3 Truths about eloping

3 Truths about eloping

If you’re not one for lavish affairs, the thought of escaping to a far-off land to secretly tie the knot with your Prince Charming, sounds like an utterly surreal and thrilling adventure. However, eloping isn’t just about running off into the sunset without a care in the world. There are a few factors to consider and we’ve sussed out all of them to help you decide if this is really the route you and your man want to take.


1 The legal schtick

As a South African couple looking to get married abroad, you need to find out whether your country of choice allows South Africans, if any foreigners at all, to wed on their turf. In certain cases, you may need to have physical tests (such as a blood test) done or fill in specialised forms. The embassy of the country you want to get hitched in will be able to tell you the exact requirements for your nuptials.

Regardless of where you take the plunge, a certain matrimonial property regime will govern your marriage. Read more about South Africa’s regimes here. The country’s common law stipulates that the regime in the husband’s country of permanent residence, also called a domicile, at the time of marriage, will apply. The default regime in South Africa is ‘in community of property’. So, if your groom permanently lives in Port Elizabeth, you’ll be married in community of property. If you prefer to be married out of community of property, you need to sign an antenuptial contract in South Africa before you jet off.

To register your marriage when you get back home, you won’t have to pay a fee. Nevertheless, you’ll need to write a letter to the Department of Home Affairs containing your contact details, including your address, mobile numbers and email addresses. The Department also requires a certified copy of your passport, ID or birth certificate and a copy of your foreign marriage certificate. If the certificate is not in English, it must be submitted with an English translation by a sworn translator.


2 Money matters

A major plus of eloping is that you spare yourself a substantial amount of dough. Without a group of guests attending, you’ll place drastically less strain on your bank account because of the reduced cost of your venue, catering and transport, amongst other items.

Even so, that doesn’t mean there are no expenses involved. No matter where you decide to tie the knot, you will require a roof over your head. There are plenty of wedding venues that offer elopement packages that include lodging, a space to hold your ceremony and a tasteful meal at one of their eateries. If you’re lucky, they may even throw in a wedding cake and bottle of bubbly!

To bask in that wedding day feeling, treat yourself to a gorgeous gown, even if it’s not the usual wedding fare, and have your hair and makeup done. Your man deserves to be decked out in a dashing suit too, and you can even indulge in some pre-wedding couples’ pampering at a spa.

Regardless of who’ll be – or not be – at your ceremony, you’ll want the day to be etched in your memory forever, so don’t forget to hire a photographer. Chat to them about possibly reducing their rates as there’ll be less activity to document.

If you really want to pull out all the stops to make your wedding as opulent as possible – minus the guest list drama, of course – consider a ‘luxury elopement’. This typically entails having exquisite decor, an elaborate wedding dress and a videographer, in addition to anything else that may be on your dream wedding wishlist.


3 Elopement etiquette

Some of your family and friends may suffer bruised egos when they discover that your nuptials didn’t include them. It’s best to let them know about your plans to elope before or immediately after your marriage has been made official. When it comes to announcing your nuptials to the rest of the world (i.e. your friends, colleagues and everyone on Facebook), first make a list of the people you’re most close to then give them a call to share the good news before updating your ‘Relationship Status’ on social media. If your extended family and friends would still like to celebrate with you, why not invite them over for a small celebratory gathering?

Keep in mind that since you’ll be eloping, it would be unfair to ask family and friends to purchase a gift. Also, consider your relationship with certain family members and friends who may want to be witness to your big day, and the cultural or religious traditions that they may want you to honour.

Photography freestocks.org, Zivile & Arunas /Unsplash, Pixabay

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