Soooo you’re thinking of either planning a destination elopement or destination wedding in Europe?!! Even if you’re remotely interested in it, keep reading! Getting married in Europe is SO dreamy and can be such an incredible adventure to start off your marriage. Plus it’s easy to plan a honeymoon from there too 😉 Here’s a guide on how to plan your elopement in Europe including when to start planning, best time of year to elope, who to bring, legality of making it official in Europe, what to pack, and location ideas.
When To Start Planning Your European Elopement
Planning a destination wedding or elopement is actually pretty easy! I think if it’s just the two of you for a destination elopement, giving yourself at least 3 months should be enough time to plan and book everything without making it extremely stressful or overwhelming. If you’re inviting people for a more destination wedding, give at least 6 months to plan and book everything and to allow your guests to do the same.
Generally speaking, I always try to encourage you to arrive to your location a few days early to adjust for the time change, in case flights gets cancelled or delayed, and to simply relax and get to enjoy the last few days being an engaged couple!
When is the Best Time to Elope in Europe?
It is totally up to you on what time of year you want to elope in Europe! Going to Europe in the spring and fall generally allows for less tourists and the potential to still have nicer weather. During the summer and Christmastime are probably the busiest times of the year in Europe, but are just as magical!
Who to Bring on Your European Elopement
It’s entirely up to you who you want to come with and celebrate with you and your partner for your European elopement! It can just be the two of you, or you can invite your immediate family and close friends. In some cases, renting a venue or hotel for an entire week is cheaper than renting a venue for one day in the United States.
One thing to keep in mind, is that it’s a bit harder to do things in a bigger group around Europe (like going sightseeing, getting a bigger table at a restaurants, going to a coffee shop, etc.) if you don’t reach out and reserve activities in advance. But also, people can always go off and do their own thing during the day in smaller groups. It IS do-able to travel with a larger group, I promise, but just so you have the proper expectations!!
Legality of Marriage for Your European Elopement
Every country is different when it comes to legally getting married internationally! ALWAYS research the laws of the country you’re wanting to get married in to to make sure your marriage is legit. A lot of countries are pretty strict with marriage laws; some need proof of at least 30 days of residency before allowing you to get legally married
Depending on the country’s laws, it may be easier to go to the courthouse in the United States to legalize your marriage and then make it official official by saying your vows and going on an epic adventure in whichever European country you’re planning on going to. If you do this option, then it’s entirely up to you if you want to hire an officiant while in Europe. Since your marriage is already legal, you won’t technically need one unless you want one!
National Parks in Europe are typically free to enter and to take photos in. But double check with the local regulations to be sure you won’t need a special permit to take wedding pictures in certain locations– especially if you’re wanting to take photos outside or inside iconic landmarks!
How to Pack Your Wedding Attire For Your European Elopement
I HIGHLY recommend bringing your wedding attire in a carry-on bag. In addition to the garment bag your attire comes in, also put it in a clear plastic protective bag. The clear plastic protects the attire on another level justtttt in case. Depending on the type of fabric and style of your wedding attire (especially the dress), packing it in a decompression bag may be helpful too by getting rid of the extra fluff and in creating more room in your suitcase.
Also, do NOT put any other liquids or things that could potentially stain your wedding attire in the same suitcase. Put liquids in another suitcase or bag (and always have them in a plastic bag because they’re may explode 30,000 feet in the air)!! You can put other accessories in the attire bag if there’s room (shoes, jewelry, etc.).
If you’re forced to check your bag at the gate, you can take out your dress (still in the garment bag) and hang on to it while the rest goes under the plane. Most flight attendants are super understanding and will allow you to hang your clothes in their dress bags at the front or back of the plane.
Once you arrive to your location, you can steam or iron your attire to make sure it looks beautiful on your wedding day. Just double check with your hotel/resort/Airbnb host if they have a steamer and/or iron; otherwise, you can pack a mini one to de-wrinkle your attire.
You can never be too safe in carrying your wedding attire with you in case your checked bag gets delayed or lost right before your wedding (fingers crossed that never happens though!!).
European Location Ideas
This is just a small list of European locations to get the creativity flowing. The options are truly limitless!!
European Mountain Locations
- Interlaken, Switzerland
- The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
- Oslo, Norway
- The Dolomites, Italy
- The Bavarian Alps, Germany
European Beach and Coastal Locations
- Amalfi Coast, Italy
- Santorini, Greece
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Mallorca, Spain
- Corfu, Greece
European City Locations
- Paris, France
- Rome, Italy
- Brussels, Belgium
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
European Elopement Photographer
Well hey there – if you didn’t know me already, I’m Emily! I’m a European elopement photographer in North Carolina. I spend a lot of time photographing adventure elopements of rad couples around the world. I’m obsessed with all things elopements, hiking, outdoor adventure, and am truly so grateful that I get to call this my job!!!
If you’re looking for a photographer for your European elopement who will:
- Photograph your beautiful European elopement ceremony and activities through storytelling photos that you can look back on for the rest of your life
- Help you come up with your dream elopement day and itinerary
- Help you find activities in the European area to make your elopement intentional, unique, and memorable
…then I’m your person!!!
Visit my website to learn more about me, get to know my approach to elopement photography, and then reach out to me if you think we’re a good fit. I cannot wait to hear from you and start planning your dream European elopement!!
My destination packages are all customized depending on the location. I simply charge you for the flight, lodging, food, and transportation; I do not charge you any extra!! Check out my Travel Schedule here to potentially avoid the travel costs if you decide to go to a location while I’m already there.
If you found this blog helpful, you should also check out my Europe Travel Tips here.
Check out all the recommendations for specific cities and countries I traveled to in 2019 at my Brussels Blog here.