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What it Means To Elope and Why you Should Consider It!
What it means to Elope
The official definition for eloping is to “Run away secretly to get married, especially without parental consent” which, to say the least, seems a bit outdated. What I did when I was 18 was that exact definition, we eloped for sure. For adults in 2018 however, modern day elopements have taken on a whole new meaning. In fact I propose a whole new word for it, someone get on that.
Today’s elopements are not only (usually) planned, they are customized and deeply personal. Gone are the days of running off to the first little chapel you pass in Vegas. Gone are the days of secret ceremonies. Of course there are those who still chose to keep their elopement ideas to themselves. Usually however, they have told those close to them, even if they plan on making it a private affair. So, why was it that people used to elope? Why do we still choose to today and what are the benefits of eloping modern day? Hopefully this article will be able to help you navigate this industry and answer your questions.
This article aims to give you eloping ideas as well as courage to carry them out. I hope it also gives you a better understanding of whether or not, modern day elopements are right for you.
Elopements in the past…
Elope literally means to “run away” and up until about 1800 it just meant a wife leaving her husband. After 1800 however, it began to take the shape of what we know as eloping today. In our recent ancestry, eloping was something young lovers did for mostly practical purposes.
Whether it was to avoid an expensive wedding during the Great Depression or to be able to show your independence when choosing a spouse that your parents may not have approved of, reasons for eloping in the past certainly mirror those for today. The only major difference between today’s, more extravagant, elopements and yesteryears, seems to be the secrecy and the style.
Modern Day Eloping…
When I think about couples taking the time to plan an adventurous elopement today I get excited as visions of gorgeous florals, mountains and private ceremonies fill my head. This is the stuff that keeps me in the industry. Large weddings can be so much fun but the sincerity and the intimacy that seems inherent with elopements always keeps me coming back for more.
When I ask couples why they chose to plan to elope rather than to have a large wedding I get a multitude of responses including budget constraints, disapproving parents, and trying to avoid the stress of planning. But the most common response is usually “Because we want it to be special. We want it to mean something and be a definitive day in our own personal history.” To me, that is the most beautiful reason.
Just because someone is interested in planning an elopement does not mean they hold true to tradition and run off to Vegas. Modern-day elements are most commonly thought of as a combination between a beautifully curated, intimate weddings and exotic destinations. Many couples today are forgoing large weddings and saving money by combining a marriage ceremony with their honeymoon. Eloping in 2018 usually means you still have a team of professional wedding vendors, but on a smaller scale. That way you can enjoy the beautiful elements that you have always dreamed of, in a beautiful place with your most favorite people.
That sounds like a dream come true right? But, for some reason, you are still on the fence. So let’s dispel some rumors and quell some fears!
5 reasons you should consider eloping with your partner
The average wedding cost in 2018 is $60,00! That could mean a brand-new car and a down payment on a new house for most young couples. It simply does not make economical sense to pay for an extravagant party, when you’re just starting your life out together. Starting off with debt is a scary thing and most people already have a large amount of debt from student loans that they have to worry about. Even though modern-day elopement’s are still a beautifully styled event, they cut away at this concern by costing so much less because everything is on a smaller scale and you have little to no guests to pay extra for.
Unfortunately getting Engaged in 2018, something that should be celebrated, often becomes a source for heart ache. For many couples, they find that their parents or siblings or even their friends can be less than thrilled at their choice and spouse. This is especially true for the LGBT community which has overcome a lot in recent years but struggle to be accepted in their own families. Many family members refuse to give their blessings or attend weddings when they don’t approve which makes eloping such a beautiful opportunity to shut out hatred and prejudice in the world and focus solely on each other.
Even if you have a generally loving and supportive group of family and friends it can often still be a source of heartache and stress. My bride and groom’s often talk about concerns they have for drama on their wedding day. Whether it comes from divorced parents, aunts that like to make a scene, or ugly drunks there are many issues that can arise when you put so many different types of people together for hours when they normally wouldn’t be seen together at all. When you elope it is either just the two of you, your officiant, and your photographer/videographer or you have chosen an extremely small number of trusted friends and/or family to join your elopement adventure. This immediately cuts down, if not eliminates, any fuel for emotional fires.
Wedding planning stress
All of the above usually accumulates into a big ball of the wedding planning stress. This can easily cost tension between you and your loved ones and even your partner, especially if you live together and are paying for a lot of it yourselves. Fights tend to break out over the smallest of issues, and the list of tiny little details that have to be decided on never seems to end and it only seems to grow longer overtime.
You will constantly be under pressure to decide between this and that, and you will also be subject to a constant stream of unsolicited advice and ideas from well-meaning relatives and friends. Some people find this to be a great challenge! Some people praise the day that they decided to hire a professional wedding planner (which I ALWAYS recommend). For most people, however, it’s a time in their life that they hope to forget. Most of the people I talk to tell me how horrible planning a wedding has been for them. What makes it worse is that the actual day of the wedding tends to fly by so fast.
The day you plan for a year or more for to celebrate celebrate getting married to your best friend is over in a blink of an eye! Which, by the way also makes it extremely important to value photography and hire a true professional so that you can easily look back on all of the small details you would have otherwise immediately forgotten.
Make it meaningful
By far the most wonderfully convincing evidence to elope is the time you get to spend with your new spouse. As a professional wedding photographer I try to make it my goal to force a slower moving schedule on my couples so that they have more time just the two of them on their wedding. However, with an elopement that’s practically an entire day for just the two of you. Just the two of you basking in the moment, and having time to come to a full awareness of the magnitude of that moment. The attire, the cake, the flowers, the vows, the location are all exactly how you had always envisioned them. But the best part is that eloping is being able to breathe in the excitement, the nerves, and a profound love you have your soon to be spouse and having the time to soak in all of those emotions.
If you are still on the fence, perhaps your gut is telling you that you would rather party with all of your friends and family all night long and in that case you should go for it! Always heed your instincts. However, if you still want to consider your options or if this article is giving you a renewed sense of hope come back next week when throw down another type of wedding for your consideration and talk about the difference between an intimate wedding and an elopement.
And, if you are wondering where I would choose to elope if I was going to today, here are my top 5 elopement destinations.
- Armstrong Redwood Forest- Northern California (or Bodega Bay or around Lake Tahoe)
- Oahu – In the jungles not the beach
- Chapel Dulceana in Austin, TX