You’re engaged (congrats!) and right about now you’re wondering, “Does my 3rd cousin that I haven’t seen for 10 years really need to be at my wedding?” Yeah nah!

Sometimes it seems like large weddings are the only way to go, but more and more couples are choosing to have intimate, personal, and stylish elopements that celebrate their love.

Couple pictured against a lush countryside setting on Queensland's Sunshine Coast

Years ago, eloping meant running down to the registry office & getting hitched without the family knowing, but the modern-day definition is changing.

With an elopement, couples can create something truly bespoke to them, in a beautiful location, where the ceremony and the day are more meaningful and private. It’s an opportunity to have a designer day with as many personalised trimmings for the two of you as you’d like. Less planning, fewer people & less money than a traditional wedding means you can start packing for that epic honeymoon!

Maleny Elopement Photography Terri Hanlon Photography - couple driving together to One Tree Hill Maleny

Still reading? Then an elopement may be for you, here are 5 things to consider when planning your elopement…

1. Who do we need to facilitate our elopement?

The most important aspects of any elopement are you & your partner, the words (your celebrant) and the memories (your photographer). Thankfully Sunshine Coast celebrant Stacey Morris and I have got you sorted!

Stacey Morris Sunshine Coast Celebrant

With a combined 30 years of officiating & photographing weddings, Stacey Morris + Terri Hanlon will provide you with a hassle-free elopement. We love helping couples create a personalised & intimate elopement for you + your witnesses. For more information, you can check out our elopement packages.

Pssst: If you want to transcend the natural beauty of your chosen location we can connect you with some incredible stylists to make your ceremony even more magical.

2. Where should we elope?

When it comes to selecting an elopement location you cannot beat the Sunshine Coast! You’re spoilt for choice with sun-drenched beaches, national parks and lush countryside all on offer. Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has something for everyone! From the majestic Glass House Mountains & Noosa’s picture-perfect beaches to the breathtaking views atop Maleny’s legendary One Tree Hill.

Couple elope to One Tree Hill in Maleny on Queensland's Sunshine Coast

Alternatively, you may already have that special spot in mind that holds personal meaning for you and your partner. Perhaps the location of your first date or the place where you popped the question? Whatever you decide it’s going to be glorious with the Sunshine Coast as your backdrop.

Give me a shout if you’d like a local’s insight to find an epic location in southeast Queensland to elope. As an avid hiker, I know plenty of hidden gems & love helping engaged couples find the wedding location of their dreams!

3. Do we need a permit?

As well as the formal paperwork that is required from your celebrant before the big day – a ‘Notice of Intent to Marriage’ or NOIM has to be lodged at least one calendar month prior to the wedding – there’s another formality that needs to be considered. A location permit for your special place.

Couple set in a bush scene behind Noosa

Not to worry, I’m familiar with the permit process. Let me know what you’re thinking and I can point you in the right direction. The last thing we want is the embarrassment of being asked to move along on your wedding day… yes, this really happens!!!

4. Do we need a guest list?

An elopement is about simplifying your wedding day to what matters most to you & your fiancé. Keep your guest list small with at least two witnesses that are required to sign the marriage certificate in Australia.

If you’d like a slightly larger gathering, consider a micro wedding. Micro weddings are a scaled-back version of your traditional wedding but not typically as small as an elopement ceremony.

5. What time of day should we elope?

The timing of your ceremony is especially key for capturing truly stunning “This is going straight to the pool room” wedding photos that you can share with friends and family near & far.

If you want photos during that magical hour around sunset your wedding ceremony needs to start 1.5 hours before sunset. This allows for a 30-minute ceremony and a one-hour bridal portrait session at your picturesque location. Perfect in my opinion especially when everything is happening in one location!

couple embrace atop a mountain in the Glass House Mountains couple pictured in a rainforest scene in Buderim

If you are considering a rainforest location the light under the tree canopy is a lot darker during the day. We’d need to factor in time to hike out of the rainforest to create those magical sunset shots. If you are considering this, let’s have a chat about some hidden locations that you may love enough to say “I do”.

I cannot imagine anything more romantic than celebrating your love with a chosen few at a remote picturesque location. If eloping sounds like your cup of tea, I would love to hear from you & learn about your unique love story! For more information, you can check out my elopement packages.

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