How to Elope

So, you’ve made the big decision to go small! Congratulations! That is the first step in preparing for your dream day. But… now what do you do? Getting married in Virginia is quite easy! You need a license, an officiant and a location. Follow our check list on how to elope to make planning your special day easier.

License
You will need to visit a Virginia Courthouse to get your marriage license.  You must both be present, have your photo IDs, and payment for the fee ($30 in most courthouses). As most don’t take check or credit card, please bring cash. You don’t need a blood test, you don’t need a witness, and you don’t need your divorce papers (if applicable).

Before you go to the Courthouse, check the hours of operation, especially around Federal holidays. Some courthouses require the name of the officiant who will be marrying you, but most do not. For a comprehensive list visit: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/vital_records/marry.htm.  Your license is valid that day for 60 days.

Officiant
You must be married by an officiant that is licensed by the Virginia Court. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone unlicensed perform the ceremony – you just need to have your licensed officiate step in at the end to say the legal phrase that makes you official. The officiate takes care of signing the license and sending it back to the courthouse as well. Your Best Friend Brian, Uncle Larry or Aunt Martha can do the rest 🙂 (PS: Holladay House works a great officiant, Don Hughes.)

Location
You can almost elope at any location. Your backyard, at a park, in a hot air balloon, at your favorite restaurant, at a venue or at a great Bed and Breakfast! Look online for places that perform small weddings and elopements.

If you choose a venue, find out what the facility takes care of. What if you want them to take care of everything- can they do that? What if you want to customize and be more hands on?

Also, make sure your location is large enough to host the special occasion. Do you want it to be an intimate event for yourselves or would you like to invite a few special people?

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