may increase your overall budget as you need to travel, find accommodation, and maybe have additional fees as well, etc. If you’re planning to elope in Memphis or New Orleans, I’ve linked some helpful blogs for laws and locations:

ceremony on the mississippi river, photographed by Wandering Creative in Memphis

Your elopement dress

You cannot afford to forget the most important feature of your day. If you are hiking to a particular spot for an elopement, you may pack your dress in a backpack and change it at the ceremony spot. I suggest packing a lightweight dress and avoiding heavier materials to be comfortable. However, that also depends on the season. Make sure to bring a warm jacket if you are eloping somewhere in the mountains in spring or fall! And don’t forget to wear comfortable footwear – you can always change to something more stylish at the ceremony spot. But that’s something else to add to your elopement checklist!

elopement portrait in TN, shot by Wandering Creative

Make travel and accommodation bookings

When you have finalized the destination where you are planning to elope, you will want to make the essential travel and accommodation bookings. Make the reservations in advance, so you get the best rates. I advise you to arrive at your destination a few days earlier to avoid any last-minute delays.

Make your elopement legal, whether you’re eloping internationally or locally

This is one of the very few aspects of the checklist that is absolutely essential. Every state has different regulations, such as obtaining a marriage license; so make sure to learn what those are. In addition, check if there is any waiting period and whether you need a witness. There are some US States that allow you to self solemnize, like Colorado, which makes it so much easier! Here’s some info for you if you’re looking to elope in CO. Make notes on your elopement checklist of what your state or country requires.

Elopement Photographer

Photography is one essential aspect you must not skip on the elopement checklist. Just because you are choosing an intimate route doesn’t mean the day is less impactful. Have an elopement photographer for the day. This will allow you to remember everything vividly, and later share some memorable pictures with your favorite people.

behind the scenes photo of Wandering Creative photographing bridal portraits in Memphis, TN


If you would like to have extras during the elopement, or afterward, you can confirm these plans with the vendors before you travel. You may discuss with florists regarding ceremony flowers caterers for a picnic celebration, or anyone else you find suitable to mark this incredibly momentous occasion.

Lastly, once you’ve eloped, it’s time to let your close ones know. This might be at the bottom of your elopement checklist, but it’s important! Make the announcement personal instead of immediately publishing it on social media. There are so many great online resources for sending out elopement announcements, and you can work with your photographer to get a sneak peak for sending.

Simple Elopement Checklist

These elopement must-haves are an essential part of the planning process. I hope this simple elopement checklist will help you and ensure the most stress-free and memorable day you can ask for! Remember that this day isn’t about anyone else, but you and your partner. So do what you want, how you want, and when you want :)

Planning any kind of ceremony, wedding, elopement, it’s all very stressful. For a lot of us it’s incredibly anxiety inducing. I’ve put together (the first of hopefully many), an Anxious Bride’s Guide to A Stress Free Wedding, and it all starts with self care :) So if this is you, go take a look!

Looking for an elopement photographer for your special day? Let me know, I would love to help! You can find me here :)

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