Okay, first off we would like to point out that this is a LOADED question and there is no wrong answer. We have done elopements that have been planned anywhere from 14 months, 2 weeks, and even 2 days in advance. To help alleviate some stress, we are going to discuss a few factors that might impact elopement planning a little bit!
Based on other photographers’ research, many couples have planned their elopement within 2-6 months. A large wedding is usually planned six months to a year in advance. There is no perfect amount of time to plan your elopement. We hope this article helps you determine what works best for you!
Some Factors that may Impact Timeframes
With some popular national parks, permits must be submitted up to 6 months before your elopement. This is consistent with some of the most popular national park locations such as Yosemite, Glacier, and Arches. Acadia National Park does not require a permit for elopements involving 10 people or fewer. For elopements involving more than 10 people, Acadia requires the permit to be submitted a minimum of 10 business days before the elopement date. To read more about eloping in Maine you can check out this post about How to Elope in Maine. Each national park has different requirements, so be sure to do your research if you plan on getting married in a national park. National forests and recreation areas typically do not require permits which makes the planning process so much easier. We highly recommend eloping outside of the national parks specifically for this reason.
We understand that booking flights can be expensive. From our personal experience, we have found that flight prices will usually dip about 3 months out. By giving yourselves a timeframe of a couple of months, you can confidently book all of the accommodations you will need. If you plan to elope in a national park you will most likely need to book lodging about a year in advance as AirB&Bs, hotels, and vendors fill up fast. International travel is the same. If you plan on leaving the country that requires further logistics. This may take more time to figure out, allowing yourselves more time to plan may be necessary.
I hinted at this in the last point, but the further in advance you plan, the more likely you will be able to book your preferred vendor team. If you are planning on getting married in the off-season, (typically November-April) you can get away with a shorter timeframe and still book your preferred people. During the busy season of May-October, (with an emphasis on September & October) you should consider giving yourselves a little more time. For example, we typically start booking for September and October a year in advance, so securing those dates early is essential!
While eloping is typically cheaper than throwing a wedding for 100+ people at $125 per plate, it still may be a financial impact. If you want an elaborate destination elopement it is obviously going to cost more than having a simple elopement on your local mountain or shoreline. Planning an elopement 6+ months in advance allows you to book the vendors you want and steadily pay for what is necessary.
Your wedding dress may also impact the amount of time needed to plan your elopement. There are quite a few good companies online that brides have used, or have seen in styled shoots. To name a few affordable dresses that ship quickly are Baltic Born and Lulus. More pricy gowns that ship fairly quickly include Daci Gowns and BHLDN. If you have more time you can shop at a local boutique or online. This is just something to think about when deciding to elope quickly!
At the end of the day, it will all come together!
As with anything we want you both to communicate what you want for your day! If you want to plan a short engagement, contact us soon! We are all for getting the ball rolling on planning an elopement quickly! Fill out the contact form below and we will be in touch! Oh, we also offer a location-specific guide filled with resources like lodging, things to do, and local vendors. Reach out today and let’s get started on crafting your perfect day!!