So what IS eloping? What exactly does it mean to elope?
Eloping is a term that’s certainly popping up a lot more nowadays but it may not be what you think. When I tell people I'm an elopement photographer I'm met with a lot of confused looks. How can you take pictures of an unplanned wedding? Probably the same look you get when you tell people you're planning an elopement. So let's set the record straight.
What's the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word elopement?
The idea of a drunken night ending in running off to Vegas and being married in a little chapel by Elvis? Or secretly getting hitched despite disapproving parents? Or maybe you're thinking it must be a shotgun wedding. (no you don't have to be pregnant to elope) Maybe the word elopement means just heading to the local courthouse and getting married right then and there.
Up until recently, any of these would have been a pretty accurate description of what an elopement was. But elopements are changing. We are a generation of people that are changing the rules and redefining what it means to elope. Even Websters Dictionary has updated its definition of eloping!
This is not your grandmother’s elopement.
It’s no longer a quickie wedding in Vegas. It’s a choice that couples make to be more intentional about their wedding days.
The true definition of elope is to escape.
Running away from disapproving parents, and social norms and getting married despite it all.
And in a way that's exactly what couples are doing - they're choosing to escape the pressures of wedding planning and falling into the trap of believing that this is the only way to do things.
A slightly more modern example of elopements was back during the great depression (I did say slightly) when funds were lower and couples opted for smaller more intimate weddings to save money. But don’t fall into the trap of believing the misconception that elopements have to be cheap replications of a wedding day.
There are so many myths about what an elopement is and I go more in depth as to why they’re all wrong in my blog post Myth Busting Modern Day Elopements but let’s hit the main points real quickly here too.
Eloping doesn’t mean that you have to throw it together in less than a month.
You don't have to miss out on picking out your perfect dress.
Eloping doesn’t mean your day is less significant or doesn’t matter.
You can still have your first dance.
You can still pop the champagne.
You can still feed each other cake.
All of the traditions and parts of the day you want can still be a part of your day. But even better, anything you don't want to be a part of your day doesn't have to be either. Because it's your day, and you get to choose.
That's what elopements are all about. Choosing the parts of the day that matter most to you and slowing down and remembering to focus on them.
You still get to make your day special. You just won't have to worry about being distracted by random guests every five minutes or rushing through the day you get a chance to slow down and truly focus on what matters most - getting married to the love of your life.
Most of my couples start planning their elopements 6-8 months in advance. They make pinterest boards and go pick out the perfect dress with their friends. They take the time to make it the full day experience and celebration of their love that they deserve.
To sum it up, this is what eloping is all about:
Eloping is choosing to prioritize what's most important on your wedding day.
Eloping means focusing on getting married to the love of your life.
Eloping means you get to do things your way on your day.
Eloping means you get to slow down and fully enjoy every part of your day without distractions.
Eloping means escaping from the rest of the world and just being yourselves.
Eloping is your wedding day and it is as special as any other big wedding.
Your day is made special by doing the things you want to do and forgetting the traditions that you don’t want.
When you elope the rest of the world falls away and all that's left is the two of you.
The day you get married is special because you get to marry the love of your life.