How To Plan An Elopement Wedding In Sydney

Bride and Groom on Boat Bow on Sydney Harbour

Elopements are one of my favourite things to photograph. This is because the focus of the elopement is completely about the couple, their relationship and what matters to them. Without the need to worry about other people, I love elopements because I can give my undivided attention to you and what you want.

There are no rules. No pressure to do this or do that. No people to please (other than each other).

And given that it is Sydney, the most obvious locations for an intimate wedding are found near the harbour!

Recommended for you: I’ve mapped out the best spots to elope in Sydney

What is elopement photography?

The main difference between elopement photography and wedding photography is that there are less people to worry about – both for you and for me. In most cases, elopement photography is less intense, more relaxed, fun, natural, candid and often the shooting time is shorter (and this is often reflected in the price).

Some elopements are symbolic so no celebrant is required – in these instances, it’s just you and me and this makes for some very intimate moments – more so than on a typical wedding day.

The main difference between wedding photography and elopement photography is that there is no formal reception to cover. This means you can spend more time doing what you want to do.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of couples are opting to elope! This is due to make up for lost time, have a no fuss celebration in the way they want.

Another popular reason for eloping is being able to celebrate each other in a unique destination.

Are adventure weddings the same thing?

The words elopements, adventure weddings, intimate weddings, adventure elopements and secret weddings can be used interchangeably. I like to photograph all celebrations (and am not fussed in what you want to call it).

How to elope (in Sydney)

This is what you need to do:

  1. Pick a kickass celebrant (they will help you lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage).
  2. Pick a date.
  3. Pick a spot (check out my list of recommended places to elope to within the Sydney region).
  4. Ask two people to act as your official witnesses (I can serve as one of them).
  5. Do a little dance.
  6. Get hitched and have the best day of your lives.

If you wish to keep numbers to an absolute minimum, I have been asked to act as a marriage witness on numerous occasions (and I can legally act as one of your witnesses). This means that you will need to ask one additional person to act as a witness (because your celebrant cannot be a witness). Although if you are the adventurous type, you can try to ask a total stranger on the day if that’s your thing! Hey, it could make for an interesting story down the track! No judgement here. If you do get in a pinch, I am sure I can help assist in getting another witness onboard for you.

By the way, just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean that you cannot have a beautiful wedding/elopement ceremony setup because you totally can! I can recommend a number of wedding stylists and florists to you and they can elevate your intimate wedding/elopement even further. And if you’re afraid it’ll be too quiet and intimate, I know some live musicians who can soften the mood and provide a beautiful sound track for your elopement as well.

Elopement FAQS

Are elopements legal marriage ceremonies?

Elopements do not necessarily have to be legal marriage ceremonies. Many international travellers choose to elope to Sydney to take advantage of our beautiful landscapes whilst choosing to get legally married back in their country of origin.

Australian law requires that each partner sign a witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage (NoIM) form a minimum of one calendar month prior to the wedding. The same rule applies to elopements (If you wish to be legally married).

In order to get married in New South Wales partners must:

  • not be married to someone else.
  • not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or sibling.
  • be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between sixteen and eighteen years old.
  • understand what marriage means and freely consent to marrying.
  • lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) – PDF with an authorised celebrant or minister at least one month before an intended date of marriage.
  • be married by a registered celebrant or authorised minister of religion and use specific words during the ceremony.
  • provide their original birth certificate or passport. If these are not in English they must be officially translated.

What’s the difference between a small wedding and an elopement wedding?

Elopements tend to be minimalist with the bare minimum number of attendees. Under Australian law, the minimum number of people required at a wedding is five (5). That is, you and your partner, a marriage officiant, and two witnesses.

Small weddings on the other hand, can have anywhere from 5 to 30 people in attendance. Small weddings often have a formal (or informal) reception (lunch or dinner).

It’s really a matter of semantics. I enjoy photographing all types of weddings – from secret weddings, elopements, to large weddings.

How much do you charge?

Elopement photography packages start from $1000. Here is an elopement adventure I covered in Iceland. And click here to see a Sydney Harbour elopement.

What are the best spots in Sydney for our elopement?

Sydney boasts an iconic harbour foreshore and some beautiful gardens. Check out my top elopement location recommendations here.

Hi I’m Jack of Jack Chauvel Photography

As you can see, when it comes to elopements in Sydney – I’m your guy.

Because eloping is a very personal choice, get in touch with me and we can chat some more about how we can make this happen!

Similar Posts