At Lost in Love, we absolutely adore marriage, and in particular, Elopements.
Being based in Queenstown, New Zealand – one of the world’s most stunning wedding destinations – we have seen our fair share of elopements, therefore we have put our collective wisdom together to create The Ultimate Queenstown Elopement Guide that’s a comprehensive elopement guide for your ease of planning. We have also thrown in some tips which are stress-saving as well as some little gems like the best advice from someone who has taken the plunge and eloped and we cover how we can help you to get married with the magical natural beauty that is Queenstown, as your elopement destination.
What is Eloping?
When you elope, it is usually just you and you’re beloved, set to marry somewhere beautiful and with the tug of adventure in your hearts. Eloping means going somewhere else without telling your closest people that you are off to get married – as your focus is just on the two of you and that is all that matters!
A less ‘traditional,’ elopement can involve a small wedding party – just your very bare minimum number of people, other than the celebrant, photographer and yourselves, you may have a friend each or your parents and siblings. Maybe all three of these groups or just one.
An elopement this small is also known as an ‘intimate wedding.’ Eloping usually is to do with going away somewhere new to cement your love for one another – and sometimes a few of our favourite people may come along to be a part of the adventure.
If you choose to elope as just the two of you bearing witness to your marriage, then we have some ideas for involving your loved ones from afar – just to soften the blow!
People elope for varied reasons which are as unique as the love between them, but there are some general themes around the reasons for eloping which we at Lost in Love see time and time again. Generally, elopement is desirable if you are wanting to get married somewhere beautiful and far away and you cannot see the practicality of inviting both families as well as all of your friends. Destination weddings are becoming more popular, where everyone heads to a unique spot to enjoy a wedding, but they are out of reach for many people. Therefore, the budget does play a part in the decision to elope as it can end up being much more affordable – you can then spend the big bucks on something that is more important to you as a couple, like a flash honeymoon or home ownership.
Another popular reason for choosing to elope is when the couple have decided that getting married is really only to do with them and their love for one another – they may not see the need for involving others and again, having to pay for an expensive wedding in order to accommodate others’ expectations of what getting married means. Eloping is more straightforward, less expensive, and more about the two of you and because it’s less hassle you can create that special space wherever you are – the options are endless!
Eloping isn’t a downgrade – it’s an adventure!
We at Lost in Love have also witnessed spontaneous proposals here in the stunning Queenstown surroundings, which inspire acts of romance such as getting down on one knee and popping the big question – this can and often does, lead to an elopement taking place a couple of weeks later! The whole, let’s live baby! is truly alive and well here in Queenstown, so we have had the absolute pleasure of helping those who thought they were just on a holiday to get hitched. It is fair to say that spontaneity and grand romantic gestures also play a part in the decision to elope. Many say eloping is more romantic overall due to the intimacy factor as well as the spontaneity and the adventure that eloping inspires!
The Ultimate Guide to Elopement in Queenstown: Best advice from someone who has Eloped
We have been told: Do not skimp on photography! You need to capture this incredibly special moment between the two of you, even if it’s just to prove you got married and so your folks aren’t too annoyed to have missed out! Especially if it really is just the two of you, no one is on hand to capture a snap or two, so employ a photographer to guide the day with a bespoke timeline – that way it’s more than just the ceremony on your wedding day – you can get all romantic and sweet by enjoying a photo shoot in some stunning locations – may as well make the most while in Queenstown! Curating a list of things you love to do and weaving that into your wedding day was also among our couples’ top advice – it’s your special day with just the two of you, so create it the way you both want to experience it whether it’s a beautiful candlelit dinner, a mountain hike, or a snowy heli wedding adventure, the sky really is the limit so go for it and you will never forget this special time!
What Lost in Love offer to help you to Elope in Queenstown
First, why Queenstown?
Queenstown has become one of the world’s most desirable places to get hitched for a number of reasons which become immediately obvious upon arriving at this bustling, vibrant and picturesque alpine township surrounded by the Southern Alps towering over mysterious Lake Wakatipu.
The township is growing and changing but still retains that small-town vibe where you’re local if you land for a season and tourists are welcomed here as being an important part of the Queenstown culture. Over time, people came to Queenstown not just to throw themselves down a mountain or off a bridge, but to take in the scenery and honour their love and commitment by getting married – the Queenstown wedding industry was born and continues to grow and evolve.
Pretty much year round you can guarantee that Queenstown will turn it on for you with stunning locations, breath-taking moments of adventure and enough options for wedding vendors and venues for you to be spoilt for choice. And that’s where we come in – Lost in Love will help you to cut through all the options and curate your dream elopement experience – choosing from one of our three stunning packages means you can relax and prepare for your ‘I Do’s knowing that everything is taken care of and you have been guided to create your own unique elopement experience.
A brief overview
(see our price list and description of packages for all the details and examples of timelines)
This package is just for you if you are wanting to keep it as simple as possible with just the two of you, the love you have for one another and our talented photographer capturing your “I Do’s.”
An elegant way to celebrate your union without all the fluff. We sort the perfect celebrant for you, the photography, the location, and your witnesses (2, for legal purposes), provide you with VIP transport and you get a sneak peek of your photoshoot in 72 hours, as an added bonus we also throw in a bottle of sparkling champagne to celebrate the moment.
Go for the adventure if you want that little bit extra, you’re keen to celebrate for longer and go on a couple more adventures. All of the above including your very own wedding planner from the Lost in Love Team, a longer more in-depth photo shoot and a delicious custom-made wedding cake so you can enjoy the sweetness of being newly married.
If you want to go all out and have everything taken care of by the professional team at Love in Love then you will want to choose The Bonanza package!
All of the above and not only do you get to enjoy the artisan wedding cake of your dreams but we also provide a breakfast hamper, grazing board throughout the day, specialized bridal makeup (this can be extended to cover two brides), buttonholes and bouquets created just for you, a 6-hour professional photoshoot and 200 plus images edited and presented through your very own online gallery. We also create a slideshow of your images set to music, as well as your very own bespoke wedding album to have and to hold you even get an on-the-day wedding coordinator so you don’t have to think of anything other than saying your vows and of course, getting lost in one another.
Our Lost in Love Elopement packages are also available with extra add-ons so you can truly curate your special day with all the added details which represent your love for one another. We have everything on offer you could dream of and can take care of bookings and crafting all the elements that you choose to make your day truly represent your marriage.
Examples are Video Packages, Livestreaming, Wedding arch, Florals, Venue hire, breakfast hampers, hair and makeup and much more.
Check out our packages for more details. Once you have set your budget and decided on what package represents your desires, then you can begin the planning stages of actually getting to Queenstown and deciding on when you want to elope.
To Note: Why add film?
Many couples feel it is especially important to not only have some beautiful memories captured but to be able to look back on their wedding day footage and to have this on hand to share with loved ones at home is also a wise move. It is a bit easier to let those loved ones know where you went and got married when you can present them with some professional footage of the big day! And who doesn’t love to relive their romantic dream elopement day over and over. You may as well make the most of it and enjoy those memories!
You’re engaged! Now what?
Step 1: Pick a date –
Congratulations! You are engaged and you both feel it’s time to elope. The question popped and the was decision made – now you just need to ask yourselves, when do we elope?
Generally, elopements happen sooner than a wedding which takes a lot of planning, that’s the beauty of elopements, you can be married within a relatively short timeframe – many take place 3-6 months after becoming engaged. So, ask yourselves how soon you want to be hitched and make a date to work with before you go any further into the planning stages. Picking a date also has to do with planning your location, as the time of year may matter especially when eloping outdoors – which is of course, a popular choice in Queenstown. Picking a weekday is also a good tip, in the case of getting married on a shorter timeline, your vendors and accommodation etc are more likely to be available for you to book on short notice.
Read on to plan your unique elopement, one which you won’t ever forget.
Step 2: Pick a Location –
With Lost in Love, Queenstown is at your fingertips – we have locations aplenty, from your mountain tops to the stunning reflective lakes the area is renowned for, you can pick from a number of small wedding venues – perfect for eloping or holding an intimate wedding, heli wedding options – as in which glacier do you prefer ma’am and sir? We even have free outdoor spaces which offer those million-dollar views.
Mountains! We have mountains galore for you to take your pick – Coronet Peak being one of the most accessible and closer to Queenstown options. Remarkables is near the airport and we have a stunning secret spot for incredible photos with that famous backdrop of Queenstown below before you even reach the peaks!
Heli weddings are also offered here at Lost in Love, with different locations and budgets to suit. Why not find your very own glacier as a backdrop to celebrating your love? A thrilling way to make the most of your mountain-top wedding experience, if you are wanting to go further afield than the local mountain ranges. Take your pick from either hiking, driving or taking a helicopter to the rooftop of Aotearoa.
As with mountains, lakes are aplenty here in the depths of the Southern Alps. Queenstown has been built around the impressive Lake Wakatipu which boosts a number of pretty little bays and inlets, perfect for photoshoots or romantic elopement ceremonies. Lake Wanaka is also nearby, across the Crown Range, and if you want to go further afield you can find smaller, more exclusive lakes in hidden spots all around. Moke Lake is only 15 minutes from Queenstown, Lake Hayes is on the way to picturesque Arrowtown, and even past Glenorchy at the head of the lake are the ethereal lakes that have been featured in certain fantasy movies. A lakeside shoot with captivating reflections really does have a magical quality about it that is unique to Queenstown and its surroundings.
Where you have mountains, you can find valleys and in the case of Queenstown and the areas around it you can find wide sweeping valleys of grasslands and tussock with golden hues and that crisp mountain air vibe that is so synonymous with the Southern Alps. Places such as Jacks Point provide the best of both worlds with large grassy areas that sweep upwards towards majestic mountains towering above – this makes for a dramatic photoshoot if you are going for such a look, make sure to let us know if this is your vibe – we have valley venues covered at Lost in Love.
You could argue that everywhere you go is Paradise in Queenstown! But some spots are just that little bit more special than the usual places where couples like to get married or capture some shots. These places may require a little more time and effort, but are so worth it once you arrive! Moke Lake and anywhere beyond Glenorchy are especially memorable – with views along the way which will stun on their own. Arrowtown in Autumn is also spectacular but due to this, it is a very busy wedding location at this time of year. We can always find an incredible spot though and you can also enjoy all that this historic village has to offer, making it a part of your wedding day. Perfect if you are wanting something a little different to Queenstown, but not too far away. Just beyond Arrowtown you also have many vineyards that offer a romantic wedding experience, as well as those iconic mountain backdrops – you even have the famous A.J Hackett Bungy experience out this way – look out! If you really want to remember this day….!
Venues & Locations
LOCATION GUIDE LINK
Of course, Queenstown boasts many stunning options for all budgets when it comes to saying “I Do.” in a special spot. From free locations which are perfect for ceremonies and photos to small wedding venues and heli wedding locations – we at Lost in Love have it all covered.
Follow the LINKS to discover guides to the different ceremony and photo venues/locations in the Queenstown area:
Queenstown is the perfect romantic setting for an elopement adventure, and any season makes for a memorable experience – you want to pick a season or time of year which reflects your personalities as a couple and one which you can truly resonate with. For example, if you are an outdoorsy couple then exploring the area in Spring might tickle your fancy, obviously, Winter is for you if you are snow bunnies. If you love Nature and just want to bask in the glory of the change of seasons, elope in Autumn, let your wildness meld with the mountains – and of course, Queenstown is a social mecca in Summer if you want to get out and about and enjoy some good gigs and festivals.
Step 3: Plan by your Season –
After deciding on a date and destination, the time of year also needs to be considered, so you know what to pack and what to hire and you can be prepped as well as comfy on your elopement adventure!
Queenstown is pretty epic in every season with the busiest times of year being from June-August while winter turns it on for this well-loved ski resort town.
Enjoy this guide to a more in-depth description of getting married in all seasons in the deep south: LINK
Book ahead! Like, well ahead if you can – in order to get the most out of your dream alpine elopement destination. Queenstown has that electric vibe during winter, everything sparkles and everyone is amped for snow action. The Winter Festival should be considered as this main event of the Queenstown social year can fill up the town, just as the ever-popular Winter Pride event may also cause the town to be busier than usual. Depending on the experience you want, you can immerse yourself in these celebrations or plan around them. Of course, you may need to book extra luggage to fit all those warm clothes and jackets you will be needing! The frigid air during the depths of winter can chill you to the bone, especially as the days are shorter and therefore much colder. That inconvenience is balanced by the incredible snow-bound adventures that lie ahead! Queenstown in Winter is truly like a fairytale, especially when it starts to snow on the ground while you’re getting married and then later when the stars are out overhead – with minimal light pollution in many spots, the skies stun.
Queenstown blooms over Spring! With pretty flowers exploding throughout the lands, bubbling brooks and spring lambs in green grasslands, the air crisp and the sun warm – Spring may just be your flavour for an elopement in Queenstown. The beauty of blossoms all over the place means that you can almost stop anywhere for an amazing romantic moment, so you can really soak up the wedding vibe. The weather can be a bit iffy with some wafty winds and showers of rain but it has also been known to turn it on with stunning bluebird skies, it just depends on the weather gods moods during Spring in Queenstown! You will still need to pack warm as the evenings are frigid and the mornings are not the warmest either. Even though the frosts are usually gone by Spring in much of New Zealand, it is not unusual to hit a frosty morning in the mountains during Sept/Oct. Put those woolly socks back in the suitcase!
Ahhhh Summer in the mountain tops of Aotearoa – deep blue skies, crisp lake temperatures (be warmed, you will still feel numb from the water!) that clean, fresh mountain air and the feel of good times all around as people are generally more relaxed in the summer months in NZ, people are getting out and about and enjoying the lake in a variety of ways and the town is buzzing away so this is a good time to visit if your a social couple who enjoy dining outdoors of an eve and then hitting a dancefloor or two.
Another time of year to book well ahead as it’s full on wedding season and some of your favourite vendors may already be booked on your chosen date. Summer is good for checking out the area and especially great for getting out and about on some glorious hikes. Visit Queenstown if you want to make the most of being outdoors while not freezing! Be aware that the daylight hours are long during Summer, so you can enjoy those twilight Summer evenings well into the night. This is also the Lupin season for the area, which are pretty purple and pink trumpets of flowers that grow in thick stands all around and make for such a beautiful atmosphere and pretty photos.
Ah Autumn, so, so pretty – especially the already mentioned Arrowtown, as a well-known photographer’s cinematographic dream. All the orange, red, and rust-brown colours against the pretty historic village and the surrounding mountains touched with a cap of snow, well, it’s just magic. Which is why it is also a very popular dream wedding location at this time of year. At Lost in Love we can always find you a local secret spot where we can get that dream shot, so never fear – just be aware of this being one of the busiest locations due to the absolute beauty of this area in Autumn. Lake Hayes nearby is also perfect and the temperatures are just right at this time of year. Allow for warmer layers in the evenings but the day temperatures are surprisingly warm, especially in March.
Step 4: Pick some activities –
Now you have your date, time of year and location sussed, you can turn your attention to the rest of your stay and plan some adventures outside of the ceremony! Make the most of your elopement experience by taking in what Queenstown has to offer as a premier wedding destination.
Queenstown has it all when it comes to keeping busy and if you would rather chill and focus on just one another, there are plenty of ways to enjoy more low-key adventures.
When you book your elopement with us you will receive our incredible Honeymoon in Queenstown Guide which is packed full of ideas to suit any mood or budget.
Step 5: What to pack?
The departure date is getting closer, so it’s time to turn your attention to making sure you are prepared to be as comfortable as possible – it is often the smaller things that can make a difference to your day and it pays to be prepared! If you happen to forget an item here, these things are all easily available in Queenstown but it certainly helps to not have to rush around collecting bits and pieces once you have arrived.
For a more in-depth guide we have you sussed when you download our ‘Packing for our elopement guide’ here: LINK
Attire and advice on:
We have provided some tips for when you are packing for the mountain climate which can be quite harsh on skin and senses, especially if you have not been to this region before…..
- Pack sunscreen and a decent moisturizer – a good high-strength sunblock will stand you in good stead, and not just in summer. Sunblock is a good idea year round but especially during the height of summer and if you plan to hit the slopes. Moisturizer is a must as the alpine climate can really dry your skin out.
- Mozzie repellant is a must as well if you are planning on spending time outdoors.
- Antihistamines are also a good idea if you are allergy prone and are visiting at high pollen times of the year which are typically around spring in Queenstown.
- As already stated, you cannot pack enough warm gear if you are going in the winter months and you will need at least two or three layers most other times of year – even though the days are long during the day it can chill down at sunset. A good quality jacket is a must and a few merino underwear layers in the coldest months will save you.
- A decent pair of nude stockings under your wedding dress will also be greatly appreciated if you are getting married in winter or you plan on visiting a glacier.
Pack comfortable clothing and shoes – for maximum unwinding while you bliss out as a married couple. And a good pair of shoes will also save your feet with all the exploring you may want to do.
If you are wanting to pack a bit lighter then hiring your wedding outfits from a local vendor in Queenstown is a great option.
You can also save money this way as hiring is generally cheaper than having to buy your outfits which you will most likely only wear once.
Recommended vendors are as follows:
Nemo Bridal (Nemo also offers a perfect hire package for a dress, tux, accessories and alterations.)
Whitewildweddings (dresses only)
Check out our guide to elopement dress shopping here:
MLM Label for understated, elegant, classic dresses, which are bridal without being the traditional wedding dress (which is great for smaller weddings).
ASOS Bridal for affordable dresses in a bunch of different styles (long sleeves, short sleeves, 1950s styles, lots of lace, and texture).
Lulu’s Bridal is The ultimate online destination for modern bridal & elopement dresses. Lulu’s has literally hundreds of dresses to choose from.
…specifically tailored for romance and that classic magical Queenstown vibe.
Step 6: Book Your Dream Accommodation –
Queenstown is flooded with accommodation options to suit all budgets and experiences that you may be after, from central stays to glamping in the mountains, paradise huts and glamorous 5-star hotels and luxury lodges, not to mention the many Airbnb options – you may be in need of a little guidance when it comes to choosing your elopement accommodation so ask for out list of the best centrally located suburbs and views in Queenstown.
The Legal Stuff:
Before you set off for your elopement destination of Queenstown, NZ, it pays to understand the legalities of getting hitched here in New Zealand.
It is not as complicated as it may appear at first glance – Lost in Love breaks it down for you in easy-to-understand tips below:
You can be married either by holding a ceremony or at a local registry office. Both ways require a marriage license.
In order to hold a ceremony you will need to have:
- A venue
- A marriage license
- A marriage celebrant
- Two witnesses
This is the same for registry weddings, except you do not need a celebrant as the paperwork is signed off at the office.
For a marriage license to be approved, you will need to state where you intend to get married, have a plan b location in case of weather issues, marry one another no longer than 3 months after applying for the license and have the license approved no less than three days before you are to marry.
The fee for a license is NZD$150.00 or $240.00 for a registry ceremony.
Each of our LIL packages comes with your choice from our team of 5 celebrants who will create a beautiful and personalized ceremony for your and your beau. They will also take care of the marriage license application and help you with the information that is required.
The Big Question: How do we include loved ones?
Some great ideas from those who have eloped and wanted to help make loved ones feel more included on the day are:
Just the two of you
- Putting together a playlist for the adventure and giving everyone access to each add one song that when the song plays you are reminded of them – you can also encourage them to add a little note as to why they choose the song.
- You can include loved ones in the preparations such as dress and tux shopping, and in throwing a celebration before you elope, such as a bachelor/bachelorette party.
- Ask loved ones to record some video footage or voice memos to play on the big day, with their messages of love being part of your ceremony.
- Call them via video call at some stage of the day so they can see you all glammed up and ready to marry.
There are a number of sweet little ways in which you and your loved ones can celebrate your intimate wedding elopement – treat yourselves and them to a massage or beauty treatment the day before, and have them as a maid of honour/best man and be responsible for the rings. As your witnesses, they are holding an important position. You can have your closest loved ones in your wedding party say a speech as well as read messages out from loved ones who aren’t present.
You can also stream your ceremony or video call afterwards for both an elopement where it’s just the two of you or for an intimate destination wedding where close friends and family cannot make it.
Ah, the convenience of technology! Of course, you are allowed to choose to not have any technology present so you can focus solely on the ceremony and one another – our photographer will be on hand to capture all those special moments to look back on over and over.
The reason why elopements are so unique to a big traditional wedding is being able to create a day that celebrates your love in a way that is truly all about the two of you – doing whatever you dream. Spending a day focused on each other getting lost in the moment, with the backdrop of the majestic alps and mountain lakes, sweeping valleys and the possibility of spending the day doing any number of things that light up the both of you, is certainly a memorable way to start your married life together.
It’s important to remember the advice of quality over quantity when it comes to eloping, each decision is weighted in its value to you as a couple and does not involve what would suit anyone else so that the quality of the day becomes much more important which is quite appealing to many couples.
Intimate weddings are also becoming a popular way to celebrate love and get hitched, as having fewer guests allows for some breathing room and a more relaxed atmosphere – with the added bonus of having that emotional support on board if that is important to you. The smaller details are not as missed when eloping or holding an intimate wedding, and you can truly take in the moment without the overwhelm by a big event. This has an impact on the photography as an example so that your wedding photographer can really slow down with you and focus on the details of the day, capturing the authenticity of moments that you will treasure for years to come.
At Lost in Love we have put together the ultimate dream team of wedding artists; highly sought-after professionals who are in love with love and aim to make your elopement one of the very best experiences of your lives. We deliver unique, celebratory, romantic one of a kind elopement experiences which will allow you to become lost in love with one another – just as you should be on your wedding day. We hope that our Ultimate Queenstown Elopement Guide has helped you start planning your dream elopement!