What Is An Elopement and Is It Right For You?
Updated: Aug 12
Getting married is a huge deal, obviously.
With that huge deal, comes huge responsibility…or does it??
If you choose to go down the most traditional path of a full-blown wedding ceremony and reception, 150+ guest count, fully catered dinner, open bar, and live music, then yes, this is a huge responsibility. It takes an investment of time (anywhere from a few years to many months), lots of vendor communication, organization of endless details, and overall, it can be a stressful and expensive scenario.
In comes the Elopement. An answer to your simplification dreams….
It’s no secret that weddings come in all different styles and sizes. Getting married is definitely not a one size fits all situation. So, if you’re looking to have all the excitement and romance of a wedding, without the added complications of accommodating a large guest list, then an Elopement might just be the perfect fit for you!
What Is An Elopement?
The technical definition of an elopement is “an act or instance of running off secretly, as to be married.” In a more old school fashion, this is what an elopement used to be. Nowadays, elopements are getting a major makeover. The term covers everything from getting married with just the two of you, having an intimate ceremony that may or may not have a reception to follow (even at a later date), having a ceremony with just the parents, or even minimal guests (10 or fewer, typically). They no longer carry with them an undertone of secrecy (unless you plan to keep it on the down-low). They reach above and beyond the frequented “walk-in” venues of the famous Las Vegas, NV. Elopements have evolved into an expression of love and everlasting commitment, that can take place basically anywhere. Think beaches, mountaintops, forests, destinations, local courthouses, parks, or even backyards. If the space can accommodate the bride and groom + an officiant and a few guests (or no guests) then you are good to go!
Elopements take significantly less time and resources to plan than weddings because the guest count is damn near 0. This means you won’t need Save The Dates or Invites, a venue large enough to house your guests, large scale catering, or an excess of rentals. The simplification of your marriage process also means that your finances will be less impacted, leaving more funds available to elevate your special day to a “luxury elopement”. Custom rentals, while on a large scale can add up very quickly, become much more affordable on a smaller scale. You can create the ceremony space of your actual dreams, splurge on a dress or a suit/tux, get an elevated floral installation or bouquet, hire that photographer that blows your mind with their portfolio…the sky is the limit. Want to have a sunrise ceremony? A sunset ceremony? A ceremony under the stars? Elopements open up all of the possibilities and your imagination is free to run wild.
What Do You Still Need To Plan For An Elopement?
Although there are far fewer details to plan with an elopement, you will still want to hire a few vendors and pull together a solid blueprint for your big day. Let’s go over some of the key pieces.
· Location – As we have already touched on, an elopement can take place nearly anywhere. It should reflect your personality as a couple. Super outdoorsy? Perhaps a remote location in a National Park would be up your alley. Super glam? Maybe a fancy rooftop restaurant or venue would better suit you. The sky is the limit.
· Design – Just because something is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be super elevated. With all the money saved on downsizing your marriage plans, you have the opportunity to design a stunning ceremony site. Have a vision but not sure how to execute? Designing these details is something that a wedding planner can help you pull together. Rentals and flowers may be involved here if you choose. The design also includes your outfits and hair + make-up.
· Photo + Video – It is always beneficial to have your big day documented but some would say it’s even more important with an elopement. All of the friends and family who won’t be present at your marriage will want to see how it came together. Hiring a photographer and/or videographer will ensure that you can forever relive the memories from your most romantic day.
· Legalities – While elopements ode well to spontaneity, there are still some key points that have to be hit when you’re getting married. A marriage license must be obtained ahead of time. You also need to secure an ordained officiant to marry the two of you. This can be a hired officiant or a friend/family member who has taken the (pretty simple) steps to become ordained. Make sure you follow instructions on signing a marriage license and returning by mail.
· Optional Reception – Although not every elopement will have a reception to follow, it is definitely an option. The reception could take place the same day, the same week or really any time after you get married. It can be a less formal cocktail style party, as a means to celebrate your matrimony among your loved ones. It can also be a full-blown sit-down dinner with an open bar and dancing. This is truly up to you.
· Optional Accommodations – An Elopement can happen either during or right before a small vacation or honeymoon. If you plan to do a destination option, or even if you plan to stay at a hotel or rental house in your surrounding area, as a small getaway, you will want to make sure that you plan out your accommodations. If you end up with a small guest count of up to 10 people, you may choose to have welcome goody bags in each of their rooms, upon arrival. Perhaps you’re staying at a resort that offers golf or excursions and you would like to coordinate some fun time. All of these details should be taken into consideration.
Benefits Of Hiring A Planner For Your Elopement?
Depending on the size and scope of your elopement, you may want to consider hiring a planner to help you pull it all together. Although it doesn’t take as much time and doesn’t require as much attention to detail as planning a full wedding, there are still many benefits to having an expert in your corner. First and foremost, and what we tell all couples who are looking to get married, despite the size or scope of the event, is that a planner is an investment in your stress management. Tying the knot with your forever partner is an emotional and special scenario. Why worry about missing details? Why worry about having to coordinate vendors on the day of your lifelong commitment? Why not get pampered all day? A planner will be with you from the start of hair and make-up to the end of your day (if desired). You will breathe easy knowing that someone is in your corner, will take care of every last detail, will troubleshoot any potential problems that arise, will ensure the photographer gets all of the shots that you want, will touch up your make up, keep you hydrated and fed…I mean guys, the list is expansive.
A planner will also be super beneficial to you if you decide on a destination, want help designing a stunning ceremony site, and/or if you have a reception at a later date. They can help you stay within the desired budget, recommend venues and vendors, and take the lead on communication with selected vendors. Essentially, a planner is a guarantee that your elopement will be well-executed and that you will be able to relax and ENJOY IT.
All Photography Used on This Blog: Tiffany J. Photography