I want to to think about the definition of the word “elopement”. WHAT does it mean to you? Do you see two people running down to the courthouse spontaneously? Or a couple sneaking to vegas to get married in secret because their families don’t support their relationship? Everyone has a different definition of an elopement WHICH IS WHY it has such a negative connotation in some people’s mind. So when people ask ME what an elopement is I’M LIKE: ITS NOT WHAT YOUR GRANDPARENTS THINK IT IS! An elopement is a meaningful, intentional, intimate wedding that is a true reflection of the people getting married and the focus is solely on them.
Because the word “elopement” means something different to everyone, the word often brings up a lot of misconceptions whenever the subject is brought up. I hate that people think that an elopement is something to be embarrassed of or something that will bring them judgement. Like “Oh, they eloped, their families must not approve” OR “They had to elope, they must not have been able to afford a real wedding.”
I’M SORRY WHAT??!
An elopement isn’t like that anymore! Those things don’t define this word anymore! They might have been true in the past, but nowadays the modern elopement is intentional. It is getting married in the way that you want! It is including the people that you want (and no more!). It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or who is there! Its getting rid of the pressure or stress, and stripping away the fluff that a wedding distracts from the meaning of getting married. An elopement gives you the freedom to CHOOSE how/when/where and with who you commit yourself to your partner forever.
This is a day for YOU and about YOU.
No. One. Else.
I’ve helped tons of couples realize their elopement dreams and experience the adventure of a lifetime. I love telling people what elopements mean to me and helping them dream up their perfect day, but I also care about informing EVERYONE what an elopement is. If people keep perpetuating the stereotypes of “ elopements are for people who are pregnant” OR “elopements are for people whose families don’t approve of their relationship”, OR “elopements are for people with no friends”, then people will CONTINUE to look down on elopements! I’ve gotten to experience what real elopements are, and I just want to share them with everyone who feels trapped into having a huge wedding as soon as they get engaged! If a huge wedding is what you want-AMAZING. Have that, but if that’s just not you? Guys, ELOPE.
Your wedding day should be YOUR day. It should be for YOU and about YOUR marriage. People should know that a wedding is a personal choice, and that ITS OKAY if their friends want to elope. And ITS OKAY if you’re not invited. Its not about anyone but the people getting married. Many people feel the desire to have a day that is intimate and intentional, but don’t know how to merge that idea with that of a huge event full of people. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A WEDDING. I don’t care what your mom/aunt/grandma/friends/wedding blogs say, if an intentional day just about the two of you is what you want, its THEIR jobs to support you and your dreams. Please don’t have a wedding to just make someone ELSE happy! You don’t need to be concerned with the production and the performance of it all, you can have the freedom to choose. Many of my couples choose to elope in nature, but you don’t have to! Your elopement can be exactly what you want and you are allowed to have the focus of the day be about the two of you. Its brave to choose to go against the norm and have an elopement, but its a valid choice, and in my opinion, much more meaningful.
From talking to my circle of people, I’ve heard it fairly often that having more than two people at an elopement “doesn’t make it an elopement”. WHAT? An elopement is just an intentional, intimate day where the entire focus is on the couple getting married! Why is it constricted to just two people?! The truth? Its not. You can have as many people as you like at your elopement. Even though I cap the elopements I shoot at 30 people, you can totally have as many people that you want at your elopement! Why does it matter?! Who is making these rules?! An elopement doesn’t have to be some secret affair that no one is allowed to go to! Bring your best friends! Bring your parents! Bring anyone that you want to be there that will respect the intention of the day! There is no specific number of guests that will disqualify your elopement. You don’t need to call it a “micro wedding” or an “intimate wedding”, YOU CAN CALL IT WHATEVER YOU WANT!
Your elopement, your rules.
Many elopements that I have shot have included a few close family or friends as guests and witnesses to the marriage. Often times, the ceremony will include their special guests and then the couple will head off for some alone time while the guests head back. You can even split your elopement into several days if you want to make sure that you and your partner have plenty of time together just for you guys! Follow your heart and make your own rules. Just be aware that the more guests that you have, the harder it will become to keep the focus of the day on you two. Be honest with the people that you are inviting about your intentions and don’t compromise!
Okay, here’s another one that I’ve heard about elopements: that people elope because they don’t want to spend money on their wedding day. I’ve noticed that people often think of elopements as being a super low budget option when you either can’t afford or don’t want to spend the money for a big wedding. This is NOT true! I’ve had people spend 50k on their elopements! Its all about what you value and what you want to include in your wedding day. The money is just spent more intentionally and not on a huge production.
Usually if you elope, you CAN save a bit of money, but that’s not usually why people elope. You can also have a huge wedding and be super low budget-I’ve seen it happen! Eloping isn’t solely about saving money or not investing in your special day, its about investing in your day DIFFERENTLY.
Most of my couples decide to elope because they want a day that is entirely focused on them, doing what they want to do. For most of my clients, that’s not hosting a huge party, its usually an adventure out in nature with the person they love.
The only thing that matters on an elopement day is you and your partner. And budget has NOTHING to do with that.
Some people think that couples elope because they have no friends. Haha this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ve had so many clients of mine has very close relationships with their friends and families and still choose to elope with just the two of them. I don’t understand how some people view getting married without hundred of other people means that they have no support or friendship in their lives. Like, I’M eloping and I have tons of friends that I love DEARLY. Do I want them at my wedding? No. Its a day for JUST me and my partner. But I KNOW that I have their love and support and that they are happy for me and just excited that I’m getting married in the way that I want to!
Choosing to make your day about yourselves rather than a huge party shows what matters to you. And if the moment that you dedicate your forever to your person matters more than being the center of attention at a big party, then an elopement is probably what your heart is wanting.
I’ve had a lot of gorgeous elopements that have included friends and family and more people than just the couple getting married! But its all about the focus and the intentionality. If everyone there is there to support you and support the way that you want to get married, then that’s amazing. But if you know that there are certain people that will add stress or obligation to a day that you want entirely dedicated to you? Don’t invite them. You want your elopement day to be a day without one single compromise or regret, and by making yourselves a priority, you’re choosing a day that is purely about the two of you.
Some people think that elopements are spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment decisions, but I have couples that are planning their elopements YEARS OUT! This day is still their WEDDING DAY and many of my couples are putting just as much thought into their adventurous elopement as other couples having a huge event. Just because their day is much smaller, doesn’t mean that it have been planned in less time or taken less effort to plan. Your day can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be! Planning a hike for your first look, a helicopter adventure for your ceremony, a decorating a tablescape at a lake for dinner like some of my couples can take a lot of time to plan out and organize! Even if some of my couples do choose to elope because the smaller amount of time it requires to plan a simple, intentional day, not all couples do! Elopements can include as many things as you want, and sometimes those activities take a bit of time to plan! Your elopement could include a multiday road trip across Iceland or skydiving in the grand Canyon, or WHATEVER you want, but those adventures, like most, take a bit of planning and figuring out! Don’t assume just because you’re eloping that you can plan everything you need to in a day (you CAN in some cases), but I encourage all of my couples to really take their time planning their special day and be intentional with the choices that they make. I always tell my couples to think about what the most perfect day would be like for the two of them, a day that they would want to remember for the rest of their life and look back on fondly, a day that would be the truest reflection of THEM.