Why elope instead of having a traditional wedding, you may ask?

If you're a couple who doesn't feel connected to having a big, traditional wedding, you prefer to have the freedom to decide how and where you celebrate your day, you're not alone! Maybe you even get goose-bumps when you imagine celebrating the beginning of your marriage together in a unique and adventurous way. If so, a destination elopement may just be the perfect option for you, baby!

By definition, elopements are more intimate, highlighting your love and commitment to each other over everything else. What makes them special is simply the intention behind them.

Not that big weddings can't be intentional. However, due to the nature of weddings, they tend to be very.. you know, traditional!

Elopements give you much more wiggle room to do what you want and make it 100% authentic to you as a couple, so if you're looking for something more adventure-filled and intimate, you're going to love this blog! Let's goooo!

Elopements are intimate, focusing your love & commitment to each other over everything else 

So you started off excited and engaged, eagerly deep-diving into your old Pinterest board for inspiration, and gearing up to create the wedding of your dreams! Woohoo!

But after some time passes, you miiiiight find that the newly engaged excitement is wearing down and the nitty-gritty of wedding planning starts kickin' in. Uncle Sal has a new girlfriend you have never met before. Is it rude to ask him to come alone? How much did you say table linens cost? Your MIL wants you to be married in that old church that smells like mothballs????? *facepalm*

Instead of focusing on taking in this special season of your lives together, there's a chance it might be overshadowed by, yenno, planning, organizing, budgeting for a wedding, working full time, and dealing with problems that shouldn't really be "problems" in the scheme of things.

Lightbulb moment: when did this your wedding day become about everyone else?

So let's face it, as special as a traditional wedding day can be, it's just not for everyone. There's a reason there are reality TV shows about the stress and anxiety of wedding planning. (And I can honestly understand why!) There are so many factors at play, including money, family dynamics, wedding party craziness, and getting lost in the little details and societal obligation of "the perfect wedding day." It's not everyone's cup of tea.

Instead, elopements are all about stripping down all the messy, moving parts of the day that actually don't matter much at all and refocusing on what does matter: the commitment you're making to your best friend and the celebration of your love. If you feel relieved just from reading this, chances are an elopement might be perfect for you. 

Destination elopements give you the the freedom to choose the location (and adventure) of your dreams!

Raise your hand if you've ever dreamed of tying the knot on a hot air balloon in Turkey, on sharing vows on the Amalfi Coast of Italy spending your day drinking wine, eating pizza, and island hopping, or with the Egyptian pyramids as your backdrop? Yeah... Those are the kinds of adventures that are possible with an elopement.

You have SO much freedom in choosing where they want to spend your day when you choose to elope. You don't have to decide on saying "I do" in town because that's where your friends and family live. There are plenty of ways to include your family and friends in your elopement abroad before, during, and after your wedding (click here to read the blog!) Knowing you've included the people you love most, and go ahead and adventure to a place in the world you've been dying to travel to, a place that makes you feel wild and free. This could either be a sentimental place to both of you, like the first national park you went to as a couple. Or maybe, this is a place you two have always had on your bucket list! The world is your oyster, baby. Dream big, and choose the destination that sets your heart on fire. If you're a lover of travel & adventure like me, an adventurous elopement might be right up your alley. 

Save your money for what truly matters

Let's talk for a second about how quickly things add up when planning a traditional wedding! Between the expenses of the venue, party favors, flatware, invites, dresses, bachelorette or bachelor parties, shoes, hair and makeup, suits, music, florals, hair and makeup, and feeding all of your guests, things can get pricey really, really quick.

According to The Knot, the average price of a wedding in 2018 was $33,931. 

I'm not saying that couples who elope don't want a beautiful wedding day, they just want to invest their money differently... And typically, if you value experiences over things, then an elopement is a great way to give you that.

You can save money on those big-ticket items (such as food, venues, decorations, etc) and put it where it matters most. Instead of spending 10k on a dinner, spend that money on taking a trip you've always dreamed of, get epic photos in a bucket-list location, and have a party when you get back home to celebrate!

Elopements are the sustainable, eco-friendly option to traditional weddings!

I bet you anything, that when you got engaged the internet started shoving ads in your face to start buying more stuff. I'm telling ya, your friends won't be using their tote or new flip flops that say "bride tribe" after the wedding. Which means, more things ending up in the landfill. After peeking at a few wedding groups on Facebook, I've noticed there are even couples who have rented extra storage to put all their wedding decorations, then have no idea what to do with them afterward. But more on that in another blog. 😉

Did you know an average wedding creates roughly 600 pounds of trash?! Everything from balloons, confetti, food waste, flowers, and single-use clothing that won't be worn again. Not to mention all the CO2 that's produced. Eek.

When it comes down to it, eloping is the most sustainable option out there! You can cut out all of of the extras and make it about the experience in itself. Fewer guests means less waste overall. It's yet another way that intentionality shows up in an elopement by putting your money into experiences, not things. 

If you want to offset your CO2 consumption for your flight, you can even click here to plant a few trees to offset your carbon emissions!  

Yes, you can still have your family & friends join your elopement!

So you may have read that and thought, wait wait wait... I love the idea of eloping, but.... Can I still have my family join? Heck yes they can! If you can't imagine saying "I do" without your mama standing by your side or a handful of your closest loved ones there with you, then invite them. The point isn't to make your elopement secretive, it's to make it intentional + mindful of what will make you and your partner happiest on your wedding day. Click here for 10 ways you can include your family and friends before, during, and after your elopement that I think you'll love! 

Elopements give you a private atmosphere to soak up all the small moments

It's not uncommon for couples to say "wait a sec, did that just happen?!" when your wedding day comes to a messy, beautiful end. In a blink of an eye, your wedding day has come to a close, and all the hard work you put in for a year or two finally came to a grand finale and...

wait a second, you didn't even get the chance to really soak it up or spend time with your partner?

Having a private ceremony with your sweetheart or a handful of the people who mean the most to you can make it a more intimate, vulnerable space where you can share long, sweet conversations without the pressure to quickly make your rounds to your 150 guests.

It gives you the chance to have deep, meaningful conversations on your day than quick chit-chats. Overall, there's less rushing around. More intentionality.

If you choose to elope just the two of you, you can share your vows privately, knowing the words you write down on paper aren't going to be heard by anyone else but your spouse-to-be. This can be an especially great option for couples who don't like to be the center of attention, too! 

Last thoughts...

Well there you have it, friends! If you find yourself saying heck YES to this, then having an elopement could be totally up your alley. On the contrary, if you're saying "NO WAY Jose" then it's pretty safe to say you shouldn't have one!

The point I want to make is that there is no "one way" to celebrate your wedding. Remember you don't have to do the big, classic, traditional wedding if it's not for you. If it is, then great!! Soak it up and enjoy the party! At the end of the day, it's all about celebrating your love in in a way that feels authentic and true to you both, whatever that looks like. You deserve it.

Now, tell me your thoughts, friend! Would you pick an elopement or a traditional wedding yourself? Or have a mash-up of the two? Leave a comment below to let me know!

Squeezing ya from here!

Planning your elopement abroad and still searching for your dream photographer? You're in the right place! Fill out the contact form below and I'll get back to you within 24 hours. I will send you all the information you need to book & we can catch up "face-to-face" on an online meet-up to see if we're a good fit! In the meanwhile, find out a little bit more about me here and browse through couples galleries here!

Destination Elopement Photographer

Johanna Patton is a Mexican-American adventure-inspired photographer serving kind-hearted, down-to-hearth couples worldwide. You can find her photographing couples & ethical initiatives making a positive impact on the world.