How to elope in Australia

by: christian miran


Life is more fun when you don’t follow the rules. 

Your wedding is no exception. 

The connection you share with your lover is unique, and the way you celebrate it should be too. Eloping is the perfect way to create an intentionally intimate experience before the next chapter of couple-life begins. 

Plus, you’ll only have yourselves to feed. How good. 

If you’ve decided the traditional wedding isn’t for you (or you’re pondering on the idea), there’s a few things to add to your to-do list, before getting to the I do’s.

Mornington Peninsula Wedding and Elopement Location

1. Decide on your why

‘Don’t overthink it. If the idea of it makes you feel free and alive …. do it.’

What is it that made you consider eloping? You’d like to ride down the aisle on a Harley? Exchange your vows during sunrise at your favourite music festival? Screw the wedding dress, you’re doing the whole ceremony naked. Whatever bad-assery it is that made you choose to throw out the rule book – run with it. This is your why. Collect all of your wildest ideas for your day and use it as your guidebook. 

2. Pick a meaningful location

‘We took a road trip to Vegas for the weekend. He saved a puppy on the freeway en route. Got married in a pink Cadillac at the little white wedding chapel.’

weddings at the altar electric

Well, it may not be Vegas, but we’re pretty damn spoiled for choice here in Australia. Maybe it’s nature you’re after; your favourite bush camping spot with the chorus of birds as your soundtrack, or a barefoot ceremony on the beach, where you first locked eyes in the surf. If you’ve got a thirst for adrenaline, you can shred your way into married life down Mount Hotham on a snowboard. 

mt. buller elopement

Perhaps the urban jungle is more your thing; take a spin in a vintage car to a drive-in movie, or rock matching sequin pantsuits at your favourite dive bar, to the sound of Stevie Nicks under the disco ball. Anything is possible. All you need is creativity – and maybe a permit, but more on that later.

geelong elopement photographer

3. Lock in a date

So, you’ve got an idea and a location. Great job. Now you need a date. It’s a good idea to consider these three things when deciding:

  • Does the date have personal significance? The anniversary of your first date? Your first kiss? May the 4th, because you bonded over your mutual love of Star Wars?
  • What will the weather be like in your chosen location? If you’re travelling interstate, do some research on the climate at that time of year. If you hate humidity, maybe a summer wedding in Queensland isn’t for you.
  • Availability for bookings. Luckily, keeping your ceremony small and intimate gives you the flexibility to escape for a midweek getaway. Venues that require a booking may be cheaper, and quicker to accommodate your requests, than if you choose to elope during a weekend – because patience is a virtue that none of us have when it comes to love. 

4. Do you invite guests? It’s up to you

‘It was so relaxed and stress-free. We got to be present and just enjoy time with our family. We read letters from our overseas family and video chatted with a few more. We made it a reflection of us and our story. Bloody loved every second of it.’

Eloping really is a testament to the whole ‘size doesn’t matter’ thing. Legally, in Australia, a wedding requires two witnesses over the age of 18, excluding the celebrant. These can be your photographer or videographer if you’re keeping it low-key, or any other important individuals you’d like to be part of the experience – virtually or IRL. Most importantly, your dog can absolutely also be part of the wedding and yes, he’d look fabulous in a tiny suit. 

5. Look the part

‘Our rings are horseshoes. My dress was a gold mini, he wore a Hawaiian shirt. I had white boots with lightning bolts in honour of Bowie.’

You might be eager to shun tradition in one aspect of your wedding, but still have a fairy-tale vision of yourself in a white dress. That’s totally fine. But equally, if wearing a dress or a suit gives you the ick, pick something that makes you feel fantastic. Aunt Linda won’t be there to judge you, it’s okay. 

a couple recently married in melbourne

6. Create lasting memories

‘It was exciting, scary, overwhelming but most of all exhilarating! We knew it was all about us and we knew we may upset a few people along the way. At the end of the day it’s not about pleasing others, it’s about you two.’

Picking the right photographer or videographer to capture the moment can feel like an overwhelming task. Choosing someone who specialises in elopement photography gives you peace of mind – they’re experienced in capturing the candid moments between you both, and know how to make you feel comfortable to be your natural selves in a more intimate setting. It’s all about the good times and good vibes. 

7. The legal stuff

So, you’re ready to do the damn thing! But wait a minute – we’ve got some logistics to consider. Sorry. It’s not complicated though. Brew yourself a strong coffee and let’s get into it.

You must:

  • Not already be married 
  • Provide official documents – birth certificates, passports etc
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Understand what marriage is and give your free, willing consent
  • Have witnesses at the ceremony (at least 2, just a reminder)
  • Ensure you have the relevant permits for whatever location you choose and take written permission with you on the day, if necessary 

If paperwork on your special day really is a buzzkill and you’d prefer to skip the legal stuff entirely, you can also have a symbolic ceremony, and get married at a registry office at a later date. It’s totally up to you. 

Whatever you choose to do, it’s 100% yours – as unique and radical as your love story is. Make it special. Make it weird and wonderful. ‘Do whatever the f*ck makes you happy.’

These are the kinds of unions that           get me excited - real, raw and so damn in love.   






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