Photo by Faran Holzer
What is eloping, and why do couples elope?
Table Of Contents
- 1. Stressfree
- 2. Fun First Look Moments
- 3. Including Your Pets
- 4. Surprise Announcements
- 5. Smiles
- 6. Enjoying Mother Nature’s Beauty
- 7. First Dances
- 8. Staying Warm Together
- 9. Exploring New Places
- 10. Celebrating Your Love
- 11. Enjoying the View
- 12. The Vows
- 13. Disconnecting From the Real World
- 14. Doing What You Love
- 15. Romantic
- 16. Simple yet Beautiful
- 17. Toasts and Mini Wedding Cakes for Two
- 18. Going off the Beaten Path
- 19. Intimate
- 20. New Cultures
- 21. Adventure
- 22. Cuddling Together
- 23. The First Kiss
- 24. Unique
- 25. Fun
We get this question a lot from couples who are on the fence about eloping. Many people, in fact, still don’t know what it means to elope. We previously talked about the 5 signs You May Want to Elope, but now we want to dive deeper into the meaning of elopements.
Thanks to the help of our photographer friends over at our Wandering Weddings Photographer Facebook group, we were able to compile 25 moments that define elopements and explain why couples decide to elope.
Photo by Juju Elgeioushi
Elopements are not stressful when you compare them to traditional weddings. You don’t have to worry about inviting certain people or what color napkins you’ll be putting on your table!
“There is something so magical and intimate when all the stress of the big traditional wedding is gone. When it is just you two, husband and wife, becoming one.” [Juju Elgeioushi, The Photographer]
Photo by Mecca R. Photography
2. Fun First Look Moments
We love first looks. We also love the reactions from couples who see each other for the first time all dressed up, and surrounded by nature.
“Belinda was so excited and giddy to turn Cody around. They couldn’t stop smiling at each other.” [Mecca R. Dennehy, The Photographer]
Photo by The Lopes Photography
3. Including Your Pets
When we see elopements that feature pets, we get so excited! It’s your special day, so we are all for including your special furry friends!
“I wanted to create a simple, but beautiful elopement that anyone can do, and of course I had to include man’s best friend. Not many elopements nowadays are with dogs, and pets, but pets are a huge part of people’s lives– why not include them on your special day!” [Savannah and Rui Lopes, The Photographers]
Photo by Wild Connections Photography
4. Surprise Announcements
If you are asking what is eloping, then the answer includes an adventurous announcement like this couple.
“This couple traveled to the Austrian Alps to elope between Christmas and New Year. The night before we picked out a beautiful location for their elopement ceremony with amazing panoramic views. However, a snowstorm on their wedding day meant that we had to come up with a plan B. Still wanting to get married outside, they braved the heavy snowfall and cold winds for the most magical of winter elopements.” [Cat Ekkelboom-White, The Photographer]
Photo by Wild East Photography
Eloping is not only stressfree, but it also brings so much joy to our couples.
“The unconditional love and connection between Alicia and Keith is nothing short of incredible and authentic. Every smile, giggle, movement, and moment captured tells their story of the wild adventure their three years of love has been so far and gave a glimpse of the magic their future holds!” [Chantelle MacDougall, The Photographer]
Photo by Zakas Photography
6. Enjoying Mother Nature’s Beauty
If you decide to elope, then you have decided to enjoy the view around you. Nature can be so unique and gorgeous!
“I love winter sessions, especially in Iceland, for many reasons. Firstly, the sun is only up a few hours of the day, and it never breaks the horizon line. All-day is a soft glow and the skies are pastel pinks and blues all day. It’s insanely beautiful and unique. Everything also seems quieter, and you feel like you are the only humans in existence.” [Steph Zakas, The Photographer]
Photo by Rebecca Dahl
7. First Dances
Eloping means dancing to music from your mini speaker, your phone, or no music at all. First dances during elopements are one of the most magical moments in our books.
“This dance was on Thanksgiving weekend, and it was about 35 degrees. These two, however, made the moment feel so beautiful that you forgot the sun was setting, and it was starting to get chilly.” [Rebecca Dahl, The Photographer]
Photo by Amanda Vaelynn
8. Staying Warm Together
Sometimes couples are brave enough to wear their wedding attire in cold temperatures. Thus, they end up trying to keep each other warm during their elopement portraits.
“As Kim and Chris got dressed, they used each other for warmth as they snuggled up together. They then enjoyed the sunrise as it illuminated the true beauty of Mt. Rainier.” [Amanda Vaelynn, The Photographer]
Photo by Phosart Photography Cinematography
9. Exploring New Places
Do you both love exploring new places? Then you should elope! Eloping means discovering new places and experiencing new things!
“The streets were nearly empty thanks to the early hour. If you have the energy, then we suggest a sunrise photoshoot to have the time to take unforgettable couple portrait photos!” [Joanna Fotopoulou, The Photographer]
Photo by The Light Painters
10. Celebrating Your Love
When you decide to elope, you are also deciding to focus just on the two of you without the extras that come with a traditional wedding.
“Our vision was to keep the shoot totally stripped back and just included the core elements of an elopement to highlight one of the big advantages of eloping over have a big wedding which is not having to plan or spend a lot but just to keep it focused on the love of two people and the love for a place.” [Hannah & David, The Photographers]
Photo by Diāna Veinberga
11. Enjoying the View
Who needs decorations when you have a view that travels for miles? One of the reasons couples decide to elope is because they want to be surrounded by nature and beauty.
“We loved watching the sunrise at Praia De Ursa beach. To get there, we had to hike down, and there were also no signs. This was challenging at 7 AM, but it was also worth it. I love the feeling when it is hard to get to places because it is more value and adventure in it. ” [Diāna Veinberga, The Photographer]
Photo by Monisa J. Photography
12. The Vows
One of our favorite moments during elopements is when the bride and groom exchange vows. Imagine reading your vows as the sunsets. WOW!
“I believe God created that one person specifically for you that will watch the sunrise and set.” [From the Groom]
Photo by Authentic Collective
13. Disconnecting From the Real World
We live in a world where technology has taken control of the majority of our day. This constant connection to the world has resulted in many of us not taking in a moment to its fullest. What is eloping? Eloping is disconnecting and focusing on the person in front of you.
“The first 40 minutes of our shoot, we were searching for each other with no cell service. It was by chance that they pulled into the second trailheads parking lot, just as our hopes of having the shoot were dwindling. In the end, the session turned out to be a blessing in disguise.” [Savannah Claudepierre and Greg Herr, The Photographers]
Photo by Jennifer McCann
14. Doing What You Love
When planning an elopement, you can incorporate details that are important to you without worrying about what other people will think.
“They were surrounded by the people they love the most, wearing her mother’s wedding dress during the ceremony while overlooking the most beautiful place.” [Jennifer McCann, The Photographer]
Photo by Sadie Rodriguez
Elopements are romantic! They were designed specifically to focus on the bride and groom. Thus, you can appreciate every detail, hug, and kiss.
“Nicole and Pat are the most down to earth humans I have ever met! Their love and connection were beautiful and carefree. I feel honored to have been able to capture their love.” [Sadie Rodriguez, The Photographer]
Photo by Jessika Christine Photography
16. Simple yet Beautiful
If you are overwhelmed with wedding planning, then you should consider planning an elopement instead. Elopements don’t need thousands of flowers. Eloping in mother nature’s beauty is enough.
“We wanted to show couples how simple an elopement can be out in the desert. Who wouldn’t want to say their vows to each other with such a jaw-dropping background? We hope this inspires other couples to YES to the desert when considering an elopement location!” [Jessika Hill, The Photographer]
Photo by Allie Knull’s Photography
17. Toasts and Mini Wedding Cakes for Two
Dinner and cake for two? Yes, please. Eloping with, for example, a mini wedding cake and toasting to your future adventures defines what eloping means.
“This Boho styled sunset elopement showcases the couple’s beauty and affection draped in white and orange contrasted against the harsh barren earth.” [Allison Knull, The Photographer]
Photo by Groovy Banana
18. Going off the Beaten Path
Eloping doesn’t have to be planned in a fancy location. It also doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can simply mean traveling on a road where others don’t normally go to.
“We went off the beaten path and wandered outside an abandoned resort. The light was amazing, and the couple had a strong, loving connection. I didn’t do much. I just placed them in the middle of a grass field and shot from afar.” [Gaelle Meheut, The Photographer]
Photo by Durva Shrivastava
Intimacy defines what it means to elope and why so many couples do it.
“Emilee and Matt came across as a relaxed and laid-back couple during our first conversation over Facetime. They never had any crazy requests but just wanted their wedding to come across as intimate, yet fun. They said their vows with the beautiful Lake Michigan as their backdrop, and then went on to celebrate their love with lots of love and laughter.” [Durva Shrivastava, The Photographer]
Photo by WhiskeySage Adventure Photographers
20. New Cultures
Eloping is experiencing new experiences and new cultures. We love this intimate ceremony in Mexico!
“Alejandra and Brad wanted a private and meaningful new experience to share and unite their marriage, that also infused Alejandra’s cultural roots. They shared a sacred spiritual union and an all-day adventure experiencing San Miguel de Allende, MX, which is one of Mexico’s most culturally rich cities. It was an amazing fit to tie in her culture and share an incredibly symbolic new adventure together.” [Lauren and Allen, The Photographers]
Photo by Kristina Černiauskienė
Eloping is an adventure. Couples who elope decide to elope because they love the thrill of spontaneous traveling.
“The couple travels a lot and lives in Cyprus, so we communicated via FB Messenger. On the day of the photoshoot, they were traveling from Norway to Cyprus with a short stop in Lithuania. They had a plane to catch in 6 hours, but they still said YES to this photo adventure. If you have a strong desire to do something, then there’s no such word as IMPOSSIBLE!” [Kristina Černiauskienė, The Photographer]
Photo by Meraki Wedding Photography
22. Cuddling Together
We love seeing those moments when the couple just holds each other. There is no timeline, so the limit of cuddling time does not exist!
“While the day was chilly and we were snowed out of our first two locations, Dylan and Mali cuddling together kept us all warm and ready for more!” [Annaleisa Friednash, The Photographer]
Photo by Simone Anne Photography
23. The First Kiss
The moment we have all been waiting for… the first kiss! If you decided to elope, then you have decided to have an epic first kiss picture!
“Lisa and Corey fell in love and built their relationship in June Lake. When they got engaged, they did so by the lake. When they started to plan their wedding, they knew they wanted to say their vows overlooking their lake.” [Simone Anne, The Photographer]
Photo by Desert Born Studios
Elopements are unique in every single way. You also don’t have to wear a white, long dress if you don’t want to. All you have to do is marry the one you love!
“I love the mountains, but that’s not where I would elope. I also love those stunning flowy wedding dresses, but that’s not what I would wear. Thus, I thought if I feel like this, maybe others do too?” [Sara whittaker, The Photographer]
Photo by de la Fontaine Photography
Elopements are fun. You can smile, laugh, dance, and do whatever you both want to do! If you want to toast with beer, champagne, or tequila, then do it! Do what makes you both happy.
“They both decided to ditch a traditional wedding for an elopement in the red rocks of Moab! This couple wanted a day that was truly about them. They also chose to share Ding-Dongs as their wedding cake, and it was everything.” [Rebekah de la Fontaine, The Photographer]
As you can see, eloping is defined by so many aspects. We can easily see why so many couples decide to elope.
What is eloping to you? Are you planning your elopement? Then check out our elopement planning resources.
If you have a specific question about eloping, then please leave us a comment or contact our team!