One of the most exciting things about eloping is that with a short guest list (or no guest list at all), you have basically unlimited options for where you can go, what you can do, and where you tie the knot!
A destination elopement can be an absolutely magical experience – the flight to the place where you marry your best friend, the shuttle over to the luxurious resort, the views of the mountains, jungle, desert, or beach where you’ll be saying your vows… it’s all part of the adventure!
But planning a destination elopement can be a bit more tricky. Wedding planning isn’t exactly known for being easy, but add on the fact that you’re getting married abroad, and it can feel downright impossible! But, that’s exactly what I’m here for. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to start planning, give you the best countries to elope in around the world, and more! You’ll be jetting off to your one of a kind wedding in no time.
How to Choose the Best Countries to Elope In
Needless to say, there are so many countries around the world! Each one offers something different, so the best country to elope in will be different for every couple. It all depends on the experience you want for your destination elopement, so here are some things to think about before you make a decision.
The first thing I recommend doing is sitting down with your partner to think about what kind of scenery you want to be surrounded by on your elopement day. Narrowing down the landscape will help eliminate some options – so think about what kind of scenery you’re drawn to! It can also help to think about what you want to do on your elopement day, because if you want to kayak you probably won’t elope somewhere in the desert, and if you want to rock climb you likely won’t choose a tropical country.
Choosing your Date
With different scenery, often comes different types of weather. Do you love hot, sunny beach weather? Or are you more of a mountain breeze type of person?
After you choose a location, look into the average weather during different seasons or months in your location.
Also consider avoiding peak tourist season and eloping on a weekday vs. weekend for more privacy
When you’re planning any wedding, budget is likely going to be a factor. Eloping gives you some more flexibility with how you spend your wedding budget, so think about the things that are important to you. Do you want to spend more on a nice resort or would you rather save on accommodations and invest in experiences and adventures? Many European countries are notorious for being expensive when it comes to food and lodging, while places in Asia and South America have a lower cost of living – but it all depends on your priorities! Make a budget and decide what kind of experience you want to have.
Somewhere New, or an Old Favorite?
Another thing to think about when you decide where to elope is whether you want to have your destination elopement in a place you’ve already visited or somewhere totally new. Both can have different perks – with a place you’ve been, you can have familiar memories, explore places you know you love, and find new spots! But somewhere totally new to both of you, the whole experience is brand new, and you get to make new memories on the best day of your life.
The Best Countries to Elope In
To get you inspired for your destination elopement, here are the best countries to elope in!
First, don’t forget about the US! Sometimes the best spots are only a domestic flight away. Being such a big country, the US has a huge variety of scenery and landscapes. You can elope in the mountains of the west coast, the beaches on the east coast, or Hawai’i is an iconic tropical destination, while Alaska is incredible for remote landscapes!
Click here for more information on planning your Colorado or Glacier National Park elopement!
By now, a trip to Iceland is on just about everyone’s bucket list. The incredible fjords and stunning scenery are guaranteed to take your breath away and what better time to experience the wonder or Iceland than on your wedding day?
If you like tropical jungles, turquoise beaches, and stunning mountain scenery, Thailand is one of the best countries to elope in! It’s a pretty affordable place to travel in. Not to mention, it’s incredibly beautiful.
Greece (especially Mykonos and Santorini) is known for being one of the most relaxing elopement destinations. You’ll find luxurious resorts amongst the cliffside villages, but Greece also offers plenty of adventures! The white sand beaches, inland mountains, and historic relics make it a unique place to get married in.
The country of Morocco has incredible desert scenery – with sand dunes and rock formations that reflect the sunset in the most stunning way! You’ll also find mountains, forests, beaches and waterfalls – so Morocco really has it all. It’s a unique place to elope, with a vibrant culture and lots of opportunity to explore the city too.
This one isn’t technically a country – but I couldn’t leave it off the list! Patagonia encompasses the southern tip of South America, spanning across Chile and Argentina. It’s one of the best countries to elope in if you’re looking for rugged scenery and insane natural beauty. The jagged peaks and lush valleys are also pretty remote, so it’s easy to find a private spot to elope!
For beautiful beaches and a thriving nightlife, check out Spain! This is a great elopement destination for couples who want to experience the city and culture, and also get out to the mountains or the beach. Two major mountain ranges divide Spain, so there’s tons of gorgeous outdoor spaces to explore.
Tips for Planning Your Destination Elopement
Along with deciding the best country to elope in, there are a few other things to think about when you get married abroad. Here are some tips for planning your destination elopement.
Consider Doing the Paperwork at Home
Every country has different marriage laws – and in some countries, it’s especially difficult to navigate them. A lot of couples who have a destination elopement choose to do the paperwork and legal stuff at home, because it’s much easier and allows you to enjoy the elopement day without worrying about logistics! Don’t worry – your ceremony will feel just as special! Once you decide where you want to get married, look into the local marriage laws and decide if it’s better to just do this part at home.
Start Planning Early
Eloping abroad has some extra logistics and considerations, so I recommend starting the planning process early! This gives you time to let your guests know (if you’re inviting guests) so they can book flights and lodging, allows you to spend more time planning without feeling stressed or rushed, and can help make sure that passports, visas, marriage licenses, and anything else you need is up to date and ready to go.
Hire a Destination Elopement Photographer
You’ll definitely want to look back on the memories of this epic day! Hiring an experienced photographer who can help you pick your dream location and brainstorm what you’ll do on your day makes the whole process so much easier – so if you’ve decided to tie the knot abroad, don’t hesitate to slide into my DMs!
Contact me to learn more about destination elopement packages, and how I can help you plan your dream day.