What To Do At Your Elopement Ceremony?
You have said yes to a lifetime of love with your partner, you have chosen the PERFECT location to have your elopement, and now here you are planning your day. This leaves a lot of couples asking a very similar question: “What do I do during my elopement ceremony?” “Is there anything specific I should include in my elopement ceremony?”
The easy answer here is, “it is your elopement day, YOU get to do anything and everything you and your partner want to do”. And that is exactly how it should be!
I encourage you to dream big and have the elopement ceremony you have always dreamed about. Don’t get caught up in the traditions that the wedding industry has pushed on you. Think out of the box and let’s create the elopement ceremony of your dreams. One that makes you feel comfortable, one that is personalized and authentically you.
7 Unique Ideas To Include In Your Elopement Ceremony
- Include Vows
- Unique Ceremony Ideas/ Unity Ceremonies
- Exchange Rings
- Share An EPIC First Kiss
- Celebrate Your Ceremony
- Including Loved Ones
- Share Your Talent With Your Partner
Include Vows To Express Your Love To Your Partner
Regardless of how the vows are written or how they are said, marriage vows are incredibly powerful and meaningful. Vows are something that can be personalized to carry additional meaning. Just as you threw tradition to the wind and opted for more unique elopement experience, your wedding vows are no different. They do not need to be a cookie cutter text that you copied and pasted onto a sheet of paper. Your vows CAN be your own words. You can say anything you want in a way that uniquely represents you and your relationship with your partner.
Again, vows are completely unique to you. Some couples choose to write their own vows in private while others work on them together. Sometimes, a couple will simply say what is on their mind in the moment and have nothing written down prior to the ceremony. This is entirely up to you and what you want to say during your elopement ceremony.
You can even choose to get custom vow booklets to hand write your vows in. These are a great way to add a personal and almost sentimental touch to your elopement ceremony. Having vow books allow you to look back on the words that you said to your partner even years after you have already tied the knot.
There is no right or wrong way to go about writing or sharing your vows with your partner. All that really matters is that you have found your forever adventure buddy. All that matters is that you are here together!
Unique Elopement Ceremony Ideas
Your elopement ceremony should be a direct reflection of you and your partner. It should include words that have meaning to you and your relationship. In addition to a traditional ceremony, many couples have decided to include different elements or even mini-ceremonies that bring meaning and intention to their elopement ceremony. This is an opportunity to really personalize your elopement ceremony and make it truly unique.
Handfasting (cord ceremony)
This is a unity ritual that is typically performed before the couple exchanges rings. Handfasting is a Celtic tradition that symbolizes the binding of you and your partner. It is particularly common in couples getting married over seas in Ireland and Scotland, but is now becoming more popular in todays culture.
During the handfasting ceremony, the couple will stand and face each other and hold hands. The officiant would then help tie a knot over the hands of the couple (hence “tying the knot”). With each cord that he ties, he will say a vow in which each person will say “I do” or they will repeat the promise. At the end of the ceremony, the couple will release their hands only to leave all the cords tied in a knot signifying their promises and vows to each other.
Unity ceremonies are one of the more personalized ceremonies you can include in your elopement! The best part is, unity items really can be anything you want them to be be. They are personal and meaningful to each couple.
Unity Ceremony Ideas
- Unity Candles
- Planting of Trees
- Mixing of Whiskey or Other Alcohol
- Mixing of Sand
- Paint Dripping
- Tea Unity Ceremony
Unity items or ceremonies are not only wonderful elements to include in your elopement ceremony, but they are also beautiful pieces of artwork and memories that can be hung or placed in your home. They are a way to remember the joy and excitement that came on your wedding day.
Many couples share a variety of religious beliefs. These beliefs are a large influence in what makes that person who they are. That is why many couples choose to integrate these religious practices into their elopement ceremony. If you want to include different religious practices and beliefs into your ceremony, it would be beneficial to have an officiant work with you and your partner. Officiants can help guide you through your elopement ceremony to help make it feel more natural and ensure that everything you want in your ceremony is included.
Hand washing ceremonies are not seen as frequently but they can be powerful. During the ceremony, the couple places their joined hands over a bowl. The officiant then takes water (sometimes decorated with flower petals or slices of lemons) and pours the water over the hands of the couple. The washing of hands together symbolizes a cleansing of the past. The couple washes away their past separate lives and now starts fresh as a newly wed couple. They couple then dries their hands with a cloth and the ceremony is complete.
Braiding of a Cross
This ceremony idea stems from the Christian religion. During a braiding ceremony, the couple will braid three strands together to create an unbreakable bond. One strand represents the bride, one represents the groom and the final strand represents God. Traditionally, the groom holds a ring with the strands attached while the bride then braids them. It can be displayed on a decorative board with Ecclesiastes 4:12: “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” to commemorate the couples’ bond and their bond with God.
Almost all of the couples I have had the opportunity to photograph on their elopement day have chosen to include an exchange of rings in their elopement ceremony. Wedding bands are “a symbol of eternal love and commitment within a relationship.” Which is why so many couples choose to include them in their elopement ceremony. As a way to signify no beginning or end to their love and commitment to each other.
Even if you decide you want to stick with tradition and exchange rings, there are so many ways to make this unique and special for you and your partner.
Some of the couples I have worked with have chosen to get tattooed rings on their fingers as a symbol for their eternal love. One of my couples had their wedding bands hand crafted by a family member in Kuwait who was unable to attend the elopement ceremony. It was such a sweet and emotional gesture and the rings turned out absolutely STUNNING! Other couples have even decided to surprise each other with wedding bands on the day of their elopement ceremony.
Putting your own personal twist on how and what type of rings your choose to exchange helps create a more personal and meaningful elopement ceremony.
Share a First Kiss
You have made it through your vows and the ceremony is coming to an end. The first kiss as a married couple is a much anticipated moment of your elopement ceremony. The first kiss symbolizes the commitment you have made to your partner and the beginning of your new adventure together as a married couple!
Every couple I have photographed has included a first kiss in their elopement ceremony. It seems that it is just one of those traditions you just can’t help but include in your ceremony. If you plan on kissing your partner at the end of your ceremony, I say GO FOR IT!! Wither it be a sweet kiss on the lips, a passionate kiss with a dip, or a goofy and fun kiss full of laughter and smiles- just be sure to be you yourself and absolutely enjoy the heck out of it!!
Celebrate Your Elopement Ceremony In Your Own Way
The conclusion of your Elopement Ceremony is such a special moment in your elopement day! You have said your vows and proclaimed your love and commitment to each other. Now it is time to celebrate!
I have seen so many couples add their personal touch to this part of the ceremony. Some can’t help but stand over the top of the mountain and scream out in joy, while others symbolically toss flowers, seeds or rice. However you decide to celebrate your elopement ceremony is entirely up to you.
Ideas On How To Celebrate Your Elopement Ceremony
- Champagne: shake it up really good and get a massive spray
- Native Flower Petals: toss the petals high into the sky
- Shout To The World: stand on the edge of the mountain and shout in excitement
- Confetti: find some that is biodegradable to celebrate your elopement ceremony
- Bubbles: blow bubbles at your partner and watch each other grin from ear to ear
- Sparklers: these are a fun way to celebrate your elopement especially after the sun goes down.
- Snow: pick up snow off the ground and toss it into the air and watch it shower around you
- Ribbons: find ribbon sticks and have fun twirling around with them
- High Five Tunnels: if your have guests, this is a great way to celebrate with everyone
Just a note regarding all the celebrations: choosing to elope in these beautiful and remote locations does require some level of responsibility. We are still in the wild, so please be sure to abide by the Leave No Trace Guidelines to respect nature.
The options for your elopement ceremony celebrations are simply endless. That said, find something that is a reflection of you and your partner and just do it!! This part of your day is so full of joy and excitement, so go ahead and celebrate it!!
Include Loved Ones Who Couldn’t Be With You On Your Elopement Day
More often then not, couples choose to elope alone without the presence of their loved ones. They decided that they want to have an intimate, “just us” experience. Sometimes family members are not able to make the trip to a remote location to celebrate the elopement ceremony. Other times couples are faced with the passing of a loved one. That said, there are ways to include or remember loved ones on your elopement day.
Although elopement ceremonies are typically full of joy, sometimes the absences of important or special people in your life can make the event feel more empty or seemingly sad. Here are a few ways to include loved ones in your celebration and create a day that is special.
Ways To Include Loved Ones In Your Elopement Ceremony
- Bring letters from family and friends to read them either before, during or after your ceremony
- Bring photos of family and friends
- Some people even bring photos of their beloved pets
- Photo albums
- Facetime or call family and friends to include them in the celebration of your marriage
- Wear jewelry, watches or other symbolic clothing to symbolize family members
- Say a few words to remember and celebrate the loved ones in your life
Including loved ones in your wedding day can look different for everyone so make sure to do this in a way that feels most authentic and meaningful to you and your partner.
Share Your Unique Talent With Your Partner
Each of us are created different. We all have our own unique set of talents and that is probably why you chose to spend forever with your partner.
The best part about having an elopement ceremony rather than a traditional wedding ceremony is that you literally get to do anything you want. (I know I have said that many times already). But, when you have the freedom to do anything you want during your ceremony, you get to really make it personalized and meaningful to you and your partner.
Some couples have made time during their ceremony to share a song they wrote for their partner. I once had a couple where the groom played guitar and he wrote his own song about his future wife and their love story. He played the song for her in the middle of the ceremony. The bride was so surprised and it honestly brought everyone to tears (including myself).
Whether it be an original song played on an instrument, singing, a homemade gift or an intimate poem, including yourself and what makes you unique and special is an amazing way to show your love for your partner. Take what makes you special and include it in your elopement ceremony to make it unique.
Planning Your Elopement & Your Next Steps
Your elopement ceremony deserves to be more than an organized list of empty wedding traditions. It deserves to be a deeply meaningful, unique and intentional part of your elopement day. You decided to elope for a reason. You wanted a UNIQUE experience. Don’t let the ceremony be any different. Your elopement ceremony deserves to be as unique and special as you are.
Let’s get in touch and start planning your unique experience. If you want more information on how to start planning your own elopement check out this resource to help you get started: How To Plan An Elopement. Otherwise, connect with me and let me help guide you in this epic adventure.