When it comes to your big elopement day, you want nothing more than for everything to go as planned. I mean, who wouldn’t? However, one area of elopement preparation I see couples overlook too often is creating a backup plan. This is something I ensure all my couples have in place so they can be excited about the best-case scenario while also being ready for surprises.
At the end of the day, elopement planning is a delicate art—my step-by-step checklist takes you through this process. In this article, I want to dive deeper into one aspect of this checklist: How to make a plan B for your elopement. While you and your partner might have your hearts fixed on one location, being prepared with some backup options is essential. Let’s explore why.
Elopement backup plans are necessary, especially if you intend to have your ceremony outdoors, like many of my couples. Some reasons you might need to resort to this plan B include:
Taking the step to create alternative arrangements ensures you’re prepared if the worst strikes. It also brings you peace of mind leading up to the day.
If you’re unsure where to begin in your planning process, reach out to someone who’s done this countless times before (like me). I can help you navigate the world of backup elopement plans and ensure we assess all angles together so you can focus on what really matters—your relationship and love!
First things first: The key to any plan is to start early—like five months to a year in advance. During these early stages, your main focus will likely be your priority location. When couples book their elopement package with me, I encourage them to choose a general location. For example, you can come to me and say, “I want to elope in a forest” or “I want to elope in the Midwest!”
Keeping things general at first allows us to explore the perfect options for your primary location and find some secondary spots along the way.
One other thing to note is that geography plays a huge role in your plans to begin with. For example, if you plan to elope in the Midwest, we may have to factor in things like snow, depending on the season. On the other hand, if you want to elope in a place like Florida, you could face things like high-speed wind or hurricanes. All of these environmental aspects of your chosen location should be considered when deciding which primary and secondary plans are actually feasible.
This, in most cases, is the best plan B for couples. As I said, after we’ve scouted out your general location, we can pinpoint some ideal areas and decide which will be the primary spot and which are close seconds.
The theory is that if your primary location becomes unavailable (for example, if the trail closes), we can pivot quickly to a nearby spot. This creates the least disruption to your original plan. Plus, heading to a nearby area likely means the scenery is still everything you dream of and more.
I often encourage my couples to book a super cute Airbnb or VRBO for their elopement experience. This not only helps with stunning, aesthetically pleasing photos for moments like getting ready or post-elopement dinner, but it also provides an indoor space to turn to in the event of extreme weather or other hiccups.
This is an excellent backup option because your accommodation is likely near your original ceremony location, so you won’t need to travel far to adapt! Keep in mind that before you book your space, it’s important to ensure it’s wedding and event-friendly (not all Airbnbs or VRBOs allow this!).
This option is not always ideal for couples—you have busy lives and don’t always have the luxury of a flexible schedule. This is where multi-day elopements come in handy. If, for example, you plan your elopement experience over a few days, like two or three, you’ll have the flexibility to move the ceremony forward or back. If the forecast predicts more favorable conditions the day before or after, you can move around the itinerary and schedule the big day when you’ll get the best weather.
Okay, this one only applies when it’s safe to do so. To be clear, I don’t recommend exchanging your vows in the middle of a lightning storm.
When you choose to elope outdoors, you also say ‘yes’ to everything Mother Nature offers. As you plan your elopement, you and your partner should discuss how much you’re willing to withstand before turning to your backup plan. If you’re both okay with a bit of rain, for example, there are some things you can do to adapt:
This approach helps you make the most of your day and will undoubtedly bring you unforgettable memories. If safety and comfort allow, have fun with it—you might even get a surprise rainbow at the end of it all!
Another part of making a backup plan is deciding the point at which you choose to pivot from your original itinerary. There isn’t a sure answer to this, as it depends on your preferences and the situation. However, as a rule of thumb, I recommend keeping tabs on the weather forecast as soon as your big day comes into view. If, for example, you see stormy weather on the 10-day forecast, I’d recommend waiting until you get closer to the date—like two or three days before—to make a decision.
Next, you also want to decide on the conditions that constitute moving to your plan B. For example, if the forecast calls for a light sprinkle, will the show still go on?
If you’re nearing your elopement date and debating whether or not to proceed with your original location, this is something we can discuss together. With backup plans in place, however, we’ll ensure the celebration of your love happens one way or another!
Understandably, if plans do change, you might feel a mixture of different emotions, from panic to disappointment—and that’s okay! While part of the goal in creating backup plans is to ensure you have other options that will make you equally happy, suddenly needing to pivot away from your primary location can still feel like a downer.
If you end up in this situation, remember to center yourselves with each other. Take some time for self-care and do what you need to settle any anxieties or worries. Since I’ll be along for the ride, don’t hesitate to lean on me for guidance. I’ve helped couples create backup plans before, and while we rarely need to resort to them, I’m here to assure you that regardless of what happens, we can still make your day memorable.
Your elopement backup plan is as important as the main itinerary—don’t overlook it! Having this in place will bring you the extra reassurance that you and your partner will get the opportunity to celebrate your love regardless of the circumstances.
If you’re ready to start this adventure and want a professional by your side, reach out to me! I can’t wait to learn about your story and help you make your elopement dreams a reality.
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