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Pros and Cons of Eloping

The term elopement once carried a negative connotation, typically associated with couples who were running away to get married outside the eyes of disapproving parents. Today, it is more used for people who have small weddings, especially destination weddings in other countries. While it seems romantic and idyllic, it is important to remember that there are legal guidelines to follow and there may be some pros and cons to eloping, as well.

Different Legal Requirements

Going on vacation and making a spur of the moment decision to get married is not something that really happens outside of Las Vegas and TV. Each state and country have various guidelines for obtaining a marriage license. In some instances, you may need to be in the country for a certain amount of time before obtaining the license and having the marriage be legally binding.

Some destinations require one or more witnesses. They may also require that you get married in certain places only, like the City Hall. It is often worth hiring a local wedding planner who is well-versed in the legal requirements for getting married in that particular destination. Some planners include updated requirements right on their website, so a little research can help make the whole process easier.

If you are over 18, but under 21, some countries may still require written, notarized consent of a parent or guardian. You will also need to plan ahead to ensure you have all the proper documentation in time. These include birth certificates that are properly notarized, along with notarized divorce decrees and certificates of being widowed, name changes, etc.

Pros and Cons of Elopement

Outside of getting all the legal requirements in place, there are some personal pros and cons to consider when discussing elopement and out of country destination weddings.

Potential Pros:

  • Often saves people money versus the traditional large ceremony and reception, especially if you can combine the ceremony with the honeymoon.
  • It can save arguments and disagreements from parents or other family members or friends who do not approve of your partner or wedding details/decisions.

Potential Cons:

  • Family members and friends will feel slighted and disappointed they missed out on your big day.
  • You may still need to plan a reception for family and friends back home, so the financial savings may not be that big after all.
  • Some brides may feel they missed out on the “big moments” like bridal attendants, father/daughter dance, etc.
  • You have to rely on an unknown destination photographer to capture all your special moments to share with family and friends back home.
  • Having to rely on other vendors in a foreign country without a trial run-through for services like makeup and hair, catering, wedding cake, and more.
  • Inclement weather, natural disasters, lost luggage, and locations not described as advertised may put a complete damper on the destination ceremony site.

Retaining a West Palm Beach Family Attorney

Each situation is different, but it is also important to meet with a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney to discuss a prenuptial agreement. Each party needs to be represented by a separate attorney, so it is important to retain one who is well-versed in the nuances of prenuptial agreements. Please contact the Law Office of William Wallshein at 561-533-1221 today to schedule a consultation.

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