Your guide to planning the perfect Ohio Elopement
If you’re reading this guide on eloping in Ohio, it probably means you just said “heck yeah I want to spend forever with you” to the love of your life, and you’re trying to plan your wedding day. Maybe you’re already set on eloping and wondering just where to start, or maybe it’s just an idea floating around in your head right now as you look through all the glammed up wedding blogs and realize you do not want all of those extras– regardless of how you found this, I’m glad you’re here!
We are Rebecca and Tristan, two photographers specializing in documenting the best day of your life. I (Rebecca) have called Ohio my home for my entire life. I think it’s time to ditch the stigma around not having a ‘traditional’ wedding and start doing things the way that make you and your partner HAPPY. More often than not, people think an elopement only needs to be a tiny, short, insignificant thing. That idea always makes me sad, because this is the day you’ll mark on your calendar as your anniversary forever. Sure, just one day won’t make or break your marriage at all, but don’t you want to look back on the day made to celebrate you and the love of your life and remember how wonderful it was? On the flip side I do see a ton of elopements in the media now, but they sometimes make you feel like you have to go across the United States (or the world) just to have a beautiful elopement. The truth is, Ohio is incredibly diverse and the perfect spot to find the right adventure. In this blog post, you’ll find a step by step guide to eloping here in Ohio, so keep on reading.
1. Decide on a Location and Date for your Elopement
This is of course a big step, but it’s the first one! You can’t really move forward with any part of the process until you are able to set the date in your calendar! If you’re eloping, I feel like the first thing to know is that the sky is the limit (literally, if you want to get married in the sky there’s some epic hot air balloon weddings).
I recommend starting with what your favorite things are together. Do you love puzzles, hiking, or wine/beer tours? If you’re drawing a blank on location, I recommend to start looking up landscapes. Look at photos from local parks, Google Earth, Pinterest, other photographers, etc. Most people know it when they see it– you can picture you and your partner standing there, saying your vows, gazing into each other’s eyes. For some people this is lakeside, and for others this is your living room. There’s not one option that is better than the other– just pick whichever one makes you happy!
tip: I made a link of epic Airbnb’s to have your elopement or intimate wedding at! Check it out here 🙂
For Ohio elopement locations, I recommend checking out Hocking Hills, Cuyahoga Valley, Lake Erie, or your local city for other ideas.
I’m from Cincinnati, and some cool downtown ideas I’ve seen here are on top of Carew Tower, right on the purple-people bridge, at the Newport Aquarium, and right under the gazebo at Washington Park! All cities in Ohio both big and small have such amazing, unique things to offer for your elopement. If you ever want suggestions, feel free to reach out to us! I seriously love celebrating love.
2. Pick (and book!) Vendors
Some people elope with just themselves and their officiant, others go all-out with a personal chef and fully decorated venue. Once again, this is a ‘you-do-you’ thing. The only thing you NEED is someone to marry you- whether this be a friend, a trusted pastor, a random person you found ordained on the street, whatever.
Fun fact– anyone can get ordained online pretty easily, so you can really get creative here. Vendors I would recommend to really elevate your elopement experience would be a florist and a hair / make up artist. Some extras you might want to add: a cool ride to get TO your ceremony (vintage car, limo, camel?), live music like a violin or quartet for your ceremony, or a private chef to cook you amazing food afterwards. And of course, I recommend a photographer to capture your day eloping in Ohio as well- we’d love to be considered. I absolutely love capturing Ohio elopements because they tend to focus on what’s important- creating spaces where you feel comfortable and can truely express yourself. What is more sentimental than an intimate day just between you and your partner? If you’re still on the hunt for a photography + videography team for your Ohio Elopement, We are your people 🙂
After you’ve secured your vendors, you can rest easy. They will work on a timeline of your day with you. All that’s left is to get your marriage license and marry your partner!
An Ohio-based florist I truly love is Kaylee with Love Florish, based out of Columbus. She made this epic bouquet for Rachels’ elopement in Hocking Hills.
3. Pick up your Marriage License Before your Elopement.
I’m by no means a lawyer, so I have linked the Ohio laws on marriage here. To get a marriage license, you’ll need to visit your local Courthouse to apply for one and walk out with a blank copy.
Important notes on the process:
- You have 60 days from the issuing of your license to have your legal ceremony before the license expires.
- You should bring a form of ID with you such as a birth certificate or legal drivers license- you can check out the full list of acceptable documents at the link above.
- You do not need witnesses on your Marriage License in Ohio, but there are two lines for witnesses to sign if you would like to! I think it is a fun way to remember who else was there, if there was anyone.
- The blank marriage certificate you walk out with will be signed and legally taken care of by your officiant (be sure to check if they mail it for you or not) after your ceremony. After your elopement, you will receive your actual copy of your marriage license (along with a cute decorative one) in the mail
4. Get Married!
The best + most important step- get married!! Have the best day of your life (so far), enjoy yourself and celebrate you + your partner’s new chapter together. This day is all about you and your partner, so enjoy it!
After the Wedding
Here’s a list of things to expect and take care of after your Ohio elopement.
- A valid, completed marriage certificate should be coming within the next few weeks! You will need this to update your social security card, if you are choosing to do that!
- Your elopement photographer and/or videographer should be sending you your galleries in the following weeks. This varies from vendor to vendor- be sure to read your contract to know when exactly to expect these items. For us, we send out your final galleries anywhere between 2-4 weeks after your elopement.
- Update you mailing address and name. If you moved, make sure you filled out a forwarding address through the post office. If you live somewhere that requires approval of a name on a mailbox before they will deliver it, make sure they are aware of any name changes!
Thank you guys so much for taking the time to read this guide! If you have any more questions, or want to get in touch about us being a part of your elopement shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you have the best time with your partner and have the day of your dreams! Happy Eloping!