Everything You Need to Know About Elopement
Article By | Hannah Holbrook
You’ve probably seen the photos. A bride and groom stand at the base of a waterfall in the mountains as they exchange vows. No one knows how they got up there; no one knows how they’re getting down. The two are caught in an intimate moment as they exchange vows and pledge their lives to one another. Heaven alone witnesses their union, well, with the exception of a professional photographer standing guard to capture everything. Sound a bit like something you’ve seen on Instagram? Let me introduce you to the latest wedding trend that is exploding throughout the bridal industry: destination elopement.
What is eloping?
Elopement, colloquially speaking, was often used to refer to a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one’s place of residence together with one’s beloved with the intention of getting married. In the past it held negative connotations and was often the ruin of a family’s reputation. However, today “elopement” is taking on a completely different definition. Some couples have decided that the fanfare of a big wedding just isn’t for them. Planning and paying for a huge event might not be feasible in their current stage of life. Perhaps, the couple feels that mainstream weddings are more about the guests than the bride and groom and they desire something more intimate, focusing solely on their union.
While going to the Justice of Peace has always been an option for these individuals, couples are discovering that there is another fun, more adventurous option. Destination elopements sweep many couples off to exotic destinations with beautiful scenery to exchange vows alone or with a few close friends and parents as witnesses. These elopements can be simple, quirky, elaborate, or as extravagant as the couple wants.
Think a destination elopement might be for you? Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before eloping:
It’s no secret that weddings can cost a pretty penny. In 2017 the average wedding cost about $27,000, however in 2018 that number increased to more than $44,000 (Brides 2018 American Wedding Study)! If cost is a big factor in your wedding planning process and you’re willing to cut that two-hundred person guest list down to two, eloping might be for you. The traditional costs associated with a “typical” wedding disappear as you and your fiancé escape to a romantic destination. Many couples are deciding to elope and launch right into their honeymoon from their elopement destination. A wedding and honeymoon all packaged into one, with thousands of dollars knocked off the price tag? It might be something to consider if you’re planning your wedding on a budget.
For Americans, other than weddings and funerals, there aren’t many other events where all the people you love gather around you to celebrate your life. If you choose to elope, be sure to consider the reality that you might not have another excuse to gather all the people you love from all the corners of the world until you’re in a casket.
Expect less wedding day drama. If you have tons of crazy relatives that really can’t handle themselves in a room together, eloping might be a safe option that ensures no one gets into a fist fight on the day of your wedding.
Some brides feel sick when they think about hundreds of eyes watching them walk down the aisle. If you just don’t want to be the center of attention, even on your wedding day, that’s okay. If waking up late, getting ready lazily, meeting your fiancé and exchanging vows one-on-one, or just with a few people, sounds sweeter than a weekend of wedding festivities with tons of people, then eloping might be for you.
Keep in mind that quite a few people might be disappointed if you choose to elope. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, extended family, coworkers, and friends will genuinely miss seeing you marry the love of your life. However, if eloping is the best choice for you and your spouse, stand by your decision. Be prepared for friends that might be offended, family members that will voice their hurts and frustrations, and some disapproval about your choice to elope. In the end, what your wedding day looks like is up to you and your fiancé. Marriage is not a day or a moment in time; it is a life lived in covenant with your spouse.
If indeed you and your spouse decide to elope, it doesn’t mean you still can’t have a party when you get back! Many brides that choose destination elopements throw a party and invite friends and family once they return.
Weddings are never one size fits all. There are multitudes of styles and ideas on how to uniquely celebrate your union. If skipping the formality of a traditional wedding is something that appeals to you and your fiancé, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding to elope. If saying “I do” beneath a waterfall on a mountain is what you guys decide on, go for it, and be sure to tag us in your Instagram posts.