how to elope in texas

Nikole Velasco | Texas elopement photographer & guide

guide to your texas elopement

For decades big traditional weddings have been the norm and elopements were thought of as something only couples in a tight situation do.

Not anymore my friends, I am here for the couples whose plan A is to elope because getting married any other way just feels weird.

It's true, elopements are far less stressful than big traditional weddings. But they still take a lot of planning and preparation in order to happen. That's where I come in!

texas elopement packages

What is an elopement?

An elopement is an intentional and intimate wedding day crafted around you and your partner. A way to get married that is rooted in quality time and experience. The rest is up to you!

Let's bust some elopement myths while we're here!

Elopements aren't what they used to be

you don't have to run away;

Let's get this one out of the way first. Elopements are not just running to the courthouse or Vegas! An elopement is an intentional and intimate wedding day crafted around YOU. Instead of planning the entire day around a long guest list of people you barely know. It is a way to get married that allows the two of you quality time, experience and adventure!

you can have guests;

Eloping doesn't have to mean getting married just the two of you, though that is totally an option. You can bring your mvps along! Elopements allow you to have quality time with each other as well as any guests you want to experience this day with.

texas marriage laws;

Marriage laws vary from county to county but here's the gist of it; you must wait 72 hours after obtaining your marriage license to marry. And witnesses are not required in Texas so guess what?! I am ordained so if you really wanted it to be just the two of you I would be happy to sign the marriage license as your officiant (:

an elopement is so much more than a photoshoot;

Your elopement day is SO MUCH MORE than a photo shoot. It should be valued and given just as much care and attention as a traditional wedding.  Giving yourselves 1-2 hours of coverage captures your ceremony, some couples portraits and MAYBE a champagne toast. And it would be very fast paced. Aren't you eloping to avoid the jam-packed timeline of a traditional wedding? Not to mention the photos that are delivered after only 1-2 hours wont necessarily tell the full story of your day. The photos you receive will be the only way for those who were not there in person to experience the day with you. Having images that tell the story is so important. 

book me

you might be ready to elope if:

You value experience and quality time over material objects and impressions.

You're not a fan of huge parties or crowds.

You want to have an intimate wedding experience with just the two of you.

You're in the middle of planning a big traditional wedding but you're feeling stressed out or pressured.

You want to go hiking in your wedding dress.

how to elope

Step one; Dream big 

You've decided to toss tradition to the wind and elope. What now? Your first step is to dream big! Sit down together and brainstorm the ultimate weekend getaway for the two of you. Think about whether or not you want people to join for your elopement. (Yes it doesn't just have to be the two of you) And imagine what kind of landscape and adventures, big or small, you enjoy together!

Step two; Narrow it down

Now that you have a general idea of what you want to do you can start looking into the logistics. It's important to consider local marriage laws as well as any reservations or permits you might need for your location. This is also where you'll start preparing for the activities you want to do! Are you hiking? Camping or kayaking? Do you want to have a picnic? Will you have people joining you for the fun?

This stage is a blast but it can feel pretty overwhelming. This is where I come in as an elopement guide. I love taking couples dreams for their elopement and helping make them a reality!

If you find yourselves getting stuck don't hesitate to fill out my contact form! I would love to help! 

Step three; select a date and book

Once you have your location and activities narrowed down you'll want to get the bigger items booked. Having your date selected is important for this stage! This is when you'll reserve things like lodging, car rentals and permits. Some public lands require special use permits for photography and ceremonies, these permits can take months to obtain so applying for those as soon as you have your date and know where you're going is important.

I assist all of my couples with obtaining permits, location scouting and recommending lodging so feel free to send me a message of you have any questions! 

Step four; cross the t's and dot the i's

This is where everything starts to really come together! You've got your big reservations taken care of so now you get to have fun with the details. You'll want to book your vendors, get your clothing and accessories together, book any tour guides you want to have and finally craft your timeline and plan your ceremony out! 

Step five; Elope!

You get MARRIED! While having an amazing, stress free and intimate experience.

texas elopement packages & pricing


"Having Nikole as our elopement photographer was the best decision! She literally made everything so easy! We were so scared about the whole process because we’ve never been in Texas before and the first thing we were going to do was elope! Nikole helped us with each and every doubt I had. She always had an answer and so many great ideas for our day that it even made the whole process very exciting!

Our experience on our elopement day was BEYOND THIS WORLD! We enjoyed every minute of it and never had to worry about anything!! Nikole made sure that everything worked out as we wanted. It was the best day and experience of our lives. One of the things I appreciated the most was her thoughtfulness. We had to start hiking before sunrise and she made sure we stayed warm and cozy by bringing hand warmers and extra layers! She made us feel as if we had known her for many years!

Our photos are the most precious memory of the best day of our lives! She was able to capture every meaningful moment and expression of love. "

"She made us feel as if we had known her for many years!"


Texas elopement Packages

Pricing starting at $3,200 for Texas Elopement Packages.

Learn more about the packages and pricing!

Where can we elope in texas?

I love showing people the beauty texas has to offer and am always so stoked when I hear "I didn't know texas looked like this!" 

check out my "best places to elope in texas" guide!

what does an elopement look like?

Every elopement is unique because they are crafted around each couple's dreams! Here's my elopement timeline tips and examples guide so you can get an idea of what an elopement looks like.

check out my "Elopement timeline tips and examples" guide

how do we elope in Texas?

Still have questions about how to elope in Texas? Check out my more in-depth planning guide!

check out my "how to plan a texas elopement" guide!


"She’s fun to work with, always kind, always goes the extra mile,"

"Nikole is an incredible elopement photographer. She helped us pick a location, she arranged a timeline for us, helped pick out the flowers, EVERYTHING. We had a beautiful ceremony and it almost felt effortless. The memories made were priceless. Nikole is that good. She’s fun to work with, always kind, always goes the extra mile. You will cherish the photos she takes for you for the rest of your life."

I'm currently dwelling in Austin Texas but my elopement packages include travel anywhere in Texas!

Where are you located?

With elopements it varies, usually about 50 images per hour I spend shooting. My portrait sessions come with a minimum of 25 images.

How Many Images Are Included?

No I do not offer delivery of unedited images. My editing process and style is an important piece of the experience!

Do You Give Out Unedited Photos?

All payments are processed online through my Honeybook, I will send out an invoice and you select either automatic or manual payments.

How Does Payment Work?

You'll fill out my contact form and I will respond within 48 hours. From there we will hop on the phone and decide if we fit well together! If you want to move forward I require a signed contract and 40% retainer to book. 

How Do I Book You?

In the case of an emergency where I cannot be there for a wedding you've booked me for I will send an associate shooter pre-approved by you in my place and I will edit the photos.

In the case that you contact me and I am already booked on your date I can refer you to other photographers or we can work on a different date!

What Happens If You Can’t Be At Our Wedding?

If you cancel your date the 40% retainer will be non-refundable.

If you reschedule your date and I am not already booked on the new date then your retainer will transfer to the new date and there may be a rescheduling fee.

If you reschedule for a date that I have another booking on then I will try to send an associate photographer in my place. If an associate can't be found then your 40% retainer will be non-refundable and the contract will be cancelled.

What If We Cancel/Reschedule Our Date?

Yes! I am ordained to officiate in the state of Texas. I don't speak during your ceremony because I am the photographer but I can sign all of the documents to make it legit with the government if that's your jam. Texas does not require witnesses. 

can you officiate our elopement?

I deliver fully edited images, most of my editing is color tones, cropping and straightening out images. I do use photoshop to remove distracting objects but I do not photoshop scars, change the shape of bodies or drastically change the way people look. You are beautiful and I am here to document your unique beauty.

If there's a wardrobe malfunction, you have lipstick on your teeth or something un-natural like that then yes I will try to photoshop it out. 

Will You Photoshop Us?

Unfortunately we can't control the weather but we can definitely control how prepared we are for it. My workflow and planning process will help you prepare for any kind of weather your specific location and season may encounter. 

I love shooting rain or shine! Sometimes rainy weather makes for the best scenery. But we do work together to create a plan b, otherwise known as a "rain plan", in the case of dangerous weather. 

What Happens If The Weather Is Bad?

Wear whatever makes you feel like YOU! Which I know can be an annoying answer so don't worry I got you. After you book I will send over outfit inspiration boards that match your specific shoot as well as some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way to make sure you look and feel great!

What Do We Wear To Our Photoshoot?

Don't worry! I love planning elopements for couples who aren't really down for an all day hike. We can find dreamy locations a short walk from a parking lot or even plan an urban elopement!

What if we aren't outdoorsy?

My turnaround time for elopements and weddings is 4-6 weeks. For portrait sessions it is 2-4 weeks. 

What Is Your Turnaround?

Most of my elopement packages include travel anywhere in Texas. 

How Do Travel Expenses Work?

Yasss! All of my elopement packages include planning guidance. Here are a few of the many things I assist with;

- Location scouting
- Timeline building
- Obtaining permits
- Practicing Leave No Trace
- Packing lists
- Vendor referrals

Do You Help In The Planning Process?

I do offer a limited number of portrait sessions per year. I bring the same adventurous and documentary style to my portrait sessions so get ready to have some fun!

Do You Photograph Families, Seniors, Etc.?