We used to think of elopements as a secretive way of getting married and pictured this runaway couple hopping on a bus and rushing to say their vows without anybody else being there. In recent years, elopements have become more and more popular, and social media platforms are filled with pictures of couples getting married at epic locations, on top of a cliff, the beach, the woods, you name it. With a pandemic affecting the entire world, large weddings have taken a big hit and many couples were either forced to reschedule, or downsize their weddings significantly. In some occasions, they did both - a small intimate ceremony this year, to honor their original wedding date - followed by a big party next year. Either way, 2020 is the year of elopements, minimonies, and micro weddings, and that’s not a trend that I necessarily dislike. Elopements are fun, and the intimate moment between two people who promise to love each other forever is always something magical to witness. I feel like the small wedding trend has made couples more aware of why they’re getting married, and who they’re doing all this for - each other, and that’s it. With travel bans, restrictions and quarantine making people eat through their savings, the magic moment has to happen locally for most couples. This doesn’t have to put a damper on your elopement plans though, Maryland is an awesome elopement location for many reasons!
1. Amazing Locations
For being such a small state, Maryland actually has a lot to offer! From mountains, to the beach, to the Chesapeake Bay, the variety in backdrops is super diverse. First of all, it doesn’t even take an epic location to get epic pictures. If you want to keep things simple, your own backyard or any park will do. As long as you coordinate your elopement around some pretty light, and make sure you hire a great photographer who knows how to work in a variety of locations, you will be fine! You can also check out my recent blogpost for some tips on how to make your backyard wedding sparkle. If you're looking into an adventure elopement, you don't have to search for a long time to find the perfect location close to home.
If there’s one thing that Maryland has plenty of, it's woods! If you’re an outdoorsy person, consider doing your elopement in the woods. If you’re avid hikers, who don’t mind a little walk in nature, the woods might just be the perfect environment for your little wedding.
What other backdrops can be found in Maryland? Right, water! There are plenty of beaches, and even though it’s not the Caribbean, the sunsets can be pretty amazing around here. The most important part is, that you find a location that suits your needs. Maybe you already have a special place in mind where you and your fiancé have shared some beautiful memories, or there is a place that you’ve been dreaming about going to? Let’s brainstorm some ideas!
Pro Tip: Research the most unique Airbnb's in your area, reach out to them and ask if you can have your elopement there. Usually the hosts are super helpful and would love to have you! Check the bottom of the page for our latest finds!
2. Budget friendly
Elopements are cheaper than big weddings, that’s a no brainer, but even more so if you keep them local. No need to pay for traveling for yourself, your family and friends and your vendors. You can still book a hotel or cute b&b to spend your wedding night, just to add a little something special to your elopement without breaking the bank.
3. Less travel time
Not having to travel also has the advantage of saving so much time. You can be a lot more spontaneous and you’ll be able to move plans around quickly in case of bad weather. In Maryland, everything is a car ride away, and there’s no precious time wasted sitting at airports.
4. Friends and Family
I get it, there is something special about keeping your elopement an event for just the two of you and surprise your friends and family with all the amazing photos after the fact. But, you might consider inviting your closest family members and your best friend. If you keep the circle small, you will still have the intimate elopement you’re looking for, but trust me, it is so nice to be able to hug your loved ones after the most important moment of your life. You might also be a little nervous, and having your inner circle with you, can provide some much needed comfort. Keeping things local makes it so much easier to invite them along, without having to accommodate for traveling. Nobody has to go out of their way, and can just easily join in.
5. Cool Venues
If you aren't a fan of hiking or just appreciate certain amenities that wedding venues offer versus nature locations, consider just renting a space for a couple of hours. Many venues have modified their wedding packages and have special offers for elopements or intimate weddings. 3 venues that we love and that offer special elopement packages are: The Gramercy Mansion, Main Street Ballroom, Haven Street Ballroom and Rosewood Farms. Another advantage when booking an actual wedding venue is, they almost always have some sort of indoor option in case of rain!
6. Easy peasy lemon squeezy
Guess what? It is super easy to get married in Maryland. Get started with your marriage license: You must obtain your marriage license in the county the ceremony is going to take place. You can request your license in writing or in person. The person who performs the ceremony does not have to register with the state, and all he/she has to do is sign all 3 copies of your marriage license and mail the green copy back to the County Clerk's office. Basically, any friend or family member can perform the wedding, as long as the marriage license is signed and mailed properly afterwards, you’re good to go. If you're unsure, just give your local Clerk's Office a call, and they will tell you exactly which steps to take. But, as mentioned above, it's a pretty easy process here in Maryland.
7. Invite your furry friends
Not having to travel makes it much easier to have your beloved dog in your wedding, no matter, no matter the size! No stressful traveling for them, and you can have the cutest pup of honor right by your side during the most important moment of your life.
8. Support Local vendors
This is probably my favorite one: Shop local. We can’t deny the fact that the wedding industry as a whole is pretty wasteful. When planning the most special day of our lives it's easy to lose sight of the impact that our choices have when shopping for all the wedding goodies. Eloping close to home gives you an opportunity to support your local bakery, florist, officiant, photographer and so on. Let’s be mindful of our influence as consumers, even as brides and grooms.
If you need help planning your elopement, don't hesitate to reach out, I'm more than happy to guide you through the entire process!
No idea where to elope? Check out our most recent and super unique Airbnb finds:
If you want to spend your honeymoon in a yurt, click right here.
If you're a fan of water views, this one might be the right fit!
Can't wait to go on a local MD adventure with you!