Crafting Your Perfect Elopement Ceremony & Vows

Posted On | May 10, 2024

What is an Elopement Ceremony

In a world where traditional weddings can sometimes feel more like a Broadway production than a genuine celebration of love, elopement ceremonies are like a breath of fresh air. They’re all about keeping it real and focusing on what truly matters: your connection with each other.

When we talk about an elopement ceremony, it’s not just some quick “I do” moment. Instead, it’s a meaningful and intentional celebration of love, stripped down to its purest form.

It’s not just about words—it’s about those little moments that make your heart skip a beat. The way your partner’s eyes light up when they see you, the way your hands fit together like they were made for each other—yeah, that’s the good stuff.

So, whether you’re saying “I do” on a mountaintop or in your backyard with a handful of loved ones, just remember this: the ceremony isn’t just a formality, it’s a freakin’ love story in the making. So here are our best tips and advice on crafting a meaningful elopement ceremony and vows.

Components of An Elopement Ceremony

Any wedding ceremony is typically a concoction of four main parts: The introduction, vows, ring exchange, and pronouncement. Some couple choose to also include a unity ceremony or a reading too, but these are the basics.


This is where the magic begins. Whether it’s just the two of you or a small gathering of loved ones, your elopement ceremony starts with a warm welcome. It’s like saying, “Hey, world, we’re here to make some memories!”


Ah, the heart of the ceremony. This is where you pour your soul out to your partner. You can keep it short and sweet or dive deep into your love story. There are no rules here, just pure, unfiltered emotion. For tips of writing your vows skip down to the section on crafting your personal vows.

Exchange Rings

A symbol of your commitment, your rings are a tangible reminder of the promises you’ve made to each other. It’s like saying, “I choose you, today and every day.”

Pronouncement/First Kiss

And just like that, you’re officially partners for life! The pronouncement seals the deal, making your union official in the eyes of the universe (and maybe a few witnesses too).If it’s just the two of you self-solemnizing, you can do this with a kiss or a “hell yeah!”

Download Our Free Vow Writing Workbook

Writers block is real when it comes to writing your elopement vows. That’s why we put together this handy workbook that walks you through how to write your vows step-by-step.

Eloping with Guests

So, you’ve decided to share your special day with a few VIPs. Here’s how to navigate your elopement ceremony with guests in tow:

If You Have An Officiant

Many states require you to have an officiant to legally get married. Even if you are getting married in a state that allows couples to self-solemnize (like Colorado or Washington D.C.), many eloping couples still decide to have someone officiate their ceremony to give it more structure with guests present. 

In choosing an officiant that’s right for your wedding ceremony, we recommend talking with two to five potential options to determine who you mesh well with. You can often find an officiant that aligns with your values and beliefs, and could be religious or secular.

After you hire an officiant, they will walk you through ideas and options of what your ceremony can look like and provide the script that they will read.

If You Have a Family or Friend Officiate

Maybe you want someone close to you to officiate your ceremony. Whether it’s your best friend, sibling, or favorite aunt, having a familiar face at the helm can make the experience even more meaningful.

Your officiating friend will need to make it official by becoming an ordained minister. It’s super simple to do through Universal Life Church.

If You’re Self-Solemnizing

Who needs an officiant anyway? If you’re all about keeping things simple and personal, self-solemnizing in Colorado or Washington D.C. might be the way to go. It’s just you, your partner, and the great outdoors (and maybe a few of your closest friends and family) exchanging vows in the most authentic way possible.

Example Elopement Ceremony Script with Guests

Here’s a sneak peek at what your elopement ceremony might look like with guests:


“Welcome, friends and family! Today, we gather in this beautiful place to celebrate love in its purest form.”

[Share some information about how you two met, how long you’ve been together, and some of your favorite memories. If you have a friend or family member officiating, this is a place their can add their own special touch because they know you well.]


“I promise to stand by your side, through thick and thin, for as long as we both shall live.”

[You can also choose to share personal vows that you have each written.]

Exchange Rings

“With this ring, I thee wed, a symbol of my eternal love and devotion.”


“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you adventure partners for life. You may kiss the love of your life!”

Eloping Just You Two

Ready to keep things ultra-intimate? Here’s how to craft the perfect elopement ceremony for just the two of you:

Self Solemnizing

No officiant, no problem! Self-solemnizing allows you to exchange vows in the most personal way possible, without any outside interference.


Most states in the U.S. require you to have an officiant to legally get married. If you are self-solemnizing (Colorado and Washington D.C.) some eloping couples still decide to have someone officiate their ceremony to make it feel more official.

When you’re researching officiant options, be sure to talk to several potential options to make sure you vibe with them. After all, your officiant gives life to your wedding ceremony. You can often find officiants that align with your value, beliefs and religion (or non-religious).

Many eloping couples often choose to have a close friend or family member get ordained by the Universal Life Church and be their officiant. This creates a more personal experience.

To create a more intimate experience, you can ask your officiant to step away for a moment while you share your private vows. This way, it’s a special moment between just the two of you, without any distractions.

Example of Self-Solemnizing Elopement Ceremony Script

When it’s just the two of you, you can keep your ceremony simple. Your vows are what truly shine during your ceremony, so feel free to remove any of the extra fluff that doesn’t feel right.


You two can start by just coming together and saying something along the lines of “Are you ready to do this?”. Maybe hold each other’s hand, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just take a moment to remember why you are standing here today – to get married.


This is the time for you to share your vows. Play a game of rock-paper-scissors to choose who will go first and then just soak in the moment. You can share personal vows that you’ve taken the time to write out using our steps below. Or you can say something as simple as “I promise to be your rock, your confidant, and your partner in adventure, for all the days of my life.”

Exchange Rings

Look into your partners eye and place the ring on their finger, symbolizing that they are yours and you are theirs for the rest of your life.


You did it. Y’all can just kiss now! 

“By the power vested in us, we now pronounce ourselves partners for life. Let’s take on the world together!”

Elopement Ceremony Ideas

From traditional to downright quirky, here are some ideas to make your elopement ceremony truly unforgettable:

Unique Elopement Ceremony Ideas

  • Personalize Vows: Write your vows on personalized vow books and exchange them during the ceremony.
  • Have a Different Kind of Unity Ceremony: Plant a tree together as a symbol of your growing love and commitment.
  • Skip The Aisle: If you have guests, you don’t have to do the traditional walk down the aisle. Walk down the aisle together, or skip it altogether and start your ceremony with you both up front.
  • Ring Warming: Before you exchange rings, have your guests pass your rings around and whisper a wish or hope for your marriage as they “warm your rings” in their hands.
  • Exchange Something Other Than Rings: For some people, a ring just isn’t what they want to represent their marriage. Maybe it’s exchanging a family heirloom, necklaces or your favorite Patagonia jacket. Or perhaps you get matching tattoos to make a more permanent symbol of your commitment.

Traditional Elopement Ceremony Ideas

  • Unity Cermony: Include a unity ceremony, like lighting a unity candle, sand pouring ceremony or performing a knot tying ceremony.
  • Rituals: Incorporate cultural rituals or traditions that are meaningful to you and your partner.
  • Include A Reading: Choose a reading or poem that holds special meaning to you as a couple and include it in your elopement ceremony.
  • Precessional: Play a song as you walk down the aisle to your partner.

Funny Elopement Ceremony Ideas

  • Humurous Vows: Add a touch of humor to your vows with funny anecdotes or inside jokes.
  • Customized Vows Mad Libs: Create customized vow mad libs for each other to fill out before the ceremony. Include blanks for silly adjectives, funny memories, and inside jokes. Then, read each other’s completed mad libs during the ceremony for some lighthearted laughs.
  • Entertaining Officiant: Have a friend that always makes you laugh and is the life of the party? They may just make a wonderful officiant and will not let you down on making you laugh.

Modern Elopement Ceremony Ideas

  • Non-Traditional Officiant: Choose a close family member or friend to officiate your wedding to add a personal touch.
  • Stand in a Circle: Have your guests all stand in a circle around you so you can physically feel their love surrounding you as you exchange vows.
  • Livestream Your Ceremony: Set up facetime or a livestream for friends and family who aren’t there in person.
  • Your Favorite Playlist: Create a custom playlist of your favorite songs to play during the ceremony.

LGBTQ Elopement Ceremony Ideas

  • Incorporate a Reading: Some great places to start when looking for what to incorporate include passages from bell hooks’ “All About Love”, or Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Hodges v. Obergefell.
  • Hire an LGBTQ Officiant: There’s no one who understands the significance of your marriage more than someone in the queer community. 
  • Wave The Pride Flag: Whether that’s handing each of your guests a physical pride flag or wearing a pride flag pin on your wedding attire, there’s no better day to proudly display the symbol.

Crafting Your Elopement Vows

Ready to pour your heart out? Here’s how to craft the perfect elopement vows:

When to start writing your vows

Start early! Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, write, and revise your vows until they’re just right.

Should my elopement vows be the same for our ceremony with family vs. private vows by ourselves?

If you are having an elopement ceremony with family, many couples also share vows in private before or after. Oftentimes, your vows shared by just you two are more intimate sentiments because it’s just your partner who will hear them. But, it’s totally up to you! You can keep vows consistent across both ceremonies or save the sappiness for private. Just do what feels right for you.

bride sitting at table copying her vows from her phone to a notebook

Steps to writing personal elopement vows

1. Start by free-writing answers to these prompts about your past:

  • Where did you meet?
  • What was your first impression of your partner?
  • When did you know you wanted to marry them?
  • What is something you’ve overcome together?
  • What is your favorite memory together?
  • What’s your favorite thing about the other person?
  • How are you different with this person in your life?

2. Free-write about your future:

  • What do you want to remember most about this season of life?
  • Where do you see the two of you in ten years?
  • What big dreams have you two talked about accomplishing? Both personal and together?

3. Free write about your promises to your partner:

  • How will I help get us to the dreams I wrote out above?
  • Describe the marriage of your dreams. What do you think you need to do to get from where you are to where you want to be?
  • What ways can you mindfully communicate love and appreciate to your partner? (Thinking about the 5 Love Languages can be a great place to start!)
  • What do you want to remember about your partner when things get tough?

4. Now, begin combining these thoughts into written vows:

  • Start by talking about your past with your partner
  • Share your vision for your future together
  • Make heartfelt promises to your partner

5. Give what you’ve written some time:

Let your vows marinate for a while, then come back to them with fresh eyes. Revise until they truly reflect your love and commitment.

6. Practice reading them aloud:

Get comfortable with your vows by practicing reading them out loud. This will help you feel confident and relaxed on the big day. Also, when you are reading out loud, some words or phrases may not sound like you and you can adjust before the big day.

Download Our Free Vow Writing Workbook

Writers block is real when it comes to writing your elopement vows. That’s why we put together this handy workbook that walks you through how to write your vows step-by-step.

Elopement Vow Script if You Don’t Want To Write Your Own

Not a fan of writing your own vows? No problem! Here are some elopement vow scripts you can cut and paste from:

Adventurous Elopement Vows

“I promise to embark on this adventure called life with you, hand in hand and heart in heart. I vow to explore the world with you, to laugh with you, and to create endless memories by your side.”

Short and Sweet Elopement Vows

“I vow to love you endlessly, to stand by your side through all of life’s adventures, and to cherish every moment with you. With you, I am whole, and I promise to love you fiercely for all eternity.”

Traditional Elopement Vows

“I take you to be my partner in life, to have and to hold, from this day forward. I promise to love you, cherish you, and support you in all that life brings our way. You are my partner, my love, and my best friend, today and always.”

Shared Dreams Elopement Vows

“I promise to support your dreams and aspirations, to stand by you through every challenge, and to celebrate every triumph with you. Together, we will build a life filled with love, laughter, and endless adventure.”

Friendship and Love Elopement Vows

“I promise to be your partner in crime, your shoulder to lean on, and your biggest fan in life. I promise to laugh with you, cry with you, and stand by you through thick and thin, for as long as we both shall live.”

Simple Affirmation Elopement Vows

“I love you more than words can express, and I vow to show you that love each and every day. With you, I am whole, and I promise to stand by your side for all eternity.”

In The End

As we come to the end of this journey through elopement ceremonies and vows, remember that your big day is all about you and your boo, plain and simple. It’s about celebrating your love in the most genuine, heartfelt way possible, whether that’s on a mountaintop or in your own backyard.

So, as you venture forth into the wild world of marriage, know that your love story is the real deal—no fairy tale fluff needed. Cherish every moment, laugh at the little mishaps, and hold each other close through it all.

And hey, if you ever need a helping hand or some friendly advice along the way, we’re here for you. Because at the end of the day, we’re not just here to plan your elopement—we’re here to cheer you on as you start this new chapter together.

Are You Freakin’ REady?

We’re 100% here for whatever day you’re dreaming up. Fill out our contact form to start chatting.

Are You Freakin’ REady?

We’re 100% here for whatever day you’re dreaming up. Fill out our contact form to start chatting.

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