Hiring a Destination Wedding Planner for Your Elopement – Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated: April 11, 2024 | Published On: March 6, 2021

Whether you’re planning an elopement or wedding abroad (hello, alps!), you may be wondering if you should hire a destination wedding planner. To help answer this question, I reached out to, not one, but SIX(!) destination wedding planners (five based in Europe and one in the United States), to get their best advice. In this post, they answer everything you need to know about hiring a wedding planner for your elopement. 

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a feature section about each of these planners and their areas of expertise! I can’t thank them enough for the time they took to answer our questions and give you the scoop! 

Reasons You Should Hire an Elopement Wedding Planner 

If you’re wondering the reasons why you should hire an elopement wedding planner, look no further. Even though you’re eloping, hiring a destination wedding planner still has so many benefits! Whether it’s securing a great location to celebrate with friends and family, or booking an adventurous excursion, your elopement planner can help with these details. 

When it comes down to it, choosing to get married in an intentional way that you’ll cherish for years to come does take some coordination. An elopement planner offers a variety of skills that can help you create an unforgettable experience. 

Some of the reasons you should hire an elopement planner include: 

You Get Specialized Expertise from a Local

There’s something to be said for hiring wedding vendors that are familiar with the area you want to get married in. Just as I specialize in location scouting for the couples I photograph, along with the many adventure-related aspects of your wedding, these planners know all the ins and outs of the areas they work and what you need for a smooth, relaxing, day.

“Being a local wedding and elopement planner allows me to offer the couple the best expertise, in terms of geographical knowledge and vendor connections. This perfect match guarantees me the ability to create the best wedding/elopement for the couple. And this is absolutely my favorite part: creating a tailor-made wedding or elopement experience for my couples. “

Jlenia Costner | Dolomites Wedding Planner

“I have to be honest. I’m such a control freak who knows that I know how to host a good event so the thought of me ever hiring any type of planner when I got engaged was ridiculous. Why would I hire a planner when planning is what I love? Turns out, I was wrong. After getting engaged and knowing that I wanted a wedding abroad, I realised with language barriers, bad communication from vendors, and the unknowns of bad weather contingencies that it was near impossible to create something unique and exactly what I wanted without help from a local.”

Vanessa Smith | Mountain Weddings

Elopement Planners Help Minimize Stress 

Planning a destination wedding or elopement might seem daunting (and possibly even stressful) but it doesn’t need to be! Hiring the right vendors such as an elopement planner can let you spend time dreaming while someone else tackles the logistics of coordination. From the perfect restaurant to share a family meal at, to where you want to lodge, your elopement planner is a great resource for it all.

Hiring an elopement planner adds a level of security to couples and makes the process more enjoyable and fun, particularly if they are choosing a destination wedding. Knowing all the marriage paperwork and legalities are in hand and the suppliers you’re working with are reputable and trustworthy alleviates a huge amount of pressure.”

Nadia Wood | Amulet Weddings & Events

“An elopement should be an unforgettable day experience, so coordination plays an important role. We make sure that the flow of the day fits together perfectly. For example, we organize the overnight stay in a place where it is not too far away from the free ceremony location.”

Jeannine | Elope in Switzerland 

“Once someone shows interest in my services, I’ve learned there are two main reasons people hire me here in the Tetons (which is a huge/but tiny destination locale). They are either looking for a “Locale Insider” (someone they can trust on the area, best ceremony locales, high-quality vendors…etc.) and/or are looking for support on the day of Wedding Day (so they can truly live in the moment and enjoy the day if any emergencies arise they have someone who can handle it). There is so much time, effort, and thought that goes into an Elopement that some people may not realize!”

Tiffany Garcia | Elope Jackson

Your Elopement Planner can be a supportive friend throughout the process

We can’t stress this point enough! Hiring vendors who are “all-in” on making sure you feel supported and validated throughout the elopement planning process is so important! Your elopement planner offers a unique perspective and can help you navigate this new experience.

“As an elopement planner, you are not only the planner but are also a friend for the wedding day. Since many couples may keep it secret until after the elopement day, the planner is one of the few people the couple can talk to about their plans, worries, and dreams.”

Jlenia Costner | Dolomites Wedding Planner

“Every single couple that we work with I know will be a friend for life. When we do our initial consultations with couples a huge part of it is to make sure we fit as a team. If I feel like we won’t be friends for life then I recommend them to other companies in the area that would be a better fit for them. Your planner is someone who is entrusted with organising one of the most important days of your life so you should love them.”

Vanessa Smith | Mountain Weddings

Is There Ever a Time Hiring an Elopement Planner Doesn’t Make Sense? 

Elopements come in all shapes and sizes, and hiring an elopement planner doesn’t always make sense. As your photographer, there is *so much* I can assist you with (you can read more about my process here, or schedule a call to get all the details), but when it comes to booking other vendors, travel, lodging, etc. an elopement planner can make all the difference! Here’s some advice if you’re on the fence:

“I offer a very bespoke planning service as my couples are unique and all have individual requirements and requests for their wedding day. This results in a lot of logistics and careful planning to ensure timings are accurate and they can fit in as many activities as possible! I still work with couples that opt for a ceremony and dinner in one location, but they like the security of knowing everything is arranged for them and often in a country that speaks a different language to them. If they are confident in managing these elements themselves or with a venue directly then this would be an occasion to opt-out of hiring a planner.”

Nadia Wood | Amulet Weddings & Events

“That’s a tough one. I want to say if you’ve been living in the area and you’re a mountain expert you don’t necessarily need a planner, but then you and your loved ones are the ones that have to deal with the on the day logistics, unexpected calls from suppliers, bad weather contingencies and do you really want that on a day that should be fun and relaxed?”

Vanessa Smith | Mountain Weddings

What to Consider When Hiring an Elopement Wedding Planner

Make Sure the Fit is Right

The number one thing you need to consider when hiring an elopement planner? Above all else, make sure the fit is right! 

“If you have the time, try and hop on a phone or virtual call with your possible planner. See if you connect, have a great conversation, and if they seem knowledgeable, honest, and genuine. This goes for ALL of your wedding vendors that you and/or your planner hires or suggests. Make sure you trust them and that your personalities match.”

Tiffany Garcia | Elope Jackson 

“When hiring a planner have a look at their previous work to ensure it aligns with your vision. Choose a planner that has experience working with real couples in the locations you want to get married in & set up a call to ensure you have all your questions & queries answered”

Nadia Wood | Amulet Weddings & Events

“Every wedding planner or agency works differently. When shopping around, make sure you fully understand the service you are paying for instead of simply comparing numbers.”

Yana Makliassova | Peach Perfect Weddings

Have an Elopement Budget in Mind

“As a couple, it is important to know the most important facts of their elopement before talking to a wedding planner. This includes what their budget is, if they want to get married legally or how many guests they want to have at the elopement. They don’t have to know everything, but these hard facts will help the planner to create the right offer for them. The more the couples know about their wishes, the easier the first steps of planning will be.”

Jeannine | Elope in Switzerland 

How Long Does it Take to Plan a Destination Wedding or Elopement? 

Surprisingly, planning a destination wedding or elopement doesn’t have to take that long. I was amazed to hear from the wedding planners we interviewed about the awesome events they’ve planned in sometimes, only a matter of week(s)!

Yana, with Peach Perfect Weddings shared, 

“Last year, just before Europe-wide covid lockdown began, we managed to pull off a stunning elopement in Ireland in just two weeks! Previously, the record was three weeks in 2018.”

Nadia, with Amulet Weddings & Events told us about the quick elopement she planned,

“A week! I worked with a couple for 3 months to plan their elopement in Lapland recently and due to heightened Covid restrictions and travel bans their initial plans had to be canceled. My couple then flew to Iceland to quarantine whilst I planned their wedding for the week after.”

While these planning times are speedy, these elopement coordinators also encouraged couples to plan ahead when they can. We heard most often from wedding planners that the ideal amount of time to allow for destination weddings is 3 months on the faster side and approximately 6-9 months for a more relaxed wedding planning pace. 

The Best Elopement Planning Advice – As Told by Wedding Planners

While there is a lot of elopement planning advice out there, the three themes below came up repeatedly as we prepared this post. Here’s the best elopement planning advice, as told by wedding planners.

Trust Your Elopement Planner

“My one piece of advice is to be flexible. You have taken a huge leap of faith in deciding to elope & particularly if you’ve chosen a new destination. Trust your planner will deliver your day perfectly and be open to new ideas and experiences that will create the most magical memories and moments.”

Nadia Wood | Amulet Weddings & Events

“As a planner, it’s my job to create the perfect day, with the best vendors in order to maximize the set budget. The wedding or elopement planner is the person who cares about all the details: styling of the event, lunch/picnic/brunch, single vendors research and management.”

Jlenia Costner | Dolomites Wedding Planner

Be Prepared

“Have solid bad weather contingencies – especially in the mountains. Bad weather in the mountains makes things unsafe and this is the last thing you want to be worrying about on what should be a stress-free weekend.”

Vanessa Smith | Mountain Weddings

Remember Your Elopement Day is about YOU! 

“Think about what Y O U and your other half want. Try not to make decisions based on other people’s input. If you do that, you won’t have any regrets!”

Tiffany Garcia | Elope Jackson

Many couples worry about disappointing their families and for this reason, give up on their dream of eloping or having a very small wedding. I’ve never known a couple regret their decision to elope, I have, however, heard married couples wistfully talking about how they wish they had eloped’… Hindsight is a powerful thing, but wouldn’t you rather look back at your wedding day and think ‘I’m so glad we did this’?

Yana Makliassova | Peach Perfect Weddings

Be yourselves. This day belongs to you alone, you can do everything you always wanted. Don’t be shy and tell your wedding planners your ideas for your big day, no matter how crazy they sound. Be personal, the more you share the better the planner gets to know you and can create an elopement that reflects your love for each other. Find a planner that matches your personality. If you have worries and fears, share them with your planner. they can support you and give you advice, as they have had many couples with many of the same worries – most of the time you are not the only one 🙂 

Jeannine | Elope in Switzerland 

About the Featured Elopement Wedding Planners Who Contributed to this Post

Business Name: Elope in Switzerland

Where You Plan Elopements: We plan elopements throughout Switzerland. Since we all grew up in Switzerland, we know many regions, mountains, and cities and can choose the perfect location for the couples’ needs. We offer adventure, intimate and urban elopements. 

What’s Your Favorite Part About Being an Elopement Planner? 

One of the best things about being an elopement planner is the adventures we get to experience with our couples. Every elopement is different – because the great thing about elopements is that the couple can do absolutely anything they want! For example, we had a couple that wanted to do a glacier hike at the Matterhorn, another wanted to do a helicopter flight and yet another wanted to do a lama trekking at their elopement day. Personally, we love to do things like that, it’s so much fun 🙂 What’s also great is that we get to meet exciting people and cultures from all over the world. Even though the meetings often take place via Zoom or email, when we finally meet it’s like we’ve known each other for a long time. We are also super grateful for the trust of our couples. When they say at the end of the day that it was the best day of their lives, that is the greatest reward and joy of all!

Image Credit: Kim Captures

Business Name: Elope Jackson

Where You Plan Elopements: 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming, region (USA).

What’s Your Favorite Part About Being an Elopement Planner? 

Goodness – such an easy but hard question to answer that I feel like develops into a different perspective through every wedding. I love the challenge of hearing a couples idea and slowly putting the puzzle pieces together into the actual wedding day (as well as “fixing” any issues that may come up). Then, of course, wedding day, seeing all of your hard work come together seamlessly not only makes me happy as a creative and business owner but most importantly, seeing you people so thankful, happy, and in love with what you’ve created for them – no words to explain it besides pure joy!

Image Credit: Marianne Bohn Fotografie

Business Name Jlenia Costner Wedding & Events, also known as Dolomites Wedding Planner

Where You Plan Elopements: I plan elopements, micro weddings, and weddings in the Italian Dolomites and in South Tyrol, a region in Northern Italy.

What’s Your Favorite Part About Being an Elopement Planner?

Being a local wedding and elopement planner allows me to offer the couple the best expertise, in terms of geographical knowledge and vendor connections. This perfect match guarantees me to create the best wedding/elopement for the couple. And this is absolutely my favorite part: creating a tailor-made wedding or elopement experience for my couples.

Business Name: Amulet Weddings & Events

Where You Plan Elopements: I specialise in organising enchanting elopements and destination Weddings across the Alps, Iceland, Lapland, Scandinavia, and more.

What’s Your Favorite Part About Being an Elopement Planner?

I love incorporating my couples’ personalities, interests, and hobbies into their Wedding Day and facilitating that once-in-a-lifetime trip and excursion that will be talked about for years to come.

My couples ceremonies are always heartfelt, romantic, and set against beautiful natural backdrops, followed by a number of activities and excursions that create & develop bonds between friends and family. Activities can include a mountain hike, husky sledding, snowshoeing, whale watching, strudel making & ice cave exploring.

Business Name: Peach Perfect Weddings

Where You Plan Elopements: We plan elopements and micro weddings in Europe. We currently cover 8 destinations: Ireland (including Northern Ireland, which is in the UK but we consider it as one destination), Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Soon enough we will be expanding our services into Scotland, Greece and other countries.

What’s Your Favorite Part About Being an Elopement Planner?

There’s never a dull moment with being a wedding planner! Even though I personally no longer plan the weddings myself, as the leader of a small team of 7 wedding planners, I get to be involved in the most challenging and exciting parts of each event. Elopements are certainly my most favourite event to plan. When the pressure of a guest-list is taken off them, couples are visibly more tuned into the experience and seem to enjoy themselves and the process a lot more.

Business Name(s): Mountain Weddings & The Elopement Company.

Where You Plan Elopements: As a company, our HQ is in the beautiful town of Morzine but we organise weddings and elopements all across the French Alps!

What’s Your Favorite Part About Being an Elopement Planner?

It’s cheesy and predictable but it’s, of course, the moment that the couple says I do and you look and you know that this is the best day of their lives and you’re lucky enough to be apart of it.

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