What is the Definition of ‘Elope’?



In case you haven’t noticed, eloping has gained some major popularity recently. Whether it’s because you had to cancel your original plans due to Coronavirus, or the idea of a traditional wedding never really resonated with you, I’m so glad you’re thinking about eloping! But first, I want to make sure we’re on the same page with the definition of elope.

So, what is the definition of elope?

I’ll give you my personal 21st century definition of elope (because let’s be real, the dictionary still says elopements are secret marriages without parental consent…what is this, 1920?!) When you decide to elope, you’re making a bold, unconventional choice:

you decide to prioritize what you & your partner want over what others expect.
It’s the ultimate low stress, big adventure, perfectly you wedding day. 

This means something different for everyone:

  • Maybe you value experiences over things, so you choose to invest in an epic, intimate experience over an expensive party.
  • Maybe you value #MotherNatch and making sustainable choices, so you decide to trade the traditional wedding with 400 pounds of trash for a low-key picnic celebration.
  • Maybe you don’t have the best family dynamics, or the idea of reading your vows in front of 200 people makes you nauseous, so an intimate ceremony with just the two of you fits the bill.

No matter what your reason is for choosing to elope, it’s an absolutely magical way to get married. But don’t just take it from me…here’s what a groom recently said to his (now) wife after they eloped: “that was perfect. That’s how all weddings should be.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

I want to bust some common myths/questions around the definition of elope:

  • Does eloping make my wedding/marriage less special?
    • No way! Hopefully I’ve already driven this point home, but just in case…choosing to elope does not make your wedding day less of anything! In fact, I would say it’s the opposite: more quality time, more adventure, more carefree, more fun.
  • Is an elopement just a long photoshoot with a ceremony?
    • Far from it! Sure, photos are taken, but it’s so much more than that. Read on for an example of what your full-day elopement could look like!
  • Aren’t elopements super quick, like an hour or two?
    • Sure, it could be that quick, but why cut your experience short! Having an all-day elopement allows you to choose exactly what you want to do for your wedding day, instead of being stuck to a schedule with 200 other people. Scroll down for a sample timeline
  • Do I have to travel a remote mountain/desert/beach location to elope?
    • No! While some couples choose to travel to epic landscapes to elope, but you can elope [almost] anywhere! To my fellow midwesterners, there are a ton of amazing spots nearby, no flight required!
  • Can we bring friends and family?
    • Yes!! Elopements that include close friends + family is the best of both worlds. Many elopement professionals have their own ‘max’ number of attendees for it to be considered an elopement. My definition of elope is anything under 25 guests.

Sure, it’s not for everyone. Choosing to elope is a bold decision. But if the idea of eloping pulls on your heart-strings, you won’t regret it. 

Now that we’re on the same page about what the definition of elope is and what it isn’t, you’re probably wondering what your elopement day could actually look like.

I create a timeline for every elopement, tailored to what you want included in your day. I want your elopement a low stress, big adventure filled with anything that makes you happy… no idea is too big or too small. If you want to build in some extra time on our hike to look at tiger beetles (I had a couple request this, true story), or to cast a couple lines in the lake, or to take the Jeep off-roading, or to go for a quick surf session, we can make it happen. 

Here’s a sample of what your day could look like:

12:00  I arrive at your Airbnb/hotel, pack up for our hike! 
12:30  Drive to trailhead
1:00    Hike to first look location
2:00    Change into wedding outfits, getting ready photos
2:30    First look 
3:00    Hike to ceremony location 
3:30    Ceremony
4:00    You’re married! Take some portrait photos
4:45    Hike to a nearby waterfall for a quick dip!
5:45    Dry off, hike back to the car
6:45    Head back to Airbnb to change & freshen up for dinner
7:30    Drive to ocean-front dinner location
7:45    Arrive at your beach-side table, pop champagne! 
8:00    Sunset photos
8:45    Enjoy your first dinner and a married couple!
9:00    Photo coverage ends

Now doesn’t that sounds like a pretty epic wedding day?!

I am SO excited that you are making the bold decision to choose a wedding day that prioritizes you and your partner.

  1. Anais Possamai says:

    This is such a cool way to celebrate your day. The timeline is so helpful! Eloping definitely should be fun and filled with so many activities to make this day you and so special to you.

  2. Mikalynn says:

    Great information on elopements! Eloping is such a beautiful way to get married.

  3. I love how you tackle the myths of an elopement a squash preconceived negative thoughts. This is super helpful!

  4. this really opened me eyes to exactly what an elopement is! i hadn’t really thought of it this way before.

  5. Hans says:

    Good post with value info, great on posting your timing!

  6. Afton Flynn says:

    Yes to all of this! Elopements are so much more than they used to be.

  7. Perfect definition and very informative!!

  8. Jenn says:

    Just a great explanation – and such an essential resource for couples who are still on the fence about having a non-traditional wedding day!

  9. […] probably crossed your mind. The word ‘elope’ can mean different things to different people, but my definition is: “when you decide to prioritize what you & your partner want over what others expect. […]

  10. […] home that has a lot of traditional wedding elements, just on a smaller scale. The best part about small weddings & elopements is that you decide to prioritize what you & your partner want over what others […]

  11. […] People ask my why Italy is the one place I keep returning to again and again. Is it the culture, the history, the architecture, the people, the food, or the scenery? The more I thought about why it’s one of my favorite places in the world, I started to realize it’s the perfect place to elope! […]

  12. […] Keep it real: don’t feel like you need to make your vows all prim-and-proper if that’s not you. After all, eloping is all about you! […]

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