What is an Elopement?

2022’s Guide to Epic Elopements

What is an Elopement?

 

Elopements continue to be a misunderstood topic, as most individuals have their own interpretation of what an elopement is and why a couple would opt to elope rather than planning a traditional wedding.

 

It’s hard not to think of old romance movies where the couple runs off to a little chapel in Las Vegas or to the courthouse to secretly get hitched.

 

According to Merriam-Webster, to elope means “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married, usually without parental consent. This definition is pretty outdated though. More recently, the way couples have defined the word elope has changed dramatically.

The modern definition of elopement has now become the popular term for a small wedding or destination wedding.

These intimate weddings allow our couples to truly shine on their big day. Whether they choose to include friends and family, or plan an adventure elopement alone, it’s an authentic experience that truly focuses on what matters most: the happy couple!

 

couple walking down road after eloping

Photo by Brooke Crouch Photography

 

5 Common Misconceptions About Elopements

 

There are quite a few myths floating around out there about elopements, and we’re here to set the record straight. 

 

While elopements are still considered rather non-traditional, they are growing in popularity at a rapid pace. In fact, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples ditched their large wedding plans (most of which were postponed indefinitely due to safety restrictions in place), and decided to elope and start their new lives together. The coolest part? Most of them expressed how it was the best decision they’ve ever made and proved to be an experience they’ll never forget. Now that’s what we’re talking about!

 

MYTH #1: Couples That Elope Are Just Trying to Save Money

 

The fact that elopements can save you thousands of dollars is a huge plus! But, it’s usually not the main reason couples choose to elope. Many couples decide to elope because they don’t care about the big party and pleasing guests, they just want to focus on enjoying the day with the person they love the most. 

 

While there are a lot of costs associated with traditional weddings — food and alcohol, rentals, DJ, stationery, floral, etc. — you can still plan a large-size, small-budget wedding. Though you may find it surprising, there are some couples that actually choose to spend MORE on their elopement than they would on a wedding with 100+ guests. Elopement couples are absolutely still investing in their big day, they’re just choosing to do it differently.

 

We’ve had the pleasure of working with so many couples and budgets of all sizes! We’re here to help craft a truly unique wedding experience that’s exactly what YOU want!

 

couple cutting their elopement cake

Photo by Jenna Knott Photography

 

MYTH #2: Elopements Are For Unapproved Marriages

 

While this may have been common in the past, it’s not anymore! A lot of couples that elope have the full support of their parents and friends (many couples actually invite close family members to their elopement!). In fact, a lot of elopements nowadays aren’t a secret at all. 

 

Planning a wedding can be stressful, especially if you’re doing it without the help of a professional planner. Eloping is a great way to avoid the added pressure, expectations and anxiety that can arise during the traditional wedding planning process.

 

couple kissing during their elopement photos

Photo by Ledia Tashi

 

MYTH #3: Elopements Can Only Include the Bride and Groom

 

FALSE. There are no rules when it comes to modern elopements! You can bring your parents, grandparents, kids, friends and even pets (did you know that they can sign as an official witness?!) along for the adventure. Don’t forget, this day is entirely up to you! 

 

We’ve planned elopements for just the happy couple, and ones that included 30-50 guests to watch them tie the knot. You truly can craft the wedding day that you want to have! The key factor of an elopement is keeping the focus on the couple rather than the guests in attendance.

 

elopement ceremony in nature

Photo by Regina the Photographer

 

MYTH #4: You’re Heading to a Chapel or City Hall to Elope

 

It’s what most people envision when they think of an elopement, isn’t it? But the truth is that elopements aren’t just happening at City Hall or a little Las Vegas chapel anymore! In fact, elopements can happen really anywhere. 

 

We’ve planned romantic beach and rooftop elopements for some of our couples! Feeling adventurous? You can plan your elopement on top of a mountain in Colorado, on a cliffside in California, or in the middle of picturesque canyons in Utah and Arizona. Your elopement location should feel unique to you and your partner!

 

outdoor nature elopement photo of couple

Photo by Lianna Marie Photography

 

MYTH #5: Elopements Are Last-Minute or Poorly Planned

 

This could be the case for some, but isn’t typical for modern-day elopements. Some people think of elopements as taking a shortcut to avoid most of the planning involved with a traditional wedding. But the truth is, your elopement can be as planned or spontaneous as you’d like it to be! In fact, a lot of the couples we work with are planning their elopements anywhere from six months to a year in advance – similar to some large weddings! 

 

The bottom line is that you’re planning exactly what you want, when you want, with the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. You’re not cutting corners or cheating for choosing to elope. Take as much time as you need to plan the wedding day that you really want!

 

beach side intimate wedding ceremony

Photo by Tyler Soden Photography

 

Elopements vs. Traditional Weddings: What’s the Difference?

 

So how exactly are elopements different than a traditional wedding? Let’s break this down.

 

The Focus Isn’t On The Guests

 

It’s all about the two of you! While elopements are predominantly focused on celebrating the couple, most traditional weddings focus more on the guests in attendance. In fact, they are usually the driving factors when it comes to deciding on a venue, food, decor and more — all of which can come with a hefty price tag. Rather than your wedding budget being focused on you and your partner, it’s typically spread out across a list of vendors that are enlisted to help keep your guests happy and entertained.

 

According to this recent annual study of average wedding costs by The Knot, couples today are spending anywhere between $20,000-50,000 on a traditional wedding depending on the state they’re getting married in. The average couple is also hosting around 131 guests — that’s anywhere from $150-380 per guest. 

 

You Can Choose Which Traditions Matter to You

 

You really have the opportunity to think outside the box for your elopement! There’s no obligation to hold on to certain traditions if they don’t resonate with you. Instead you have the opportunity to craft a ceremony and reception (if you choose to have one!) that are personally tailored to the two of you.

 

No need to craft vows for a big audience. You can simply speak from the heart!

 

Not a fan of being the center of attention? Get the privacy you prefer with minimal witnesses needed.

 

You don’t have to mingle with every guest in attendance and thank them for being there. You can elope and soak up every moment with your soulmate!

 

Don’t want to spend thousands on floral arrangements and creative table displays? Leave all the details to us!

 

You deserve an incredible elopement experience that you’ll never forget (and never regret!) — don’t let anyone tell you any differently.

 

There Isn’t Always a Formal Reception

 

While it’s certainly an option, a lot of couples skip the reception after their elopement ceremony. Instead this time is mostly used for portraits (without the rush!), cutting a cake and popping open a bottle of champagne to celebrate! We’ve even planned some posh picnic setups for our couples following their ceremonies.

 

couple's unique elopement celebration

Photo by Mariah Lacy

In cases where guests are present, we can help you arrange a formal dinner at a local restaurant or your venue (should they allow them) to be able to toast your new life together surrounded by those you love.

 

You Can Create Your Own Adventure

 

Nowadays it seems there’s a price for customizing a traditional wedding to be exactly what you want. Not with an elopement! 

 

You can choose to elope anywhere from national parks and mountains to the beach or anywhere else that has a special meaning to you. Elopements are loved because of the freedom. Want to go out to brunch before? Go get your grub on. Want to say “I Do” in the middle of an enchanted forest? Let’s do it. Want to go for a hike after the ceremony? We’ll hold your gear!

 

At the end of the day, we’re here to offer you what a traditional wedding venue can’t.

 

Planning Doesn’t Have to Take Over Your Life

 

There’s a reason why most couples have year-long engagements before a traditional wedding — it takes a lot of time to plan a large shindig. When it comes to elopements there’s usually a lot less moving parts which makes the planning process a bit simple, especially for couples choosing to have destination elopements. 

 

When it comes to vendor selection, permits and all the little details that make your day magical, that’s where we come in! Our goal is always to make your elopement planning process as easy and enjoyable as possible. After all, getting married is exciting! Nothing should interfere with making it a memorable and meaningful experience.

 

So while you’ve probably been told that eloping isn’t the best idea, we’re here to support you in every way. Elopements are for couples who are ready to take a leap, step away from the norm, and focus on what really matters — your love for each other.

 

That’s what an elopement really is.

LAST UPDATED ON JANUARY 3, 2022

BY THE EPIC ELOPEMENT TEAM

 

Our team of elopement planners, coordinators, and writers are happy to share their insights and expertise to help educate and inform those looking to elope. Their goal is to make your lives easier and spark inspiration! And when you’re ready to elope, they’ll be here to help you with your special day.

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