Just starting to plan an elopement? This is for you!

Something common I hear is that planning an elopement is easier than planning a wedding. It's true that there are less people to co-ordinate (obviously!) but what's not true is that there isn't much planning involved. A lot of decisions still have to be made even for the simplest of elopements. I am a plan-ahead-er - so let that be said. I believe that getting clear on your vision and ideas is the first step to creating a day that truly feels like magic to you. And if you are anything like me an intimate day doesn't mean a day you don't think and overthink because your heart is invested in it being incredible.

So my number one piece of advice when beginning your planning is MAKE A MOOD BOARD!

It's so easy to get a rush of inspiration when you first start thinking about what you both want for your day. There's also two of you - each with ideas of their own. It's so helpful to organise those thoughts and the most clear way (at least for me) is visually. Then you can see it all in one place and decide which ideas work together and which ones don't.

Often, people turn to Pinterest for this type of this - Pinterest is good but it's often just a lot of images together without much sense or specificity. I recommend using something like Milanote (it's free) to put a mood board together that you can create notes in, lists, colour palettes (and everything else!)

I am going to walk through a step-by-step on how to do this in the hopes it will help you get clear on your vision (and trust me - your florist, your dressmaker, your baker, and even your photographer and videographer will LOVE you for this. It helps all your vendors get a clear idea on what you want so they can execute your vision). Honestly, it's pretty easy, creative and fun so I hope this helps!

Finding your vibe and vision

First of all, I want to start by recommending you and your partner do this together! Two people are involved in the day and even though in every couple there is an organiser and a follower (I love that for us) for this, the vision should be a joint one.

Right - the first thing you need to start with is what do you KNOW about your day? Some things you don't need to research - you just know them. Maybe you've been thinking about a specific location for years - before you even got engaged - and you know it will happen there. Maybe you've got a plan for witnesses or your friend always said she'd make you a cake. Whatever it is - just make a note. If you don't know anything yet - that's fine too!

Here's where to go from there - think of three words that you want your elopement to feel. Maybe you are the gentle, cosy, romantic type; maybe you are Joyful, playful, relaxed. whatever you can think of that feels like it suits the two of you.  This one simple thing will really help keep a focused idea for the day as your ideas develop.

Now go looking. Maybe you have a Pinterest board already, or a bunch of saved instagram photos - If so, get it open and put your favourite of those images in your mood board. Search using the terms you just wrote down like "Cosy elopement" or "relaxed elopement" and see what comes back. If you are thinking of a specific place (like the Scottish highlands or a Scottish beach) search those terms too.

Once all the images are in the mood board look at them and draw parallels between them: "most of these are on a beach"; "these are really sunny and summery"; "I really love the dark, moody autumnal ones"

Great. Now you can start to pair down to just the ones that fit that vibe.

I would recommend then writing a little list of what it is that is capturing you about those images. In my example I've written

"Beach, romantic, dreamy, connected to water, boho, warm sun, cosy"

P.s. these are all photos by me.

Getting the details together

The work above is your jumping off point of all of the little details of your day. If you are having flowers add a little section about that. If you are having a cute dinner with some close family and friends that evening - add a section about that. Cakes, ceremony, activities, decor, accommodation - any element you can think of (if you are undecided that's even more of a reason to do this!) - add a section for it and include images that make you excited and then pair them down.

Pull out your favourite colours from those images, think of words that express the tone of those things.

Once you have those items together group them all and pull them over to your original inspiration area - do they go? Are they connecting to everything else you are pulling together.

p.s. Photo 2 and 4 were taken from Pinterest and are examples only. 1 and 3 are by me.

Now I'm not saying these need to be an exact science. But what we are going for here is a strong and *somewhat* complete vision for your day.

The wonderful thing about these boards is that they grow and evolve with you over time. You can take things off, add things on. Add the vendors you book, and the little note books you got for your vows, add the reading your celebrant is doing at the start. All of it goes into the board.

p.s. photo 2 and 3 were taken from Pinterest and are examples only. photo 1 is by me.


This final section is for outfits. EVERYONE should do an outfit section (or make your own secret mood board if this is a surprise). This isn't just for dress wearers. My husband put just as much consideration into his outfit as I did because the day meant just as much to him and he wanted to feel and look his best.

Pull together all the wedding/ elopement outfits you like - including jewellery, shoes, head pieces, hats, suits, vests, socks, shawls, the cute earrings you saw on Etsy (this was me. My whole outfit was around some cute earrings).

Whittle it all down in little groups until you know the vibe you are looking for and whenever you purchase something you can add it to your mood board. This is what will help you decide goes together and save you from any unnecessary purchases. I like to layer the things together roughly where they will be going so I can see how they bounce off all the other elements.

Again - men, women and non-binary pals alike - get your outfit on a mood board. I'll tell you this - my husband had a much clearer idea about what he was going to get once we sat down and did this. Before then he was just looking at 1000s of images swimming in possibility. And that's kind of the point of all of this. We are bombarded by ideas and images all the time. It's so easy to get muddled in the middle of that. If you want to cut through to the heart of your vision - get it on a board. I swear doing this saved me from a break down planning my own elopement.

p.s. all these photos were taken from Pinterest and are examples only.

Ok. That's it from me. I hope this was helpful. Planning something special for your elopement can feel a bit overwhelming at first (at least it did for me) but hopefully getting it all in one place will start to give you clarity.

By the way, This mood board is super helpful for choosing a photographer too! You can use the same process to inform what kind of visual style you like. I would also write down a few words on how you want the photographer to be - as in, do you want someone hands off and just letting you do your thing? do you want someone who poses you and tells you exactly what to do? Do you want someone who helps you plan? Do you want someone who is hands off until the day?

You know yourself and your partner the best so getting some of those ideas down will really help you know when the right photographer comes along!

That's all from me.

Until next time, friend!


p.s. thinking you might like to work with me? This is a good link to follow to learn more!

P.P.S Here are four mood boards for you to take inspiration from (one for every season and using only my images)