How to get eloped in New York City…
It’s been nearly been two years since Lee and I got eloped in New York City. There’s honestly nothing that I would change about the day, for us it was perfect. Just me and my husband in this magical city. Over the years, I’ve been asked a few questions about our wedding and tips for eloping.
I’m happy to give advice on getting eloped. From planning a wedding in one country from another, I am a fountain of knowledge that I’m more than happy to provide. Planning a wedding, in general, can be stressful. Doing it in another country can double the stress. But fear not, because I’m hoping my top tips for eloping will help ease your stress and let you enjoy this magical time for you and your future spouse…
Top tips for eloping.
Planning a wedding in another country requires a lot of organisation. You can go about this three ways; do it all yourself, ask friends to help you out or get a wedding planner. You only have to type ‘New York wedding planner‘ to come up with thousands of results.
Be sure to find one that specialises in elopements, they will know exactly what your needs and wants are and will be able to predict the questions you’re going to have. If you book your wedding through a travel agent as I did, one will normally come with your booking. We booked our wedding through Virgin Weddings and had a wedding coordinator throughout the entire process. They got us our permits for the venue, sorted out our traveller’s cheque to get our wedding licence and generally help me feel at ease throughout the entire process.
FOLLOW THE WEDDING TIMELINE.
Just because you’re not doing it traditionally, doesn’t mean you can’t throw a little traditional in there. Take your time getting ready, get someone to do your hair and makeup if within budget. Take advantage of your gorgeous surroundings and have a long photography session. New York is full of fabulous photographers who will be happy to take you to certain locations to get your wedding shots. My top tip for eloping would be to check out Instagram for photographers rather than googling. You’ll soon find someone who has a great eye and the right style for your wedding.
BE MINDFUL OF THE LAWS OF MARRIAGE IN THE COUNTRY YOU’RE PLANNING TO ELOPE IN.
Marriage laws differ from country to country. Similar in principle, but there are variants. For example, in New York, you cannot get married until exactly 24 hours after you get your marriage certificate. You can’t book to get this either, you have to go to city hall and queue up. And it’s a loooonnnggg queue. So if you plan to get married in New York City, get to city hall early. We got there at 9:00 am just as it was opening (with us getting married the next day) and we didn’t get our certificate until 10:11 am. Luckily we were getting married in the afternoon but imagine if we didn’t get there until earlier.
It some countries, your married won’t be legal in the UK (in America it is) so be mindful that you will have to do it properly once you’re back in the UK. This can mean you can have a ceremony with the family who missed out on the big day.
GET COPIES OF YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE.
The one thing I didn’t do and I regretted. Because your marriage isn’t in the UK system, you’re required to send your original marriage certificate to change your name on a lot of your official documents (should you wish to change it). Some it’s easy, you can walk into your bank with your certificate. Others like your driving licence want the real thing. I have yet to change my passport over, but I imagine it’s going to be the same.
One of my top tips for eloping is to ensure you get copies. It’s tres hard to get them from a different country once you’re back in the UK. Sort it out there and then and enjoy the first months of marriage without having to worry about all the document changes you have to make (again, should you wish to change your name).
INVEST IN GOOD LUGGAGE FOR YOUR WEDDING DRESS.
I love my wedding dress, but boy did I have a panic about getting it through the airport and to our hotel safely. If you’re planning on wearing a big dress, you can invest in special packing boxes to keep it safe. Personally, I used a cabin suitcase that I kept on me throughout the journey. Some serious death stares to the officer who scanned it through security! Bar a few creases that came out when we got to the hotel, the dress travelled safely and securely.
I highly recommend going for a hard shell suitcase to keep it secure. Cost a little bit more, but worth the investment.
PLAN SOMETHING SPECIAL.
One of the must-do tips for eloping. Listen it’s your wedding day. Make it special. Just because you’re not doing it traditionally, doesn’t mean you can’t do it with a bang. Book a limo to take you to your venue, or plan a fabulous meal at a fine dining restaurant. We booked in at this amazing taco place, it was the perfect end to the day. The best thing about eloping is that you can do whatever you want. So make sure you do!
DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.
There’s guilt associated with eloping. Whilst it is easier said than done, you should not feel guilty about your decision. You do not have to justify yourself to anyone. Yes, some friends and family (especially family) will be initially disappointed with the idea of not sharing your big day with you. But once they are over the shock, they’ll be nothing but excited for you. One of my top tips for eloping is to prepare yourself for the worse. My hope is everyone will be rooting for you, but if not then screw them. They are not worth your worry.
Congratulations to anyone recently engaged and good luck to anyone who is currently planning a wedding. You’re going to have a great time, I promise.