Elope Definition – What Does it Mean to Elope?

Filed in elopements, Intimate weddings — October 23, 2020

When you think of the word “elopement,” what comes to mind? Rhinestone studded chapels? Couples running off to Vegas? Last minute, rushed ceremonies? Scandalous affairs and secret marriages?


If you Google “elope definition,” you’ll get several results that tell you it means running away secretly. While that may be what eloping used to mean, those days are over, and elopements are no longer just something that stays in Vegas! The meaning of eloping has shifted a lot, so let’s talk about what it means to elope.

Elope Definition

Eloping is all about being intentional and keeping the focus of the day on you and your partner, and what you want to do. There’s no one way to elope – you can do it just the two of you, or you can invite a few guests. You can say your vows on a mountaintop, or you can have a ceremony on a beach. There are no rules! 


Couples who elope can decide which traditions they want to keep and which ones they want to ditch, and all that matters is that your wedding day reflects you and your partner – because isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about?

Elopement vs. Intimate Wedding

If you’re trying to decide if an elopement is right for you, you might also consider an intimate wedding! While there’s no magic number of guests that takes an elopement to an intimate wedding and an intimate wedding to a traditional one, intimate weddings are generally under 50 guests. 


Intimate weddings tend to be a little more formal, with a set timeline and flow of events. Elopements allow a lot of flexibility and while there’s usually a plan, they allow for spontaneity and going with the flow. 


Intimate weddings are all about ensuring that your day is personal and meaningful – your guest list will be smaller, which means you get to spend time with the people who matter most to you. You’ll also be able to focus more on the details of your day when you aren’t worrying about finding catering for 300 people, and you can invest in the things that actually matter to you.


Whether you decide to elope or to have an intimate wedding, the goal is to make sure your day is meaningful and intentional, and filled with the things that reflect your love and your relationship.

Myths About Eloping

As the definition of the word “elope” changes, many people still hold on to old ideas and notions about elopements and what it means to elope. Let’s bust some of those myths!


Elopements Can’t Have Guests

Many couples choose to elope just the two of them, and if that feels right to you – go for it! But for other couples, there are people who they just can’t imagine their wedding day without. If your family or friends are on board with your vision and they support your decision to elope, inviting them can make your day even more meaningful and special.


Remember, there are no rules! This is all about you and doing what feels right. Even if you don’t invite guests to your elopement ceremony, you can include them in your day by having a reception later, or by asking them to write letters for you to read on the big day.

Eloping is Selfish

People often feel entitled when it comes to weddings – after you get engaged, it seems like everyone has an opinion, a request, or a straight up demand. Telling people that you’re eloping can be difficult, especially when those people aren’t invited. You might hear the word “selfish” thrown around, but here’s the thing – this is your wedding day. It’s your relationship, and your marriage. It isn’t selfish to do what feels right to you. It isn’t selfish to forgo the big white wedding if the idea of it makes you uncomfortable. 


No one has the right to dictate what you should do on your wedding day – except for you and your partner! Demanding an invite is selfish, planning a day that feels right to you is not.

Elopements are Last Minute & Rushed

This misconception comes from the old meaning of elopements, the ones that show up when you Google “elope definition.” Elopements used to be about running away, taking a few minutes to have a priest marry you, and being done.


Nowadays, elopements require a lot more planning and time. While it’s totally possible to plan an elopement in just a few weeks, most couples start planning around six months to a year out. This allows time to find the perfect location, get a permit, and plan a day of adventures.


People often think elopements are just a quick ceremony and some photos, with one or two hours at most dedicated to the day. But, elopements should be so much more than that! This is still your wedding day, and it’s just as meaningful and special. If anything, the fact that you’re eloping makes it even more significant, because you’ve chosen to do things your way and have a day that really reflects who you are. Your elopement deserves more than just a quick ceremony – it should be about spending the day doing what you love, whether that’s hiking, stargazing, rock climbing, or whatever makes you the happiest.

Couples Who Elope are Cheap

While elopements are usually less expensive than bigger weddings, it’s usually more of an added bonus than a driving factor. When you aren’t spending money on centerpieces and catering for two hundred people, you can invest that money into things that actually matter to you. Elopements mean you can decide what’s important – whether that’s travel, adventures, a dress you love, or a delicious meal. Couples who are eloping are still investing in their wedding day, but prioritizing the things they care about. 

You Don’t Need an Elopement Photographer

If your idea of an elopement is a quick ceremony and not much else, it can be tempting to skip the photographer too. But, your wedding day matters! Photos are one of the only things that will last beyond the elopement day, and you deserve to be able to look back on the day and have the full story told. From getting ready and feeling those excited butterflies, to saying your vows, to celebrating together afterwards, those memories fade quicker than you think. 

Not only will you love having photos to remind you of your day, but a photographer who specializes in elopements will be able to help you with planning your day. You probably haven’t done this before, but they have!


Ready to Elope?

If you’re ready to toss out the expectations and pressure that comes with a big wedding, contact me! Let’s get started and plan your incredible, true to you elopement day. I’m ready when you are!