STEP 1 - THE LEGAL BIT
To make your elopement ceremony legal in Wales you have to get legally married in a licensed venue or register office first:
Once you’ve agreed on the ceremony venue or register office that works best for you, you’ll have to do the following:
1) Give notice – which means you have to complete and sign a legal declaration stating your intent to marry, this needs to be done at least 29 days before your wedding day and involves a fee that can range depending on where you get married;
2) Bring a valid passport, UK birth certificate, or national identity card if you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland; if you are not a UK citizen but want to get married here – apply for a marriage visa but do make sure you will be in the UK when it comes to giving notice as you’ll have to do that in person;
3) Provide proof of your address and of any name changes;
4) If you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before, bring your decree absolute or your former partner’s death certificate.
STEP 2 - DECIDE THE GUEST LIST & FORMAT
Historically, an elopement has usually meant a couple running off into the sunset to get married against their families wishes, never to return.
These days an elopement is really more of a super intimate wedding. Technically speaking I suppose an elopement does still usually mean a 'Just Us' kinda day but if you want some of your closest family and friends involved then you absolutely can! Though I would recommend keeping that guest list super small, like less than 10
Next decide on the format of the day. The great thing about elopements is ANYTHING goes. Do all the things you usually love to do just with a trip to the register office!
My favourite format is a little pre wedding walk with the dogs then to get ready together at a lush air B&B or shepherds hut. After that is the ceremony at the register office and then its back for the dogs and out into the wild. Stop off at some of Wales' most beautiful spots, take a picnic and just have some fun just the two of you. (and your photographer of course!)
STEP 3 - LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
It's fair to say we are SPOILT for choice here in Wales for our lush locations. If you're a beachy kinda couple then the Gower is the best bet for you. Love the mountains? Got to be the Brecon Beacons. Want to be near a Castle? We have loads of them too!
Whatever you want you can bet we have it here in Wales. So have a think what matters to you most and plan the rest of the day around that. Book an air B&B or cottage nearby and book the closest register office for your ceremony. Hire a car or van to travel to your favourite spots or tag along with your photographer!
(dogs are always welcome in my car too)
STEP 4 - CHOOSE YOUR SUPPLIERS
The GREAT thing about elopements is a lot of the fuss and faff of planning a big wedding is stripped away, and that includes suppliers.
Realistically speaking, you can elope without booking any suppliers but what I'd always recommend is a Photographer (obviously) a florist to make a lush bouquet, and dresses/suits/ whatever you feel both comfy and special in!
No formality, no wondering if your wedding is going to be bigger or better than anyone else, no stressing over keeping guests entertained and no worrying about silly things like napkin covers.
Just you, your love and a good photographer is all you need.
STEP 5 - PLAN AHEAD
If you've not visited Wales before, you may not realise how temperamental our weather can be. We could be forecast bright sunshine and get hailstones.
This isn't to put you off, if you're anything like me it will just add to the adventure! But you need to be prepared for it.
Pack a waterproof coat, umbrella and some sensible walking shoes and you'll be fine! You can always put your nice shoes in a bag and pop them on for some photos.
This is especially important if you're a mountains kinda couple - those walking boots are essential. Instagram can make walking up mountains in heels look easy but I can promise you it is not. Oh and please don't be tempted to buy a new pair and wear them for the first time on your wedding day - it will hurt!
Want to talk more about your elopement?
Hi, I'm Danielle and I specialise in photographing adventurous and non traditional couples, both in epic elopements or full day wedding affairs.
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