Elopements have changed. That's why there are tons of misconceptions about what exactly an elopement is and how an elopement should go. But that's the great thing about elopements, you get to throw out any expectations or misconceptions and make your own rules. I've gone at this Myth Busters style (minus most of the science) to debunk all of the most common myths and misconceptions about eloping and why they're, simply put, completely wrong.
First of all, what is an elopement? I have a whole blog post on The Modern Definition of Eloping but let's just quickly recap. The idea of eloping has changed a lot recently, so let's redefine it.
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? 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.
Most of my couples start planning their elopements 6-8 months in advance. Just like ordinary wedding planning you get to pick out your dress with your friends, taste test the cakes, pick out the song for your first dance. You still get to make your day special. You just won't have to worry about talking to that one friend from high school and their significant other you just met. Instead, you get to focus on each other and what really matters on your wedding day - getting married to the love of your life.
Now that we've clarified what an elopement is, let's get into busting the rest of these myths.
#1 - you’re selfish for eloping
No. Just no. This is a huge misconception about eloping that needs to change. I once mentioned to my mom not wanting to invite a ton of people and all of her cousins to my wedding. Her response was “well it’s not all about you,” but actually it is. Your wedding day is the one day that is truly 100% about what you and your partner want. Your wedding day is supposed to be a reflection of who you are as a couple. You deserve the day that you want. It’s not selfish, it’s making the day special for yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your wedding day is for anyone else but you and the love of your life.
#2 - you only elope to save money
This is another big misconception about elopements. It’s true eloping can end up saving you money but that’s not the point of it. When you choose to elope your budget doesn’t have to shrink, it just goes farther towards creating the day that is the experience you want. Your elopement is more than just signing the marriage license it’s about the whole day. Use your money to make your day the experience you’ll never forget. There are tons of fun things to incorporate into your day to enhance your wedding day. Like booking a helicopter tour, getting a private chef to come and cook dinner for you, going horseback riding, going out in a hot air balloon. There are so many things you can do to make your day unforgettable, so make your day unforgettable.
#3 - eloping isn’t as special as a traditional wedding
Absolutely do not let this misconception about elopements affect your attitude towards your wedding day. Eloping is just as special if not more special than any traditional wedding. By choosing to elope you’re choosing to make your day more personal to you and therefore even more special than a big cookie-cutter wedding. So many times when planning a big traditional wedding you’re so influenced by other people’s opinion and it ends up being more about what everyone else wants than what you want. When you elope you’re not spending your time trying to cater to other people’s needs on your day. You’re choosing to focus on what’s most important to you and that is the most special thing there is.
#4 - you don’t have any time to plan!
Don't panic! Just because you want to elope doesn't mean you have to throw it together in a week. In the past eloping may have meant a quickie wedding but today most couples actually start planning 8 - 6 months in advance if not longer. You can still take your time to enjoy your engagement, enjoy the moments where you pick out your dress for the day, celebrate with your family and friends beforehand, have some fun planning your day! The misconception that your elopement is only an elopement if it’s thrown together at the last minute is an old and outdated one. Take the time to plan your day to make it what you want it to be.
#5 - an elopement has to be just the two of you
The term elopement has evolved quite a bit over the recent years to the point where it basically no longer means what it started out as. An elopement can basically be anything you want. If you want to include a small number of people who matter to you in your elopement day then do it. Often times if you choose to include a few family members or some close friends it is referred to as an intimate wedding interchangeably or instead of an elopement. You can still have the intimate feel of an elopement day while including other people in it.