I’ve planned over three hundred weddings since I began my beloved business, Wed in Central Park. A good share of them have been elopements. Also, many of them have been small weddings with just a handful of guests, which many people would count as an elopement. Such a lot of couples contact me and say that they want their wedding day to be about just the two of them. Sometimes they will have started down the road of planning a larger wedding and realised that it’s not for them, and sometimes they knew from the start that it would be just two of them on the day. Here are a few things that I advise you keep in mind if you decide to elope to New York.
Agree if the wedding will be kept a secret or if you’ll tell people in advance.
Everyone’s families are different, and perhaps it’s easier for you to get married in secret and then tell everyone on your return, or maybe you need to sit down with your loved ones and explain your reasons for your choices. Either way, decide as a couple what you will do support each other when dealing with people’s feelings when you do tell them.
Decide what to do if people want to come.
Quite a few couples have contacted me planning an elopement and then get back to me a couple of months after they book asking if they can bring a few guests. Quite often, when a couple announce an elopement, especially in a very cool city such as New York, then people want to come! So, you may need to decide as a couple in advance what you’ll do if some people want to come along.
Keep things personal.
A major reasons couples give me for choosing to elope is that they want to keep the ceremony personal and intimate. So, take advantage of someone like me who will write the wedding ceremony with you to get it exactly how you want it. Spend some time thinking about what traditions or rituals you would like to include and what you’d like to say to each other. Don’t be shy to express how you feel.
Have a budget.
Many couples elope to save money, but, as with couples planning a traditional wedding, there will still be things you want to splurge on and things you want to save on, depending on what you like. You may want flowers, hair and makeup, a nice car, a photographer, a fancy dinner, champagne, and maybe a fancy hotel for your wedding night. Some or all of this may appeal to you or may just not be that high on your list of priorities. The beauty of an elopement is that you can avoid the parts that just don’t do it for you.
Wear whatever you like.
If you want to get married in traditional wedding attire then of course do so. It’s lovely to get dressed up for your significant other, even if there’s nobody else there to see how great you look! But if that’s not your thing then that’s fine. There’s nobody there to judge so just be yourself! We’ve planned elopements for couples in stunning gowns and suits and also for couples in jeans or casual wear.
Make sure you have a witness.
If you’re getting married in New York, there will be space on the license for two witnesses, so you can have two, but you can have just one. You must have at least one witness though. If you have a photographer (and/or videographer, musician, or whoever else involved with your wedding there in person) then they can be your witness. If you don’t have a photographer or similar then I can arrange for someone to come along and witness your wedding.
Hire a photographer.
Or have me hire one for you. It would be such a shame to not have a photographic record of your wedding day – even if it’s just for a sort while. We offer an elopement package with just one hour of photography if you feel a little camera shy.
Keep the day special.
A benefit to getting married when it’s just the two of you is that you will have so much more time to make the most of being in New York on your wedding day! So, think about what will make the day special and stand out in your memory? Will it be a tour of the city taking photos in beautiful locations in your wedding gear, or a river cruise, or a Broadway show, or fantastic food with beautiful views of the city? Make the most of your time and be sure to do something special and uniquely New York to celebrate the day.
Make a plan.
Even though you may have chosen an elopement to escape from the stresses of wedding planning, I’d still recommend making a plan of timings for the day. I’ll help you with that. It’s good to think about the structure of the day in advance so that when it comes to your wedding day you can just relax and enjoy it all.
Have a big party on your return. Or don’t.
If you want to celebrate with wider friends and family with a low-stress party when you come home married then that’s great. If you don’t feel like doing that, or you don’t want to spend the money on doing that, then that’s fine too. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.
Don’t feel bad.
It’s your wedding day. I can’t say this enough. This is your wedding. Everyone else has either had theirs or they will get theirs in the future. This is yours and you should have it how you want it. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your choices or that you’re losing out if you don’t do it how they think you should. You don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone except your partner.
Email me if you’d like some help planning your own small wedding or elopement in New York, or check out our prices here!