What is the Real Meaning of Elopement?

What Does Elope Mean? The Real Meaning of Elopement

What do you think of when you hear elope? Do you imagine a couple running away together, and it’s an “us against the world” moment? That does sound romantic – a Romeo and Juliet scenario, but eloping has changed so much over the past couple of decades. Society is accepting, and the reasons for eloping changed.

The official definition of eloping is “a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion” and usually without parental consent. But my, have things changed!

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The History of Eloping

The earliest known term for eloping can get dated back to 1338. Back then, it meant a wife leaving her husband for another man. This not-so fairytale-like meaning behind eloping continued till the 1800s. The meaning then expanded to two lovers running away together to get married without a heartbroken husband.

Even though the technical meaning of elopement is “running away,” it has changed significantly. Modern elopement is anything and everything you want it to be. You create your elopement scenario. Each year, thousands of couples choose to elope alone, elope with family, or have half an elopement with family. That’s where loved ones celebrate with you after your elopement in a beautiful reception.

The word elope used to have a cloud of shame and judgment, but this outdated notion is must be thrown out the window and replaced with what elopement really means!

Isn’t eloping for lonely, isolated people?

Just because you have chosen an unconventional method to say “I do” does not mean you are isolated and alone. In fact, many couples who elope alone are fully supported by their loved ones and have strong relationships with friends and family.

While inviting a hundred people to your wedding seems like the right thing to do, you wouldn’t exactly be spending your wedding day on the right thing – you as a couple and your love. Eloping is about an experience with the love of your life over grand things. It’s not about a party and not about the guest list. Eloping is about YOU!

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What Does it Mean to Elope? The True Meaning of Elopement

Eloping is a beautiful experience where couples have chosen to elope THEIR way! You don’t have to follow any rules and the day is completely about you and your partner. Today, the meaning of elopement is about an intimate exchange between two people who love each other, and the day is free of pressure and obligations.

Picture this – standing under a waterfall while you whisper your vows to each other in the most intimate and private exchange. Maybe you are standing next to a lake with the reflection of the mountains on the water. The whistle of the wind blowing through the trees from the forest beside you is the only sound you hear, and your inner circle surrounding you with love and witnessing your union. This is what eloping means – freedom, warmth, and love.

“To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.”

– Dr. Suess

Why Do Couples Elope?

Modern elopements are about so much more than they used to be. Today, couples elope for so many other reasons:

  • Meaningful: Couples choose to elope because they want a meaningful and experience. The need to have friends and family is outweighed by the desire to say “I do” alone with a breathtaking backdrop.
  • Stress free: Planning a traditional wedding can be incredibly stressful especially when involving a large guest list. Eloping will eliminate a lot of the stress of getting married and allows you to focus on the two of you.
  • Save money: A wedding cost on average between $30,000 and $50,000 in the US. That is a big chunk of change. As a result, many couples choose to elope so they can spend their money on a down payment of a house or take a long and much-deserved honeymoon. You can have an amazing destination elopement or even a local elopement for anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000. That is huge savings!
  • Privacy: Having a big grand wedding means you have 50+ eyes on you at all times. You have to make your rounds and ensure you have said all the hellos to your guests. Many couples find their wedding day exhausting from all the formalities. When you elope, you can have your closest family with you and be obligation and stress-free!
  • Adventure: Couples elope because they want an experience with their elopement. Take a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon and stay in a 1920s Spanish Villa in Los Angeles or a beautiful log cabin in the Woods of Minnesota. The day of your elopement consists of hiking, climbing, possibly swimming – there is no wrong way to elope.
  • Photographs: Capture the most intimate moments in elopement photographs that will last a lifetime. Your memories get frozen in time, so you never forget how you felt in those special moments.

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Do You Have to Elope Alone?

The wonderful thing about eloping is that you don’t have to do it alone! Unfortunately, there is a false stigma that you cant have your inner circle with you. You can elope, and some couples take up to 10 people with them. Let’s look at the benefits of eloping with family.

  • Celebrate during or after your elopement. You can have family present at the elopement, or you meet them before for brunch or have a dinner reception with all your loved ones. The opportunities are endless.
  • Have a loved one get ordained and marry you in a sweet ceremony. Getting ordained has never been easier!
  • Many couples still want some traditions, such as a loved one walking them down “the aisle.” You might want a close friend signing as a witness or a close family member fluffing the skirt of your dress or putting the boutonniere on your suit pocket.

Everything society has told us about eloping being taboo is inaccurate because eloping is whatever you want it to be! Thankfully, in the last few decades, we have seen a shift in how people view eloping, and families love it for couples.

Elopement VS Intimate Wedding

If you think eloping isn’t exactly for you but love the concept, there is an alternative! You can get married in an intimate wedding, also known as a micro wedding! Intimate weddings allow you to cut the costs like elopements while adding up to 50 people to your guest list.

When you elope, there are few limitations, and you can elope almost anywhere. Although, it is harder to bring loved ones along – especially for more adventurous elopements. If you are considering an intimate wedding, you will need a venue to host your guests. Most destination weddings are intimate weddings.

There isn’t much of a formal reception during an elopement, and most couples choose to have a brunch or dinner with their closest loved ones to celebrate. The focus is on the intimate portrait experience, and it will take time away from the guests. Intimate weddings usually have a reception but are much more casual than traditional weddings.

However you choose to say “I do,” the only thing that matters is that you stay true to yourself and who you are as a couple. Twenty years from now, you want to know that you got married exactly how you wanted, and those memories are yours forever.

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Why Hire an Elopement Photographer, California?

For photographs, of course! But it so much more than that.

Hiring an elopement photographer, California, means you hire an elopement planner! I offer a California elopement package for my couples who take this journey, and you will receive a full planning guide. You never have to worry about where you will find vendors or secluded places to elope that suit your needs.

As an elopement photographer, California, I don’t just work in the Cali area! Let’s explore options in Utah, Oregon, Washington, and beyond! Want to elope on the other side of the globe? I’m packing my bags!

I am here to support you, to take the burden off your shoulder, and help you plan the elopement of your dreams! Contact me if you would like me to capture your special day!

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  1. […] an elopement photographer is an important step in planning your elopement. Elopements are intimate and private – which is why it’s important to find someone that is 100% […]

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    He always kept talking about this. I will send this information to him.
    Fairly certain he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for


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