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What is an Elopement?

Updated: Feb 10, 2021




When you hear the word “Elopement” what comes to mind?

Maybe you see a couple hopping on a jet plane to Las Vegas to get hitched wearing a bedazzled dress in a neon covered white chapel by an Elvis impersonator? Maybe a young couple, in love, running off to get married in secret because their parents don’t approve? Or simply two people strolling up to a courthouse to see a justice-of-the-peace, to quickly sign a piece of paper?


If these situations came to mind or something similar, we promise you, you’re not alone.


Elopement is a misunderstood concept. It was often shrouded with preconceived notions and ideas that are wild misconceptions of what the term elopement really means. No longer is it a term of last-minute, secret planning that is covered in embarrassment, shame, and judgment.


ELOPEMENTS DON’T MEAN THAT ANYMORE!




The things that may have rang true once before are no longer the case. This has been something that we have been striving to redefine. Something that truly embodies what an elopement actually is now.


AN ELOPEMENT IS AN INTENTIONALLY INTIMATE, SMALL, AND AN AUTHENTIC WEDDING ADVENTURE THAT TRULY REFLECTS YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND LOVE STORY IN A WAY THAT IS TRULY ABOUT YOU TWO!


The beautiful thing about elopements is it doesn't matter what you do, where you do it, or even who else is there with you. It’s about stripping away all the anxiety, obligation, and any pressure that may be placed on you for your big day. It gives you the complete freedom to commit your lives to one another in any way that you choose.


As adventure elopement photographers and guides, who have helped couples create their own dream adventures, we are passionate about what we do. Everytime we take a couple out we get to experience the magic that comes with eloping each and every time.


Elopements are about seeing a new and magical place for the first time with your partner. It’s about looking into your partner's eyes at the top of a mountain as you commit your hearts to one another. It’s about looking up into the star-filled sky and realizing that nothing else matters but your love for one another. It's about those little moments that set this day and this adventure apart from everything else.


Most couples when they get engaged feel as if they’re stuck with having the traditional wedding day. And if a big wedding is what you want, then perfect; you should do that!







If all you really want is a day that is intentional and is full of meaning, intimacy, and complete focus on just the two of you, then you two have already been seeking out an elopement! Even if you couldn't quite figure out the word. When you boil it down, an elopement is not about the table setting, the six-tiered cake, the bridesmaids, the performance, and the production.


ELOPEMENTS ARE ABOUT YOU TWO! ALL THE FOCUS IS ON THE TWO OF YOU AND IN THE MOMENT WHERE YOU TWO COMMIT YOUR LIVES TO ONE ANOTHER WHEREVER AND HOWEVER YOU WANT!


NOW LET’S GO FULL “MYTH-BUSTERS”

- DEFINING AN ELOPEMENT


Everyone may have their own idea when they hear the word elopement. A lot of the time these ideas come from the preconceived notion of what an elopement used to be.


Cindy and I like to think that an elopement is the core of what makes a pure wedding. It’s an intimate ceremony that is celebrating the love that two people have for one another. Elopements are very untraditional and there are a lot of misconceptions that have kept couples in the dark of what a true elopement is and where this adventure can lead.


MYTH 1 - ELOPEMENTS ARE FOR ISOLATED COUPLES WITH NO FAMILY


There is this dated idea that elopements are for people that choose not to be surrounded by hundreds of friends and family because they don’t have these types of families or support in their lives.


BUSTED

Tons of couples that have eloped do have very tight relationships and are very close-knit families. All who are supporting this couple 100% of the way. Yet, they still choose to go the non-traditional route when it comes to their wedding day. How is that the case?


These couples bravely choose, that even though they have people around them that love and support them, they have decided that the moment they commit their lives to one another matters more than anything else.


Yes, you may have hundreds of friends and family and loved ones that you could invite to your big wedding day. All who would support you without a second thought. But maybe that idea doesn’t fit who you are or how you want to spend your day.


Instead, you have chosen to make your day intentionally about you two and your love story. It's not about some giant party with obligation and stress.


Don’t misunderstand us, it is possible to have an intentional elopement while having family and guests there with you. The difference lies in the focus. If everyone there can get on board with the fact that this is your day and entirely about you two and how you want to celebrate your love, then there’s nothing wrong with having people there with you.






MYTH 2 - PEOPLE ELOPE BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO SPEND MONEY ON THEIR WEDDING


Generally, people tend to think that elopements are an extremely low budget option. People choose to elope because they are cheap.


BUSTED

Sure, you will end up saving a little money, but that is more of an added benefit than a core reason behind eloping. You can have a giant wedding with hundreds of people on a tight budget and you can also elope with a really big budget if you so choose.


With elopements, you choose to invest in your day in a different way. Couples choose to elope so they can have the entire day completely focused on them and what they want to do. For a lot of people, that may not mean hosting a giant party. For some people, what brings them complete joy may be being surrounded by the beauty of nature, doing something they love like hiking, paddle boarding, or rock climbing with the person they love. Couples who choose to elope aren’t doing it to save money, they do it because they want to intentionally spend their day with the person who means the most to them doing what they love doing. It brings it back down to what really matters. Just you and the one you love.



MYTH 3 - ELOPEMENTS COME WITH SHAME FOR UNAPPROVED MARRIAGES


The old belief is that people who elope do so out of shame. They run off and have these secret ceremonies because they are embarrassed or don’t think their loved ones will approve of their decisions.


BUSTED

In the past this may have been the case, but not necessarily anymore. We have couples who do decide on surprise elopements, but most of the time the real surprise lies in how they chose to spend their wedding day. Not that they decided to get married at all.


Choosing to elope does not mean that you are scared to deal with the disapproval of family. No, It means that you bravely choose to forgo the pressure, expectations, and production that can come with the traditional wedding day. When couples choose to elope they are choosing not to compromise. They want meaningful moments that are backed by authentic intentions. There's nothing worth hiding or shameful about that.




MYTH 4 - ELOPEMENTS CAN ONLY BE YOU TWO


Some believe that elopements are this secret affair that no one else can attend because it would break some magic rule of eloping.


BUSTED

Elopements have no rules! You can absolutely have your friends, family, and pets there with you. Bring your mom, an officiant, your kids, your dogs, and your best friends. (Yes, please bring your dogs!)


There is no defined number of guests or lack of guests that will make your wedding day an elopement. It's all about the intention and mindset that your guests bring to your big day. We’ve noticed that once your numbers grow past 20 people, it can become harder to keep the focus of the day on the two of you.


We have done weddings with just parents, just the kids, or even just the dogs. It does not matter. Better yet, if you want to include your loved ones in your day but do not want to sacrifice your intimate, one-on-one moments with your partner you don't have to. Split-up your day, have separate ceremonies, or stretch out your elopement over two days!


If you want to include family that may not be able to be there in person or you want to include your family in other ways be sure to check out our blog on “HOW TO INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY.”







MYTH 5 - IT’S A RUSHED CEREMONY


In the old days people thought of elopements as a quick turnaround wedding where you take a few pictures, sign a piece of paper, and finish within the hour.


BUSTED

In our experience, we have found that elopements are meaningful experiences packed to the brim with hundreds of authentic and intentional love-filled moments. So many moments that a single hour or two would just not do it justice.


Most of the couples we are blessed to work with have chosen to have their experiences last 8-12 hours with some even stretching it over a few days. An elopement is literally the most incredible adventure day for the two of you.


Something you can ask yourself is “If you had a free day to do whatever you want, wherever you want, with no limits, what would you do? What would an unforgettable day with your loved one be?”


No limits! All possibilities!


Think on what would be the most authentic day for the two of you. A day where you soak up every moment, every “I love you!” and every squeeze where you can look back and smile every time you remember it.


That could be your wedding day! So much more than a quick and speed ceremony.


An elopement is a two-day road trip through Scotland or New Zealand.

It’s backpacking 15 miles, so you can say your vows at the top of a mountain in Norway.

It's waking up at the crack of dawn; running down a sandy beach; cliff diving into an alpine crystal blue lake; or helicoptering over a glacier to your own picnic spot.


Elopements are a grand adventure for the first chapter of the greatest time of life with the one you love.







MYTH 6 - LAST MINUTE AND POORLY PLANNED


Since some people think of elopements as runaway ceremonies, it's easy to see that they believe they are just last minute and poorly planned ceremonies.


BUSTED

That's not the case with modern-day elopements. In fact, most of our clients start planning their adventures as far in advance as traditional wedding planning. However, elopements can be successfully planned in a much shorter time, or you can take it slower and plan a year ahead of time.


In the past, elopements have been thought of as last-ditch and zero effort ways of tying the knot. Elopements are not a way of cheating or taking a shortcut to planning that wedding day experience. They are pure, intentional moments that focus on the true meaning and love story behind the wedding day experience.


Your elopement can be as planned or as laid back as you want. It's not a cop-out. It's completely filled with exactly what you want to do. Nothing more, nothing less.


Choosing to Elope is making an intentional decision to say, “I choose to not follow a tradition that does not fit or make sense to me.” It’s saying, “I choose you and I choose us!”



THAT CONCLUDES OUR SEGMENT ON ELOPEMENT MYTH-BUSTERS





Elopements aren’t meant for people that want to speed through or cop-out of the most important day of their lives. They are for people who care so deeply for the person they love that they are willing and have the courage to say no to the normal wedding day, and say, “Yes!” to something different, meaningful and intentional.


Elopements are for the couples that want to bask in the authentic moments where they choose to commit their lives to one another for a day, a week, or however long their adventure is to last.


They are for those who want to stare into the eyes of the ones they love on top of a mountain or on a glacier with no one else around. Or just surrounded by their parents and their two pups. It's for couples who want to spend all their time with each other and not be bogged down by the stressful timelines, big production, family obligations, and annoying traditions that can come with the traditional wedding day.


Elopements are not cop-outs. They are not just a couple of pictures and a signing of a piece of paper.


Elopements are do-whatever-you-want, wherever-you-want, however-you-want! It’s a wild card for your wedding day.


It's taking your partner's hand and diving headfirst into the epic adventure together.


That’s the Elopement Adventure we can help you create!






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Hey, We're Forrest & Cindy!

You're Husband & Wife team of Adventurous Elopement Photographers and Guides!