How To Plan An Elopement Wedding In Sydney

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

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

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 and 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.

As a response to COVID-19, elopement ceremonies are becoming more popular as couples no longer wish to delay becoming legal spouses. In these instances, an official celebrant is required and certain requirements must be fulfilled.

Are adventure weddings the same thing?

The words elopements, adventure weddings, intimate weddings, adventure elopements and secret weddings can be used interchangeably.

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.
  5. Do a little dance.
  6. Get hitched and have the best day of your lives.
  7. Get down tonight!

If you wish to keep numbers to an absolute minimum, I have been asked to act as a marriage witness on numerous occasions. 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.

By the way, just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean that you cannot have a beautiful wedding ceremony setup because you totally can! I can recommend a number of wedding stylists and florists to you and they can elevate your 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.

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 up to 20-30 people in attendance. Small weddings often have a formal 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 $750. 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 to see how I can assist.