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Musings & Life

Don’t Tell Mama: How To Plan A Destination Elopement Part 2

Rock N Roll Bride magazine

?A DIY Guide to Planning a Destination Elopement for Alternative Brides?

So part 2 in my series on how to plan a destination elopement couldn’t have come at a better time, as Issue 8 of Rock N Roll Bride’s print magazine has just hit stores across the UK (also available to order online for those worldwide) AND our elopement is featured in it!


Dreamy Desert Elopement - Rock N Roll BrideA copy arrived in the mail today, and we’ve been seriously kirking out over it. Very surreal to see in print and quite an honour to be featured, given how much Rock N Roll Bride’s blog and magazine inspired and helped us with planning our own day.

So – get yee to WH SMITH‘s or Sainsbury‘s for a copy if you’re in the UK or order online 😀

Now onto Part 2 of How to Plan a Destination Elopement!

Finding Inspiration, Research, and Spec’ing Out Your Trip Options

finding inspiration for your destination elopement


By now, you can probably guess where we turned to for a lot of our wedding inspiration, and that was indeed Rock N Roll Bride. Kat’s blog is an absolute go to for alternative weddings. A wealth of information, inspiration, guidance, and just a plain old fun in general can be found within it. Kat’s an original, and has been at the forefront of offering up a different viewpoint than that usually  found in the conventional wedding industry. A champion for unique weddings, reflective of a couples individuality, if you’re looking for somewhere to start from I highly recommend Rock N Roll Bride.

Finding inspiration, was my favourite part of planning.

A great way to dip your toes in, is to see what other people have done, and there’s a vast array of wedding blogs out there that help you do just that.

A few of my favourites are listed below:


Now, don’t get too bogged under with this though! It’s NOT a competition. This day is about *you* and *your partner*. Comparison can kill, draw inspiration and get ideas but leave it at that. A positive of eloping should be avoiding the stress of trying to live up to other peoples wedding expectations. So don’t turn around and stress yourself out with trying to one up someone elses wedding or shooting for absolute perfection.

With this in mind, get digging into some wedding blogs to see what  other non traditional weddings have entailed to help brainstorm possible options. You might surprise yourself in being attracted to a few traditional options as well. And for as much inspiration as you’ll  find in other weddings, you’ll also probably dislike a number of thing as well. And that’s fine! Knowing what you don’t like is as useful as knowing what you do. This’ll help you begin to get a clear idea of what you and your partner want and what really resonates with you.

Gather & save things to (yes I’m going to say it, but it’s true and does help) a Pinterest board. After a bit you should start to see a theme beginning to emerge with what you’ve been drawn to pin.

And inspiration doesn’t stop at wedding blogs either – look to your favourite music, films, art, personal interests – hell anything and everything can help inspire you in crafting a day all your own.

Research your destination elopementRESEARCH

You’ve begun to gather inspiration and are now starting to get a better idea of what you want your day to look like. You’ll want to put this to the side for a little bit now and start doing some logistical research on the options available in your top 3 destinations (see part 1 on this).

Doing this will help you now in two regards.

1. You’ll discover what’s available to you in each location for your day.
2. From this, you can begin to narrow down where you want to elope.

My suggestion first and foremost is to look at the available Wedding Photographers in each location and start to make a short list of the ones whose work you like.

Talented Wedding Photographers are in demand and can be booked up well in advance. Reach out to the photographers you’ve short listed with your wedding date (be sure to advise if your date is flexible or fixed), and also enquire as to pricing at this time.

And as with researching photographers in your top 3 locations, also take a look as to what’s available for Hair & Make Up Artists, Florists, Transport, Venues and anything else specific to the day you’re wanting to plan at this time.

Search for wedding blogs specific to your location options. We found this *incredibly* useful in helping to decide where to elope and with the actual planning. The Little Vegas Wedding blog was so helpful in spec’ing out all the different options available in and around Las Vegas for our day from officiants to venues to hotels to other super useful information from someone on the ground.

our destination elopementTRAVEL OPTIONS

So apparently 54 days before your trip is the best time to book your flight.

That doesn’t stop you from checking out what the current prices for your dates and locations are though.

Do a comparison of your three and take note of the prices. Also start to scout out potential hotels.

Have a play around with your dates a bit and you may find prices drop drastically give or take a day. Also when booking optimal days of the week are supposedly Tuesday, and also over the weekend as there are less business travellers looking then so prices can be lower. We booked the main part of our trip through Expedia and because we bundled our hotel and flights together the price was discounted.

Airbnb is a great alternative as well for accommodation. Often it can be a lot less expensive than a hotel, and you can find some truly unique and intimate places to stay.

Now’s also the time to make sure both your passports are up to date and won’t be expiring within 6 months of your trip. The last thing you want is to have to be rushing a passport renewal so get it sorted now.

As well, depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, you may need a Visa to enter a different country. Factor this in and make sure you allow ample time to apply and for the visa to process if this is the circumstance you find yourselves in.

Additionally, everywhere is different, so you might also need to be physically present somewhere for so many days before the actual wedding to be allowed to get married there. Find this out in advance and plan accordingly!

Don’t forget about vaccinations if you’re going somewhere which requires additional shots than you might already have. You definitely don’t want to be sick on your wedding day.


  • Get inspired – check out wedding blogs, discuss with your partner what your ideal day looks like for both of you, what you both envision wearing, what themes appeal to you, and start saving visuals/collecting things which resonate with you.
  • Research – find photographers whose work you adore in your destination options. Go through their portfolios and read up on them to see if they’d likely gel with your style and what you’re envisioning for your day. Start to reach out to them to enquire about availability and pricing. Do this as well with anything else needed for your elopement in your location options.
  • Cost out your travel – take a look at your dates and how much it’ll cost roughly to get you to your destination options. Look at what you need to get there (passports, shots, visas etc). If the prices are astronomical for one location that might knock it out of the running depending on your priorities and flexibility of your budget.


Again – stay organized and keep track of everything with Google Docs & Google Sheets.

Get yourself a Pinterest account, start exploring and pin away!

Try making a mix of songs which remind you of each other. I love using 8tracks. Listening to this might help further inspire you as to themes for your day. It’s also pretty sweet and romantic to put together.

UP NEXT IN THE SERIES: Elopement Style.

Musings & Life

Don’t Tell Mama: How To Plan A Destination Elopement

True Romance elopement

?A DIY Guide to Destination Elopements for Alternative Brides?

Last year Jeff and I got married. We decided to eschew a traditional wedding and opted for a destination elopement instead.

It was the right decision for us, and we have absolutely no regrets whatsoever in choosing to elope.

There are many pro’s and con’s as to eloping vs having a traditional big wedding; I’m not going to dig into them in this series though, as my pro could easily be your con and vice versa. Instead I’m going to focus on the logistics of planning a destination elopement yourself (DIY baby!), some tips and tricks to help you have as stress free a time as possible leading up to the day, and hopefully a lot of fun planning too!

You’ve probably heard the term destination wedding thrown about before, a destination elopement is similar in the sense that you’re going away somewhere other than where you normally live to get married. Unlike a destination wedding however, it won’t have the traipsing of a full on wedding in a different locale. It’s likely to be way smaller and much more intimate with only a few guests (if any) joining you. Most likely you’ll also be combining your wedding and honeymoon together. It can be a pretty wild and truly romantic way to wed!

So where to start for a Destination Elopement?

Depending on what you want, even eloping requires some degree of planning; especially as there’s travel involved. But don’t get a head of yourself just yet – take it in stages and it’ll make things a lot more manageable!

Destination Elopement True Romance You're So CoolBRAINSTORM

Ok this is the part where you can think big and go wild, don’t hold back: what does your dream destination elopement look like? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What do envision yourself & your love wearing? Hair? Makeup? Are there themes or colours you’re drawn to?

Just start writing stuff down or if you prefer create a mood board over on Pinterest.

If you’re big on list making in addition to a hot mess brainstorm page, make a list of all the places you and your partner would consider getting hitched and would like to honeymoon.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy just get it down!

And remember this is just a start, so don’t get your heart set on anything just yet because things will and can change.


Ok, time for the not so fun part, but you need to get this confirmed ASAP before you get too far along in your planning.

What can you and your partner afford? You need to have a frank conversation about what you’re willing and wanting to spend on your wedding and honeymoon with your spouse-to-be, don’t just make assumptions!

Here’s a basic Google Sheet I created (Rarrr! Rock N Roll Google Sheets!) to help get you thinking about some of the things you might need to budget for. Every couple will be different and there may be some things you need to add in or are not applicable which you can ignore, but hopefully it’s a helpful place to start.

destination elopement budgetWhen figuring out your budget, don’t just bank on maxing out your credit cards either. Coming home to a credit card hangover is not a great way to start off your marriage. Some expenditure on your plastic is to be expected, but if you’re looking to pay for your wedding totally on cards you might want to consider holding off until you’ve saved a bit more for it instead.

Setting your budget will affect what you can do and where you can go, so do this early on to avoid disappointments down the line!


Now’s the time to start reeling in your brainstorming a bit. Having set your budget will definitely help with this, but you need to also consider other factors like – how much vacation time do you have to use? How soon is your elopement? Are you trying to cram too much into your trip? And so on (I’m super guilty of that last one, more on that later!)

Timing will play a major factor. For example if you’ve given yourself 2 months to plan vs say a year, you should be prepared to be a lot more flexible as your dream photographer may already be booked, your ideal dress could take 6 months to make, or your flight costs are astronomical because you didn’t book sooner.

That’s not to say you can’t turn around something quickly – you can do anything – but you also have to realize that in doing so you may have to make some compromises, so none of this Bridezilla crap – you’re too awesome for that for that anyway!


  • Set a budget – for your trip & wedding, don’t forget all the little things as they can add up!
  • Discuss dates – are your dates not flexible/semi flexible/totally flexible? This will impact your planning time and also vaccay costs.
  • Narrow down your destinations – now that you have your budget set and your approximate dates, take your list of dream destinations and narrow it down to 3 which you think would best suit your budget and dates. Don’t throw away your list, you may have to come back to it later down the line after you do some further research.


Organize and keep track of everything with Google Docs & Google Sheets.

I found this super useful when planning. Since everything was stored in Google Docs/Sheets I could edit anywhere and it made it easy to collaborate on with Jeff as he could be editing or viewing at the same time wherever he was as well.

If you’re not sure what to budget for, save a copy of my Destination Elopement Budget sheet to your Google Drive, it’s pretty straight forward but a good place to start.

UP NEXT IN THE SERIES: Finding Inspiration, Research, and Spec’ing Out Your Trip Options.

True Romance Art Image Credit: PJ McQuade also available for sale on PJ’s Etsy store as giclee print.

Musings & Life

Grunge Personal Planner

vintage grunge planners

This year I’m trying to really focus on achieving my goals, and in order to do that, I need to be more organized.

I’ve played with loads of different apps in the past meant to help you plan but haven’t found one yet that really works well for me.

As much as I love tech, there’s something to be said about the tactile contact when you put pen to paper.

A trick I used to employ when memorizing Shakespeare and scripts in general was to write lines out over and over again from memory, until I had them down perfectly. And a bit superstitiously, I would always put the sheets of paper under my pillow before going to sleep too, as if the words would further sink into my mind as I slumbered. Oh actors.

So, if the process of physically writing things down helped me to learn lines, why not to organize my life and remember to do’s better?

I’ve picked up a planner again for the first time in years, really since High School.

And how the hell was High School 20 years ago? This just in. I’m old. Nostalgia hits hard sometimes and I decided to fish out my old High School planners from storage for a kick.

Little 90s Grunge GirlBefore I became a Princess of Darkness – my tongue by the way is firmly planted in my cheek when I write this – I was very much a 90’s alternative grunge kid. Manic Panic hair dye, thrift shopping, Doc Martens, mixtapes, zines and $2 all-ages shows were my life. All this clearly reflected in my High School planners.

I used to nerdily get excited every August to pick up my timetable and planner in advance to the first day of class and start decking them out. Some years my guy friends would grace the cover with an accompanying story. Whatever happened my way was inevitably glued in there. Concert tickets, movie stubs, rehearsal schedules, photo booth pics and fan girl collages of Courtney Love, Bikini Kill, L7 and any other Riot Grrrl images I could get my hands on.

Cut & Paste DIY High School PlannersIt’s interesting to see the evolution of ones style and how quickly my planners start to goth out once Grade 11 kicked in. They’re almost like mini time capsules of those years, an unthinking diary of life events. Friends would often write and draw in them, creating a collective scrapbook. I’m glad I’ve kept them still as a memory of a pretty awesome, carefree time in my life.

Decorated High School PlannerAnd yes, my parents totally let me paint my door purple with Hole lyrics, overlaid with a poster of the band. The door remained like that for YEARS after. Maybe my folks just liked exiting their bedroom every morning to be greeted by Courtney Love’s mug. ~And the sky was made of amethyst~

Planner grunge collage

I’m enjoying my rediscovered love for planners and noticing how it’s helping already. Here’s to letting your younger self teach you a lesson sometimes.

Were you ever (or are you) a planner fiend?

Musings & Life

fFiction: My Years in Zine-landia

Chris Murphy of Sloan checking out a fanzine in 1995

While packing for a Summer away I inevitably got distracted. At first it was geeking out on Bloglovin’, but then when boxes of half forgotten treasures were cracked open and aired for the first time in years after being in storage, all was lost for any packing efforts. What I rediscovered  in those boxes was a trove of cassettes, gig tees, mixed tapes, old photographs and zines.

Furnacefest in Ottawa, 1994

Furnacefest, Ottawa, Canada. July 2nd, 1994

It’s been almost 20 years since I went to my first concert – a festival in a parking lot in Ottawa called “Furnacefest” (not to be confused with the one held in Alabama in the 00’s). Created by Ottawa band Furnace Face with the intent to showcase local and national bands while getting the chance to headline their own festival, it was a pretty fantastic first concert experience.
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