I'm a girl. I like to make lists. My day is one big list. Sure, I do things that aren't on the list but then I gain 5 pounds- like the tub of cookies and cream ice cream that magically appeared in my cart, but wasn't on any list I wrote. Of course I had to go ahead and get the ice cream though- it magically appeared! Therefore, it's magic ice cream and that is Ah-mazing. Can't pass up magical ice cream, nuh uh. Nope.
Anywho, through my process of planning my elopement, I've written many many lists and because I've done that I can now pass on my craziness to you- in list form! Yay!
Before you, or below this, is a guide to eloping. It doesn't have to be done in order- it's not that type of list. You can skip over some things- yeah, it's a pretty awesome list. Now, after you read my list, go out, be a girl, a make lists of your own. Really awesome lists.
The Guide to Eloping
1. Pick a photographer
2. Pick a location
3. Pick a time frame/ date.
-- Now, the first three are pretty interchangeable as to what order you should do them in and it really just depends on what is more important to you. We already knew that the wedding would take place in San Francisco at City Hall, and the time frame would have to be before the bar exam but before I started work which gave me a good week and a half for a wedding. Since Photography is my #1 concern, want, and desire I emailed a bunch of great San Franciscan area photographers about their availability on my date and their quotes. Essentially, I let the photographer pick the day.
You'll have to do a lot of research since the wedding isn't local and you can't just drive by to find out about a venue and their policies, plus you need to find out how to get a marriage license too. Don't be afraid of all the various opinion sites and message boards out there. They are there to help you, so use them!
4. Book the trip!
-- The earlier you do this the better, although it may be worth the wait depending on where you are going. For example, it's cheaper to come to Florida in the summer time because duh!- no one wants to be here in the summer. It's humid and hot and sticky and did I mention hot? It's more expensive to go to Omaha in the summer because of the College World Series. There are also websites like airfare watchdog that will tell you if fares are going to increase or decrease within the next couple of weeks.
Also, shop around. Try different days and combinations and vacation packages are always the best way to save. You may find that flying out of a different airport or staying in a hotel just outside of town might save you some serious dough. We did this exactly through Priceline and got hotel, airfare, and car rental for 4 days for less than $920! And yes, that is for both of us and including tax. The down side is that when you get a package that sweet it comes with things like layovers. For about $300 more I could have gotten no layovers but it really wasn't worth it for us when I considered how much money I was spending in other areas.
5. Get the clothes and accessories.
---This includes hair and makeup. Your best bet when it comes to eloping, unless you know someone where you are going is to do your own hair and makeup. Chances are, you wont have a day or two before the ceremony to get a consultation so it may be that you are taking a big risk to get everything professionally done the day of. This wont apply though if want you want isn't super complicated. I decided to get makeup lessons in advance so I can try different things and actually know what I'm doing the day of. As for my hair, I usually do my hair myself for everything anyway so I will do mini-consultations with myself to try it out. Of course, the day of, my hair probably won't come out as perfect as it did during try #16 but still, I don't care and I'm realistic.
6. Tell the family and friends
--Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not want to do this. It may just be easier to elope and then deal with family and friends later. We decided to tell out family because after a foreverly long engagement it was about time. My friends were more upset than my family- they tried to talk me into having a small ceremony here, but it wouldn't have been what I wanted so I politely ignored them.
-- Like flowers and such.
8. Figure out what to do while you are there, how you are going to get around, and anything else your heart desires.
--- I got a lot of great ideas off my credit card's travel rewards like a helicopter tour, sunset dinner cruise, and a vineyard day trip.
9. Have fun, relax, and enjoy each other.
---That's the reason you are eloping anyway right?