Is an elopement right for you?
Let me start by saying, despite the fact that I am an elopement photographer and I absolutely love elopements, I know that elopements are not for everyone. Just like big weddings aren't for everyone either. I'm not here to convince everyone that eloping is the only way or the best way. For some people, it isn't. I'm here to tell you that there is another way to get married. You have options.
Most people grow up under the belief that there is only one way to get married. A giant venue, with everyone you know, spending the night celebrating in front of everyone, circling the room to say hello to people you don't really know including your mom's aunts cousin who will come up to you and excitedly ask if you remember them from the one time you met when you were 3. And anything other than that isn't a wedding. But that's not the case. Elopements are an option and they're not just for people who get drunk one night in Vegas.
So what is an elopement? The way we define elopements is changing. We are redefining the word elope - even Websters Dictionary has gotten on board and changed their definition of the word.
Elopements are about choosing to create a day that focuses on what matters most, getting married to the love of your life. There seem to be tons of misconceptions about what constitutes an elopement. So first let me tell you what an elopement is not.
It's not selfish.
It's not a cheap replication of a wedding.
It's not a shotgun wedding.
It's not planned in a week.
It's not any less special than a big giant wedding.
It doesn't have to be just the two of you.
I want to get rid of all of these misconceptions about what an elopement is. I go more into detail about them on my blog post Busting the Myths about Eloping.
The best part about eloping is that there are no rules. You get to make them. You get to do what you want and what makes you happy on your wedding day. You want to invite your parents and family? Do it. You want to go dress shopping with your friends? Do it. You want to eat donuts instead of cake? Do it.
An elopement is meant to be a true reflection of you and your relationship. An elopement is creating an adventurous experience you'll never forget.
So how do you decide if an adventure elopement is right for the two of you? Number 1 start by figuring out if an elopement is right for you.
Start by closing your eyes and imagining getting ready on your wedding day. Who do you imagine is there with you? What is most important to you on your big day? How would you feel most comfortable on your day? When you say your vows, is anyone else there What feels most authentic to you and your relationship? When the ceremony ends and its time to celebrate what does that look like?
Be careful. It's a little bit of a trick question. Is your best friend helping you get ready? Are your parents watching you say your vows? Even if you answered yes an elopement still may be right for you. A lot of couples will opt for a less than traditional sense of the word elopement and include their families in their wedding day too. The real question is when you look past the people who are closest to you is there anyone else there?
If you're imagining all of your friends from grade school through college excitedly getting ready with you and going to celebrate and dance with all of your friends and family after your ceremony then an intimate wedding probably isn't the right move for you.
If you're imagining yourself surrounded by only your closest friends and family then a small intimate elopement wedding is probably right for you. Or if you imagine helping each other get ready on your elopement day, and if the only person there that matters is the person standing right in front of you when you say your vows, then eloping just the two of you is probably right for you.
If not having everyone you know there feels wrong or like you're missing out on something then choosing to elope is not going to bring you the joy it should.
Be thoughtful and purposeful with your decision. If an elopement isn't right for you, you'll know. I have never had a couple regret having an elopement but that’s because they knew it was the right fit for them.
You've come to the conclusion that an intimate elopement surrounded by the people you care about most is the right move for you. But is an adventurous (ish) elopement right for you?
What's the difference?
All elopements are about being intimate, true, and 100% you. That means they can take place anywhere that feels right to you two! Maybe a hotel rooftop, or in the middle of downtown, or a tiny little chapel.
Adventurous elopements involve exploring the great outdoors. A lot of adventurous elopements involve lots of hiking or spending multiple days out camping under the stars or getting up 5 hours before sunrise to hike all the way up to the peak of a mountain. And that's great, but that's not what I'm about. I'm here for the more adventurous (ish) couples. The couples who want an epic view but don't want to hike forever what feels like forever. For the couples with weak lungs but wild hearts. For the couples who want to sleep in a bed and not a sleeping bag. Adventurous elopements can be for everyone.
Nature doesn't have to be the second love of your life and you can enjoy sleeping on a mattress instead of in a tent and still want an adventurous elopement. Does getting your dress a little dirty scare you? Does going a little ways (but not too far) off the beaten path sound daunting? Then maybe an adventure ish elopement isn't right for you. But if you don't mind getting a dirty and taking a short hike for a beautiful view and spending the day getting lost in the outdoors before heading back to your real bed at the end of the day then an adventurous (ish) elopement is right for you.