Planning to elope? 7 things to consider before you start:

Have you been planning to elope and don’t know where to even begin? Well, this Virginia elopement photographer has you covered! You know I have a soft spot for outdoor Virginia elopements because they’re so much fun and couples always have a blast – we love to see it! 

Now it’s your turn! How exciting! I want your day to be as unique to you as you’ve always envisioned it, so I’m giving you a breakdown of some of the most important details to consider before you start planning to elope! 

A couple planning to elope on the Oregon Coast enjoying the sunset on the beach together.


Choosing a Location 

Where do you see yourself tying the knot? Are you surrounded by beautiful wildlife and lush forests or are you somewhere a little more sentimental to you and your partner? Choosing your elopement location is the beginning of creating your unique love story! Before you’re set on the perfect spot, here are some things to think about before you commit:

  • Do you see this location really becoming your location? Does it spark joy just thinking about it? 
  • Is it accessible enough for what you envision on your elopement day? Whether it’s just you two or with guests, or even available on the date you’re looking to elope, a place can be as gorgeous as it can get but might not necessarily fit what you have in mind for your big day. Just make sure you know what your priorities are and choose a spot that best aligns with your vision! 
  • If you’re not a VA native, the weather might be a lil different from what you’re expecting, but summers are usually pretty pleasant while our winters can be more on the chilly side. That being said, research will be your best friend! 

Omgosh, so much to consider! I know right?? When you’re eloping in VA, the options are definitely endless and boy are they beautiful! As a Virginia elopement photographer who definitely knows her way around, I can tell you that VA is full of stunning options to host your elopement! 

When it comes to choosing your location, choose what feels right for you but also be sure to do your research on the location you end up going with! And hey, if you’re looking to get hitched in a spot you’ve been wanting to check off your bucket list, that’s one amazing way to truly make your day special! Just make sure you start the elopement planning early! 

A couple who was planning to elope on the Oregon Coast enjoying sunset on the beach together

Choosing a Date

When it comes to choosing your date, there are a few things to keep in mind so it’s important to be flexible. Of course the date you choose could have meaning to the two of you. It could be your proposal anniversary, a midpoint between your birthdays, or even the anniversary of when you both said “I love you” for the first time!

Not to say that choosing a date more practical for what you envision is entirely unromantic, but if you’re planning an elopement where you’re escaping to a beautiful nature oasis, it might be a little easier to pick your date based on availability. “How do I do this Maura??”

If you’re really wanting that stunning adventure elopement for your big day, I would suggest choosing a general season or time of year that you’d prefer! Then let location and vendor availability determine the exact date for you! Flexibility will be your best bet in finding the date for you!

Once that’s settled, you’ll then want to consider the cost breakdown. Here’s a quick lil list of what you’ll probably be investing in for your elopement: 

  1. Attire
  2. Photographer
  3. Officiant
  4. Bouquet / Florals 
  5. Marriage License
  6. Permits
  7. Guests (if you choose to have any)  

Planning to elope can feel a little crazy sometimes, but the last thing I want you to do is stress over choosing a perfect wedding date. Just choose what feels right and keep choosing that, always.

Choosing Vendors

Now that we’re getting to more of the exciting parts of elopement planning, it’s time to start gathering your vendors! Yay!! I may be a smidge biased, but choosing vendors that specialize in elopements is one great way to take some stress out of the equation. Why? Because they get it! Choosing experienced elopement vendors, especially VA locals, definitely know their way around a beautiful ceremony AND they act as great resources for you. 

So, what vendors should you consider having on elopement day? Here’s a few of my favs and how they can truly make your ceremony unique! 

  • Florists: Florals can really elevate an already gorgeous elopement day. They understand that you have a vision and will do what they can to execute it in the way you deserve! Florals are a great way to incorporate personality in your ceremony through your bouquet or floral installations, and they add amazing details for your ceremony. Did I mention that they also photograph beautifully? (; 
  • Videographers: I know pictures are already worth a thousand words, but what if you want more? Having a videographer on your elopement day is such a game changer because they capture your day differently. Yes, having pictures to commemorate your love are a must, but imagine what it’d be like hearing your wedding vows all over again and really reliving those moments where you said your I Dos amidst some stunning scenery!
  • Bakers: Your love doesn’t have to be the only sweet thing on your wedding day! Having a baker whip up some delicious treats is another unique way to celebrate your day and evoke all the senses! Whether it’s some flavorsome baked goods for you and your guests to enjoy or just a mouthwatering wedding cake for you two lovebirds to share, I think all couples – sweet tooths or not – will really love having a baker in on the fun! 

Having a mix of the right vendors is a great way of truly making your elopement unique, special, and full of personality! You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how beautiful all these details melt together to create the most perfect day to celebrate your love! See? Elopement planning can be so much fun!

A couple who was planning to elope on the Oregon Coast enjoying sunset on the beach together


Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own spin on traditional ideas and there are so many ways to shake things up! Do you have a furry friend that you want to bring into the mix? Want to have a pretty little picnic at your elopement location after the ceremony instead of booking it to a reception right after? And honestly, choosing a unique venue also does the trick, but that’s why you’re eloping anyway, right? This is your opportunity to really get creative! 

Now for the not-so-romantic stuff: Legalities

Planning to elope is all fun and games, but we still have to make sure your love is official! Here’s a quickie of the legalities you need to consider to ensure that you’re legally married: 

  • The Officiant: Obviously a must, you can’t get hitched without them (at least here in Virginia)! You can hire a local officiant or ask a close friend to get ordained to make your ceremony more personal! 
  • Permits: More often than not, you’ll probably need specific permits to get married on public lands or national parks. This is all dependent on what location you choose, so again, doing your research is super important! 
  • Witnesses: While your ceremony is a celebration of the commitment you’re making, it also has legal ramifications. While there’s no requirement as to who can be your witness, all that matters is that they witness your ceremony and sign your wedding license soon after to confirm that your ceremony actually happened. 

Who to Invite

This is entirely up to you and what you envision for your ceremony. If you want to have a more intimate elopement, there’s nothing wrong with cutting the guest list to a minimum! But, if you’re wanting to stay true to a traditional elopement, you can cut the guest list out completely and elope just the two of you! 

A couple who was planning to elope on the Oregon Coast enjoying sunset on the beach together


At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you create a love story celebration that you’re proud to call yours. It’s YOUR day and elopements are about doing whatever you want, so just keep choosing what you know feels right to you and your partner! There’s so many ways to make eloping in VA unique and special to you so whether you’re looking for adventure, romance, intimacy, or all of the above, I already know that you’ll have a blast seeing it all come together, promise! 

Now that we’ve reached the end, I hope you’re feeling a lil better about moving forward with the elopement planning! Although it feels daunting at first, I’m sure you’ll have the best time putting together the ceremony of your dreams! Time flies and the next thing you know, you’ll already be saying your vows on a beautiful VA mountaintop and I’m so excited to see it! And if you’re ready to scratch getting a VA elopement photographer off the to-do list, fill out my contact form contact form! I’m so looking forward to seeing your vision come to life!

A couple who was planning to elope on the Oregon Coast enjoying sunset on the beach together

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