Eloping during COVID-19

Alternative weddings are becoming quite popular. From virtual to popup weddings, couples are getting creative when it comes to wedding planning. Your wedding day may look different than what you imagined due to COVID-19, but having an alternative wedding has many perks.

Weddings can be one of the most expensive, one-time events for couples, and alternative weddings can help couples lower the cost of their wedding and give them more money for things like their honeymoon, purchasing a home, paying down debt or other major life events.

Today, we are going to talk about eloping as an alternative to a traditional wedding. Traditionally, an elopement is a secretive event, with couples running off and getting married without telling anyone. These days, couples are planning their elopement like they would a traditional wedding, and there are even entire companies whose mission is to help you plan your elopement.

Eloping has many benefits compared to a traditional wedding including lower costs, less coordination with vendors and guests and a more intimate affair. Eloping will also reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 for you and your family, due to fewer in-personal guests. You can even have your entire guest list present via Zoom or another streaming service. On the downside, if you want your friends and family to celebrate your wedding day with you, eloping might not be for you.

If an elopement sounds like a great option for you, keep reading to see our tips on how to elope during coronavirus.

How to Elope During Coronavirus

Planning for an elopement is much simpler than planning for a traditional wedding. There are few to no guests, not as many vendors involved and overall fewer moving pieces needed. That being said, there are still many important aspects couples need to plan for when it comes to eloping during coronavirus.

Where Will You Elope?

When you elope, you don’t need a traditional wedding venue to get married. You can get married wherever you want. This could be in your backyard, in the mountains, at the beach, at your favorite National Park or anywhere in between.

Having this flexibility lets you choose a place that fits you and your partner’s personality. Before you head to the mountains or the local park to say, “I do!”, you should know the guidelines for that specific location to make sure you can get married there.

Not having a traditional wedding venue can greatly reduce the cost of your wedding, and planning an elopement is one away to avoid booking a more traditional space.

Marriage License

Each state has different requirements for how to obtain a marriage certificate and license. Wherever you decide to elope, make sure you know how to obtain these documents in that specific state.

Due to COVID-19, there could be delays in obtaining a marriage certificate and license, so make sure you take this into consideration when thinking about the timeline of your elopement.


Even though you aren’t taking the traditional route when you elope, you still want to think about what vendors need to be involved for your wedding.

Hiring an officiant is essential to making your marriage official. This can be someone you find online, a friend or a family member who decides to become an officiant, which can be easily done at American Marriage Ministries. They provide free, online ordination, making it easy for the person you selected as your officiant to become certified to marry you and your partner.

You also want to consider how you want to capture the moments of your elopement. Do you want a photographer or videographer to help you capture these memories? Are they willing to travel to your elopement destination?

Hair stylists and makeup artists can also help you prepare for your wedding, even in this non-traditional setting. Ask your friends and do some research to find stylists who fit your personality and the personality of your elopement.

Additionally, florists can provide your elopement destination with beautiful flower arrangements that make your venue pop!

And if you want a cake or specific food at your elopement, consider working with your favorite bakery, restaurant or caterer to provide your favorite food for your elopement.

Finally, if you need help planning your elopement, you can always use a wedding planner or company like Simply Eloped to help you organize and plan your alternative wedding.

Like a traditional wedding, you can choose what vendors you do and do not use. If hair and makeup aren’t important to you, then you don’t need to hire a stylist. If having high quality pictures and video of your elopement is something you want to splurge on then by all means go for it.

As with all weddings, communication between you and your vendors is key. Let them know your wedding date, and work with them to decide where and when they should be arriving to make your elopement flow as smooth as possible.

Guests & Breaking the News

If you decide not to invite guests or tell people about your elopement, it is important to send a marriage announcement. Weddings are meaningful for people beyond you and your partner, and making sure your family and friends feel included in some way is a good move. This could be as simple as hosting a get together at your house when you come home from your elopement, or you could hold a bigger reception to celebrate with your friends and family. In any case, be sure to mail the announcement and include an insert about your Honeyfund. (You can print these under the Share menu in your account.)

Your wedding is for you and your partner, but realize that some people might feel hurt if they don’t know about this big moment in your life. Be conscious of this and come up with a plan of how you will tell your friends and family about your elopement. If you are struggling to figure out how to tell your loved ones about your elopement, here are two additional resources to help you inform them:

    1. How to Tell Your Friends Your Family and Friends You’re Eloping Alone
    2. How to Tell Your Family You’re Eloping

Using Zoom during Your Coronavirus Elopement

Depending on the location of your elopement, you may or may not be able to set up Zoom for your wedding. If you are in a remote location, you might not have phone reception or access to Wi-Fi to all your guests to tune-in on your big day.

If you decide to have a Zoom component, confirm the guests have the meeting invite, so they can login and be there during your ceremony. Also consider how the device will be set up. Will you use a phone or tablet on a tripod? Will you sit a laptop on a flat surface? Will someone be filming for you?

Having a Zoom component to your wedding day is a great way to include guests without having anyone physically there, which is especially important if you are thinking about getting married during Covid-19. However, make sure you check all the boxes, so your Zoom meeting works well and the experience is a good one for your guests. Many wedding planners are now coordinating Zoom weddings, find one on our Wedding Vendor Directory.

Is Eloping COVID Friendly?

An elopement might be one of the most COVID friendly alternative weddings couples can have. With minimal guests and vendors at most elopements, this alternative, intimate wedding option will keep your loved ones from traveling far distances for your wedding day and it will reduce your contact with many wedding vendors. If you choose an outdoor setting, this makes your wedding day even more COVID friendly, since being outside and six feet apart can help greatly reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

How Expensive is Eloping?

When thinking about the expenses involved with your elopement, here are some things to consider:
Your elopement destination will play a big role in how expensive your elopement is. Will you elope at a park in your hometown? Or will you travel a few hours or to another state to elope at a destination? The more you travel the more expensive your elopement will be. When you travel, you need to pay for airfare or gas in your car and also book a place to stay.

Another thing to consider is what attire you will be wearing for your elopement. Will you wear a wedding dress? Will your partner wear a tux or suit? Or will you both go a bit more casual and wear outfits you already own? Making these decisions will help you determine the cost of your elopement.

Additionally, the more vendors you have, the higher the cost of your wedding. Photographers, videographers and officiants all cost money, so you will want to plan for these when putting together your elopement budget.

Marriage licenses also cost money, and depending on the state you are married in, a marriage license could cost anywhere from $10 to $115.

Elopements don’t have to be expensive. If you and your partner wanted to elope at a local park and wear outfits you already own, then maybe your only costs are for hiring a photographer and officiant, and paying for your marriage license. This could keep your wedding budget at a minimum.

On the other hand, if you want to travel to a destination for your elopement, you might have to add in airfare and hotel to the wedding mentioned above. This will increase your cost, but it is still going to cost way less than a traditional wedding.

According to Simply Eloped, a wedding company offering elopement packages that help couples plan their elopement, the average cost of an elopement during coronavirus is $1,200. This is down from the $1,485 which they reported in 2019.

Eloping vs. Traditional Wedding

One of the biggest benefits to eloping instead of having a traditional wedding is the cost savings. Traditional weddings can become quite pricey when you start booking venues, photographers, hair stylists, paying for meals for guests, beverages, DJ and many other normal wedding costs. With an elopement, you can ditch a lot of these costs.

Another benefit is you can have an intimate wedding day experience with your partner. Many couples who elope choose to do so with just the two of them, and this can make your wedding day more intimate.

Additionally, eloping is a way of getting married during coronavirus without putting you and your guests at risk of contracting the disease. A more traditional wedding would have you invite guests and bring them together at a venue to celebrate your wedding day. This increases the risk of transmitting coronavirus.

An Intimate Alternative Option

Eloping is a great alternative to having a traditional wedding. It can be cost effective, intimate and it is COVID friendly. Many couples are deciding to elope rather than go the traditional wedding route, especially during coronavirus.

There are still things to consider when deciding to elope, but often much less than a traditional wedding. If you are thinking about an elopement as an alternative to a traditional wedding, we hope you will take the leap!

Tanner Krauth

Tanner Krauth is a CPA and freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. When he isn’t hiking or hitting the slopes, you can find him writing on his personal blog. Tanner fell in love with traveling when he discovered travel rewards and has since traveled extensively, including his favorite trip, a month-long vacation to New Zealand. He is also the co-author of The Budget-Savvy Honeymoon and is excited to share his travel experiences with Honeyfund’s couples.


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