With COVID-19 bringing the whole of the UK to a standstill in 2020, thinking about how to elope in the UK has probably never sounded more tempting than it does right now. Do you find yourself frustrated and disappointed and worry that restrictions to mass gatherings could be here to stay?
elope now, celebrate with friends and family later
If you don’t know what to do next and are feeling slightly overwhelmed by the thought of having to postpone your entire wedding again – eloping could be for you!
Planning an elopement
Finding yourself a little anxious that the pandemic will extend into Spring or Summer 2021? Or maybe you are considering scaling back your plans for a big wedding to avoid the risk of another postponement altogether.
Elopements and humanist ceremonies are such a perfect alternative to big weddings that are quite high risk these days. You could plan an elopement now which essentially takes care of the legal side. Then have a big party with friends & relatives once mass gatherings are deemed safe again. If that’s you and you are currently planning your own elopement – here are my top tips on how to elope anywhere in the UK. For more detailed information on how to elope in Wales take a look at my Ultimate Snowdonia Elopement Guide.
so, what’s the difference between getting married and eloping?
So basically eloping just means “running away in secret to get married”, which sounds a tad outdated, right? In this day and age it’s probably more appropriate to call it a super small wedding with no or only a very few guests that focusses just on you two rather than guest lists or seating arrangements.
In these modern times, couples love travel & adventure and it makes total sense to combine the two and elope! If you’re considering an elopement in the UK you might not be basking in the sun but one of these perfect love shacks may just be the ticket! A romantic weekend away, just the two of you, in a seriously scenic location and you’re getting legally married – what could be better? Maybe you’re looking to save money. Or maybe you’re trying to avoid family issues. Whatever your motivation to look into eloping – there are plenty of options out there for you!
what are the best places to elope in the uk?
Naturally, as a Wedding & Elopement Photographer based in North Wales, I’m a little bit bias here and I’m saying – Snowdonia!!! The people are so laid back and there’s something quite raw about our charming land. Plus we have a Welsh dragon in our national flag which is probably the coolest thing ever, right!? If you want to pick a couple of epic locations, go for a super romantic pre-ceremony wander or exchange your vows at the foot of a beautiful mountain, on a beach or in your own back garden, you totally can!
snowdonia elopement photography
Maybe a humanist, or non-religious, wedding ceremony is for you? It offers the perfect opportunity to have a personalised ceremony wherever and however you want to. And the whole occasion can be made so much more *just you* with handwritten vows and other little personal touches such as hand-fasting. Plus – there is no need to bring witnesses to far away register offices! Photographers are always happy to put their name to a happy union and random strangers love the honour of being asked to be a witness! I’ve been a witness before and it was an absolute pleasure and a total honour!!!
other amazing places to elope in the UK
Nantwen: an intimate elopement venue in Pembrokeshire.
Fforest Coast: small, intimate & secluded coastal venue near Ceredigion Beach.
Tyddyn Llan: a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms for those that would love to combine a simple wedding with Fine Dining!
Penarth Fawr: a registered Ancient Monument which makes for a super romantic setting steeped in history!
What is the cost of elopement wedding packages?
Eloping could definitely save you money! Prices for getting married at a registry office start from £120 but costs do vary so do check. A church elopement starts from £500 and elopement packages with a celebrant in the UK are available from around £650. Celebrants’ fees do vary though, depending on your location and what type of elopement you have in mind.
can i have a celebrant for my elopement
It is well worth contacting www.humanism.org.uk to find out more. How about a super intimate ceremony at the foot of a mountain – just the two of you!? Add your own mini-adventure and spend your first night in one of these perfect love shacks. It really doesn’t get more romantic than that?!
Planning your elopement anywhere in the UK needn’t be daunting or difficult but it does take a little planning and some preparations so here are some practical tips:
what you need to know to plan your own uk elopement
The obvious one first. To legally elope in Wales, you need to actually get legally married first. You have to give notice at least 29 days beforehand. The registrars in North Wales are SUPER nice! Most couples read their own vows & bring their own tunes and, after a morning exploring some of the best views Dolgellau has to offer, this couple’s ceremony was heartfelt, emotional & super special! They married a couple of days before the nation officially went into lockdown with only 6 of us allowed in the same room at the same time. There were social distancing and plastic gloves involved and it was a little unusual but super special at the same time!
Same-sex elopement packages
Same-sex elopements are also becoming increasingly popular in the UK and are perfect for adventurous LGBTQ+ couples wanting to start off married life their way!
Have your civil ceremony at a register office or any other venue approved by the local council such as a stately home or hotel. Then head into the mountains for some unforgettable photographs of your same-sex elopement in the UK and have dinner with your nearest and dearest afterwards. Or skip dinner and start your honeymoon in a cosy log cabin straight away! :) Wondering what to do next? Here are the 15 best things to do in Snowdonia after your elopement or on your honeymoon if an elopement in Wales is what you’re after.
You need at least 2 witnesses at the ceremony and a registrar must carry out, or be present at, your ceremony. You can easily book a registrar yourself for the cost of £46 at a register office or £86 at a registered building. Again – costs may vary at other approved premises.
can family members come to elopements
You love absolutely everything about eloping but you want to include some family members? Who says you can’t? And while once-upon-a-time elopements were probably considered a *Just Us* thing, times are changing and an increasing number of couples now want to elope with family and friends in tow. If you’re considering eloping with family, here are my top 2 tips for eloping with friends and family.
keep the guest list small
Having an elopement with 10 or fewer guests will give you more flexibility when it comes to planning your perfect elopement day and less stress on the day trying to manage friends & family so more time to concentrate on just the two of you!
Get them involved!
The best part of bringing friends and family to your elopement is that they get to be an important part of your elopement ceremony. Maybe they get to marry you in a special ceremony after your legal service, or they are your witnesses – being involved in your wedding ceremony can mean the world to them!
As with weddings, there are different options for different budgets but the choice is all yours and Snowdonia is perfect for romantic run-aways! If you want to go on a hike around rugged mountains overlooking Cadair Idris holding hands, have a First Look in an enchanted forest or twirl your heart out on a sun-drenched Barmouth Beach in your wedding dress – you can!
most scenic elopement spots in snowdonia
what to wear for your elopement
Go ALL out and pick one of the most beautiful wedding dresses in the world! Get glammed up in a colourful dress. Be like Alice and wear 2 different ones! Pick a short one, a boho one, a jumpsuit one or one with pockets. If your budget isn’t massive (or you’d rather splash the cash on something else) – there are some absolute bargains to be had on the High Street. Let out your inner fashionista and treat yourself to a Needle and Thread or The Vampire’s Wife design. Or keep it low key, wear something that makes you feel super comfortable and make it all about the love. Wear whatever you like – as long as it makes you feel good about yourself. Head on over to my post on Elopement dresses – how to pick one that’s perfect for you if you want to find out more.
Absolutely! The right photographer for you (pick me!!!! haha) will offer hourly rates and if they LOVE love and the great outdoors just as much as I do – they will work hard to give you beautiful images so that you can relive your super romantic elopement whenever you look at them.
celebrate your elopement!
Bring your squad with you and party hard or enjoy dinner for two in a restaurant. Have caviar & bubbles for breakfast and arrange an adventure in a kayak on a beautiful Welsh lake in the afternoon.
snowdonia elopement photographer
If you now can’t stop thinking about planning an elopement in Snowdonia or how to plan a simple wedding quickly anywhere in the UK and would like a photographer to get involved – I’m happy to help! I know the area really well and am happy to help you arrange YOUR picture-perfect bespoke adventure. I do have a dedicated elopement package so do get in touch to find out more!
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