How To Have An Intimate NZ Elopement

By Maria Yeonhee Ji

More and more couples are opting for elopements in lieu of the traditional wedding, and the appeal is hard to miss. Departing with your loved one to a destination where you can celebrate your nuptials in an intimate ceremony, leaving behind all the headache of spreadsheets and the manoeuvring of guests involved in traditional weddings, and forgoing the hefty costs of a large gathering. In New Zealand, we have a pick of elopement destinations unparalleled in their beauty, which makes the choice to elope even easier. So for those of you who are considering a getaway a little closer to home, here is a guide on how to have an intimate elopement. 


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Image by Levien & Lens Photography

Choosing to elope means you can diverge as far or as little as you want from the conventional wedding, and plan the experience that is perfect for you. Make the most being without the constraints of other people’s opinions; your elopement can be as formal or as informal as you want, incorporate personal themes and details that have significance to you as a couple that a larger crowd of guests mightn’t have understood, and have a schedule that can adapt to your whims on the day.


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Image by Levien & Lens Photography

No matter how many or few people you decide to invite to your elopement, hiring a photographer is still one of the biggest and best decisions you’ll make. It means that you can experience the intimate moments of your elopement ceremony without the pressures of a huge crowd, but then have the ability to share your news visually so that those who weren’t invited feel included. It also means you will have professional quality photos that capture the spirit of the day - people aren’t exaggerating when they say the day flies by before you can take it all in. With fewer guests to remind you of all the little quirks that made things memorable in the years to come, you’ll cherish these mementos more than anything else money can buy. 


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Image by The Kitcheners

The beauty of the elopement is in the freedom - you aren’t tied down geographically by social obligations, logistics, or other pressures. So when you’re trying to pick a destination, let your imagination wander and roam before settling on one that’s right for you. New Zealand is full of the world’s most sublime wedding venues, it would be remiss to not take all your options into consideration (the smaller size of elopement parties also opens up the possibility of all sorts of boutique/unconventional venues that couldn’t accommodate a traditional ceremony). Maybe you’ll go back to a place that had a significance in your past, or go someplace you’ve had on your wishlist for some time. It doesn’t matter either way, as long as the destination is one that is the right fit for the wedding you’ve wanted all along. 


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Images by The Kitcheners

An elopement means you can abandon a lot of the fuss of wedding planning - there are many many perks of not having to deal with a guestlist of a hundred (plus) and all the logistical joys that brings. This means you can focus your attentions on the details of your elopement that will make it personal and special. Will you have rings? Exchange vows? If you don’t want a wedding florist for the whole blooming package affair, do you still want a single bouquet or pretty bunch of flowers for the occasion? Where will you get these from? If you’ve decided to invite your nearest and dearest, what kind of seating (or standing) arrangement do you want for the ceremony itself? 


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Image by Lynn Lewis Photography & Design

Opting for an elopement doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be saving large sums of money (for example, some people plan to take themselves and ten others to a destination halfway across the world for a several-day-long event where no expenses are spared). However, forgoing the costs of the ceremony and reception for large crowds of people generally does mean that your budget will have the flexibility for you to be able to spend more on other things. To help create the intimate, celebratory atmosphere of a life milestone, do invest (both in terms of your planning time and money) in the elements that will make your event stand out for you and your partner.


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Image by Bethany Howarth Photography

Just because you’ve made the decision to elope, doesn’t mean you can’t have a reception back at home with your friends and family. In fact, planning an event to celebrate your marriage with your loved ones can be a great way to make sure everybody feels included and any ruffled feathers can be appropriately smoothed out. It doesn’t have to be a formal or ostentatious affair; an opportunity to simply show everyone the photos from your elopement and tell them about your travels can be a sufficiently considerate gesture. The best part about having an event like this planned means that you can go away on your elopement with some peace of mind - the last thing you want is to feel guilty about the decision to elope with your partner. Celebrate this momentous part of your journey in the way that makes you two happy - it is your relationship, after all.


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