Planning Your Own Elopement Guide


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Elopement Planning Guide for London, Toronto, Hamilton, Cambridge, Goderich, Muskoka Ontario, Vancouver, Banff, Halifax, Las Vegas, California, San Diego

If you’re reading this blog post, it’s because you are considering eloping with your babe and I SUPPORT YOU!

Eloping is such a unique adventure and is unapologetically YOU.

There are no rules or stigmas. It’s all about you want.

But let me tell you, all of this freedom to plan your dream day can feel a bit overwhelming.

So as your experienced elopement photographer ( + my trusty behind the scenes team), we have put together this blog post Guide on How To Plan Your Own Elopement to help you through this whole process. 

AND there are even MORE perks if you decide to have me as your photographer since we can do this whole thing TOGETHER!

Elopement Planning Guide for London, Toronto, Hamilton, Cambridge, Goderich, Muskoka Ontario, Vancouver, Banff, Halifax, Las Vegas, California, San Diego

Let’s Start With Some FAQ’s

What is an elopement?

An elopement is a celebration of the start of your marriage, very similar to an intimate wedding. The technical definition of eloping is to “run away and get married”, but these days that’s not necessarily the case! It more means now that you are avoiding a traditional large wedding day. Most couples now do inform their friends and families before hand, or even include them in on their elopement day. 

Reasons to elope?

There are multiple reasons couples choose to elope. One being, you might just not be that traditional. You want something different that reflects more on your own personalities. Elopements are so custom to each couple, that you can create your own experience instead of falling on the traditional ceremony + reception. It’s honestly amazing because you can do literally anything and it’s always so special!

Another reason is that you can be more flexible with your budget. I have seen elopements that are in the couples backyard and they order pizza, to elopements that include a flight to a special location and eloping in a totally different country! The possibilities are honestly endless! 

And finally, another reason would be, freakin’ Covid. I hate to say it, but it’s a real reason! Some couples want to just start their marriage and not having that big wedding isn’t going to stop them. So that’s where I come in to help them plan an elopement day that is uniquely theirs!

How long does it take to plan?

I have seen couples plan amazing elopements anywhere from 2 years to 1 week out! The most average amount of time to plan is 3-10 months. Depending on where you want to elope and what you want to do during that day, this will give you enough time to book any accommodations, reservations, your favourite vendors and even flights if you are choosing to head somewhere new!

Who comes to an elopement?

This is totally up to you! I have seen elopements with up to 10 people, and it is still an intimate experience, but it can also JUST be the two of you! An elopement is all about YOUR love story and usually a love story also involves your friends + family. If you have close people who support your vision of eloping and want to celebrate with you, BRING THEM!

Elopement Planning Guide for London, Toronto, Hamilton, Cambridge, Goderich, Muskoka Ontario, Vancouver, Banff, Halifax, Las Vegas, California, San Diego

Before we get too far ahead with this blog post, I just wanted to let you know that once booking with me, I do offer an even MORE detailed guide on how to help you plan your elopement, along with vendor recommendations and I will be personally available to help create your perfect vision! I love being as much or as little involved as you want me and it usually takes a lot of the stress off of you so you can enjoy the entire experience!

Let’s get started!

I usually find there at 5 main steps to creating your elopement day into reality. The first one being:

Brainstorm + Dream

Time to hit up Pinterest + Instagram to start dreaming up your elopement day! Where do you want it? What time of year? What do you want to do?

You’ve probably have been dreaming about this WAY before you were even engaged. Am I wrong? I know I have, don’t tell my boyfriend aha! 

So let’s start with, Where do you want to have it?
Somewhere tropical, the desert, the beach, a tree house, want to rent a really cool airbnb and elope on their rooftop? Or how about in your own backyard or living room? Either way, I am SO here for it!

How to brainstorm as a couple:

  1. Get in a relaxed space – planning this day as a couple should be a fun experience. Make it a date night where you grab wine, charcuterie, play your fave music and talk to one another about what you both want to do. 
  2. Be open minded – you don’t need every little detail figured out yet. It’s okay to be vague with what you want and stay open minded to each others ideas!
  3. You can find inspiration from anywhere – I had one couple who wanted pizza for dinner because that’s what they had on their first date. Take inspiration from your past, things you like to do, things that just make you both feel good inside and connected. Implement those things into your day. OR you can take inspiration from things you have never tried before and let that be your new experience you get to do together on your day!

Photo taken while working alongside The Light and The Love Photography


Time to search the web and turn your vision into real life! This is a big part in time in order to see if everything will come together!

Here are some tips to help: 

Stay Organized

Create a document with your visions all written down, then step by step research each thing if it is possible, specifically the logistics. For example, what is the weather like that time of year, etc. It’s best to have it all written down in one place to see it and to know everything before making any big decisions. 

Stay Positive

Don’t get discouraged if some of your ideas are not able to become a reality. I believe that if one thing doesn’t work out, it’s because something better is coming into its place. Just keep looking for alternatives and enjoy the process of being spontaneous!

Ask For Help

Are you feeling stuck? 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! My couples have me as a resource to help them with literally ANYTHING. They say they want the ocean and horseback riding on their day, I’ll dive deep and do some research. They say they want an incredible bouquet that you’ve never seen before, I’ll go into my vendor roster and find the BEST person for the job.

If you are yet to book with me or have a different photographer, no problem, look online for guides to help, ask friends who have travelled/eloped before, hop on social media or contact a local wedding planner.

Let’s Start Booking

You need to book the big things first in order to secure everything,

Pick your date, Location, Travel, Photography, etc.

Is there a meaningful day for you two? Does your date work with your location? Does it work for your photographer? Does the date work for anyone else who is joining you? 

Book accommodations if needed.

Check out airbnb to really try to find something unique! This A. Looks better for photos and B. Is more memorable. Depending on where you want to have your ceremony, it is normal to also have a your accommodation be 1-2 hours away. This is specifically for Adventure Elopements, like in Banff or if we need to travel to a specific canyon. 

Book your transportation

If this is a local elopement, maybe you want to rent a cool car. If you are travelling to a new location, now is the time to book flights.

Finalize Details

Book the remainder of your vendors and start to put together your itinerary!

(You might have more or less depending on your day)

1. Dress / Suit

2. Shoes 

3. Layers

4. Jewelry + Accessories

5. Photographer

6. Hair + Makeup

7. Flowers

8. Officiant

9. Music (or Musicians)

10. What do you need for the activities you chose to do?

11. Vows

12. Gifts
13. Wedding Bands

It’s also best to create a timeline for your day so you can time manage all of the exciting things you need to do that day. Example, what time you need to leave at for your ceremony, what time is the ceremony, when will the photographer be there, etc. The guide you will receive after booking will also go through this into more detail!

Elopement Day

It’s time to CELEBRATE!

My tips to have the best day:
1. Be present with your partner. Whether it’s a traditional wedding or elopement, the day FLIES by. Try to soak in every moment with each other .

2. Don’t stress – if you are having fun, the photos will be even better!

The best feeling is leaving stress behind and having the day of your dreams, adventuring through life with your partner and starting a marriage together.

I know this probably looks like a TON of information and I hope it doesn’t overwhelm you! I just wanted to give you a realistic idea on what goes into planning. That being said, when you break it down and spread the planning out over a certain period of time, this will just be an exciting activity to do together rather than a bunch of work you need to do all at once!


I have created this guide to be a resource for all of your elopement planning needs. You will find reading through this that it accommodates many different kinds of elopement plans. For example, whether you want your elopement to be local or if you want to travel.

I am based in Ontario Canada and photograph elopements here, but I also love going to couples hometowns and becoming a local in their love story anywhere in the world. Or travelling with you or to meet you at a new location. I am open to literally anything and I have packages that reflect this! My packages include travel for individual locations, you don’t need to worry at all about me – I am just so stoked to be there!

  1. Brooklyn says:

    Hi Maria. I came across your Instagram page and love your photography style! Myself and my Fiancé, Zach are planning a beach elopement in Jamaica on December 30th of this year! I noticed that you travel and was wondering the cost for a travel elopement package. I understand that this could be very short notice and may be unrealistic for a timeline but I figured I’d inquire anyways.
    Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Kindest regards,

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