Believe it or not, but there was a time when the word, or even the thought, of elopement was almost considered taboo, or if nothing else, awkward. But today, elopement doesn’t carry that stigma like it once did. An elopement can still have the romance that a full wedding ceremony offers, just scaled back a little. An elopement wedding will allow you to be completely into one another throughout the process free from any distractions that may come your way; especially from family. As stated, elopement weddings are more the norm than in past decades, and seem to be on the rise. As an Elopement Photographer at Three16 Photography, we are ready to join you to capture your elopement first-hand.
There are several reasons to Elope. In fact, between the costs, stresses, distractions and time factors, elopement weddings are often becoming the way to go when getting married. Another reason many are turning to eloping is simply due to their personalities and likes. Perhaps they are the spontaneous and/or adventurous types and they see elopement as such. One other reason might include travel. Couples might have a special trip planned, and the thought of getting married in that location might excite the bride and groom that much more for such a unique experience, therefore they return as husband and wife.
Many couples find the giving up of the wedding frills is worth it for them as an elopement wedding is often much cheaper financially than a full wedding ceremony.
So, before you go for it and elope, if nothing else, be aware of the following categories, because even with elopements, there is some work to be done. By the way, congratulations regardless of which way you choose.
Disappointment from Family and Friends
Let’s start with the obvious elephant in the room and the most difficult part of eloping and that is dealing with the disappointment from family and friends. First, and foremost, do not take their reaction to your news personally. It is your choice no matter the reason for it. Missing out on one’s wedding will be disappointing as that is just a normal response. Some want to witness and be a part of the it, while others might be more disappointed as they hoped, or thought they would be in the wedding. It just comes with the territory. Just remember in the long run, it’s your wedding day and they will get over it at some point.
If you are planning an elopement wedding and it’s not a spur of the moment nuptial, you might be able to ease their disappointment by informing them of a planned reception upon your return or a share the photo session with them when you get back. If you elope without informing anyone until your return, you will just have to accept the shock and help them deal with the news.
Just understand, not everyone will be very accepting no matter what you say or do, as that’s their right. Just let it be. Also, don’t be upset if you don’t receive as many wedding gifts as you thought you might. Just saying.
One thing we recommend if you do decide to elope, is to at least give your parents a heads up. When you inform them is up to you, but we don’t recommend waiting until you return to avoid hurting them. Elopements today also do not have to be just the bride and groom, so having your parents only attend is still considered eloping. Just a thought.
Your family and friends are important parts in your life, so no matter how you inform them is up to you. But, just don’t let them find out via social media. Decide on who are the most important people are and inform them either in person or by a phone call and not a text or email. Then the rest of your friends that were not part of that priority list can find out on social media. Remember, don’t post anything on social media until your priority list is complete. Also, ask them not to post anything until you do as you want to complete your list first. They will at least appreciate that they are important enough that you told them privately versus the internet, and that will help matters a bit.
Researching Locations and Needs
“I thought we were eloping; what research is involved?” Many of you may be wondering. Well, it’s true that planning for an elopement is easier than a wedding, but none the less there is some research involved. If it’s at the courthouse, you need to schedule an appointment. If you are traveling you need to look into everything you need to take with you, local customs, complications you may come up against depending on the time of the year you are going.
While you are in the researching mode, be sure to research any local laws depending on where you are going. Don’t ever assume it will just be like home, whether you are going out of the country or just to another state. Each location may have differences in their marriage laws and the last thing you want is to return home only to find out you are not actually married.
As an example, did you know that you are only allotted so much time from applying for the marriage license application until the actual wedding? Did you know that allotted times are different from one state to another? Research it. Some international destinations require witnesses and others don’t allow tourists to wed in their country. Be sure to research everything.
Hiring of Vendors
Depending on how you vision your elopement wedding will depend on how many, if any, vendors you want to hire. Now, keep in mind, often is the case that vendors are not always cheaper just because you are eloping. True, you will save on not having to feed everyone, unless you have a reception afterwards. So, the money saved will make things easier with other vendors. If you are going out of town, especially internationally, you might want to consider a coordinator. A coordinator might be able to do things for you that you might not even be aware of. And if you are going out of town, hire those local to that area.
A photographer and/or videographer would be one vendor you should truly consider hiring to capture your event. Now that all said, since you are passing on a full wedding, you can talk to your vendors about pricing and you might be able to receive a discount being that the time is much shorter. Perhaps they will, but don’t be surprised if they don’t since they are giving up full weddings for yours. You could go with another vendor if that is the case.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the idea. Make a list of everything you need to know before running off. Again, an elopement wedding takes less work and often cost less than a full-blown wedding, but it might be well worth the effort.
Today, an elopement wedding can still carry the romantic edge that a full wedding has, but just at a smaller scale. But in the end, you are just as married as someone that gets married in a full, all out wedding. And that should be the bottom line when choosing to elope or not.
Why are Elopement Photographers so expensive?
Although an Elopement is much less time than a full-blown wedding, the amount of work per hour is the same. Typically, one hour of photography coverage equals four to five in-office hours. Whether it is preparing and charging all the equipment prior to the elopement or all the selecting, editing and other office items that we do with your photos prior to you seeing the final product. Also, an Elopement is often cheaper because there is less time at the event since there is no reception. No first dance, no bouquet/garter tosses, no cake cutting, etc. And they usually can be done with one photographer, guest count is lower so there is less portraits to shoot.
What day of the week is best to Elope?
For best results, photographically speaking, we recommend Tuesday through Thursday's. Depending on your location, the crowds are often smaller than Friday through Monday's. After all, most elopements take place at the beach, nature parks or the Old Orange County Courthouse.
What are the disadvantages of Eloping?
We have found the cons of an elopement versus a full wedding is the lack of special events (first dance, dances with parents, bouquet/garter toss, etc). Elopements are less formal in clothing, but also the look and feel of the event, as well as the structure of the day. Less extended family and friends. Yes, an elopement is often cheaper than a full-blown wedding, and less drama/stress, but you give up a lot in exchange. It just comes down what is important to you.