The Ultimate Elopement Planning To-Do List

Whilst elopements are definitely less traditional than ordinary weddings, they’re not necessarily less stressful to plan. As with any wedding, there is a lot to think about. From what you’ll wear, to where you’ll be, down to who you’d like to share the experience with. The list goes on…

If you’re one of the many free-spirited souls planning an elopement, you’ve probably realised that there aren’t many resources out there for you to help you plan your day. And so, to set you up for the most magical, stress-free experience possible, so we’ve pulled together the ultimate elopement planning to do list. Not everything on the list will be relevant for you, so simply work through whatever makes sense for you. Let’s get started! 

For the Bride & Groom

Photographer: Pinewood Weddings


Every bride should look and feel like a goddess on her special day. Take a look at our real weddings for inspiration finding a wedding dress that’s as wild and wonderful as you are.


Your wedding is untraditional, so your shoes can be too. Don’t feel confined to the standard white heels. Make your shoes fit your style. Heck, you can wear big ole boots if you want to. We’re not called Dirty Boots and messy hair for nothin’! 


There is a whole genre of specific wedding underwear that will keep you comfortable in your beautiful dress. Here’s a guide to bridal lingerie that we love. 

Hair and Head Piece

You can go wild with your hair decorations. Flows, leaves, vines, stuffed animals – we’ve seen it all. Here are some bridal hair accessory designers to get you started.


Whether you do it yourself, or hire in some help, you’re going to want to make sure you have everything you need on the day to feel your most beautiful. Find a make up style you love and play with it before the day. 

Bridal clutch/purse

You’ll have more to carry on the day than you think. BHLDN has a gorgeous selection of unique styles to chose from.

Groom Outfit

Finding a comfortable groom’s outfit that’s fit for adventure can be tricky. Here’s outfit ideas from The Knot to kickstart your inspiration. 



Photographer: Valory Evalyn


Your bouquet (if you choose to have one) should reflect the vibe of your special day. Take a look at the DBMH Instagram account to get your inspiration flowing. 


It’s not only ladies that get to enjoy floral gorgeousness on an elopement. Men do too. Nothing makes a groom look more dapper than a pop of color from a beautiful boutonniere. 

Ceremony Venue

Do you want to jazz up your ceremony venue with decorations or keep it plain? Discuss these details before hand to make sure your day is just as you imagine it. 


Photographer: Siobhan Amy


With literally the whole world to chose from, it can be hard to pick a location to elope. Think about the places that are special to you, or the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing together. Here are 10 locations to elope that we love to get you started. 


Who is going to marry you? Will you have a legal wedding at your elopement, or will it be symbolic? Consider these details well in advance – often the legalities of an elopement are overlooked until it’s too late.


Most countries will requires witnesses at your wedding. Who would you like them to be? Friends? Family? Strangers? You decide. 

Legal Documentation

You will often need to obtain a marriage license at least 30 days before getting married. Contact your local authority for guidance on this as it varies from place to place, and even more so country to country. 

Music (walking down the aisle – if desired)

Is there a song that’s particularly special to you? If so, perhaps think of where you might like to weave it into your day. Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have a first dance. 

Rings & Ringbox

The rings! Definitely don’t forget the rings. Here’s a guide to choosing a unique wedding ring to help you plan what you’d like.

Personalized vows

Nothing about your day will be traditional, so your vows shouldn’t be either. Give yourself plenty of time to create vows that reflect your love, relationship and plans for life together. 

Reception for two

Photographer: Sarah Linda


What meal is fit for a day as special as this? Pick something that reflects the couple you are, and the journey you’ve been on. And remember, there are no rules. If you want to eat fried chicken in bed on your elopement, you can!


When we say cake, we kinda mean anything sweet. If you and your beau love donuts, or cream custards, or pure icing – heck, have that instead! 


Are there particular drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) that you absolutely have to have on your day? If so, check with your venue in advance to make sure they stock up if they don’t already have it. 


Photographer: Nicola Marie

Night before the wedding

Some couples prefer to stay apart the night before an elopement, others together. Whatever your preference, make sure to plan rooms well in advance. 

Wedding night

Your wedding night is an extra special one. This is the perfect opportunity to take your wild adventure to the next level and think creatively about where to spend your first night as a married couple. Sleep under the stars? Rent a crazy boutique room? Your elopement, your choice.


Photographer: Ana Galloway


This special day deserves to be documented, so that you can remember it for a lifetime. Check out all the amazingly adventurous photographers on the DBMH instagram account for help finding someone to shoot your day. 

Wedding planner 

Many couples (especially those on a budget) are understandably put off by the cost of hiring a wedding planner, but when you’re planning an elopement it’s so worth  it.

A steamer 

Take it from us, your gorgeous outfits will get wrinkled whilst travelling. Buy or hire a steamer to use when you arrive to restore your clothes back to beauty.


Is there anyone you’d like to remember on your day?  For instance, a loved ones that has passed? If so, have a think about any photos or other memorabilia that you’d like to work into your day.

Wedding Announcements

Many couples that elope send out wedding announcements to loved ones after the special day. Here are some super cute wedding announcement ideas for inspiration.

Pet Sitter

If you’re not bringing your furry loved one along on your day, they’ll need to be taken care of at home. Plan a sitter plenty of time in advance to make sure they are free when you need them. Or, here are some tips if you’re thinking of including your pet in your day. 

And there you have it! An elopement planning list. Happy planning!

Written by:
Dirty Boots & Messy Hair Team

Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.

Wedding Planning
26 Jul 2018


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