Many couples are choosing to save money by having a small wedding ceremony for close family and friends. Some couples prefer to enjoy the day without any guests and elope to get married, but you do still have to give notice and make plans, even if you keep them a secret! Here are some of the most popular places in the world to elope.
Gretna Green, just over the border in Scotland, was traditionally the place couples eloped to get married, as Scottish law was more relaxed than English law. In England, after the 1753 Marriage Act, couples under the age of 21 had to have parental consent, while in Scotland marriages were allowed without parental consent for boys aged 14 and girls over the age of 12. Generally, the first village runaway couples reached was Gretna Green, where they were married.
Gretna Green still sees 5000 weddings each year, although parties must now over 16 and a marriage notice form needs to have been completed 15 days or more before the ceremony. The historic blacksmith’s shop is still a popular venue, although civil ceremonies can be conducted by registrars almost anywhere. Many weddings take place in churches around the village, but almost all have a symbolic anvil over which the vows are made.
Las Vegas is a very easy place for eloping couples to get married, you simply need to request a wedding licence from the County Clerk’s office. You can download one from the county website or join the queue of around 500 couples who get married in Vegas every day. You are issued with the document immediately if you meet the requirements (must have official ID, be over 18 and free to marry) and hand over the fee, currently $60.
After that, head down to one of the drive-through wedding chapels, or arrange for one of the more official wedding packages. Weddings cost from $300 for the service, licence and usually a photo or video, limo pickup and flowers. However, for a little more expense you can get married on a gondola beneath the Palazoo Waterfall in the Venetian hotel, tie the knot on a pirate galleon at Treasure Island or book a ceremony at the beautiful wedding chapel at the MGM Grand. Witnesses can be provided and a romantic meal for two will complete your day in style.
The guaranteed sunshine all year round makes Hawaii a popular destination for weddings. There is no waiting period in Hawaii, so once you have filled in the paperwork, all you need is to choose the location and the person to perform the ceremony. Wedding packages include all the arrangements and a traditional lei of flowers for the bride and groom. Choose a beach at sunset, a boat, garden setting or waterfall and you are all set to say, “I do” in Hawaii.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls is a suitably memorable location for your special day and eloping to Canada to get married is very easy. Simply buy your licence from the Niagara Falls City Hall for $100 by showing your ID, then choose the location and marriage officiator. The pavilions and gardens are a popular place to be married with the Falls as a stunning backdrop. You can even get married on a boat with the captain officiating at the ceremony!
Florida is a popular place for destination weddings, due to its climate, beaches and beautiful wedding locations. You need official ID and proof of your unmarried status in some cases to get the license which costs $93.50. There is no waiting period so you can head for South Beach, St Augustine, the Florida Keys are wherever you choose then arrange your ceremony to be as simple or as OTT as you desire.
We would love to hear where you “tied the knot”, particularly if it was somewhere unusual, to give others some great ideas for their wedding.