The thought of planning and paying for a big wedding completely stressed Matt & I out! We’ve been together since 2004, engaged at the end of 2016 and planned to have a big wedding in the summer of 2018. We put off getting engaged for years and then had an extended engagement. To say that we’ve been putting off a wedding is an understatement. Deep down I knew why we delayed it for so many years…we didn’t want a big wedding! When we decided to elope, a weight was lifted off our shoulders. I pretty sure we both sighed with relief. But it didn’t come without us learning some of the do’s & don’ts of eloping!
Do make sure you know all the legalities
Every state is different! We live in Michigan but eloped in NYC. In Michigan, after you obtain your marriage license, the wait time is 2 or 3 days and requires 2 witnesses. In NYC, after you obtain your marriage license, the wait time was 24 hours and required 1 witness. Make sure you check out the wait times, how many witnesses you need and what documents are required.We brought every legal document (passports, drivers licenses, birth certificates, etc.) possible just to be safe. Also be sure to check the times of when you can get married and where the actual ceremony will be taking place.
Don’t be afraid if it’s a last minute decision
Matt and I had no idea that we were going to elope. We pulled it off in 2 weeks! We decided at the end of November to elope in NYC on December 11th. I didn’t know if I could pull it off in 2 weeks but it all came together so nicely! One of the things I loved about eloping is that we didn’t have to plan anything for anyone else…just us! Do your research so you know that your last minute decision can be pulled off. Research your location so you know exactly what to expect depending on the time of year, availability and etc.
Do hire a professional photographer
Our #1 most important thing (aside from the marriage itself) was hiring a really good photographer. Since our family and friends were not there, we wanted photographs to show them. If there is one thing to splurge on, this is it! I’ve seen some pretty bad wedding photos so I made sure that I did my research. I found our photographer, Cheyanna De Nicola, on Instagram. I searched the hashtag #nycelopementphotographer and I stumbled across her feed and I loved her images! Take your time, do your research & definitely hire a good photographer. We loved ours!
Don’t be surprised by family and friends reactions
Our biggest learning experience. We thought that everyone would be so happy and congratulate us- that didn’t exactly happen! We had some family and friends that “weren’t happy by the way it happened”. Unfortunately, we let it bother us at first but we quickly got over that because we knew we made the right decision for us. It is not about others who selfishly feel entitled to being involved in your marriage. I’m still scratching my head about this one. On the flip side we had so, so many people that were excited, supportive and happy for us!
Don’t feel bad about your decision
The marriage is between you and your significant other! Do what is best for you as a couple. If you trust yourself and your partner, you’ll make the right decision.
Do exchange rings
We were asked by the marriage bureau if we were going to exchange rings. I didn’t know that we had an option to not exchange rings but I guess a lot of people don’t. Matt and I had 2 weeks to pick out our rings and get them sized which was our only hiccup. I found my ring with a few minutes and it was sized that day. Matt found a ring he really liked but they didn’t have it in his size and didn’t have enough gold to custom make it. Their shipment was coming in the day we left so they gave Matt a loaner ring. We rolled with it and picked up his ring the day we got back.
Don’t put pressure on yourself
The day of our wedding was so chill! We woke up around 9am, Matt got his beard trimmed and I ran to get my coat and flowers. Matt took a nap and I got ready before we took our Uber to the NYC Marriage Bureau. We wanted to just “be us” (relaxed, chill) after the wedding so we ended up getting tacos and beer. We put zero pressure on ourselves and it felt perfect!
We’ve learned a few things but all-in-all it was so easy to elope! We had the best experience eloping, I would recommend it 100 times over again.
To see our full, complete elopement post visit: We Eloped in NYC.
Do you prefer elopements, small weddings or big weddings?