Redefining Elopements – What Does “Elope” Mean?

I want you to close your eyes. Now, when you hear the word “elopement,” what comes to mind?
Maybe you imagine a hurried couple, running off after making a spontaneous decision to spend their lives together, instead of choosing to have a traditional wedding– the excitement, the drama! Even Merriam-Webster has this as the definition for elope: “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent”. You might even have the idea that elopements are of lesser quality than or not as valuable as a traditional wedding; after all… they’ve gotta be less expensive, with less planning and time than what you’d put into a traditional wedding, right? Right??
I want you to know that is not what eloping means anymore. While those notions may have been true before, they do not necessarily define elopements anymore.

Elopements are small and intentional wedding experiences where the day authentically reflect and focus on the couples themselves.

There is no preconception or rules about where it takes place, who else is there, or what you have to do. An elopement is all about the couple committing themselves to one another however and wherever they want without all the anxiety, pressure, and obligations that come with larger weddings.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of poor representation and misinformation about elopement floating around out in the media and even among close friends and family. These misconceptions might even have turned you away from ever considering elopement as a valid alternative to a traditional wedding. Luckily for you, we’ll be debunking some of the common myths people believe about elopement! So without further ado, let’s get into it:

bride and groom walking down a mountain
Myth 1: Elopements are quick and rushed.
In the past, elopements were thought of a lesser version of a wedding, where you have a super quick ceremony, snap a few photos, sign the marriage license and called it a day. While that may have been true in the past, nowadays, elopements are full experiences! Since elopements are intentional wedding experiences, there’s no way just a few hours could completely tell your elopement day story. And because there are no rules for eloping, you can do whatever you want and get married as well. Elopements haven’t been traditionally defined in the way that weddings have, so this is an experience that you and your partner get to create from the ground up.
Your elopement could be a 2 day road trip through Utah and exploring and enjoying the views all around you.
Your elopement could be hiking at the crack of dawn and exchanging your vows as the sun rises above the mountains.
Your elopement could be whatever and however you want to remember the day you and your partner commit your lives to one another. Let your imagination run wild with ideas!

Myth 2: Couples elope because it’s cheaper than a traditional wedding
Sure you could save a little bit of money because you’re not hosting a party for hundreds of people. Realistically you could do a huge wedding with over 200 guests on a low budget and you could do an elopement for 2 people with an extensive budget. The reality is choosing to elope isn’t purely about saving money but rather to have an wedding day experience that is focused on the couple and what they want to do.
Elopement allows for you and your partner to be intentional about making the day for one another, which includes investing in something that brings you both joy. Maybe you go for a hot air balloon ride after you exchange your vows on the most scenic mountain vista, or you hire a private chef for a lavish dinner for you and your partner to end the evening! The possibilities are endless when you choose to spend an intentional day with the person who brings you the most happiness.

Myth 3: Elopements are only for the couple.
Elopements have long been thought to be secret weddings for couples to be wed by themselves. While there are couples who choose to elope by themselves, that is not the universal rule that couples have to follow. Choosing to elope means choosing to put how and where to exchange your vows and the love you both share above things that may not matter as much to you, such as a large wedding with hundreds of guests. There are no rules about guests for elopements, however with more guests it can be harder to keep the day completely focused on you. 
Elopements are all about the intention of the couple, and can definitely include family, friends, and even furbabies! Perhaps you don’t want to sacrifice that intimate one-on-one time with your partner. You can split your day up– have separate ceremonies, one where it’s just you and your partner, and one where you invite your loved ones in!

Myth 4: Elopements are last-minute and don’t need planning.
It is often thought that elopements are last-minute and low effort weddings, however that is not always the case with elopements nowadays. Couples actually do plan their elopements similarly to traditional weddings, between 9-15 months before the date. 
Do not think of elopements as settling for a lesser value wedding. Elopements are authentic, intentional moments that focus on the meaning of what an intentional wedding experience is. There are no rules or guidelines, so elopements can be as laid back or planned as you want it to be. Be intentional when planning your elopement, do the things that bring you and your partner joy. 

Myth 5: Elopements are not as meaningful as traditional weddings.
What could be more meaningful and special than a couple choosing to elope because they want to have an authentic, intentional wedding experience that focuses on them?
Simply having 200 guests or having a lavish wedding reception doesn’t make it more meaningful or special than it being just you and your partner. Eloping and doing things your way allow you to slow down and be intentional about your wedding day– the pacing of the day is set by you and your partner, and that can allow for more space to enjoy the day and what it means for you and your partner’s relationship.

In conclusion…
Elopements are for the people who choose to spend a day, maybe even two days, to have an authentic and intentional wedding experience to celebrate the moment they exchange their vows.
Elopements are not about cutting corners and being bogged down by obligations and stress of a larger wedding. They are about stripping down a wedding to the core of what a wedding is: you and your partner committing yourselves to one another. You are embarking on a new adventure called marriage together in the exact way that you want to.
I want to be clear, no one can tell you there is a right or wrong way to get married, only you and your partner can decide what makes sense for yourselves. However, if you choose to elope, I hope the myths holding you back have now been dispelled.

You deserve an intimate, meaningful, and authentic wedding experience because your wedding is the start of a new adventure with your best friend. If the idea of eloping interests you, get in touch and let’s start talking more about your dream day!

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