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How Does Eloping Work?
●July 27, 2021●5 minute read
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If you’re ready for forever with your partner, but you don’t want to hear the wedding bells ringing, you might be considering eloping instead.
While you might associate eloping with a spur of the moment, last minute marriage, this isn’t always the case. Usually, there will still be some planning and logistics involved before you can make it official.
In this simple guide, we’ll discuss what eloping is, what’s involved, and why someone might consider elopement over a traditional wedding.
What is eloping?
Traditionally, eloping is a marriage that takes place without the knowledge of the couple’s family and friends, particularly, the parents of the bride and groom. In most cases, people that are eloping will only have a wedding ceremony, and not a reception or official celebration.
While the old idea of eloping meant running away and telling no one, nowadays, people might choose to tell people that they’re skipping the traditional wedding (though, they won’t necessarily invite them to the ceremony).
Eloping might just mean a small, intimate wedding over a large, traditional celebration. It doesn’t necessarily mean no one knows and no one is invited. Instead, you might just choose to invite family and close friends.
What’s involved in eloping?
Though less complicated than organising a traditional wedding, there are still things that you’ll need to sort out before you elope. In particular, you will need to organise the legalities of getting married, a location, whether you choose to invite people, and whether you want to have a celebration.
Legally getting married
There are some general guidelines you’ll need to follow to get legally married in Australia. Even though some might seem pretty obvious, these are the requirements you’ll need to meet in order to elope:
- You aren’t married to someone else;
- You aren’t marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister;
- You’re at least 18 years old;
- You understand what marriage means, and you freely consent to getting married;
- Each partner has signed a witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month prior to the wedding. This needs to be done through your authorised celebrant.
- A registered civil celebrant must conduct the wedding, and submit all of the paperwork involved.
- You’ll need at least two witnesses over the age of 18 years old to sign your marriage certificate and other legal documents at your ceremony. If you don’t want to invite family or friends, this could be the photographer, videographer, or other people at the venue at the time.
Choosing a location
Eloping doesn’t mean getting married at the local registry. Even if you’re choosing to elope, you can still do so in one of the beautiful locations Australia has to offer. If you don’t know where you want to elope, consider these factors:
- Climate: Do you want to get married when it’s hot or cold? This could just be down to timing, or you can travel to destinations that suit your temperature preferences. For example, if you’re after a hot climate, you might choose to go to Cairns to elope. If you’re after something colder, there are alpine areas in Victoria, NSW, and Tasmania.
- Scenery: Do you want mountains in the background, or would you prefer the ocean? Thankfully, Australia has both to offer.
- Passions: What is something that you do with your partner that you’re both passionate about? Whether it’s shopping in the city, watching the sunset, or reading a book, you can have an elopement that incorporates the things that have meaning to you and your partner. If you both love reading, you could elope in a library.
- Somewhere meaningful: Did you both grow up in the same, small town? Have you been somewhere that has deep, sentimental meaning to you both? Eloping can mean you’re free to get married wherever you want.
- Honeymoon: Elopement means you can get married where you want, and honeymoon in that same spot. Otherwise, you can use your elopement spot as a stopover for where you want to honeymoon. For example, you could get married in Airlie Beach, QLD, and spend your honeymoon travelling the Whitsunday Islands.
As previously mentioned, an elopement doesn’t necessarily mean no guests. After all, you need at least two witnesses. However, if you’re choosing to invite guests, this could complicate things like the location and the timing, as you’ll need to make sure that the guests can make it there.
For example, if you wanted to get married in the next month or so, you’d need to check with the guests to make sure they can make that date. Plus, they’ll need enough time to organise transportation, accommodation, and anything else they need to make it.
If you’re eloping, you might choose to invite two people or 20 people. At the end of the day, it’s completely up to you. But remember that the more people you invite, the more expensive it will likely be, and the more it turns into a traditional wedding. If elopement is what you’re after, you might like to keep the guest list small.
If you want an intimate wedding, that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate your marriage with your friends and family another time. You might choose to have an engagement party, or just a general wedding celebration, at a different date before or after the wedding. In this way, your actual wedding is small and private, but you still get a chance to celebrate with all the people you love in a less expensive, less formal setting.
Why do people elope?
At the end of the day, elopement is a completely personal, individual choice. It could be because the couple’s family doesn’t approve, or a traditional wedding is just too expensive. Either way, elopement can be a beautiful way to celebrate the union of two people that are in love, without needing to organise a massive wedding, spend heaps of money, and invite hundreds of guests.
If you’re thinking about a destination wedding for your elopement, we’ve got you covered.
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Written by Rachel Horan
Rachel Horan is a Content Writer for Jacaranda Finance. Rachel has previously produced content for Brisbane City Council, Black & White Cabs, and Clubs Queensland. She has a Bachelor of Mass Communication with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology.