Okay, first off I’d like to point out, this is a LOADED question and truly 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 planning for your elopement and timeframes a little bit!
Based on other photographers’ research, many couples in 2022 planned their elopement within 2-6 months. This differed drastically from previous years. In the past planning, an elopement was more consistent with the timeframe of planning a wedding. A large wedding is usually planned six months to a year in advance.
Some Factors that may Impact Planning Timeframes
Typically permits need to 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. For example, Acadia National Park does not require a permit for 10 people or fewer. Acadia also requires the permit to be submitted a minimum of 10 business days before the elopement date, to allow for enough time to process. To read more about eloping in Maine you can check out this post about How to Elope in Maine. Other smaller National Parks typically do not require permits for groups of less than 10 people.
This goes without saying that booking flights can be expensive, especially recently. Lodging and travel should be booked a few months in advance. If you are planning to elope during peak a peak visiting season those accommodations should be booked closer to a year in advance. Peak season in Acadia is July through August. The more time you give yourself, the more likely you will be able to book the accommodations and vendors you prefer. If you are inviting family, this also provides them time to request off work and book their accommodations. International travel is the same, if you plan on leaving the country that requires further logistics that 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’ll be able to book your preferred vendor team. If you are planning on getting married in the off-season; in the Northeast that is from November-April, you can “get away” with a shorter timeframe but most-likey still book your preferred people. During the busy season of May-October with an emphasis on September & October in the Northeast mountains, you may want to consider giving yourselves a little more time. For example, typically we shoot the most elopements in September and October 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. Planning an elopement with 6+ months in advance allows you to book the vendors you want and steadily pay for what is necessary. Not everyone can come up with $10,000 the month before their wedding day to pay for lodging, travel, and vendors.
Your wedding dress may also impact the amount of time needed to plan your elopement. There are quite a few good companies online that we have photographed. 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. 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 then don’t let anyone keep you from doing that!
If you are thinking about planning your elopement for the next few days, weeks, months, or years and still need a photographer, videographer, or both! 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!!