What Exactly Is An Elopement and Why Elope?

mountain-elopement-photos-in-san-luis-obispo-california

Elopements not what they used to be…

 

Grandma’s elopement tales may involve whispers and hushed vows. But today’s elopements? They’re more about celebrating in a way that feels true to you. Whether you decide to bring your nearest and dearest, elopements allow you to truly personalize your day to embody all of the best parts of your relationship.

oregon-elopement-photographer-cave-wedding
oregon-elopement-photographer-cave-wedding

“Weddings are often an elaborate celebration of love where the couple publicly declares their commitment to each other, typically in the presence of family and friends and may vary in form based on the traditions of cultural, religious or personal preferences.“

 

I personally still love big weddings. So much so that I’ve been photographing them for the last 14 years! They’re absolutely a great way to celebrate your commitment BUT – what if a big traditional wedding just doesn’t speak to you? What if you’re an introvert, or just simply want to make this official in the most beautiful place you can think of? Or what if you just want to keep things simple and get married in the same place as your honeymoon? An elopement might be your answer! 

glacier national park elopement wedding photos 01
glacier national park elopement wedding photos 01

The wedding industry is always changing. Since I’ve been photographing large, beautiful, extravagant weddings since 2010 (though super fun) made me wonder if the big sha-bang was genuinely for everyone or if couples just felt like they ‘had to’ go big because of external pressures and social norms. When I spoke with couples one-on-one, I learned that not all of them really cared for the big party. Many would tell me they wished they could skip it all and go right to the honeymoon –how heartbreaking! I’m here to tell you that it’s totally OK if you feel that way. And there is absolutely another way to celebrate this day if you feel called to it… elope!

If you feel like an in-betweener, your elopement can also be a fusion of both a big wedding and a small one. You could have your ceremony at sunrise, and say your vows in complete privacy, in a gorgeous location, and then go celebrate with loved ones later. The world is truly your oyster when you choose to elope!

 

Trust me, your elopement can literally be whatever you want it to be. There are NO rules! The only traditions you have to follow are the ones you actually want to. Your wedding day shouldn’t be about anything but the commitment you’re making to each other.

mountain-elopement-photos-in-san-luis-obispo-california
mountain-elopement-photos-in-san-luis-obispo-california

Everyone has their own opinion on what an elopement is and whether someone should or shouldn’t elope. I don’t think one is better than the other, (I actually love photographing both!) but I do think that some couples are more in alignment with one or the other and I’m here to empower you to do whichever one brings the most peace to your heart. Whichever one has you saying “I wouldn’t change a thing about the way we got married”  many years from now.

Here are some quick questions to ask yourselves & help you decide if an elopement is for you:

  • Who are the *most* important people in your lives and could you see yourselves get married without them?

  • Is that number more than 30?

  • Would saying your vows in private feel more authentic than saying them in front of people?

  • Think of the COOLEST location you could get married in. Could it host 30+ people? 

  • Where are you honeymooning? 

  • Scale of 1-10: How much would you like to also get married there?

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to get married. You can celebrate your promise to each other in a way that feels 1000% authentic to you and your relationship! If you’re an introvert and the thought of walking down the aisle in front of hundreds of people gives you the heebee-jeebees, don’t do it! If you love a big party and planning every last detail, then hell yea, you should absolutely do that! Just get married in a way that’s enjoyable TO YOU. Because it only happens once and I’m a firm believer in enjoying the experience, every step of the way.

crater lake elopement photos
crater lake elopement photos

Let’s Talk Elopements and Budget

Let’s be real, with the rate of inflation, everything is much more expensive than even a year ago. How nice would it be if that pricey honeymoon you booked for the Maldives could double as your wedding location too? It doesn’t mean your friends and family can’t come. It just means they come with you! You could all treat it like a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, spending quality time with each of your loved ones and not have to worry about seating charts or mailing hundreds of invitations. Doesn’t that sound great?!

crater-lake-oregon-elopement-wedding-photography-with-wizard-island-3
crater-lake-oregon-elopement-wedding-photography-with-wizard-island-3

Covid and the Wedding Industry

I hate to bring it up but, the pandemic made a lot of people realize that maybe having a big wedding wasn’t so necessary. I watched many of my covid couples breathe a sigh of relief, saying things like “I’m kind of glad there aren’t more people here. I think I’d feel really overwhelmed right now”.

As lame as it was to watch my couples go through it, those small, intimate wedding celebrations ended up being some of my favorite ones, ever. I watched them get to talk to and hang out with each guest and truly enjoy their day because they weren’t stretched too thin. One of the best receptions took place in a beautifully-decorated garage! And it was a BLAST!

oregon elopement photos
oregon elopement photos
Smith-Rock-State-Park-Oregon-Elopement-Photos-2
Smith-Rock-State-Park-Oregon-Elopement-Photos-2

ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

Let’s go on an adventure and encapsulate your commitment in a fun, authentic and earth loving way

about the author

portrait photo of Mia from Imagine Elopements

Hi! I’m Mia!

I live in a tiny cabin in the woods of Central Oregon and have been photographing wedding & elopement celebrations since 2010. My love languages are quality time and travel.

I created Imagine Elopements to encourage more couples to really think about the possibilities of what their ultimate wedding day could look like. I believe that the way you get married should be as unique as the life you’re building together.

If that resonates with you at all, I would love to help you imagine your perfect elopement day. ♥︎

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let’s create some incredible memories you’ll love going back to.

santa monica california elopement photography
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