You may have seen these things called “elopements” floating around social media and online while you’ve been researching for your own day. In the past, eloping meant sneaking off to Vegas or the closest county hall without any family or friends knowing and then shouting “surprise” with a new ring on your finger. Though that is still what some couples do – and I say rad and good for you! – eloping has a WHOLE new meaning now in the 21st century.
I was first introduced to eloping when my husband and I were planning our own wedding back in 2017. When we sat down to wedding plan, we knew three things to be true.
- We wanted to get married in Northern Minnesota on Lake Superior, because that is where we had vacationed the first time as a young couple, and have since created our most special memories in Northern Minnesota.
- We wanted to include doggo, Chip, and knew that most venues wouldn’t allow that.
- We wanted killer photos in epic outdoor locations.
With these three things in mind, we quickly found that a traditional wedding wasn’t going to fit. We knew that most of our extended family wouldn’t be able to travel that far for a wedding. We knew that most places weren’t pet-friendly, and we knew that hiking would have to be included. Knowing these things, and after meeting with our photographer, we embarked on our elopement journey. Now, nearly four years later, my husband and I talk often about how we haven’t regretted one single moment of how we planned our day. It was uniquely ours, and nothing was included that we didn’t want.
Important things to realize about elopements vs. traditional weddings.
Elopements are not any less important or valuable than a traditional wedding.
People have been eloping for as long as weddings have been around. They just haven’t been as popularized as they have now. Eloping means you are starting a marriage with your partner, the same as you would with a traditional wedding. Eloping means that you saying “I do” in all the traditional senses. Please don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, my friends.
Elopements can involve just as much planning and effort as traditional weddings.
Couples usually book me 3-12+ months in advance for their elopement, meaning they are spending the same amount of time planning their day as others who are planning more traditional wedding days. Couples who elope are still thinking of the small, meaningful details, and are still picking out colors and designs. Don’t let eloping think you’ll escape all the other fun parts of planning a wedding, because believe me, they are still there, just hopefully in a less stressful way.
Elopements can include multiple vendors, same as traditional weddings.
It’s true that eloping can mean less vendors, especially if it is just the two of you. But eloping can include as many vendors as would be included in a traditional wedding. My husband and I still had some of the same: photographer, videographer, venue (we booked a hotel for a dinner with our loved ones who joined us), day of coordinator (with the venue), officiant, florists, and wedding party (we chose to have a small group with us).
Elopements can be more cost effective, or they can be the same investment as a traditional wedding.
I think for some people, they think eloping means cheaper. Now, in some cases, that can be accurate. However, if you are looking for an epic experience in an epic location with epic activities (yes, all epic!), then the costs would be comparable to if you were to book a full traditional wedding. I think couples costs can be altered depending on their priorities, regardless if they have a traditional wedding or elopement. Remember, it’s about YOUR priorities, no one else’s.
I hope this helped you understand the differences but also the similarities between elopements and traditional weddings. I also secretly hope that this helped you realize how amazing eloping can be, and that there can be plenty of creative ways to have a wedding of your dreams without the stress of what can come with a traditional wedding.