How to plan your elopement

Many people are confused about what an elopement is. Some might even ask why people choose to elope? And even if you’ve seen some of these incredible elopement photos, you might ask yourself how it all works.

Let´s get started to answer your questions about eloping

1. What is an elopement?

Not long ago eloping meant flying to Vegas and getting married in front of Elvis. But the meaning of an elopement has changed over the last decades.

Now elopements are the best way to have a wedding day that´s truly yours!

It´s a wonderful possibility to escape the stress of a traditional wedding ceremony and to create a day you will never forget. Which doesn´t mean that elopements aren´t as celebratory as big weddings. You just choose to have a meaningful, intimate and authentic wedding day.

Instead of getting turned around by the expectations and obligations set from the outside, eloping gives you the freedom to stay true to yourself. There are so many ways to get eloped. It really comes down to the things you love. You can also include activities that you enjoy doing together or ones you´ve never tried before. Hiking, stargazing or stand up paddleboarding? It´s up to you!

Just close your eyes and imagine your wedding day! Do you want to stand on top of a lush green mountain or sail on a boat through the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea? Which season is your favorite and where have you always wanted to go? Or is there a place that already holds a special place in your heart?

You are free to do whatever you want to do. That´s probably the greatest thing about elopements. There are no limits!

2. Can other people come?

A few decades ago, Elvis was your only companion, nowadays it´s totally fine to bring guests with you. So, it´s up to you, if you want to speak your vows alone with your partner or take your best friends and family to a special place to host a small ceremony.

The rules are not that strict so that elopements and small (or intimate) weddings often merge into each other. But let´s be honest, call it whatever you want, as long as you focus on what really matters: The two of you committing your lives to each other!

To create an intimate, meaningful and authentic elopement, you should think about by which persons you really want to be surrounded by. Bring only the people that mean the most to you, those who know you the best and who don't stress you.

You don´t have to bring Aunt Anne with you if it doesn´t feel right. An elopement day is a day without pressure or expectations set from the outside. No one has a right to be at your wedding.

Do you want to go on your own? Just the two of you is also a great way to really focus on your love. Back home you can give a big party and celebrate with your friends and family. Don´t forget to share the photos of your dream wedding experience, so they´ll see how much that day meant to you.

3. Can we get legally married in Europe if we live abroad?

Yes, you can. You need to put some effort into the planning and organize a few things, but for foreigners it’s possible to get legally married in most countries of Europe. The requirements depend on the country and the federal law.

But take a moment and think about it:

you’ve taken that brave step to throw tradition to the wind and commit your lives to each other in a way that’s wholly unique and beautiful to you both – why not keep running with it?

Do you really want to spent time with bureaucracy in some backroom of the town hall?

Many couples decide to get legally married in their homeland and to celebrate their love with a unique elopement day abroad.


Just let me know, if you want to get legally married in Europe. I’ll help you to take the right steps and make it happen.

4. How does an elopement ceremony work?

There’s not the one right way how an elopement ceremony works. On one side that’s great because you can do exactly what you and your partner want to do. On the other side, it´s not easy to fill it from scratch. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you!

In the beginning, there are some big questions:

  • do we want to get legally married by an officiant, have a religious wedding ceremony, or self-solemnize? You can also hire a professional speaker for your free ceremony.

  • do we bring guests, or do we want to have this day for ourselves?


As there’s no right or wrong, just take some time and think about what feels right to you. You can have a wonderful free ceremony, no matter if you’re religious or not. And the beauty of your elopement ceremony doesn’t depend on the appearing of a wedding officiant.

The most common is to read your vows to each other at some point of your elopement day. Speaking your vows, no matter how they’re communicated, is always powerful. No matter if it’s just the two of you or you decided to bring close family and friends, vows are a beautiful way to express the emotions you’re feeling about the newest adventure you’re about to begin.

If you don’t feel comfortable reading your vows in front of your family and friends, why not take some time for the two of you? You could take a short hike or drive to a spot with a terrific view and read your vows there. Just the two of you, standing at this stunning viewpoint, dedicating your life to each other. Imagine the sunrise over the sea or the sunset behind the mountains and you hearing nothing else but the voice of your partner (and maybe bleating sheep, if you’re in Ireland). That’s a perfect way to separate yourself from your guests for a short time and to completely enjoy each other.

Some couples choose to surprise their partner with their vows and sometimes couples work on their vows together. Some couples create custom vow books to handwrite their vows on the day of their elopement, some have scraps of paper they’ve been scribbling on for months that they cobble into part of their wedding ceremony outline.

It´s your days, your vows, and your elopement.

All that matters is that you’ve found the person you couldn’t imagine adventuring through life without.


Of course, you don’t want to miss the first kiss, as it’s hugely symbolic and for sure a lot of fun. Because of the epic sentimentality of this, a lot of couples choose to incorporate this as part of their elopement ceremony.

If you want to kiss your partner to close your elopement ceremony, you should go for it. Just be yourselves and love every minute of it.


Also wedding rings are a long-standing tradition that’s often included in ceremonies because of their symbolism – no beginning, no end. It’s the infinite power of love in a tiny package.

So, for sure you could include rings as part of your ceremony. Even if you don’t want to go an entirely traditional route there are plenty other ways to include wedding rings. Some couples choose to have rings tattooed onto their fingers or to surprise their partner with handcrafted rings.

5. How do we make it our own?

Most elopement ceremonies work with an identical scheme, no matter if it’s a religious or free ceremony, and it’s probably even the same if you choose to get legally married:

reading your vows, exchange your rings & kiss

One of the best things about elopements is to create a unique elopement day. The ceremony may be the most important part, but it doesn’t end here. Sometimes, couples have a whole list of things they want to do during their elopement day.

Figure out how you both want to do to celebrate and just do it – it’s your day after all!

You don´t have to change for your wedding day. When you love to be in the outdoors, discovering new places, it´s something you should consider for your wedding day as well.

It´s your wedding day and you should ask yourself: “What makes us happy?”

Create your unique vision of an elopement that matches everything you wish for. It´s totally up to you, to bring your dreams to life. You´ll feel connected to each other, be present and complete in the moment. That´s what an elopement is about

6. How long do we need to plan in advance?

Most couples contact me 3 to 9 months in advance. That’s a good deal to book flights at good prices and find the best lodging.

But maybe you’ve been to this one special place before and you want to go their again, read your vows and dedicate your lives to each other. Book your flight, grab your bags and make it happen. There are couples who made their dreams come true, planning less than 1 week. For sure that’s not the average planning time, but still it’s possible.

Especially if you bring your close family and friends with you, you’ll probably need some more time to organize everything. Planning could also begin earlier if you’ve a specific date in mind (like your anniversary).

7. How much does eloping in Europe cost?

More than 2 million Americans get married every year. To have a perfect day, each bridal couple spends on average $34.000 for their wedding, which makes it a multimillion-dollar industry. Instead of listening to all these voices from the outside, you should listen to your heart. Focus on the things that really matter to you and your partner!


If you do so, you can have an incredibly rad elopement for less than half of that!

Expect to spend 30-50% of your budget on photography and the rest on travel, attire, rings, flowers, hair & makeup, food, and activities.

Good advice is to choose a photographer from Europe. You can trust in their specialized local knowledge and you don’t have to pay their traveling costs from abroad.

Flights are nowadays very cheap but consider spending a little money to compensate for your carbon emissions. That’s why in all my packages 200 planted trees are included! You don’t have to worry and get a certificate afterward.

The price for lodging depends on the standard you want to get. Cheap but good accommodations can start at around 40 Euros each night outside the big cities. Actually, there’s no limit for more luxurious lodgings and you can spend up to 1.000 Euro each night for big spacious villas that accommodate up to 16 or more people.

You can definitely stay on budget or live a big life. It’s up to you, but I’ll provide you with all the necessary information.

8. Why should you choose Europe?

Europe is the place where all your dreams come true! It’s full of culture, easy to travel, and there are so many beautiful countries.

Let me just mention some of the highlights:

  • Ireland: the coastline is famous for its breathtaking rugged cliffs, rolling green hills, medieval castles, and ancient ruins. A place of unseen beauty.

  • Italy: the birthplace of European culture, gourmet cuisine and it offers even more. Stunning old towns, lovely coastline and amazing mountains & lakes in the North.

  • Spain & Portugal: you can find high cliffs at windy beaches or crystal clear water on a picture-perfect island, climb mountains in the Pyrenees or discover caves, only accessible from the seaside.

  • The Alps: spectacular views, crystal clear mountain lakes, and a rich culinary culture, known from Bavaria.


There’s so much to see. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect spot to make your dreams come true.

I’ll guide and support you while planning your elopement day. You’ll be provided with a list of places, which fit perfectly to your wishes. So that you can easily choose which fits you best.

9. Who stands behind A LOVE above photography?

Hi there, I’m Kevin! Born and raised in a small town in Germany, I’ve traveled through Europe for almost my entire life.

Why do I know all this stuff about elopements? I´m not only photographing elopements, I´m guiding people to their dream elopement and help them to craft their unique vision. I absolutely believe that eloping is the best way to get married. There's nothing I love more than helping you create the authentic intimate wedding day of your dreams, where you conquer an amazing adventure together and have the privacy & safety to truly be yourselves. Elopements bring the focus of a wedding day back to you two as a couple and don't have the "performance" or "production" vibe of a normal traditional wedding. You can design the best day for the two of you, from start to finish, and at some point, in your grand adventure, be in a gorgeous & unique location and commit your lives to each other.

Make your wedding day an Adventure Above Average.

10. Any questions left?

What burning question(s) do you have about eloping? Is anything holding you back?

I’m a real person and I read & respond to EVERY email! (try it out!)

Learn how to make your wedding an

Adventure Above Average

  1. Is an elopement right for you?

  2. Learn how to free yourself from the expectations, obligations and the pressure set from the outside

  3. How to create & plan your unique wedding day in only 5 steps

How can I help you?

Take the first step to your Adventure Above Average

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Kevin Kurek - Wedding photographer and guide for adventures above average from Germany, specialized in European Elopements.

Elevate your love

©2020 by Kevin Kurek