5 Different Types of Elopements

Post summary: Did you know that there are multiple types of elopements?! Read more below to see which of these 5 elopement types best fit you and your vision for your wedding day experience.

So you already know you’d like to elope with your boo. But where will you go? What kind of adventure are you dreaming of? You know you’ve made the right choice (because you can do whatever you want on your elopement day and that’s your vibe) but where do you start? 

Elopements mean different things to everyone. They used to be associated with family disapproval and shame. But these days? Modern elopements allow you to choose your experience. You can add family traditions, or not. You can get married on the side of a mountain in Yosemite or go full-on Vegas with an Elvis impersonator. You can invite friends & family or leave them at home. It’s totally up to you.

The point is, elopements are a choice. You have to think about how you want to feel, what you want to see, and who you need to stand beside you. That means that some level of planning has to go into your elopement if you want it to be what you’ve been dreaming of. Sure, the stereotype is that elopements are quick. But they don’t have to be! If you put in the proper planning, they can be just as planned out as a traditional wedding without the stress of a big ceremony & reception.

To get you started on the planning process, here’s 5 types of elopements and some elopement ideas to make planning just that much easier.

1. City Hall & Courthouse Elopements

This might just be the first type of ceremony you think of when the word elopement comes to mind. City hall and courthouse elopements go WAY back. It used to be that these kinds of ceremonies were looked down on, associated with shame and disapproval. But these days? They’re one of the coolest elopement types out there! 

Not only is a city hall elopement quick, easy, and simple, but it’s also a super-easy way to break from tradition without sacrificing a beautiful ambiance. Most city halls in popular locations are historic and full of gorgeous art & architecture that can lend a refined air to a low-cost wedding option. 

If you’re feeling the vibe of a city hall or courthouse elopement, check their website or call ahead. Make sure you know how far in advance to book your spot. Some city halls can be booked out as far as 3-4 months in advance!

2. Epic Adventure Elopements

Epic adventure elopements are dreamy, magical, and completely unique. Think Icelandic glaciers, Bali beaches, German castles, National Parks, and the Amalfi Coast. Adventure elopements have a way of revealing the true value of experiences over things. 

Adventure elopements give you the drama of a big, traditional wedding without making it a production for other people. You can get married in a dream destination, just you, the love of your life, and a passport as you say “I do” in a way that you’ll deeply value as the years go by. This type of elopement gives you an incredible opportunity to start your life together on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that you’ll never forget. 

Most of my couples combine a City Hall wedding with an Epic Adventure Elopement. Because they’re usually getting married internationally or in a beautiful destination far away from an officiant, it’s often easier to sign a marriage license at a courthouse BEFORE the epic day so they can focus on saying their vows and not worry about legal issues.

3. DIY Elopements

Although it’s not an option in every state, there are many places that let you officiate your own wedding! These are called self-solemnizing or self-uniting marriage ceremonies, meaning you can get married without having an officiant or witnesses! 

If you want a private ceremony that just includes the two of you without anyone else present, a DIY Elopement could be the perfect choice for you. Just make sure you do your research before deciding on this elopement type. Each state has its own regulations when it comes to self-uniting marriages, so read up in your state!

Here’s a full list of states that allow some form of self-uniting marriage:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • California
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • Kansas

4. The Two of You & An Officiant Elopement

Live in a state where you can’t officiate your own wedding? No problem! If you hire the right officiant, you’ll still get the intimate vibe of a smaller ceremony without worrying your marriage won’t be recognized. 

Whether you marry on a beautiful cliff high above the ocean waves or downtown in a space lit up with dazzling lights, an officiant can help you customize the language and feel of the ceremony to your unique relationship. Whether you say traditional vows or go off-script with something original, it’s completely up to you. You can make your day anything you want it to be!

5. The Friends & Family Elopement

If you want to elope but still crave the companionship of your friends & family on your wedding day, it’s completely possible! These days, elopements with guests typically hover around 10-15 people. It’s the perfect way to invite the people closest to you without having to invite everyone. Whether you choose to have them be included in your whole day or just part of it, you decide! When it comes to elopements, there are no rules! You do you, and your elopement will be everything you hoped it would be!

No matter what you choose, all these elopements can be just as fulfilling, intimate and beautiful as the next because they are unique, authentic, deep reflections of who you are as a couple. When planning your elopement, make sure you keep what you & your partner want front of mind & you’ll have a special, unforgettable elopement day you can look back on forever.

You only get one wedding day. Ready to make it the best adventure yet? Get in touch to start the conversation. Let’s chat about your elopement!


In order to make your dream elopement day happen, it's super important that we connect and that you feel comfortable with me! The best way to do this is to reach out and schedule a call so you can learn more about me and I can learn about you two so i can document what's real + the most important to you.

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