Feelings about eloping are similar to feelings about pickles on hamburgers. You either love the idea or you hate it. For some eloping sounds romantic. But also incredibly budget-savvy. For others, it sounds like a great way to make lots and lots of people very angry at you all at once, and may even be a little bit lonely.
For some couples planning their weddings, the idea of a huge wedding with hundreds of guests sounds perfect. But what if you like the idea of something much smaller and more intimate? What should you know about eloping before you take that plunge?
While there aren’t statistics studying how many people are eloping in lieu of having a formal wedding day, experts say that it is on the increase. Because of the rising cost and stress that can go hand in hand with taking someone’s hand in marriage, more couples than ever are choosing to embrace a simpler option.
It’s not like the movies
In the movies, people are always running away to Las Vegas to get hitched at the drop of a hat, (often after sneaking out of a window by the light of the moon). But it doesn’t really happen like this in real life.
Eloping doesn’t really have a formal definition, but it can refer to any kind of wedding that is less formal and more impromptu. Usually eloping couples will have at least a handful of close friends there to celebrate with, and as you will see, they need to be at least a little bit preplanned and organised.
In Australia, we don’t have the differences in State law that they do in the US, so across the country, the laws are the same.
You could run off to Vegas or Fiji to elope if you like, but it wouldn’t have legal standing in Australia unless you go through our legal requirements as well, which include:
- You must both be over 18 and have no legal impediment to getting married
- You must have a birth certificate (or a passport if you were born overseas)
- You must be married by a registered celebrant
- You must sign an intention to marry at least a month before your wedding day
- You must have at least two witnesses who are over 18 to sign your marriage certificate
How quickly can you get married really?
You can’t really just elope at the drop of a hat. In Australia for your marriage to have legal standing you have to go through a few bureaucratic steps including signing a notice of intention to marry at least one month before the big day.
Although waiting a month may not seem too long to figure out if someone is the right person for you. It’s as quick as we can do in Australia. Technically you can’t just decide to get married and do it straight away. There has to be a least a little bit of planning.
It’s a budget winner
Some reports are saying that the average wedding in Australia can cost around $55,000 to $60,000. Does that just make your eyes water? Think of all of the lovely things you could do with that money if you weren’t so fussy about having a grand do?
If you wanted to have something more low-key you could consider the eloping option and save an incredible amount, and instead put this towards a home deposit, raising children or a kick-ass honeymoon.
With eloping, you can spend literally nothing if you choose to, except the admin fees of the celebrant and marriage certificate.
You can wear whatever you want
There are, of course, no rules or regulations around what you wear to your wedding. However, tradition and all of your gossipy great-aunts would make you think otherwise. For your wedding day, you could easily be convinced that you have to spend thousands on a designer gown that you will never wear again. But to many modern brides, this makes no sense at all.
For your elopement, you could wear jeans and a t-shirt, a full-length giraffe onesie, or whatever else you like. But if you still want to wear an amazing white dress, but without the cost or waste of buying a new one; why not check out the stunning preloved range available to rent or buy through Only Dream Dresses?
It can be a far less stressful option than a big wedding
Not everybody is a wedding person. It can be easy to forget that the whole point of the celebration is your future marriage together. Why not just to have the most extravagant party your friends have ever seen? When you are planning a wedding, it can easily become all consuming.
And oddly, many people seem to have invested opinions in your nuptials and how you decide to do it all. You might even be a bit shocked about how easy it seems to offend loved ones with your wedding choices. If you would rather avoid all this then eloping can be an easy choice for some.
Eloping doesn’t need to mean that no one is there with you
Eloping doesn’t need to mean that no one knows and that you are hiding it from everyone. You could choose just a few close friends or special people to share this incredible moment with you, rather than several hundred acquaintances.
Choosing just a few can make the occasion so much more cherished and personal, and will give you and those people with you something to remember forever.
You can always celebrate with your friends and family afterward
Once the stress of the big day is over you can always have a post-elopement party to celebrate with your larger family group. You will probably find that this is much more reasonably priced than a reception would be. Once you take the word ‘wedding’ off the front of anything, suddenly vendors become a lot more human in their pricing.
If you have any stories of eloping, let us know; we love to hear about real-life couples and their incredible wedding days.
Main photo credit: Good seed floral