What comes to mind when you hear the term "elopement"? A young couple sneaking off to the next town to get married because their parents don't approve? Or a couple who's been together for years and goes to the local courthouse to make their relationship official? Those are great examples of what elopements used to be all about. Webster (yes, I still own a dictionary) defines elopement as to RUN OFF SECRETLY to be married, usually without the knowledge or consent of one's parents.
That may be what elopement is for a small percentage of those who choose that style of marriage. But the meaning is shifting, wedding trends are changing and planned elopement weddings have become popular. When a couple contacts us to photograph their elopement, I know they want to forgo a formal affair and have a simple ceremony that's short and sweet. In other words, a mini destination wedding.
Perhaps the number one reason to elope is financial. Obviously a small destination wedding will be tremendously less expensive. Wedding venues not only book up quickly and can be hard to procure, but they have also gotten quite pricey. Full-on dinners have become the norm at weddings and, too, are costly. Flowers, photography, food, and attire for a bridal party will all be scaled back for an elopement. Couples also elect to elope to avoid stress and perhaps escape from possible family drama.
Consider location! Central Oregon elopements have almost become a happy challenge for couples to 'escape' to somewhere spectacular. Mountains, lakes, forests, flowered meadows all come to mind. You are only limited by your imagination. And usually no fee or reservation is required.
Did I mention food, flowers, and photos? Scaled back but certainly not forgotten. Yes, many photographers are up for a hike to some incredible location. And don't forget the dress. Nothing more breathtaking than a beautiful bride in a gorgeous gown surrounded by aspen trees and wildflowers or perhaps rocky cliffs and a waterfall. Bring your dearest friends or closest family members to share the experience.
Yes, you can have it all even if you elope, or perhaps you can have it all BECAUSE you choose to elope.