16 Elopement Ideas to Make Your Small Wedding Special

May 27, 2020 | olivia

Eloping can be grand, adventurous, extraordinary, or simple—it all depends on you and your partner. What do you both love? What would make this day truly the best day ever? Eloping should focus on your love for each other and a day to express yourselves. If you’re scouring Pinterest and the web for ideas, we have got you covered. We’ve rounded up our favorites to ensure this day feels special.

Make A Day Out Of It

One of the perks of eloping is that you don’t have to worry about venue times or guests’ schedules, so you celebrate all day long. Consider what would make this day completely picturesque to you and your partner. Maybe it’s a long hike to the location of your dreams followed by a picnic. Or maybe it’s hopping from one location to the next because your elopement attire is too fabulous to only wear for a few hours.

Junebug Tip: 

Make sure you hire a photographer or photography team that knows their way around elopements so you can capture every part of the day. 

photographer directory elopement idea

Have A First Look

First looks aren’t just for traditional weddings. This short, but sweet moment is a perfect addition to any elopement. It adds a bit of surprise and extra excitement to the day. While you two are getting ready separately, you can both focus on your vows and process the adventure you’re about to have. Bring some tissues and get ready to experience all the emotions.

Getting Ready Together

Okay, so maybe having a first look doesn’t sound appealing to you. That’s A-okay. Getting ready with your significant other can be both exhilarating and special, too. Plus, you’re not just getting ready for a date. You are getting ready for forever. Spend that time together drinking coffee—or champagne—while fixing your hair, or tying your shoes. 

Write Your Own Vows

Personalized vows make any wedding extra special since the words are directly from the heart. This is a great way to share with the love you have for your partner and why today marks the beginning of your future together. You don’t have to follow a schedule, a scripture, or any tradition if it doesn’t match with what your heart says. 

Junebug Tip: 

Get cute vow books/journals and frame them. It’s a cute way to show off your promises and love to each other in your home. 

Hire A Musician Or Band

Music can add extra oomph to your elopement that makes your day feel like a scene from a movie. Consider hiring a musician or a band that are able to play your favorite songs, and even your song. Whether you choose to slow dance after exchanging your vows, or have the band play from start to finish, this will add a live soundtrack to your day that you’ll cherish

A First Dance

Let’s say a musician or band isn’t in your budget or plan, you can still have a first dance in the streets of NYC or inside your Airbnb. There’s something special about seeing couples dancing, even if the music is coming out of their phone’s speakers. Wherever your elopement takes you, this little sentimental moment will make for an unforgettable memory. 

Change Your Outfit

This day happens once, so go all out.  Don’t be afraid to change outfits—slip into something more comfortable or completely different. If you’re moving from one location to the other, outfit changes can help you feel like the parts of the day are each their own. 

Whether you stay in all white, change to pajamas, or switch into activity-specific attire, this day is all about you two. If you’re not sure what your second, or third, outfit should be, there are wedding dresses and jumpsuits that’ll take you from day to night

Go Big With An Airbnb Wedding Or Go Home

When you’re thinking about the location of your elopement, go for a grand backdrop, like a National Park or Paris, or keep it simple and find an Airbnb nearby. Your location reflects what you and your partner will find special. Eloping opens doors to unbelievable wedding locations and you can choose to say “I do” almost anywhere your heart desires. 

Junebug Tip: 

If you choose to stay home, or elope in the backyard, buy flowers and decorations to make it feel extra special. Try these Amazon decorations for a backyard ceremony.   

Bring Your Loved Ones: Micro Wedding Versus Elopement

Elopements don’t have to just be the two—or three, don’t forget your photographer—of you. Invite a few loved ones, like family, friends, or even fur babies. This unique wedding style offers plenty of ways to involve them. Share the happiness of your day with all the people who mean the most to you. Keep in mind, the difference between a micro wedding and an elopement is actually not much of a difference at all.

If your loved ones can’t be there in person, invite them to attend as virtual wedding guests or have them write letters to read during your ceremony. 

Literally Tie The Knot

The saying “tie the knot” comes from an Irish tradition where the couple getting married literally tie their hands together with ribbon as a symbol of their union. Each ribbon can be made of cloth of sentimental meaning to you. If you brought family or friends, they can bring a piece of cord, cloth, or ribbon and they can help you tie the knot. So, grab some ribbon or cut up some concert tees and actually tie the knot. 

Celebrate After The Ceremony

Who says you have to take photos immediately after the ceremony? No one! Pop the bubbly, kick your shoes off, and eat the cake. There are no rules when it comes to your celebration, so do whatever you want—in whatever order you want. Let your happiness be your guide. Your photographer will capture the happiness regardless of the order of your schedule. 

Cake, Cake, And More Cake

Yes, cake. Bring on the sweet treats. Instead of worrying about getting enough dessert for your guests, you can now have the wedding cake and eat it too. Because it might be a small cake, you can add extra pretty designs, or whatever flavors you want without breaking the bank. 

Add A Little Bit Of Spice

A three or four-course meal after saying I do can spice up your elopement. Splurge a little and hire a chef to prepare an extravagant meal. If you’re outdoors, make it picnic style—there is something magical about a picnic with gorgeous scenery that feels so idyllic. 

Junebug Tip:

Make your picnics more cozy with faux candles and a small table. We’ve got cozy elopement picnic ideas that’ll help inspire you. 

16 elopement ideas getaway car

photo by Lauren Scotti

Rent A Rad Getaway Car

Ride off into the sunset in style. If you ever dreamed of being whisked away in a retro car or a Lamborghini, this is the time to make it happen. It’ll make for great memories and provide some pretty sweet photos too. 

Spontaneity Is Key

When in doubt, just do it! Eloping in the city? Stop at your favorite restaurant and snag a bite in your elopement attire. Headed to a lake? Bring your paddleboards. Keeping things spontaneous and whimsical will make your day fun in the moment and fabulous for memories. So, whatever you’re feeling, just do it. 

1, 2, 3…Surprise! 

Speaking of spontaneous, a little unexpected surprise—whether it’s sentimental or just for fun—is always a good idea. Planning a surprise for your partner can be a cute way to show your love for them, and your elopement day makes it even better. Whether you sing them a song, create a photo album of your relationship, or name a star after them, seeing your surprise unfold is the cherry on top. 

elopement ideas couple

photo by The Quirky 

Whatever you decide to do, eloping can be both special and intimate, especially when you add personal touches like these. We know that planning an elopement can still be stressful. We are here to be your guide. Check out our ultimate elopement planning checklist and these beautifully intimate elopements.

Email [email protected] to advertise on Junebug Weddings


  1. Wow, such beautiful ideas! Right now it‘s the best article I could have read with our little ‚Corona-Wedding‘ coming up. We‘re definitely using some of your tipps- Thank you so so much! <3

  2. I’m glad you mentioned changing outfits when you’re doing different locations. My sister was telling me she wants to get eloped near a beach this year. I’ll share this with her so she knows how to prepare for it and to make a smooth day.

  3. Really love the lightness of these shots. Elopements can be so personal and unique. You literally have so much scope to create something emotional & memorable.

Leave a Comment