What is an elopement ceremony?

Traditionally to elope meant running away to marry in secret.

One of the most famous places to elope to in the UK was and still is Gretna Green. But nowadays you can choose to elope anywhere.

Couples decide to have an elopement ceremony because they want to break from tradition and prefer a more intimate and romantic ceremony.

Or, they want to marry in secret first, then have a party with guests and surprise them by telling them they are already married.

Celebrities often choose to elope so that they can marry in private away from the paparazzi.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively chose an elopement ceremony. Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker chose their elopement ceremony at the little chapel in Las Vegas.

Elopement ceremonies are usually just the two of you but you can have a couple of guests, but really no more than ten otherwise you are moving more towards a micro wedding.

Breaking from tradition

For some couples, having the big white wedding can be very daunting to them.

They may not want the limelight and attention.

For those adventurous couples they may prefer to have their ceremony off the beaten track, like a beach, or an ancient forest, or a mountain, so an elopement ceremony can be perfect.

Elopement ceremonies are becoming more popular in the UK. It gives the couple the freedom of choice to marry where ever they want.

Older couples are choosing elopement ceremonies because they may have already had the big white wedding.

Couples who are choosing to have their vows renewed often choose the elopement ceremony.

How to tell your family

Often couples find themselves when planning their wedding trying to please everyone else and often get lost in family politics worrying about who they should invite to avoid any family dramas. Sometimes they end up having a wedding that is not really their perfect choice.

An elopement is about what’s right for you as a couple. You do need to anticipate that it will come as a surprise to your family and friends. However you do not have to justify what you are planning, but you do need to take care on how you are going to tell your family.

Make sure you let them know before you decide to go viral through social media. Perhaps prepare a little script or plan a meal with your nearest and dearest to let them know.

Your family love you and they will be fine with whatever you choose.

Planning your elopement ceremony

Planning an elopement ceremony is most definitely less stressful than planning a traditional wedding. And for some couples, planning a big wedding can be overwhelming.

With an elopement ceremony you just need to decide on your choice of location but remember to consider the time of year and the weather.

If you are choosing a location outdoors it is worthwhile to take the seasons into account and most importantly, if you are planning on having your ceremony on a mountainside, make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear.

You need to decide if you want a registrar or a celebrant to officiate and we will talk about the legalities next.

If you choose a registrar, then you will have to have mandatory vows and your choice of location will be limited as registrars can only conduct ceremonies on licensed premises or grounds.

When planning your elopement, we do recommend you have a photographer and/or videographer to capture your ceremony for you to share with your family and friends later.

The legal bit

If you want your elopement to be legal then you must give notice to marry at your local registry office at least twenty nine days before, and you must give details of your chosen location.

To save on cost you can ask for the two plus two ceremony which costs around £70 in the UK and would involve just the two of you and two witnesses.

Once you have done the legal bit and you have your marriage licence why not choose a celebrant to officiate at your elopement. This means your ceremony will be bespoke and meaningful to you both as a couple with no restrictions on what you can say and where you can have your ceremony.

How much does an elopement ceremony cost?

If you are asking what’s the difference between an elopement and a wedding, cost is going to be the biggest factor!

A traditional wedding in the UK on average can cost up to £20,000. So an elopement wedding could save you a lot of money.

Typical elopement costs would involve a local authority registrar fee, celebrant fee, photographer and accommodation. So in total costing around £2000 or less.

Locations for your elopement

Choosing an elopement ceremony gives you the freedom to have your ceremony pretty much anywhere.

Across North Wales there are many stunning locations to choose from.

We have our award winning beaches !

Llanddwyn Island

We have mountains!


We have ancient forests !

Clwydian Range and Dee Valley

What are the advantages of choosing a celebrant led ceremony ?

A celebrant can help you choose your dream location with their in-depth knowledge of your chosen area.

A celebrant will get to know you both and create a beautiful, bespoke ceremony reflecting the couple that you are.

There are no time constraints with a celebrant.

Celebrants are flexible.

With a celebrant you get to keep your script.

If you would like a chat give us a call, we would love to hear from you

Lots of love

Jane ( founder of Willow Bespoke Ceremonies) xx

Jane Jones, celebrant. Willow Bespoke Ceremonies. North Wales.

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