I tell stories of everyday love in epic locations, stories of free spirited couples mad about one another. This is wedding and elopement photography for people who believe small, ordinary moments together build an extraordinary life. Together we make tangible, physical memories of impactful moments. It’s as simple as that.
It’s easy to see how Aruba earned the nickname “one happy island!” Located in the Caribbean, Aruba is known for its white sand beaches, year round sunshine, and tropical climate – but if you venture off the sandy resorts, you’ll find endless adventures. So whether you want a relaxing tropical getaway, or to spend your honeymoon exploring the natural wonders of the island, this Aruba wedding guide will tell you all about how to elope in Aruba. From setting a date, budgeting, finding the perfect spot for your ceremony, and all the tips and tricks for planning a destination wedding, you’ll be an expert in no time!
Maybe you’re on the fence – wondering if a destination wedding is right for you. Here are some reasons why I think getting married in Aruba is something you should consider!
With a destination wedding, your guest list is bound to be shorter than it would be if you had a traditional wedding in your hometown – or maybe you won’t have a guest list at all! One of the best things about choosing to elope in Aruba is that the experience will be shared with just the people you love most, and your wedding day will be about celebrating your love and the start of your marriage – not about throwing a party for 200 people and worrying about saying hello to everyone. A destination wedding gives you the opportunity to spend some time with your guests, but since you’ll likely be combining this with your honeymoon, you’ll get the best of both worlds, and be able to spend some time alone too!
Of course, one of the biggest advantages to an Aruba wedding is that you get to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world! The turquoise waters and white sand beaches make a stunning backdrop, and you can head inland to explore the cactuses, caves, and pools – or, stay close to the beach and spend your honeymoon sipping pina coladas, or hopping in the waves for some snorkeling!
There really isn’t a bad time for your Aruba wedding – the climate is pretty ideal year round!
December through March is the most popular time for travelers to visit Aruba, because while most of the northern hemisphere gets pretty chilly, this Caribbean island stays warm and sunny. Eloping during this time can be a great way to escape the cold at home, but travel will be more expensive, and you’ll likely run into more crowds.
April through August, Aruba is much quieter – tourists usually stay away during this time, so you’ll get a lot more privacy. During the off season, prices are cheaper – but the weather can get pretty toasty, upwards of 85 degrees. Summer is pretty windy, which can help you stay cool, but the wind might be a little harsh at times (nothing like sand blowing in your eyes, am I right?).
I think the best month to get married in Aruba is September – the winds die down, and the weather is still warm and sunny! The winter crowds haven’t started pouring in yet, so you’ll have some more privacy for your elopement. October through December can be good times for your Aruba wedding as well, but keep in mind that this is the rainy season!
With any wedding, budget can be a huge factor! But, you may be surprised to know that a destination wedding or elopement is often easier on the wallet than a traditional wedding at home. Because of the shortened guest list, you’re saving a lot of money on catering costs – and getting married at a resort (and staying there for your honeymoon) is usually less expensive than a wedding venue!
The cost of a destination wedding can depend on a lot of factors – like guest list, where you stay, and what you want to do, but on average, couples spend less than $15,000 on their Aruba wedding. When you elope in Aruba, you get to spend your money on having amazing experiences with the people you love most, and staying at an all inclusive resort helps cut costs as well!
The best part? Unlike a traditional wedding, it’s not over after just one day! You get to stay for the rest of your honeymoon, making the most out of your wedding – and out of your budget.
This is the fun part – deciding where to host your Aruba wedding! The resorts on the island allow you to have an all inclusive destination wedding, as you’ll have a place to stay with access to the beach and to all kinds of adventures, a place to have your ceremony, and a place to relax and enjoy your honeymoon. Here are some of Aruba’s best resorts that can serve as your wedding venue!
The Divi and Tamarijn are technically two different properties, but you will have access to both resorts, and they’re just a quick walk or shuttle ride away from each other.
Divi is located right on the beach and is a little quieter, with a more upscale, modern feel. The rooms are a little bigger and more luxurious, while the Tamarijn is slightly less pricey. The walk to the beach from the Tamarijn is longer, and the atmosphere is more youthful – so if you want a relaxing experience, the Divi is the way to go! Both resorts offer a beachfront spot for your ceremony, with all inclusive packages to make your destination wedding easy and stress free.
The Hyatt Regency Resort is the perfect tropical getaway, and offers several options for Aruba wedding venues, including beachfront spaces of different sizes to accomodate any kind of destination wedding! The resort has poolside cabanas perfect for relaxing, and their wedding packages include salon services, customized excursions, and a dedicated romance planner to help you plan!
The Manchebo Resort only has 72 rooms – which means your stay here will feel intimate and peaceful! They pride themselves on being a personalized, peaceful alternative to some of the bigger resorts, and offer all inclusive wedding packages and romantic getaways. The rooms overlook either the ocean or the gardens, and you can reserve couple’s massages, romantic customized dinners, and more – it’ll feel like the resort was made just for you!
Aside from the fun stuff – like your wedding ceremony and all the adventures you’ll have, there’s also the process of getting legally married. A lot of couples who have destination weddings in Aruba choose to do the paperwork at home, as the process is usually more straightforward. But, if you want to get legally married during your elopement, here are Aruba’s wedding requirements.
You’ll need copies of your birth certificate, passport, and the passports of your two witnesses. You’ll also need to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment, which is a document stating that you are legally able to get married and can be obtained from the court in your hometown, as well as a Declaration of Marriage Intent. All the documents can be faxed or emailed at least one month before the ceremony. Most resorts will have someone who can help you with planning your wedding, and guide you through this process!
This is a once in a lifetime experience – so you’ll need a photographer to capture it all! As an elopement photographer, I specialize in adventurous experiences, and couples who go out a little outside the box. I’ll be by your side, helping you plan your destination wedding in Aruba, and cheering you on as you create the elopement day of your dreams!
Contact me to get started – my passport is up to date and ready to go!
On the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, famous for nearly year round sunshine, white sand beaches, luxurious resorts, authentic local cuisine…. I could go on forever, but you get it! It’s easy to see why Cabo draws couples from all over the world, whether they’re tying the knot, celebrating an anniversary, or just taking a break from the hustle and bustle back home. If you’ve recently gotten a new piece of bling on your finger and the blue waters and sunny skies are calling your name, consider a Cabo elopement!
Though the thought of planning a destination wedding, no matter how small, can seem a little daunting, don’t let that stop you! I’ve got your back with tips, tricks and advice to make your international elopement a breeze. By the time you’re through this guide, you’ll be an expert on how to elope in Cabo!
To the west of mainland Mexico and 1,000 miles south of the US border is Cabo! You can book a flight from any major US airport to the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) and land just 23 miles away from Cabo San Lucas.
Once you’ve landed, there are tons of taxis and shuttle services that can take you to almost any resort, so renting a car may not be necessary! But, if you’re planning to wander away from your resort and explore Baja throughout your stay, you can rent a car for a day, or a few.
Temperatures are warm year round, making Cabo a popular winter destination for those trying to escape the cold in their home states. Here is a graph of weather averages in Cabo:
As you can see, June through August can get very toasty. So, unless you’re planning on spending all of your time in the water, I recommend avoiding Cabo in the summer months. Summers also tend to be rainy (with a small chance of hurricanes), so it’s not the best time to elope.
The most optimal weather comes in December through April, but this also means higher rates at hotels and resorts, and more crowds.
And speaking of crowds, let’s talk about how to avoid them! Though all of Baja is a popular destination pretty much year round, there are a few ways that you can get a little more privacy for your Cabo elopement.
The best times of year to elope in Cabo when it comes to missing out on the crowding are May and November. In May, tourist season has just ended, but stormy season hasn’t yet started! Vice versa in November, when rainy days become fewer and farther between, but crowds haven’t yet come out in full force. When you decide on an elopement date, make sure to also check that you aren’t eloping around any holidays!
Eloping in Cabo means you get an all-in-one. When you choose your resort, it’ll be your home base, your wedding venue, your party location, and probably your honeymoon destination! There are tons of places to choose from for your Cabo elopement, but here are a few to get the gears turning.
Dreams Los Cabos is a luxurious resort featuring rooms with ocean views, professional golf courses, swimming pools, and so much more. Though the architecture is reminiscent of the charming, traditional Mexico, the resort is complete with all the amenities you can dream of. You can relax at the resort’s world class spa or take a snorkeling tour, lounge by the infinity pool or take a dance lesson, watch big screen movies poolside or go bungee jumping, or all of the above! You might even get the chance to witness the sea turtles hatching on the resort beach. All of the images in this blog are from Dreams! It’s definitely my favorite of the resorts listed.
This resort is located on the white sands of Medano Beach, home of some of the most iconic ocean views in Baja. The resort is located close to downtown Cabo for those who want to do some exploring through town, though you’ll find anything you need at Club Cascadas! Wander through pathways that wind through charming villas with thatched roofs, relax poolside, take in the views at Land’s End, and enjoy sunsets on the beach!
At Esperanza Resort, you can enjoy small casitas, luxurious villas, or large haciendas on the beach. An infinity pool overlooks the resort’s private beach, and dedicated butlers and private chefs ensure you won’t have to lift a finger on your elopement day! Horseback rides on the beach, tequila tastings, snorkeling, and so much more make this beachfront resort the perfect getaway.
So, this isn’t the most glamorous part of your Cabo elopement. But, to make sure you’re legally married at the end of it, there are a few things you’ll need to know! Many couples find it easier to handle the paperwork at home – that way, you can focus on the fun stuff when you’re in Cabo! Many resorts also offer a wedding coordinator to handle the logistics.
To get a marriage license in Cabo, you will need to arrive at least three days before your ceremony. Couples are required to take a blood test no more than two weeks before the ceremony date, and once your results are ready you can go to city hall to apply for a marriage license. Blood tests are typically $300, and your marriage application is $80.
After the ceremony, your marriage certificate is only valid in Mexico – so you will need to send it to be validated, which costs an additional $165. You will then receive it at your home address about three months later.
In Cabo, wedding ceremonies are performed by a judge. This means you may need to pay an additional travel fee to have a judge come to your elopement! If you have a symbolic ceremony (which means the paperwork was done at home), you can have a friend or family member officiate!
Your marriage license must be signed by four witnesses. If you’re planning a guest-less elopement, any of your elopement vendors can sign! The only requirement is that your witnesses have a passport, and if necessary, resorts are usually able to provide witnesses for an additional fee.
We’ve talked about logistics – but how the heck do you actually plan a destination elopement?
You can elope completely by yourselves, if that’s what feels right! There’s something magical about jetting off to a different country alone. But, if you have some people you want around on your elopement day, whether it’s friends or family or both, that’s totally fine too.
If you’re inviting guests, make sure to loop them in on your plans early, so that they have time to plan and make reservations – international travel can be tricky!
You certainly don’t want your guests boarding a flight to Cabo with no clue where they’ll be sleeping. Having your guests stay with you at your resort is a great way to celebrate with your friends and family before the elopement ceremony – make sure to make bookings early so that you can all stay close together!
Though of course, your elopement ceremony is the main event, you’re in Cabo! Take this time to celebrate – whether it’s partying on a booze cruise with your best friends, spending nights by a bonfire with your family, or hanging out by the beach with all your people.
After your ceremony, you’ll probably want to stay in Cabo for a little while longer – and I totally recommend it! The time before your ceremony was for celebrating with your guests, now it’s time for romantic spa dates and celebrating your first days, or weeks, of marriage! Talk about the logistics with your guests beforehand, and let them know that you totally want them with you for the days leading up to the ceremony, but after that, you’ll be celebrating a little longer after they’ve flown home.
While having a photographer there for your Cabo elopement is a no brainer, consider having them around for more than just the wedding day! That time spent with your friends and family before the elopement is so special, and you deserve to have photos to remember all of it… especially for when tequila gets involved!
And if you’re ready to plan your Cabo elopement and need a photographer who will join you for booze cruises and relaxing nights by the pool, contact me!
An elegant elopement on the Cliffs of Moher. Lisa and Aaron flew to Ireland with ten of their closest friends and family members for the elopement of a lifetime. They got ready the morning of the wedding at The Huntsman Inn where they had their first look and a glass of Irish whiskey. They cried, laughed and popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Lisa and Aaron then hoped into their car and headed for the Cliffs of Moher. It was cloudy in the morning but the sun came out for the beautiful, intimate ceremony.
After the ceremony the group headed to The Dail Bar in downtown Galway where they drank Guinness (as you should when in Ireland) and had a memorable reception with their loved ones.
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Photography: Makayla McGarvey Photography // Stop Motion Video : Makayla McGarvey // Hair: Dee Mac Dermott // Makeup: Sara Duffy Makeup // Officiant: John Burns Celebrant // Dress: Everything But The Groom // Planners: Eloping in Ireland // Getting Ready Location: The Huntsman Inn // Ceremony Location: Hag’s Head // Reception Location: The Dail