blog categories

Tips to elope abroad stress free

Home » Blog » Tips to elope abroad stress free
A couple in wedding clothes pose for their castle elopement abroad on a moody, misty fall day. The fairytale like Burg Eltz is behind them as they look in opposite directions, centered in the frame.

If you want to elope abroad, I’ll reassure you by saying it’s way easier than you think. Remember – you’re planning an elopement, not a wedding! That means it’s far less complicated to organize and plan. Here are some of my top tips for couples wanting to elope abroad.

TIP 1: Approach your elopement day planning as if you’re planning a really awesome travel day — because you are!

Traditional weddings and large destination weddings are mainly focused on the guest experience. With those events, you’re essentially planning a party for others to attend. Elopements on the other hand, they’re focused only on you.

Wipe the stress of planning a wedding out of your mind. If you elope abroad, you’re basically just planning one or two dream itineraries in a new location. It’s the most epic travel day you can imagine — while dressed to the nines! Since it’s only the two of you, you can go anywhere and do anything you want. The most complicated part is booking the vendors you want, like photographers, hair and makeup artists and florists. You’re so flexible for the rest, you don’t need to worry much.


If you want to elope abroad within the European Union, you do not need to fly vendors in. The EU is FULL of talented and extremely knowledgeable vendors who know their area and speak fluent English. By hiring local, you’re supporting small businesses in the location you’re traveling to. Additionally, you also get all that extra expertise in the area, the culture and the language. This can be invaluable in getting that bit of extra assistance navigating the planning from afar. Plus, if an emergency comes up, locals will have a network to lean on for help.

If you’re wondering how to find local vendors, here are some resources:

  • Sites like European Elopement Guide, which act as a directory to great local vendors across the EU
  • Searching Pinterest, Instagram and Google
  • Find a local elopement photographer FIRST, as they often can refer you to everyone else you need

I also recommend avoiding vendors who offer to work your wedding or elopement abroad in exchange for travel only. Often, these vendors are working illegally, which can lead to confiscations of their gear at the border. As well, they don’t normally speak the local language or understand local laws. This often results in them promising things they can’t follow through on, simply because they don’t know better.

TIP 3: Start planning to elope abroad 6-9 months in advance

For larger weddings, couples often start planning a year or more in advance. For elopements abroad with only the couple (or less than 5 guests), you only need about 6-9 months. The fewer vendors you work with, the less time you need. Typically, photographers book out first, so you want to make sure you start early if you have a special photographer in mind, or remain flexible on date.

Many elopements can be put together in less than 3 months! I’ve arranged them in as fast as two weeks (see photo above) – so if you’re worried you’re too late, keep an open mind. If it’s just the two of you eloping abroad and you’re flexible, a lot is possible in a short time frame.

TIP 4: arrive at least 2-3 days before your elopement day

When you elope abroad, that generally means you’re travelling from far away. You’ll want to consider jet lag and time to decompress after a long flight. This is especially true for western US and Canadian, south east Asia and Australian couples coming to Europe for their elopement. Plan to arrive at your elopement location at least 2 full days before your date.

This gives you time to rest and adjust, and also allows for any delays, emergencies or luggage problems to be resolved.

TIP 5: always travel with your elopement attire and accessories in carry on

In the worst case scenario, luggage can be delayed or lost. While most things can be replaced, wedding attire and accessories often can’t in time for your wedding or elopement abroad. For this reason, ALWAYS travel with your wedding outfits and the most important items for your wedding day in carry one. If you ask nicely, the flight attendants will often find a place to hang your wedding dress in the plane.

If you’re having a long honeymoon and don’t want to carry your bulky outfits the whole trip, consider shipping them home after your elopement day. I advise NOT shipping them to your location, however, since the EU has very high import duties and taxes. Things can get held up in customs for ages, and for places like Italy, you may end up paying 20% duties and import taxes on an expensive wedding dress you already own…

TIP 6: plan to elope abroad at the front portion of your trip

This means, arrive at least 2-3 days before your elopement and also put the elopement date at the beginning third or your trip. This means you can really enjoy your honeymoon and other travels without having your elopement in the back of your mind the whole time. Any elopement related stress that could arise is simply over with. It’s all out of the way and you don’t have to worry about anything else!

Looking for a *local* EU photographer?

Hi! I’m Mariah. I am an elopement photographer based along the Italian and Austrian border. I specialize in intimate destination weddings and adventure elopements all across Europe.

I’m originally from the U.S., so if you’re English speaking, I’m also the perfect bridge between cultures on your elopement day!

I truly want you to have the most relaxing and fun experience possible.

If you and your partner are looking for something low key and adventurous, then I know the places, the vendors and the areas for you.


View Pricing & Schedule a Call



A couple kisses on the back of a wooden boat on lake Como during their elopement day abroad. The water is a deep blue and there are old Italian buildings and a waterfall on the land behind them.
A couple stands out of focus reading wedding vows on the day they elope near Lake Como, Italy. There is a boat in focus on the lake between them, with colorful homes on the hills behind them.




1:1 time is my love language, so let's find out if we're a good fit!  
Use to form below to
set up a face to face call:

Where to Elope in Germany

Faroe Islands Elopement Photos

THANK YOU for taking the time to fill out my form and contact me. 


What's next?

I'll be in touch ASAP with the next steps.

If you don't hear from me in 48 hours or less, check your spam folder!