inRegister managing editor Bre Smith Pizzolato eloped with her now-husband Tony and close friends and family in Colorado. She and Tony were married at the idyllic Sapphire Point Overlook, which is situated between Keystone and Breckinridge.

From Italy to Greece, elopements offer couples a change of scenery for their special day

Eloping may elicit visions of a hastily arranged rendezvous or late-night ceremony with an Elvis impersonator as an officiant. At least that’s what my grandmother envisioned when I told her we had scrapped our plans for a 200-person wedding and instead would say “I do” in front of 20 guests on the side of a mountain. The horror in her extended silence was palpable despite my repeated assurances that eloping “is a thing these days.”

In 2022, a national survey by Helzberg Diamonds found that 62% of engaged couples were open to considering an elopement-style wedding. In the context of modern weddings, eloping has shed its taboo connotations, becoming a popular option for couples interested in a ceremony that is smaller or even adventurous. “People are craving doing something unique and a bit more simplistic when it comes to their weddings,” says Hannah Sherman, a luxury elopement specialist with Dune Travel Group. “Plus, why not combine your wedding with your honeymoon and have it be even better?”

Sherman plans custom itineraries for couples looking to elope and honeymoon around the globe. “Italy would be my favorite pick, hands down,” she says. After all, it’s the most romantic country in the world. But before you start packing your bags, it’s important to consider the legalities and logistics of a destination elopement.

“Some countries require you to be in the country or city for almost a week pre-ceremony for an appointment at the consulate,” Sherman says. Couples also need to consider jet lag, coordinating with vendors who may or may not speak English, and accommodations for guests, no matter how few. Last but certainly not least is the dress. How will all of that fabric fit in a carry-on? “Sometimes the flight attendants are very nice and will let you hang the dress in the special compartment with their uniforms, but I wouldn’t count on it,” Sherman says.

But just like a traditional wedding, once all of the details are sorted and the day arrives, it’s sure to be a good time.

Ready to run away together?
Here are Sherman’s top three destinations for eloping.