Eloping With Elvis: Planning An Unconventional Wedding In 10 Easy Steps
Posted on 07 February 2019
It's been a hot minute since my last blog post. Surprisingly not because of the winter blues though... on the contrary, things have been exciting and inspiring over here at WonderLust HQ! But exciting tends to be synonymous with insanity and after getting hitched a couple months ago things have been pretty freaking insane.
Everyone knows planning a wedding is absolute madness but what people don't realize is that planning a non-wedding (aka: eloping) can be just as crazy. It's all fun and games until friends, family and the government decend on you like a pack of hungry wolves. Where will you live? Will you change your name? Will there be a party? Suddenly you're ripped out of the post-marital bliss and plunged into adulthood with a ton of decisions to make.
So this Valentine’s Day, in the interest of procrastination (one of my best skills), I'm delaying the adulting process for a bit longer so I can take a moment to reminisce about my elopement and at the same time answer a few inquiries on how we planned this whole shindig. Read on to feel the magic, the mystery, the mayhem… and see how I planned my unconventional elopement in just 10 easy steps.
Step 1: Make the decision
That’s the easy part. Once you both decide that you want to be bound in holy matrimony but don't want the stress of planning a big expensive wedding you're ready for step 2.
Step 2: Freak Out!
Just because you aren't spending tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding doesn't mean this isn't still a bfd. Your life is about to change! Like, are you ok being with just one person for the rest of your life? Are you prepared to start being called Mrs.? Can you still let guys buy you free shots at the bar?
Step 3: Buckle Down
We were already planning a road trip out west so Vegas was an obvious choice. Not to mention a flashy retro atmosphere was right up our alley! But there are literally hundreds of chapels and Elvis impersonators so it took a few days till we found the right balance of not too trashy but just trashy enough.
We finally decided on the Little Vegas Chapel where for about $200 Elvis will not only officiate your nuptials but also serenade you as you choke back your laughter (and tears) during this momentous event in your life. This package also includes a photographer, witness, 10 photos and classy add-ons such as a plastic bouquet of roses, tux and/or dress rental and a copy of Elvis and Pricilla's marriage certificate.
Step 4: Plan the fun stuff
Honestly I could've gotten married by Frankenstein and still have been happy because all that mattered to me was the dress (and the groom, of course). It was fate: I couldn't afford the mermaid gown I've been lusting after but good ole Asos came to the rescue with their $200 sequin version that then cost me just $50 to customize and make it uniquely my own.
Next came finding a wedding band and engagement ring that fit my aesthetic so a big thank you to Etsy and to gay marriage, which allowed me to find the rainbow rings of my dreams (for about a third of the price of a traditional diamond)!
And since I had less than 3 weeks to plan this elopement I forewent the bridal lingerie in favor of white lace undies and glittery "I Do" pasties…. When in Vegas!
Step 5: Don’t forget after the ceremony
I don't plan on getting married often in this lifetime so I wanted this one to be special. It turned out splurging on the wedding dinner and hotel with the money we saved forgoing a big wedding was an excellent choice! We picked the swankiest seat at the swankiest restaurant in the swankiest hotel; followed up by a night of overpriced cocktails, free shots and a penthouse suite at the Palms. All for under $600 for the night (lucky for us it was the off-season)
Step 7: It's time!
After registering at the County Clerk’s office and getting my hair/makeup/nails did, it was time to chase the nerves with some Jameson and hop an Uber to the chapel. Once we arrived, the staff was attentive and put us at ease. We quickly got changed and met our Elvis who, though 30 years older, had an amazing pompadour, worthy of the King himself!
Everything next was a blur. Suddenly, Elvis was singing me down the isle and everything became real! The magnitude of what we were doing finally hit home and I felt a strange surge of emotions wash over me. I can’t tell you exactly what was said in those 20 minutes but I can tell you I felt everything from giddy hysteria to outright fear to overwhelming love and appreciation. Never have I been more grateful to have my partner by my side, holding my hand and sharing the realization of how truly fortunate we were in that moment. I laughed, I cried, I gave Elvis the side eye as he finished up our whirlwind ceremony with dirty jokes, crazy stories and not-so-humble bragging.
Step 8: Party
Getting married in Vegas was only half the fun. The rest came walking the casinos that night amongst a barrage of congratulations, free drinks and “woo hoos”! We milked it for all we could and lived the evening like rock stars (albeit rock stars in their late 30’s who were in bed before midnight).
Step 9: Honeymoon
Since we were already on the way to Palm Springs for our road trip we took the opportunity to make it into a little honeymoon. Three days of vintage shopping, poolside cocktails and Instagram-worthy sights certainly felt like the romantic getaway we deserved before we headed back east to real life.
Step 10: Celebrate with friends and family
After the initial shock of your elopement, friends and family will start asking when you're going to throw a party to celebrate. And far be it from me to let anyone down! But with a limited budget it was a challenge to throw an adequate affair without breaking the bank.
Luckily we were able to keep costs down by renting out a cafe and catering it ourselves. Our Palm Springs theme was a great choice and allowed us to save on decor (everyone loves plastic pool inflatables)! DIY'ing the smaller details made the party more personalized and the best part was I had an excuse to get myself another dress!
All together I’m happy to say I had the time of my life planning everything and no one was left in debt! The experience was one I’ll cherish forever and I now have a zillion fun photos to show the grandkids one day. It’s back to real life for now though..... along with taxes, bills and apartment hunting. The only difference is I officially have my Love by my side and of course, we’ll always have Vegas.
Have you ever dreamed about a eloping? How would you do it?