How to Elope in NSW

How COVID has increased NSW elopements

There’s no denying it – since COVID-19 put a pause on all large weddings, couples are exploring the possibility of eloping in NSW now more than ever. An we are absolutely stoked about that. And that’s why we’re sharing our guide on how to elope in NSW.

The thing is, for many couples having an elopement or small wedding is what they always really wanted, and COVID has simply given them an excuse to chase that dream. It’s essentially let them off the hook of planning that big, white wedding with all of the trimmings that they never really resonated with. 

So, in light of that, we know so many of you are actually struggling with working our how to elope in NSW.

How to elope in NSW

What is the meaning of 'elopement'?

While some skeptics are still living in the 1950s, insisting that an elopement is where two people run off to get married by themselves, in a shot-gun style court house ceremony… The rest of us have moved forward and understand that eloping is so much more than that. Here’s our definition of the meaning of elopement:

“To elope is to have the freedom to go anywhere – to do anything – on your wedding day. Your elopement is a uniquely crafted, intimate wedding experience that embraces your shared values, hopes and dreams, and rejects the expectations, traditions and distractions of the outside world.”
Lauren Chuter
Elopement Photographer
Blue Mountains elopement photographer

Here’s a couple of key things to note about our elopement definition:

  1. There is no minimum or maximum guest count. That’s right, you can elope with just two witnesses, or you can choose to have your closest friends and family by your side, and yes, that can still be an elopement. 
  2. There’s no minimum or maximum timeframe. While technically it only takes 5 minutes to get married in Australia, a typical wedding lasts a whole day. And similarly, an elopement can be a whole day, or even a multi-day, event. There is absolutely no reason why an elopement should be shorter than a big wedding. 

So, at the end of the day, an elopement is a small wedding experience where the focus of the day is on the couple only. 

How to elope in NSW

Why elope in NSW?

If you’re living in Sydney and looking to elope, then you really don’t need to travel far to find somewhere breathtaking in your own backyard.

NSW is home to many iconic, natural landscapes that provide the perfect backdrop to an elopement or small wedding. 

NSW Mountain Elopement Locations

The Great Dividing Range is the 3rd longest land-based mountain range in the world. It follows the entire east cost of Australia, traveling straight through NSW. Some of the most iconic features of the Great Dividing Range are the Blue Mountains and the Snowy Mountains. 

We have photographed elopements in the Blue Mountains and the Snowy Mountains, and they are the perfect spot to host your small wedding. 

NSW Coastal Elopement Locations

While I wouldn’t recommended eloping on Bondi, Manly or Cronulla Beach, there are many other beaches along the NSW coastline. There are plenty of beaches to choose from that could be the perfect secluded, tropical paradise for your elopement or small wedding. 

A couple of our favourites are Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, known for having remarkably white sand and Caves Beach on the NSW Central Coast. There are many other beautiful gems to be found, depending on how far you’d like to travel. 

NSW Outback Elopement Locations

If you’re looking for a truly unique elopement experience within NSW, then you should definitely consider exploring the less-travelled central and western NSW regions. Central and western NSW is home to the iconic, rugged landscape and red sand that is the ‘Australian outback’. These regions are also rich in Aboriginal culture and history. 

One place I’ve always thought would create the most unique backdrop for an elopement or small wedding is world heritage listed, Mungo National Park. If you want to plan your wedding here, then please get in touch – we would absolutely loveeee to help you out!

How to elope in NSW

How to elope in NSW in 4 easy steps

  1. Dream up your ideal elopement

It’s not everyday that you elope. It’s not every day that you say “I pick you, every day, for the rest of my life – I commit myself you you“. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re making the commitment in front of 300 guests, or in front of two witnesses; the gravity of that commitment doesn’t change and the value you place on that day shouldn’t change. 

The only thing that changes is the value you place on the things you do during that day. And if you’re choosing to elope, then I’m betting that you value spending quality time with your partner, in a place that is special to you, doing things that are meaningful to you.

So, what does that mean? It means you should dream up what the best day of your lives would look like, and make that your wedding day. 

If you love the mountains, exploring and being out in nature, then plan a day around that. If you love watching the sunrise and enjoying long brunches, then organise that for your elopement day. 

There are no rules here, so plan the day of your dreams! If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out some elopement day timelines here. 

NSW hinterland moody rainforest elopement

2. Explore your options

The next step is to do a little bit of research to find out what’s possible. You really want to start to build a vision of exactly what your day is going to look like and who you need to be involved to make it happen. 

A huge tip here is to reach out to a photographer and celebrant early and ask for their advice. I’m always giving our couples advice on where they could elope. I also have ideas for activities you can do during the day and vendors who can help bring your vision to life. 

Remember, almost anything is possible with the right team.

Someone said to me the other day, “I’ve always wanted to elope at [secret location] but I think it will be too hard to plan”. 

While some elopement locations and dreams may require a bit of extra logistical work, trust me, it is worth the effort. Reach out to us; we help all of our couples plan their elopement. 

Snowy Mountains elopement photographer

3. Plan the details

Once you know what you want and you’ve worked out how you’re going to make it happen, the next step is to start planning. This means booking in your vendors, working out your transport and accommodation and building a rough timeline for your day. 

We include two 1-hour planning sessions in all of our elopement packages. The first session is to help you pick your location and vendors; this happens 6-9 months before your elopement. The second session is to help you plan out your timeline; this occurs about 1 month before your elopement.

We also include a 100 page client elopement guide in all of our packages! This is a comprehensive guide that helps our couples plan every aspect of their elopement.

Important! To get married in New South Wales you must submit an Notice of Intended Marriage at least 1 month prior to your wedding date. Your celebrant will do this on your behalf. 

Mount Kosciuszko Adventure Elopement

4. Enjoy your adventure!

And finally, it’s time to have the most epic adventure of your life and elope! Here’s three things to remember on your elopement day:

  1. You’re eloping for you and your partner – no one else. Forget about what other people think you should or shouldn’t do, and just embrace the whole experience. 
  2. It’s going to be emotional; treasure every minute. You’re going to have some beautiful and intimate moments during your elopement… Like when you’re holding hands just before you say your vows and you’re both experiencing this intense sense of anticipation, excitement and relief that you’ve finally made it. Savor those moments. 
  3. Go in with no regrets. Don’t go in thinking “damn I wish we did this instead” or “if only we choose that instead”. If you plan a day that is truly you, then there will be no space for regrets. 
Mount Kosciuszko Adventure Elopement

Free Elopement Planning Guide

If you want more guidance on how to plan an epic adventure elopement, then click here to download our free Elopement Planning Guide and Checklist – it’s completely free 🙂

If you found this blog post helpful, then please leave a comment below and reach out to us on social media! I’d love to hear what your dream elopement looks like!

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