Demystifying Elopement

4 min read

Demystifying Elopement

Elopement is not a new concept. It’s defined as an act or instance of running off secretly, as to be married. Back in more conservative times, it used to be a hush-hush option for couples whose relationship defied familial and society standards.

The wedding industry is booming and vibrant, but the pressure to turn wedding planning into a serious project management ordeal has intimidated many couples. In light of these developments, elopement has emerged as a peaceful alternative.

Jamie Brenner, in a TIME article, explains how wedding planning has become a burden not only for the couple, but for their loved ones too (e.g. bridesmaids paying for dresses, bachelorette parties, etc.) 

Now that couples are starting to tremble at the mounting wedding pressure, elopement has re-emerged as something that’s less of a taboo. It’s now a welcome alternative to the “evolved wedding”.

It’s about time for elopement to step out of its less desirable reputation and be considered as something beautiful, real, and sincere. Here is elopement demystified!

A wedding happens in an elopement.

You don’t have to go through a “wedding vs. elopement” debate because technically, elopement is simply a wedding that takes place in a more secretive manner. Since weddings have grown in scale over time, some couples want to pull off a grand production for their wedding only to end up exhausted (and even broke) afterwards.

It doesn’t have to be that way. A wedding will take place regardless of the expense and guest list, as long as there’s a marriage contract to sign and wedding rituals rooted in the couples’ personal and religious beliefs.


Photo by Tenth & Grace via Style Me Pretty

As you can see here, all you need is the bride, the groom, and an officiant to seal the deal.

You can still invite your friends and your family.

The problem with the conventional wedding is that it puts a lot of pressure on couples to please all their guests. They tend to forget that they’re getting married to spend the rest of their lives together, not to throw a party for everyone they know.


Photo via Pop! Wed+Co

This wedding featured in Pop! Wed+Co features a lot of family love in an intimate wedding. Abby and Cameron – the bride and groom – held an intimate ceremony with only a handful of family members around.

Feel free to hand-pick your guests. Sure, you should be ready for questions and even hurt feelings. But at the end of the day, who will pay for the entire affair? What matters more, the wedding or your years as a married couple?

Destination elopement rocks.

If you don’t want to deal with relatives’ and friends’ questions about your elopement, elope to your dream destination. It works the same way with weddings – the ones who are really important in your lives will go the extra mile to make it to your wedding, no matter how far.

Your destination elopement can double as your honeymoon, should you decide not to invite anyone.


Photo by Tyler Rye Photography via 100 Layer Cake

100 Layer Cake featured Christine and Matthew’s elopement in Sapri, Italy. They had planned their backpacking trip to Europe long before their elopement but it was only two months before their trip when they decided to seal the deal in the beautiful coastal town.

You can still throw a reception after your elopement.

Some couples hold an intimate wedding ceremony followed with a bigger wedding celebration in the next few months.

There’s no need to tear yourself apart just because you can’t decide between a solemn elopement or a bigger and more festive wedding celebration. You can opt for the former first and the latter after, depending on how long you want to postpone the bigger celebration.


Photo via Live Laugh Love~d

Featured couple Sue and Ker eloped earlier before they held a traditional Korean reception with their family and friends. Based on the photos, it looks like everybody was happy!

There are no cookie-cutter rules on preparing for elopement.

Stick by the simplest definition of elopement – to get married in secret. You don’t have to keep it secret from your family, although you can. There’s still room for a little styling here and there, and you can fuss about what to wear, what to eat after the ceremony, or whatever details you want to focus on.


Photo via Great Woodland Photography

Briana and Peter, new to San Diego, started their day early in the County Administration Center to get married. As you can see in the photo, they work non-traditional wedding garb and set out to start a day like it was any other – except that they got married!

Some couples crumble under pressure when planning their wedding, and understandably so. Big weddings that are supposed to be mere inspirations have now been perceived as strict standards to wedding planning. It’s not supposed to be that way. You don’t need to invite your entire clan. Don’t reach for that 5-figure wedding gown if you just want to impress your guests. Couples shouldn’t lose sleep over seating arrangements that will probably never satisfy everyone.

Elopement is a beautiful rebellion against the traditional wedding and a recognition of what truly matters when you get married.