Elopements are traditional intimate marriages involving fewer than ten people. These packages are ideal for planning ceremonies within two to three weeks after signing the agreement. Planning begins with a questionnaire and ends a day or two before your elopement with a final walk-through over Zoom.
Your step-by-step plan includes:
- Designing an Elopement Ceremony,
- That final consultation before your marriage, and
- Certificate preparation.
- Some elopement packages include my travel fee.
I use Zoom for our planning sessions. For your Elopement package, we schedule only one meeting to finalize the details of the elopement. We may schedule additional appointments as required to discuss challenges and ensure I understand your requirements. During the final meeting, we walk through the ceremony details in a virtual “rehearsal” and go over certificate preparation while discussing your marriage license packet.
Elopement Ceremony Design
If you have seen the A La Carte page, you know I offer three ceremony editing levels. The Elopement Ceremony is the most basic, though it provides a bit more value than you’d normally associate with professional wedding ceremony design. With the included hour of editing, we follow a complete, step-by-step process to deliver a fast, simple ceremony that makes your day memorable.
The Elopement Design Process
The steps for the design process look like this:
- Template and Script Design Questionnaire.
- Final Draft and Consultation.
- Your Wedding Day!
Template and Design Script
Shortly after you sign our agreement, I email a questionnaire to capture the details for your elopement service. The link to that form includes a sample template of the service and booklets containing readings and blessings. You’ll have a few days to answer the questionnaire and tell me what to include. Once I receive your an swers, I will edit your ceremony draft.
Your Final Draft
I edit the script to ensure we miss no detail, and so each section smoothly flows into the next. Just a few days before your wedding, I send you the final draft, and we schedule a walk-through, a virtual rehearsal to guarantee that your vision comes to life!
Certificate preparation is another step-by-step piece of getting ready for marriage. Getting a license and “making it legal” is covered in these steps:
- Obtaining a valid license,
- Explaining the license and certificate paperwork provided by the county,
- Preparing and signing your certificate,
- Mailing the completed certificate to the county recorder, and
- Following up to ensure you get your copies.
Obtaining Your License
Certificate preparation begins when our agreement starts. I provide information to help you obtain a valid state Marriage License and certificate. It’s up to you to get it from any Washington county office, and I’ll let you know when it is time to apply.
Depending on which county in Washington you apply through, the application fee is about $65 to $75 as of 2021. Complete instructions on applying for your license are elsewhere on the website, and I provide them when you’re ready to start, about 60 days before your wedding.
Explaining Your License
Within a couple of weeks before your elopement, I’ll verify with you that you have your certificate packet, and we’ll discuss when we sign the paperwork. We usually set the signing session for the day of your wedding, either just before or right after the ceremony. We make sure that the two of you and two witnesses can meet with me and complete the legally required paperwork.
At some point before your wedding, we will meet to go through the paperwork. I usually schedule this for the same meeting that we walk through your final draft. During the meeting, I will explain all of the paperwork you received from the county, highlighting those parts you can fill out ahead of time.
Preparing Your Certificate
After we sign your Marriage Certificate, I will mail it to the County Recorder, along with a “Request for Registered Copies” form and a check or money order for your copies. You will need copies for your financial institutions and government agencies. I send this packet by Priority Mail to guarantee delivery and provide tracking.
For the week or two after I mail the packet, I watch the county recorder to see when they register your certificate with the state. You receive a couple of checkpoint emails related to that. Within two weeks after your wedding, you will receive a First Class envelope containing your certificate copies from the county.
If you have any questions during the process, please reach out to me! It is unlikely that your certificates will go missing. If that happens, I will help you track them down.
Your Wedding Day
I arrive well before the ceremony on your wedding day to prepare and coordinate with you and your other vendors. I allow for a 2.5-hour block of time from when I arrive, as I recognize that weddings sometimes do not start when planned. Scheduling this much time permits me to guarantee my presence in the face of unexpected delays.
When I arrive, I will look for you and your agents to let you know I have arrived and orient to your venue. I’ll set up our ceremony area just as we discussed. I usually have a small table that I set up to hold the rings, the bride’s bouquet, and any other furnishings we are using during the ceremony.
Before the ceremony, I will check in with you and your wedding party to ensure everyone is ready to go. I’ll work with your venue coordinator, day-of coordinator, and whomever to help you make things the way you want them. And, just before “showtime,” I’ll check in one last time.
We’ll get together to complete and sign your marriage certificate. The group includes your two required witnesses, you two, your photographer, and me. Since we will have gone through the paperwork once over Zoom, this should be fast and easy.
When the ceremony is done, the paperwork is signed, and I have put everything away, I leave you to celebrate. And you should be celebrating! Days and weeks of hard work preparing for your elopement have paid off.