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What is an Elopement?

Are you dreaming of a wedding day that’s both magical and financially sensible? Consider an elopement! Elopements have smaller guest lists and less flourish than traditional weddings. The money saved on decorations or feeding a hundred guests can be used to craft unique and intimate elopements that don’t lack romance and whimsy compared to their traditional counterparts.

A bride in a white wedding gown holding a bouquet holds hands with her groom as they walk on white sands in Utah.

What is an Elopement, Anyway?

The word ‘elope’ came into use in the late 16th century to describe those who pulled a Romeo & Juliet. Instead of going through proper courting practices or having a typical wedding ceremony, the couple would run away and secretly wed to avoid potential objections, interference from their families, or societal norms.

However, the concept of elopement has evolved over time. Today, elopements encompass a broader range of situations from spontaneous and private weddings to small intimate ceremonies with a few close friends and family members. In these cases, the term "elopement" is used to emphasize the simplicity and intimacy of the wedding, even if it’s not kept entirely secret.

Is Eloping a Legal Marriage?

Yes, eloping is absolutely legal. However, it's essential to be aware of the specific marriage laws governing your state or the country where you plan to elope. To ensure the legality of your union, take the time to familiarize yourself with the local marriage regulations and the official marriage registration process. Typically, this entails visiting a courthouse or an official government facility to have your marriage certificate properly notarized.

What is Considered an Elopement?

An elopement is generally considered a marriage ceremony with a minimal guest list— often just the couple getting married, an officiant, and a small number of witnesses, if any. What is considered an elopement can vary from one couple to another. Some key characteristics of an elopement include:

  • Minimal Guest List: There are usually very few people other than the couple getting married and an officiant.

  • Simplicity: Elopements are known to be more casual with less focus on wedding traditions.

  • Spontaneity: Elopements can be planned relatively quickly due to the small scale.

  • Private or Non-Traditional Location: The best part about elopements is the flexibility to choose a location you love.

  • Minimal fanfare: If you want something more low-key, an elopement might be perfect for you since they forgo elaborate decorations, reception, and other time—and budget—consuming things.

What Happens During an Elopement?

During an elopement, there will always be a “ceremony” of sorts even if it’s as simple as exchanging vows and rings. Everything else is completely up to the couple to decide. There could be a photoshoot, a small celebration with a meal, or going out for a paintball match!

If you’re considering eloping with your spouse, don’t forget to hire an elopement photographer to capture those special moments. Then you’ll have something to share with friends and family who couldn’t attend— if you choose.

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