What Does it Mean to Elope?

May 7, 2020 | riley

What does it mean to elope? Well, for starters, this term has changed a lot over the years. Back in the day, eloping meant you caught a wild hair, hitched a ride to Las Vegas, and got married by Elvis in a little white chapel with the next couple as your witnesses. We’re cool with that game plan, we just ask you to bring an awesome photographer so we can live vicariously through your spontaneity.

However, eloping these days can actually be just as thought-out and planned as a traditional wedding. Whether you find yourself wondering if an elopement is right for you, or maybe you’re just having a hard time explaining it to your family, we’re here to help.

So, What Does It Mean To Elope?

In short, an elopement is usually a gathering of 10 or fewer people to celebrate your marriage–yep, that’s it. You can take your elopement plan wherever you want from there. Want to venture to an epic location for the ceremony? You can! Thinking it’s more comfortable to elope in your living room and head downtown for pizza afterward? Go for it.

The beauty of an elopement is that your priority is the two of you. You’re not trying to make an event that guests will love. You don’t have intricate seating charts to plan and menus to arrange. It’s all about the two of you.

Image by The Quirky

Five Common Misconceptions About Elopements

1. You have to go to an epic destination

While we’re on-board for adventure elopements, you certainly don’t need to have a plane ticket to elope in an awesome way. Some of our favorite elopements have happened in backyards and living rooms. And if you do decide to go that route, consider booking an extra-special Airbnb for your elopement.

2. Family and friends will be upset

They might–but that’s okay. Your family and friends love you. It’s a compliment that they want to be a part of the most important day of your lives. However, if they’re thinking of the two of you, and your wishes are for it to be just the two of you, then they should understand. Plus, you can still have an amazing party to celebrate with everyone in the future.

3. You’ll regret not having a traditional wedding

Out of all the real elopement submissions we’ve read and received—it’s literally thousands—couples always say they’re happy they chose to elope and couldn’t have imagined it any other way.

4. It’s not as special as a big wedding

Trust us, there’s nothing more special than spending an entire day with the person you love and are promising the rest of your life to. We actually think elopements can be even more special than a traditional wedding day—though we love both.

5. All of your costs will be less

Elopements do generally cost less than a traditional wedding. Mainly because you’re saving on venue costs, rentals, and food. However, if you’re hiring a photographer to spend the entire day—or weekend—with the two of you, those costs might be comparable to hiring them for a traditional day. The advantage is that with an elopement, you can choose where you want to invest your money and splurge on the things most important to you.

Why We Love Elopements

Now that we’ve answered questions about what eloping means, it’s important to dive into why we absolutely love elopements. We kind of have a thing for couples who break rules and traditions. The kinds of couples who make a decision to wake up snuggled together on their wedding morning, who help each other get dressed, and those who prefer to eat the cake before their ceremony. An elopement is a perfect opportunity to truly do things your way. There’s extra magic when your wedding focuses on just the two of you. It’s as simple as that.

How To Tell If An Elopement Is Right For You

  • You want to get married now but can’t gather in groups larger than 5 – 10 people (ahem, thanks, COVID-19). Seriously though, we think it’s beautiful to celebrate your original wedding date with an elopement-style event. Celebrate your love now and you throw a big party with friends and family later on
  • You want to focus your investments and splurge on what’s most important. If you have a limited budget but want your day to be everything you dreamed of, an elopement might be the perfect way to minimize costs on quantity and go for quality
  • You like to do things your own way. You’ve probably realized this by now, but elopements are the best way to create a day designed for the two of you

You’re Dreaming Of Eloping—Now What?

  • Decide who you want to be there. Do you want it to be just the two of you? Are there a handful of family members or friends that you’d like to bring? Determine who you want to be there first, so you know who to loop in on your plans.
  • Set a date. If you’re switching your traditional wedding plans to an elopement, lucky you–you already have a date. Consider sending “change the date” cards and notifying your guests that you plan to elope, but will celebrate with them soon. If you don’t have a date picked out yet, consider your venue choice, the season, or a date that is special to you and your partner.
  • Start dreaming of the location. Now’s the time when you can have fun with it. Make a date night out of dreaming up all the locations you’ve ever wanted to go. No idea is too big—or small. Have fun with this part, then narrow it down more afterward.
  • Assemble your team. There’s someone you’re going to want by your side through this process in addition to your partner. It’s time to hire an Elopement Planner. Rad, right? Determine what other vendors you’ll need to help you out. For reference, you’ll still want your elopement planner, photographer, videographer, and florist at a minimum. If you don’t have vendors in mind, check out our directory of wedding vendors from around the world.

We hope after reading this you’re feeling confident about whether or not you’re going to elope. When you’re ready to start planning your own elopement, we can help with everything from cozy picnic ideas to courthouse wedding gowns to elopement dresses for any destination. Seriously, we’ve got you covered.


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