What is Elopement & Should You Elope?
With the rise in popularity of elopements and micro-weddings, it’s important to know what elopement means and whether it might be the perfect choice for you!
We’ll break down what elopement is, some myths and misconceptions around eloping, some of the great benefits of elopements, and how they can be a perfect choice for your big day.
Elopement: a definition
Far from the taboo idea of running away and getting married in secret, the concept of elopement has grown and evolved in recent years!
Today, elopement is an intentional choice to celebrate your marriage by bringing the focus back to your relationship. Elopements provide an authentic and intimate wedding experience that prioritizes what matters most – you and your future spouse.
Traditional Weddings vs. Elopement: Breaking down the differences
The main differentiator between a traditional wedding and an elopement is your intention for the day.
While the goal is ultimately the same – to commit to one another – a traditional wedding sets the focus on your guest’s experience, whereas elopement focuses on your experience as a couple!
Traditional Weddings = Guest Focus
The traditional wedding is primarily planned with the wedding guest in mind first. Everything from the venue to the food and right down to the guest list is all planned with the guest experience at the forefront. In all of this, the preferences of the couple are often pushed aside or reimagined to create a more pleasing experience for their guests.
Elopements = Experience Focus
When it comes to elopement, the focus for the day is entirely on your experience throughout the day as you make the most meaningful commitment to each other! By removing the pressure of thinking about how your guests may perceive the day, eloping allows you to be intentional with how your wedding should look and feel for just you. You’ll have the full freedom to personalize your wedding in a way that feels most authentic to the two of you.
Common Myths & Misconceptions of Eloping
Today’s elopements are a far cry from the image of running away to Vegas and being married by an Elvis-impersonator officiant.
Elopement Myth #1: You can’t have family and friends at your elopement
Elopement means the focus is on your wedding’s unique experience, but this doesn’t mean eliminating the other important people in your life and your relationship! Remember: the beauty of eloping is that you design a day that feels right to you. While you may not want your family and friends present for every aspect of your day – perhaps consider a private vow exchange with just the two of you – having them there for the ceremony or at a small reception might be the perfect way to include them in a meaningful way. Large weddings with lots of guests tend to result in the newlyweds spending more time chatting with guests than enjoying the first few hours of their marriage together!
Elopement Myth #2: Elopements are last-minute, rushed, and poorly planned
Elopements may require less time to execute than a bigger, traditional wedding but this doesn’t mean they are impulsive or any less planned. Often, elopements will include many similar aspects of a traditional wedding like a first look, first dance, toast, and more – these elements are simply done on a smaller scale and shared with those people closest to you. Planning is still an important step to eloping and you can have a well-planned elopement filled with everything you love.
Elopement Myth #3: Elopements aren’t legitimate weddings
The decision to be married is not a light one, regardless of the way you choose to go about it. Your wedding plans do not define the marriage, your commitment to one another does. The misconception that elopements mean less than a traditional wedding or aren’t legally legitimate is falling to the wayside as more people choose to express their commitment to each other in this way. At the end of the day, whether you’ve chosen a traditional wedding or an elopement the result is the same: a couple who is legally and lawfully married.
Elopement provides a couple with full control over how they want their special day to look and feel while staying true to their personal style and comfort levels. Couples may choose to elope because:
- They value privacy and intimacy in their relationship and wish to share this with only the most important people present
- They value experiences together over material items
- They don’t identify or recognize themselves in the commonalities of traditional weddings
An elopement means that you can have a wedding your way without any outside expectations influencing the day. This could mean saying “I Do” atop a mountain after a scenic helicopter ride, finding a new place to attach incredible significance to, or sharing your vows privately and then celebrating with a casual and comfortable evening surrounded by your closest friends and family. Eloping can be full of epic adventure, calm connection, and anything in between – whatever vibe you choose for your elopement, it should be a wedding day that is unapologetically you.
Reasons To Elope
If you find the idea of a traditional wedding stressful or not completely fitting with your identity as a couple, elopement might be a perfect choice. There are plenty of benefits to elopement, including:
Less Planning Stress
By focusing on your experience as a couple on your wedding day surrounded by only the closest people to you, your planning is focused on pleasing a significantly smaller amount of people. By staying true and authentic with how your wedding day best represents your relationship, you eliminate the extra stress often experienced in planning a bigger wedding with competing opinions and visions of what your day should look like.
Not only are you able to spend more time focusing on your celebration with your new spouse, but you have more time to truly and meaningfully connect with the close friends and family that are there with you. If they’ve been invited, it means they’d had a deep impact on you and your relationship so it’s only natural to want to spend time celebrating this day with them by your side! By eloping, you are choosing to be more present with the people you care most about on your wedding day.
Going into debt, putting off financial goals or future purchases is often a reality of hosting a bigger traditional wedding. According to The Knot, the cost of an average wedding was USD $34,000. Elopement allows you to focus your budget on what is important to you as a couple. When you’re within budget, you can afford to treat yourself and your loved ones to an unforgettable experience too!
More focus on you and less outside influence means you can fulfill your dream for the day with no drama. You get to plan your elopement without any judgement and stay true to what feels best for you. Of course, a wedding that goes as planned is always the goal, elopements allow for more flexibility on the day with fewer moving parts and guests to rearrange, if needed.
Endless Creativity and Uniqueness
When it comes to creativity at your elopement, the sky is your limit. Whatever you feel can make your day more special, you can carry it out! From unique activities to dream locations, the choice is yours.
As COVID-19 restrictions slowly ease, you may still encounter some limitations or have concerns about how to keep your guests as safe as possible. Deciding to elope removes most concerns about following safety guidelines – it’s even easier if you decide to celebrate your day outdoors! For current provincial restrictions, please find more information here.
Include Your Loved Ones in a Meaningful Way
You can have an intimate wedding day dedicated to you two where you get to exchange your vows privately in a place you love, experience a wedding adventure of a lifetime, and still have a large celebration after! Whether they celebrate it with you part way through your day or on a different day, the options are endless.
Is Elopement the Right Choice for You?
Firstly, there is no right way to get married. However, you can be intentional about planning your
wedding and making sure it feels right to you.
If you’re torn between a bigger traditional wedding and eloping, consider these questions:
- Who do you most want to spend time and connect with on your wedding day?
- When you look back at your wedding pictures, how do you want to feel?
- What kind of memories would you like to relive over and over again after your wedding?
Elopement allows you to break the mold of traditional weddings! See how my couples created an entirely unique wedding day by having their own private mountaintop vow exchange followed by a celebration with family and friends!
Your wedding day is not defined by the number of guests in attendance, the size of your budget, or the time it took to put together. Your wedding day is the time to celebrate your commitment to each other, whether that includes being surrounded by lots or just a few loved ones. Elopements are no longer taboo but rather provide an amazing option for couples looking to focus on their love and celebrate their union with those closest to them! If you are looking for someone to capture the magic of your special day, I would love to be a part of this new adventure. While I primarily provide elopement and adventure wedding photography, I am also here as your tour guide, planner, location scouter, vendor connection, and so much more! Feel free to get in touch to start planning your perfect wedding!
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