What is an Elopement?

You’ve heard the term a ton, but you aren’t quite sure yet just what it means. What is an elopement? Your friend eloped or is planning to elope: What exactly does this entail? What is the difference between an elopement and a wedding?

What is an Elopement?

The Old Definition

The old definition of an elopement was a wedding kept secret from parents, family, and friends until after the marriage is official and complete. Eloping couples would head off somewhere beautiful or just to City Hall with just themselves and their partner in tow to get married. After the ceremony, maybe a few hours or a few days or a few weeks (or even a few months!), the couple would reach out to their family or chosen family to share the news.

What is an elopement?

A Modern Definition

Today, an elopement has a much wider meaning. Eloping today means intentionally choosing to get married with less fuss, less pomp, less decor. In some respects, it’s similar: Eloping couples head off somewhere beautiful or just to City Hall to get married. The difference? More and more couples opt to tell their friends and family (or chosen family) their plans and some bring along just a few of their most important people to celebrate with them.

Eloping today can mean so many things: It can mean waiting to tell your family until you’re married, but it can also mean planning your marriage while also letting them know what you’re up to. Whether it means sharing the news before you go and get married or including a select group of family and friends in your celebration, eloping today means getting married in a simpler way that allows your relationship and love to shine, not the fancy party aspect of the day.

What is an Elopement?

Is an Elopement Right for Us?

I can’t tell you if an elopement is right for you! I will say that I have photographed incredible elopements full of joy and happiness AND lovely weddings with 50 or 150 or 250 guests; There is no right or wrong way to have a wedding, just the right or wrong way for YOU TWO to have a wedding and celebrate your marriage!

When deciding if you should elope or have a more traditional wedding, it’s good to focus in on what’s important to you: Do you want a relaxed timeline with lots of flexibility? Do you want to spend time outside on your wedding day or exploring your favorite city? Do you have stressful family relationships that might make a bigger wedding less fun? Do you have somewhere wonderful you’d love to explore with your partner or somewhere that already means a lot to the two of you? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then an elopement might be exactly the right decision for you two!

Where Should We Elope?

Elope anywhere that means something to you, that draws you in, that makes you dream, or that feels like the right place to the two of you to say your vows. It can be jaw dropping and located around the world, it can be a stunning spot down the street from where you live. It can be somewhere full of memories and familiarity, or it can be somewhere brand new that will now mean the world to you. Pick it based on what’s in your heart and you truly cannot go wrong.

Trying to come up with great elopement location ideas? Browse my list of where to elope right here!

Eloping During COVID / the Pandemic

Thinking about eloping as an alternative to the big wedding you had planned? Elopements are an intimate, fun, and very beautiful way to celebrate your love and get married to your person, with just a handful of your most important people. While it may not have been your original choice, eloping during the pandemic might give you the perfect wedding of your dreams after all. It’s intimate, it’s meaningful, it can be somewhere magical and beautiful, and it’s both low stress and a lot of fun!

Browse my list of COVID wedding ideas here!

Browse Elopement Photo Galleries

If you’re thinking about eloping yourself, then browsing what others have done during their elopement with elopement photo galleries can really get you inspired and excited!