Thinking about eloping? You are so not alone. These days, more and more couples seem to be choosing elopements over the fuss of a big wedding. Elopements are simple and they are beautiful. Elopements allow a couple to get down to the nitty gritty of what their love is all about, focusing on each other rather than on table details and what favor to give 150+ guests. The truly significant thing about elopements is that they are so intimate. Elopements have come a long way in recent years, too.
Not your average elopement, here.
Here’s the awesome thing: elopements are no longer that sort of cliche thing that they used to be. I think they’ve gotten a weird rap somewhere along the way and people tend to think elopers are running away from something/someone or can’t afford a bigger wedding, all kinds of strange and not great things. That’s just not the case.
More than ever, couples are eloping because of the sheer fact that they want to focus on each other. They want their wedding to be about their love and that’s it. When that’s the focus, they may choose to elope just the two of them and a photographer to capture it. Some couples have an officiant in the mix or they’ll handle the paperwork ahead of time. Some couples choose to have just their immediate family present while others will bring a friend or two along, someone who is really important to them. Ideally, the day is kept tiny. I start to feel like anything over ten people is more of an intimate wedding, which I’ll be writing about soon.
Let’s Break This Down
So what besides the focus on love and that alone could draw you toward choosing an elopement over a larger wedding?
1. Elopements are ridiculously beautiful and allow you to choose unique venues not suited for larger events.
You can choose to elope in a place like California’s Yosemite National Park, Waimea Canyon on Kauai, Utah’s Zion National Park, or maybe you really want to get out there and explore some place really remote that has been on your bucket list. Which leads me to…
2. You can go anywhere in the world to elope.
When you plan an elopement, you don’t have to give thought to whether this friend or that family member will make the trek to some place like Costa Rica, Kauai, New Zealand, Switzerland, the middle of the Sahara Desert, or wherever it is your heart desires to go. If you can dream it, you can elope there. Except maybe on Mars… I’m not sure if we’ve quite made it there yet 😉 But if that’s your desire, maybe just head to Conde Nast Traveler 20 Places That Look They’re On Another Planet for some inspiration.
3. You are pretty much in full control.
When you’re planning an elopement, you don’t have to worry about what everyone else thinks. It’s tough with normal wedding planning to shut out everyone else’s thoughts and influence. At times, your day can end up being more about what future mom-in-law thinks or what Aunt Jane says you should do rather than about what you want it to be. You get to be in full control of your elopement. You can choose that way out place you’ve always wanted to go, wear that non-traditional wedding dress or skip the suit, have no flowers or all the flowers, have your pet owl bring the rings, or whatever the heck it is you want to do! The best part is, no one will say a word about it and once they see your epic photos they’ll wish they had eloped too.
4. You get more of just the two of you.
With an elopement, the photography focus is almost completely about the two of you. Rather than a photographer having to split focus between what is going on between you two and what Uncle Joe over there is doing, they get to simply capture the raw, authentic moments you share as you hike up to your location or pop champagne after your vows. The result is a stunning gallery that follows your day and tells your story without distraction.
5. Frankly, your money is far better spent.
This one is huge. With the average cost of a wedding in the US reaching toward $35,329 … half of us want to run for the hills when planning a wedding. That is a VERY nice car, a down payment on a house, a pretty sweet used Airstream, or a lifetime supply of burritos. Like… why? Why spend that much on one single day? I just can’t understand it. And the thing is, spending more does not make your wedding better/nicer/more memorable. It just means you emptied out your bank account, really. There is a misconception that elopements are cheap. Yes, you will save money. Yes, they are generally less expensive than a big wedding. But are they cheap? That’s not the right word for it. Instead, it’s better to consider the fact that an elopement focuses more on an experience. You are experiencing a place and a moment in time with the love of your life. You’re traveling together, hiking together, crying and laughing together. It’s about soaking in every little thing on the day you get married with zero distraction. So while you will most certainly spend less, you will definitely gain more. Rather than being rushed through a bunch of schedule items and feeling like you have no memory of your day, you will be able to take a step back and see this day for all that it is. And I think that is worth more than all the money you could potentially spend eloping. Even if, in the end, you spent that $35k on your elopement, your money would be far better spent. You would be spending those dollars on the experience of a lifetime with your love. You’d invest it in memories of days spent adventuring, enjoying each other’s company in incredible places.
There are a lot of other reasons to choose an elopement, but these are the reasons that stand out to me the most. These are the reasons I wish I had planned an elopement or at least a more intimate wedding in a place I love (hint: it starts with a Y and ends in osemite). I regret not going for that dream and if I could do this wedding day thing all over again, you better bet it would be totally different apart from the groom. I’d still choose him. We ended up renewing our vows only five years in because of these regrets. This time, we did it alone together in Yosemite (See below.)
I am very passionate about capturing elopements as they are one of my favorite things to document. The focus and intimacy of an elopement makes my heart skip a beat. I would be honored to photograph your elopement no matter where on earth it is! So if you’ve just gotten super excited about the idea of an elopement and would like to chat more about planning and capturing it, don’t hesitate to reach out! Drop me a line here or fill out my contact form to say hey.