Thinking of having a destination wedding? Do you have family all over the globe and you want to choose a neutral location? Do you dream of having an intimate elopement somewhere beautiful? Planning a travel wedding can feel overwhelming, so here are my top 10 travel tips to make sure that your elopement goes smoothly!
You’ll thank yourself later if you choose attire that can be folded without wrinkling.
Packing items with well-designed fabrics means you won’t have to bring garment bags or frantically scramble to find a steamer.
Instead, you’ll be able to select whatever you want to wear, throw it on, and focus on enjoying yourself. Whether you and your partner are canoeing on Lake Louise or attending a posh dinner service, wrinkle-free clothes are ideal.
When searching for flights, don’t just search Google, select the first option, and call it a day. Here are a few tried-and-true travel tips to get better flight deals:
Unlike the big-box hotel chains, Airbnb offers cosy, personalised, and vibey lodgings that feel more comfortable.
Take your time when searching for accommodations and look for a well-reviewed Airbnb that fits both you and your partner. As I mentioned before, make sure to choose a place that’s located near the activities you’re most interested in. And if you’re wondering how to plan an elopement with family, find a place for the whole group to stay!
Insider tip: You can even have the elopement ceremony and celebration at the Airbnb itself (as long as the host permits it). If your group is small enough, book somewhere that can accommodate an intimate dinner and hire a private chef.
Once you find your dream place, don’t be afraid to message the hosts before booking to tell them why you’re travelling. Ask them for recommendations! Most hosts are locals who know the area well and are more than happy to provide suggestions or travel tips for the area.
When you’re deciding on a specific venue, area, or place to stay, keep the overall experience in mind. Look for locations that offer more than just a beautiful elopement site.
Whatever you want to do — whether it hinges on relaxation or excitement — selecting locations that provide easy access to those activities makes for an easy elopement experience.
Insider tip: If the locations you choose offer a range of additional activities, consider celebrating your elopement and honeymoon in one go! You can plan a creative and fun multi-day elopement adventure.
Just imagine. You and your partner rolling effortlessly from ceremony to celebration to honeymoon without stress, extra planning, or additional travel costs!
Even if you haven’t been bitten by the wanderlust bug, getting a travel credit card is totally worth it. Offset the costs of your travel-related purchases, get preferential access when booking flights, and enjoy other extras and complementary benefits. TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Card and WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard are my top recommendations.
Not only do travel credit cards give you points toward travel, they can also offer travel insurance and premium perks.
You can look for new customer offers from major Canadian banks that waive the annual fee for the first year, while giving you bonus points/miles for signing up – which equals a no-annual-fee card with additional cash or points to put toward travel. I have over a decade of experience working in finance, so I can tell you that it’s worth doing to get deals as well as extra coverage!
I’ve had bags lost, car rental incidents, flights cancelled, you name it. The best part is knowing that you’re covered with your credit card coverage. Instead of being stuck in a two hour long line trying to have a customer service rep tell me how to get on the next flight home, I simply skipped over to another airline, bought a ticket for the next flight home, and filled in a few online forms to get reimbursed once I got settled back into my daily routine. Make sure you select a card that has GREAT travel coverage as well as points!
This one’s probably obvious, but I can’t stress the point enough. Don’t wait until you already have your trip planned to book stuff! The last thing you want is your dream venue, catering spread, or band getting snatched up by someone else.
Not to mention, some vendors (*ahem* like me!) cultivate an easy elopement process by helping you plan. They provide useful recommendations, practical tips, and valuable connections to other vendors.
Insider tip: Find an elopement photographer who can help with planning and logistics.
I help my couples find accommodation, offer money-saving tips, and link them with their dream vendors! Don’t forget, vendors book up just as quickly as venues and accommodation.
Even if you’re great at sticking to a budget, it’s always better to expect the unexpected.
I usually recommend putting aside an additional 500-700 CAD for miscellaneous expenses throughout your elopement trip. Think of things like photography permit costs, parking rates, venue charges for additional guests, and provincial park pass fees.
If you don’t end up needing to spend it all, you’ll end up with a nice bonus at the end!
Even if it’s more expensive, I promise you that a big car or SUV will be worth the extra cost.
You’ll feel more comfortable driving if you’re trekking on bumpy roads, and you’ll also have more space for luggage, gear, and any potential roadside outfit changes. 😉
Outfit changes for what, you ask? If you’re driving around with your photographer and find an epic backdrop for photos, of course!
Writing your vows at the last minute leads to stress and makes it harder to find the right words.
Give yourself enough time to really think about it, consider what you want to say, and genuinely express your feelings. This will help you make sure you’re happy with them when you look back later.
Insider tip: Read your vows off of paper rather than an electronic device. Especially when surrounded by natural beauty in the great outdoors, pulling a phone out doesn’t feel right. That being said, make a digital copy as a backup and send it to your photographer or planner!
Last but not least … this is the most important suggestion on my list of elopement tips.
Don’t rely solely on the landscape and scenery to “make” your special day. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tell your story. So add in little details and storytelling pieces that you and your partner will both love and appreciate years down the road.
There’s no right or wrong way to do things! Just make it your own.
If you’re early birds, consider opting for a sunrise elopement (you’ll also avoid crowds)! If you love techno music, play your favourite track as you walk down the aisle. If you live and breathe outdoor adventure, hike with your guests to a viewpoint and elope on a rugged mountaintop.
Whatever you choose to include, you’ll be so happy to reflect on these unique personalised touches when you look back.
Insider tip: If you want a ceremony with just you and your partner, host an intimate celebration later for guests!