When you’ve heard someone say, “We’re thinking about eloping” or “We eloped!” did your mind jump to thinking that there were sneaky intentions or a low budget involved in their decision? Guilty.
Even as a young bride-to-be, one who often thought about eloping, I thought it would seem too sneaky and offensive. Even in these modern times there are still some weird stigmas attached to elopements, which I believe largely has to do with the history behind them. Eloping can be traced all the way back to the early 1300s (Yep, you read that right) and used to describe the act of a wife leaving her husband to run away with her lover, which isn’t exactly a positive connotation! It wasn’t until the 1800s that the meaning shifted to describe a husband and wife running away to be wed. Here in 2020, there are plenty of reasons to elope that have nothing to do with wanting to sneak away or not having the budget for a traditional wedding. Here are seven of those reasons:
Not everyone likes to party! Many of us (my hand is raised here) would describe our perfect celebration as a backyard bonfire or a simple champagne toast in the living room. If you prefer to celebrate with only your closest family and friends, then you may like the idea of eloping. You can say “I do” with your fiancé (and photographer, of course!), then plan a small soiree at home for your family and friends to celebrate with you! You drastically cut down your guest list while still keeping those you love involved. If you want to keep your elopement extra low-key, you can even find some hidden gems in your home state so that you wouldn’t have to travel far for beautiful scenery!
If hiking, road-tripping, and exploring new areas sounds like you, then what better way to celebrate your marriage with one?! Your wedding should be true to who you are and truly represent your personalities as individuals and your relationship as a whole. If you’re an adventurous couple, then have an adventurous wedding! When you tell people how you celebrated, they won’t be surprised.
They eloped on top of a mountain seven states over? Yep, that sounds like something they would do.
Have you been planning an awesome vacay that just so happens to be the perfect spot to say “I do”? The average cost of a traditional wedding is 30K and according to Lux Elope, more than half of that spending goes towards enhancing the guest experience. Since you’re not investing in a huge event, you can put more (Lux Elope says 50% more) into planning the perfect honeymoon! No need to rush to the airport after a ceremony to get to your honeymoon – You’re already there!
First and foremost, this is not at all a dig at photographers who prefer to document traditional weddings. I know a lot of truly amazing wedding photographers who can capture your day with such authenticity that it will make you relive your wedding each time you flip through your photos. This reason is for those of you who desire epic backdrops of mountains towering over you, a vast ocean roaring behind your, or a cozy forest surrounding you. Even in traditional weddings, brides tend to want to invest more in a particular area such as; their venue, their gown, or their reception menu. This goes hand in hand with wanting to invest more in your venue and photography.
According to this 2012 article written by HuffPost (there has been a move to go more green as of late so I felt that the date was important to note here), weddings with an average guest list of 100-120 people produced 400-600lbs of waste over the course of the event. Think about it – Half eaten food; empty bottles, cups, cans, ripped napkins, and programs left on guest seats. The amount of waste that a wedding can create is astronomical! Yes, there are ways to have a green wedding and greatly reduce the amount of waste that is created, though if this is something that is especially important to you, taking a hike to say your vows produces nearly zero waste; making you and our beautiful Earth happy!
In larger weddings, the moment after you share your first kiss as Mr. and Mrs., it’s off to take portraits with your family and bridal party. Then you’re being drug over to say hello to cousin Mel who you haven’t seen in four years just as your brother is tapping you on the shoulder to introduce you to his newest date. I remember this part of our own wedding all too well! It’s so easy to get whisked in every direction, ushered around so that you stay on track with your timeline. While I wouldn’t call it a bad thing, it can make having intentional interactions, especially with your now husband more difficult. If taking your time and being intentional about every move on your wedding day is something you want, you may enjoy a quiet elopement.
I am all about minimizing the overwhelm and maximizing the fun! Who isn’t?! Part of how I serve you as a photographer is to provide planning assistance so that you don’t have to stress with handling it all yourself. Don’t get me wrong, elopements are NOT plan-free. I even recommend planning in advance for destination elopements so that you’re getting the most out of your travels. That said, they do generally require less planning than a larger, more traditional wedding would. Many people choose to keep their decision to elope low-key, which can make outsourcing planning help a bit more difficult. Rely on the vendors around you to help guide you to your big day so that you’re just preparing to say “I do” and have fun!
Elopements aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and that is more than okay! One of the points I wanted to emphasize in writing this is that your wedding day, however you choose to celebrate it, should be an authentic representation of who you are as individuals and as a couple. If that means having a traditional wedding held inside a grand cathedral with all of your family and friends surrounding you, then go for it! If it means exchanging vows on top of a mountain and opting to toast marshmallows instead of glasses of champagne, then that is what you do! There are no rules.
Seriously guys, planning a wedding that is true to you is so, so important. If you want to learn more about how to create an event that is more than just another party for your family and friends, but one that brings the people dearest to you together to celebrate you as your kick off your marriage (which is a huge and beautiful life journey, by the way), I invite you to check out Bride Disrupted.
Karen was a wedding planner for five years before creating Bride Disrupted, so she’s witnessed firsthand how the stress of planning a wedding can make the planning process more dreadful than exciting. This is what lead her to write her novel and craft a coaching program that helps you gain clarity on what really matters to you, feel confident to handle awkward situations with friends and loved ones with ease, and so so much more!
What was your reason for having an elopement? Was it one that I covered here or something else? I would love to hear from you in the comments!