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If you’re thinking of eloping, it’s important to check the laws wherever you are, especially if you’re in another country. As Cullins notes, “Couples should still take the time to research the legal requirements for getting married in the location of their choice,” adding that many states and countries require couples to apply for a marriage license several days in advance.

Planning an elopement can also still involve any of the elements of a wedding that you might still be interested in, like getting a fancy wedding dress, exchanging rings, and having a formal “I do” moment in a beautiful, scenic location. That means, depending on what you choose to include for your special day, you will still need to plan at least some of these logistics—so be prepared for that and do your research.

Cullins also says it’s important to consider the loved ones in your life. “Couples should give consideration beforehand to how they might feel if some of their closest friends or family members are truly hurt by not being included.”

While it is your wedding and only you can know what’s right for you, she adds that some people believe marriage is the joining of two families. “The way those families are incorporated in the wedding process can be critical in shaping their relationships for the future.”

And speaking of family, Spinelli adds that eloping is a sensitive topic, and many couples are afraid they’ll hurt the feelings of their families and friends. Ultimately, though, “Remember that eloping is truly about what you want as a couple. Give yourself permission to focus on the kind of experience you want without the guilt,” she says.

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