Literally, elope means to go away and to not come back to the point of origin. Today, elopement generally refers to a ceremony conducted in a more intimate fashion, usually away from the couple’s place of residence, with the intention of getting married.
Some people simply do not want the fuss and planning of a ceremony. I get that. To some, elopement is a viable option. Regardless of the reasons leading to the choice of elopement, it is wise to review this page if you are considering this option so you understand the basics.
Elopement is a way to escape all of that potentially stressful planning and negotiating. But ... it still requires that you follow the laws of the jurisdiction in which you plan to solemnize the marriage, and you will need someone to do that. And you will need at least two people to witness it (other than the officiant). So there is some planning to be done. Here are some suggestions to get this done simply but legally:
First, check the marriage laws of the jurisdiction you are going to elope to--they vary. Waiting periods are not uncommon between the time the wedding license is issued and when it an be executed (although there are some same-day jurisdictions). Once you know the time-frame involved between getting the license and getting amrried, you can move to the next bits.
Second, find an officiant in the jurisdiction to which you are planning to elope in advance. Contact that individual to ensure that the time and date are available (there are very few on-call officiants). The officiant may be helpful in advising you regarding locations and such that may be appropriate and available.
Third, make certain you have at least two witnesses, otherwise you cannot be married. Like officiants, it is rare to find on-call witnesses, but it has been know to happen. Best plan: bring you own.