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What is an Elopement? The New Definition


What is an Elopement? The New Definition

What is an elopement
Taft Point – Yosemite Elopement

The meaning of the word “elopement” has changed a ton over the past few years. Google searches for definitions of the word have spiked, and as more and more couples make the decision to tie the knot in a way that feels authentic and true to them, it’s time to redefine what eloping is all about! So, what is an elopement?

What an Elopement Isn’t

The Dictionary definition of the word says that to elope means to “run away secretly in order to get married, especially without parental consent.” If you ask around, a lot of people will give you some variation of this outdated definition. They’ll tell you that elopements are scandalous, rushed, and secretive, and maybe that it’s what couples do after they party too hard in Vegas. But, that’s not what eloping is about anymore!

What is an Elopement – The New Definition

Today, an elopement is a wedding day where the focus of the day is on you and your partner, and it’s intentionally designed to be a reflection of the two of you and your relationship. It often seems like traditional weddings are more about the guests, or the parents, or pretty much anyone but the couple! It becomes about people pleasing and meeting expectations, and a lot of couples don’t stop to think, is this what we really want?

Eloping gives you the chance to take back your wedding day. Because it is your wedding day, after all. Eloping ensures that the entire day is designed to be authentic, personal, and true to who you are.

The Benefits of Eloping

Now that we’ve answered the question of “what is an elopement?” let’s dive in and learn more about what it really means to elope!

It’s Private and Intimate

A big reason that a lot of couples elope is that they don’t like the idea of being the center of attention all day. The thought of 100 guests looking at them during their wedding sounds downright scary! With elopements, you take away the big audience, and allow yourself to experience the day, be present with each other, and feel all the big feelings without worrying about outside opinions. 

Less Stress

Wedding planning is stressful – to say the least. Elopement planning, while it does require some preparation and some research, the process is significantly less stressful! When you aren’t worrying about pleasing other people, you can think about the things that you really want to do on your wedding day. There’s so much more flexibility, and room for creativity when you elope.

A Scenic Location

One of the best things about eloping is that you aren’t confined to traditional venues! You can elope nearly anywhere – from the desert of Joshua Tree to the coast of Maine, and just about anywhere in between. Your backdrop can be any landscape you choose, and you can tie the knot amongst the gorgeous natural scenery.

It’s Eco-Friendly

Traditional weddings create so much waste – so eloping isn’t just great for you, it’s great for the environment! With fewer guests, no single-use items, no decorations that end up in the landfill, and no huge venue, you’re getting married in a way that’s sustainable. Plus, when you elope in a park, you often need to get a wedding permit – and this money helps take care of the park!

Spend Money on Experiences

A big misconception about elopements is that they’re cheap, and that they’re a way for couples to avoid spending money and investing in their wedding. But, every elopement is so different – and while they’re usually less expensive than a traditional wedding (which averages nearly $30,000 in the US), this is because couples spend money on the things that are important to them! Instead of spending a third of their budget on a venue, they can buy plane tickets, or rent a 4×4 to explore in, or do whatever it is that would make their day the best it can be!

Frequently Asked Questions About Elopements

Along with “what is an elopement?” there are some questions that people often ask about the process, and about what it really means to elope.

Can you have guests at an elopement?

Elopements don’t have to be just the two of you – but they can be! There are absolutely no rules when it comes to elopements, which means that every step of the way, you can decide what feels right to you and what you want. Some couples want total privacy, others want a few friends and family members around.

What’s the difference between an elopement and an intimate wedding?

Along with elopements, something that’s popped up recently is the intimate wedding, or micro wedding. Typically, elopements have 0-15 guests, though there isn’t a set limit. Intimate weddings are smaller than traditional weddings, typical with 15-50 guests. But the main difference between an elopement and an intimate wedding isn’t the guest count, it’s the feeling of the day! An intimate wedding is typically about spending time with guests, and the emphasis is still on them – while an elopement is more about the couple, and what unique adventure they want to have.

How long is an elopement?

I want to bust the myth that elopements are just a quick ceremony! This is your wedding day – that’s a big deal, and a smaller celebration doesn’t change that one bit. An elopement should be an all day event, from getting ready to celebrating after your ceremony. You can hike, kayak, stargaze, have a picnic, or do absolutely anything!

What do we do on our elopement day?

Like I said, it isn’t just a ceremony. When you’re planning the elopement, think about what would make this the best day ever – it can be something you love doing together, or a new adventure you want to try out. Remember, no rules!

Do we have to hike on our elopement day?

A lot of couples have seen the epic photos of couples in wedding attire standing on mountain tops and wonder if they have to hike to elope. The answer is no! There are plenty of easily accessible, gorgeous locations to choose from, and plenty of fun things to do that don’t involve breaking a sweat. If hiking isn’t your thing, don’t worry!

Hiring an Elopement Photographer

When it comes to planning your elopement, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced elopement photographer! They’ll document the day, but they’ll also be your guide in planning the whole thing. Adventure elopements are different from traditional weddings in a lot of ways, and navigating the outdoors – from unexpected weather to wedding permits to last minute backup plans – is an important part of making sure that your day is nothing short of incredible.

If you’re ready to elope, contact me!

January 19, 2022

  1. […] you want to learn more about eloping check out these links here and here! Let’s connect and start planning your elopement […]

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Hey there!

I am the photographer and author behind the Leah Rivera Photography blog. If you’re looking to book a photographer that is just as goofy, fun-loving and all about excellent customer service, then let’s chat today and plan our next adventure together!

The name's Leah.

let's get social

What is an Elopement? The New Definition



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