So, why did we elope? We eloped because we wanted to start our life together in a way that truly reflects who we are… which is coffee lovin’, introverted SCUBA divers who have two dogs and are laid-back and extremely experience-driven. We are definitely not people who want to throw a fancy party, with fancy linens and fancy plates, or be the center of attention in front of 200 people. We’re more like barefoot-in-the-backyard kind of people who like touring breweries and going on spontaneous road trips.
During this whole process of planning our elopement (or micro-wedding – whatever you want to call it), I realized that so many couples are looking for the same kind of experience, but are just not really sure where to start. I know so many of you are wondering how to elope or why to elope, so I thought it would be fun for my partner and me to answer the questions that I receive most. I hope our answers bring you some insight or give you clarity on how you can elope or have a destination micro-wedding!
A: Since the first time I photographed a small, intimate wedding, I knew I didn’t want a huge wedding. You can read more about why here.
A: Brei: I’ve been to Costa Rica a couple of times already and love it there. It’s wild, 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 since it is rainy season in Costa Rica right now.
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. There’s a lot of tender feelings surrounding my family situation though, so 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 we invited them 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 by the pool a lot during these days to catch a little glow before 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 excited to go diving and am looking forward to seeing sharks and fishes and maybe whales. All of the wildlife in Costa Rica – I guess I’m really just a nature person so that’s what I’m excited about. The hanging bridges in La Fortuna and the Arenal volcano seem like really cool adventures too.
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: I don’t have a jacket, so my attire is easy to bring as well.
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 two non-family members invited are our two very best friends.
A: Brei: The average wedding cost in 2018 is about $35,000. 2019 it’s $40,000. 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.
A: Blayton: …And we’re not sparing any luxuries. So I think it really all depends on what you’re looking for. You can make it just as expensive, or even more expensive, 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 to document everything for us, and having a fun honeymoon with lots of excursions. We don’t feel at all 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-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. Our photographer I knew through work. We’re both professionals and sometimes run in the same circles 🙂