5 Destination Elopement Planning Tips


July 27, 2021
Words by Kinsley Brown
Photos courtesy of Lisette OC Photography

Maybe you’ve been toiling with the idea of eloping abroad, or perhaps you’re already on the road to planning your intimate “I do’s.” Either way, a little expert advice could never hurt! We spoke with veteran destination wedding photographer, Lisette Gatliff of Lisette OC Photography, who has helped numerous couples plan and capture their special day. Here are her five tips for planning a successful destination elopement:

1) Choose a location that has some meaning to both of you. It could be somewhere you have both talked about visiting together, in which case it could double as a honeymoon. Or it could be your favorite beach or hiking spot you have already traveled to. 

2) If you’re planning on a destination location that is not a venue, make sure to check ahead of time whether a photography permit is needed. For instance, not everyone is aware that some beaches require permits that allow for one or two hours of shooting time.

3) Vendors still need to be booked in advance. Even though an elopement requires less logistically, vendors such as photographers, florists, and officiants may already be booked on your date if you wait too long to inquire. Even better, hire a local wedding planner to make your life easier.

4) Set up a live feed for family members and friends who will not be there but you still want to include. This could be as simple as having a tripod with a cell phone that has Zoom – anything works to help celebrate with the ones you love!

5) Pack light! Consider a wedding gown made of lightweight fabric, such as lace. For the groom, his attire doesn’t have to be a suit but a nice white button-down shirt and slacks. Don’t forget to pack vow books and any small items that have special meaning.

Destination Weddings at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Destination Weddings
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Couple in Cancun doing a gazebo destination wedding
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres
Iberostar Weddings

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.