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Elopement – How to Elope in the UK

Elopement or Elope probably isn’t a word that you’ve heard a lot in recent years – it tends to make most people think of young couples running away to marry in secret, or drunkenly saying ‘I do’ in front of two strangers and an Elvis impersonator in a last-minute Vegas ceremony. In actual fact, eloping is mostly very different from the stereotypes you’ve heard about it – the majority of eloping couples are neither blackout drunk or running away from home!

Elopement Meaning

These days, couples who choose to elope tend to do it because they just don’t want a big wedding. It’s the ideal solution for any couple who just want to keep things private, save money and avoid having to send out hundreds of invites to friends, family and those colleagues that you feel like you just have to invite! While it may not be something that we hear about quite as common today, that’s not because elopement weddings aren’t happening – the famous Gretna Green saw over 3,000 eloping couples tie the knot in the last year alone.

In fact, as an Elopement Wedding Photographer, we’ll more than likely see elopement weddings growing in popularity over the next few years thanks to rules placed on weddings by the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance restrictions and forced postponements mean that a lot of couples who were set to marry in 2020/2021 are being forced to change or cancel their weddings, and it’s left a lot of brides and grooms around the world wondering whether or not eloping might be the best option for them.

If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that there’s something very romantic about wanting to get married privately – just you, your partner and a small number of witnesses – so it makes sense that you would want to do it somewhere romantic, too. In 2020, Gretna Green is just one of many elopement locations around the UK!

With that in mind, let’s look into the many benefits of eloping for your wedding – and take a look at some of the most romantic locations in the United Kingdom for the perfect elopement wedding.

bride and groom together with dog

Why Elope?

Elopement weddings are perfect for couples who don’t quite want to take on the financial and emotional stress of planning a large wedding. The average wedding in the UK now costs around £32,000, a price tag which many couples today simply can’t afford to spend on just one day of their lives. Elopement wedding packages tend to allow the couple to put their own stamp on things and tailor the ceremony to their own tastes but on a much smaller (and much more inexpensive!) scale.

A lot of the cost involved in weddings comes from the number of attendees, which affects the price of things such as venues, catering, accommodation, etc. If you and your partner save on the ceremony by eloping, you could use the extra savings to take an incredible honeymoon, buy your dream wedding rings, hire the perfect photographer or hold a reception-style celebration once you get back from your elopement getaway!

Again, it’s also sometimes much simpler to get married in private or only invite your very nearest and dearest. Nobody wants to spend their wedding day worrying about the fact the caterers haven’t accounted for their distant third-cousin who doesn’t eat gluten or wondering whether or not their aunt will re-ignite an argument she had at the Christmas dinner table three years ago – eloping allows you to do away with the idea of ‘keeping up appearances’, and instead focus on the real meaning behind the day.

Sometimes, it might just be the case that traditional weddings just don’t work for you and your partner! A lot of the traditions we associate with getting married – the big white dress, top hat and tails, top table, being given away, church bells, etc. – just seem a little outdated to some couples, and that’s fine. Eloping, while it’s no new concept, seems increasingly modern and personal.

couple walking dog

Elopement Wedding Photography

The memories and photos will be all you have left of the wedding day, especially if you’re eloping. For any family or friends who couldn’t be part of the day, having photos to show them might be really helpful in allowing them still feel part of it.

You may be wondering how elopement wedding photography differs from traditional wedding photography. For an elopement, I spend more time finding locations that fit your personal preferences than I would on a regular wedding day. With weddings that have a lot of guests, there’s rarely the time to go looking or spending too long at different locations, whereas during an elopement, you’ll have as long as you like and it can be worked around your wedding ceremony without worrying about your guests.

How to Elope?

Location 

Find a place that is special to you both or go on an adventure! One of the perks of eloping means you can go anywhere, and do anything that makes you both happy!

Clothing 

Leave the wedding reception behind. I definitely suggest getting a dress that will allow you to move around, hike up a trail and be comfortable in. For shoes, most couples bring a pair of trainers or hiking boots along with their formal shoes.

Witnesses 

Depending on where in the world you are getting married, legal weddings in the UK have to take place in a building or structure that is legally sanctioned. You legally won’t need witnesses but it’s totally up to you if you want to bring a best friend or two, even your closest family members for support!

Time of year 

A massive benefit to elopements is that you aren’t stuck with a summer Saturday as your date. Practically any time of year works great and the added flexibility of being able to do the ceremony wherever you like also helps.

After party 

You’re married and you can always throw a party back home! If you let me know in advance, I can have your images edited so that they’re ready, if you’re planning on doing a slideshow of the images at the party.

bride and groom at st georges hall liverpool

Elopement Wedding Packages – Here Are Some Of The UK’s Most Beautiful Locations.

While many couples in the UK choose to elope abroad, this can be a lot more expensive, take a lot more planning and, in 2020, just isn’t as simple as having a wedding in the United Kingdom. Luckily, this country is full of amazing elopement venues, perfect for intimate ‘just the two of us’ wedding ceremonies. Many of these venues also offer dedicated elopement packages, including accommodation, wedding planning services, meals, champagne and other special touches to make it a wedding day you’ll truly never forget.

Here are just a few of the UK’s finest elopement wedding venues, with something to suit every couple’s tastes!

Cragwood Country House Hotel, Lake District

This incredible country home is set amongst some of the UK’s most breathtaking views and offers an elopement package perfect for couples who are looking to get away from it all as they tie the knot.

The package costs just £995 for the bride and groom and includes two nights’ accommodation in a room with breathtaking lakeside views, a four-course meal on both nights, a bottle of champagne to celebrate their nuptials, a wedding ceremony in the house’s grand library or beautiful garden gazebo and two ceremony witnesses. Guests also have the option to pay extra if they are looking to invite some of their very nearest and dearest to their ceremony.

Website – https://www.lakedistrictcountryhotels.co.uk/cragwood-hotel

cragwood hotel
Image by – Have Dog Can Travel

Millbrook Estate, North Devon

Nestled away within 32 acres of North Devon woodland, this beautiful estate would make for a gorgeous wedding backdrop at any time of year. Couples can stay for up to seven nights in the cosy Millbrook accommodation, with the ceremony taking place on a day of their choice. The ceremonies themselves take place in the summerhouse, but it’s in the winter that this venue comes into its own – and Millbrook offers a special winter wedding package for this very time of year.

The elopement packages at Millbrook Estate start from £799, including accommodation, a summerhouse wedding ceremony, a bottle of champagne to celebrate and two witnesses for the ceremony itself. If the bride and groom do wish to bring their closest family and friends, they can have up to 6 guests, too.

Website – https://www.millbrookestate.co.uk/

millbrookestate
Image by – Premier Cottages

Boho, Penzance

A short stroll from the Cornish seaside, this country house venue has specialised in delivering beautiful elopement weddings since it was established just seven years ago. Couples have the choice between two self-contained cottages when deciding where to stay during their wedding getaway, with both overlooking the incredible views around the intimate country home where the ceremony will take place.

The ‘Just The Two Of You’ elopement package at Boho is £1695 and includes two night’s stay around the venue, champagne, fresh flowers and celebratory wedding breakfast, as well as two witnesses for the wedding ceremony.

Website – https://www.bohocornwall.co.uk/

Image by – Boho Cornwall

Lower Barns, Cornwall

Also in Cornwall, on the south coast, is Lower Barns. This unique venue is tucked away at the end of a rural country lane, though not too far from the seaside, and would make the ideal boutique venue for any couple looking to elope and tie the knot somewhere really unique.

The accommodation on the site is full of quirky details and is surrounded by wildflowers, with their own hot tub tucked away from the view of other guests – perfect for toasting your wedding with a glass of champagne later on!

Prices start from £1200 for two nights’ accommodation in one of the venue’s luxury self-catering suites, a cooked wedding breakfast, wedding ceremony in one of two beautiful areas of the venue, champagne and wedding cake, as well as two witnesses.

Website – http://lowerbarns.co.uk/

Image by – Tripadvisor

Cote How, Cumbria

This wonderful wedding venue has seen couples elope from all over the world over the years, and it’s clear to see why – the venue itself is beautiful, set against an incredible view, and couples can choose to tie the knot in whichever area of this lovely location they prefer.

There are a few different packages available at Cote How, starting with a two-hour wedding package (ideal for those who don’t want to have to take a full weekend away to tie the knot) and expanding to include accommodation and delicious cooked wedding breakfast. Cote How to mention on their website that they most commonly marry older couples and are used to holding relaxed, intimate weddings for couples who have been together for several years.

Website – https://www.cotehow.co.uk/

Image by – Pinterest

Wee Weddings, Crear

Situated in a beautiful corner of Scotland, this retreat is perfect for couples who would like to experience the very best natural beauty that the UK has to offer as they celebrate their new marriage. Couples can tie the knot in front of the romantic Scottish sunset, before taking their first steps as husband and wife to the tune of pipe-players in traditional Highland dress. This is the perfect spot of peace and tranquillity for those who wish for their wedding day to be about them and only them.

The cost of your wedding varies depending on the services you ask for, as the venue are dedicated to planning your ceremony exactly to your tastes – everything is tailored to the happy couple, from location, to flowers, to music, to food. No ask is too big for the owners of Wee Weddings.

Website – https://www.weeweddings.co.uk/

Swinton Park, Yorkshire

You might think castle weddings are reserved for those who are committed to having a huge wedding, but you’d be wrong! This wonderful castle is set right in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and offers a dedicated wedding package for couples who wish to elope, including two nights’ bed and breakfast, luxurious spa treatments, a romantic ceremony, delicious three-course meal, fresh wedding flowers and, of course, complimentary champagne – all for £2,000. An intimate elopement ceremony in this incredible castle setting just goes to show that, even with just the two of you, you can still have your perfect fairytale wedding!

Website – https://www.swintonestate.com/hotel/

Image by – Booking.com

Get in Touch

There are obviously many more Elopement and Wedding Venues throughout the UK to be considered but these are just some of my favourites and I will be adding more in the future.

If you are looking for an elopement photographer who promises not to pose you in any way whatsoever then please get in touch to check my availability. Just head over to my contact & pricing page complete the form and I’ll be in touch.

Wedding photography for couples that don’t want to pose!

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