You might be thinking, “Should we elope?” Making the choice to have a super small wedding abroad wasn’t easy at first… planning something in a foreign country isn’t always simple & the pressure to throw a big to-do with everyone you know is very real. Combine the two and you’ll find that it’s really easy to get sucked into the traditional wedding machine.
We knew we didn’t want a big wedding from the very beginning. Originally our plans were to have a small gathering of about 75 people (so…not really that small) near my hometown but quickly I realized that wasn’t what we wanted either.
We believe that how we get married matters. We want to start our life together in a way that truly reflects who we are. So that’s what we’re doing!
During this whole process of planning our elopement, I realized that so many of y’all want this same thing for yourselves, but are just not really sure how you can have it too. I get a lot of questions, so I’m going to attempt to answer the most common ones here!
A: Brei: I’ve been to Costa Rica a couple of times already and love it there. It’s also beautiful, tropical, and it only takes about half a day to travel there from New Orleans. We also are both SCUBA certified and whale season is in October, so getting a chance to dive with humpbacks was a pretty big motivator for me!
A: Blayton: I was open to a lot of places, but Costa Rica has a variety of different ecosystems and has a lot to see and do. There’s a nice blend of different topography – jungles, mountains, volcanos – which appeals to me!
A: Brei: We looked at multiple locations that host weddings, but mostly all of them offered packages that didn’t fit our needs. So we decided to just wing it and find a ceremony location when we get there! We also booked a beautiful Airbnb home that we can use as a backup.
A: Brei: My parents are divorced, so honestly there was probably a bit of relief that they didn’t have to do the whole traditional-style day. No matter what we do, though, there’s gonna be tension *shrugs*
A: Blayton: My parents weren’t super surprised that we wanted to elope and they are pretty excited to come along with us to a cool place!
A: Brei: This was a big question when deciding if we should elope. For the first few days we’re doing the family + relaxation thing. I plan to lay out by the pool a lot during these days to catch a little glow before the day of our ceremony. The day after our ceremony we’re SCUBA diving and then we will begin our camping adventure. We’ll make our way to Arenal/La Fortuna area and spend those days hiking, swimming in the natural springs and rivers, and touring coffee plantations!
A: Blayton: Yeah. What she said. But I’m super excited to go diving (my first in the actual ocean!) and am looking forward to seeing sharks and fishes and maybe whales. All of the wildlife in Costa Rica, really – I’m a huge nature person. The hanging bridges in La Fortuna and the Arenal volcano seem like really cool adventures too.
A: Brei: Yeah! And the first time he dives is gonna be in one of the most sought after destinations in the world…. lucky duck!
A: Brei: My wedding dress isn’t a traditional gown. It’s short and doesn’t wrinkle, so I folded it up and stuck it in my carry-on!
A: Blayton:…Wait. Uh…my stuff is in the carry on too, right??
A: Brei: *sigh* YES DEAR.
A: Brei: We but a hard rule on immediate family only. For me, it’ll just be my parents, brother, and my two grandparents. Blayton has a few more guests coming because their family is more close-knit than mine. The only friends we invited are our two best friends.
A: Brei: I’m gonna let Blayton go first on this one *sarcastically snickers* Just kidding. The average wedding cost in 2018 is about $35,000. We’re doing a 3-day wedding event, a 6-day honeymoon, and we also bought all of our rings and my dress for less than half of that average cost!
A: Blayton: And we’re not sparing any luxuries. The house Brei rented for the wedding portion is really, really nice. So I think it really all depends on what you’re looking for. You can make it just as expensive or even more than a traditional wedding or not… depending on how you plan your elopement, it can be an amazing experience for a fraction of the cost. We have a great location, we’re flying out an awesome photographer for us, and having a fun honeymoon with lots of excursions. We don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything and we’re not being forced into spending money on things we don’t care about. Win-win in my book!
A: Brei: The only wedding vendors we need for our trip are an officiant and our photographer. Everything else we are willing to do spontaneously! For a marriage to be legal in Costa Rica, a licensed attorney must perform the ceremony. I found our officiant on google and contacted him via email. We already knew our photographer, he’s a photographer friend of mine whom I met while we were living in Savannah.
If you’re still wondering, “should we elope,” I say YES. It’s totally do-able and I believe it is the most wonderful, intimate way to get married.
It's important that you have a wedding you love! Get timeline tips, my best advice of all time, and so much more delivered straight to your inbox.
Sign up now and you'll get instant access to my New Orleans Vendor Guide as a free bonus!