Even if the frequency of elopements has increased in recent years (with the operative word being “choose”), several common misunderstandings persist about what elopements are and entail. If you subscribe to any of the following myths about elopements, I hope that debunking them will help you rethink your assumptions and gain a more nuanced understanding of this type of wedding. I say this because I think elopements can be the most magical and perfect wedding experience ever, but only if the couple goes for it.

1: Elopements are never publicized, always embarrassing, and always a last resort.

Perhaps a century ago or so! In the past, it was common for couples to elope if they knew their families or communities wouldn’t approve of their decision to get married. But hey, spoiler alert: times change, words change, and society adjusts and modernizes. In the modern era, elopements can mean something quite different.

Elopements are no longer seen as something to be ashamed of or kept secret, nor are they something that couples feel compelled to do. Nowadays, elopements are a popular choice for couples who want to put the spotlight on their love and each other on their wedding day rather than on the minutiae of customs they don’t care about. No longer considered a fallback, elopements are more popular among modern-day couples. This is especially true for those who don’t want to plan a huge celebration for hundreds of people.

You can make the same kinds of public announcements about your elopement as you would about a wedding if you so choose. Depending on the specifics of your circumstance, it may be wise to give loved ones advance notice that you’ve made this decision. Here are a few suggestions for preannouncement communication with loved ones:

Start planting the seeds in their heads by subtly dropping hints before making the official announcement.

Put up a slideshow featuring pictures of past elopements and explain how meaningful your own would be.

Justify your inclination toward an impromptu wedding (these are the top ten reasons to elope!) – Explaining your reasoning will help others see things from your perspective.

Provide them with the updated meaning of the word elopement in case they are still familiar with the older one.

2: Elopements are not elaborate weddings but rather hastily planned events.

I wouldn’t blame you if you were one of the many couples who wrongly assume that an elopement consists solely of a hastily performed, five minute ceremony. The wedding industry has contributed to the misconception that elopements are only a stripped-down ceremony by only providing couples with one or two hours of photography coverage and other minimal services.

NOPE. Don’t do that!

Ok, I guess they can be if that’s what you’re going for. However, as an elopement photographer who values authentic moments, I strongly suggest that you reject this view. Elopements can and often do encompass much more than this. The day you elope remains the day you get married. I beg you not to think of your elopement as merely a ceremony, as you would not think of your regular wedding as just a ceremony. You may still have a beautiful and memorable wedding even if there are only a handful of guests or none at all. As of when did the size of our wedding party become a measure of its importance? Does it matter less if a couple has 100 guests at their wedding than if they have 200?

As a result of having fewer visitors, you will have more time to spend on yourself. The options for how to spend the day and what to include in the ceremony are practically limitless when planning an elopement. Do you wish to read your vows while perched on a mountain peak or cliff overlooking the sea? Do you yearn for the freedom of a morning hot air balloon ride or a wind-in-your-hair coastal drive in a classic convertible? Do you wish to create a unique unity ceremony or combine two ethnic practices? What has been suggested above should be implemented immediately. Remember what I said about the boundless nature of the day’s potential, and don’t limit it any more than you have to.

3: Elopements are hastily planned events.

Heckkkk NO. And once more, the answer is yes. But of course they need not be! Many elopements take months of organizing and are not a last-minute affair, from dreaming up what your ideal day would contain, to reserving flights and hotels (and occasionally activities), to hiring suppliers, and collecting permits and licenses. However, there are also instances in which an elopement is planned at the last minute, and these impromptu ceremonies are often as as exciting and memorable as their more planned counterparts! Don’t wait to get in touch if an impromptu elopement is something you’re interested in. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you have a wonderful wedding day, and I will be pleased to recommend vendors and provide any planning assistance you may require.

4: Elopements don’t call for a lot of preparation.

Similar to the last point, it’s important to plan ahead for an elopement. Elopements, however, are completely customizable, so they can be as small and intimate or as grand as the couple want. The location and timing of the elopement are only the beginning of the planning process. Is the location where you plan to elope more secluded or will it be within easy driving distance? What kind of transportation is needed to get there, if any? Can you tell me about the weather conditions at that time and location, specifically the season and the temperature? If any special equipment is required, what would it be? Have you invited anyone over? Where are they going to sleep? How will getting there and parking be? Which actions would be required? Is advanced planning required for these outings? In order to create a pleasant and enjoyable day, careful consideration must be given to all of these and other related questions. However, it’s also crucial to be flexible and open to surprises; if you two are willing to take the day as it comes and keep your attention on one another and the events of the day, I promise you that you’ll have a fantastic time no matter what!

5: Elopements are economical and perfect for couples on a limited budget.

True… and no. The same is true for weddings on a tighter budget. The costs associated with an elopement may be lower than those of a regular wedding, but this does not make it a cheaper or “budget” option. The money you would have spent on things like a reception hall and food for a hundred guests or more can be used toward a truly memorable event if you choose to elope.

For a moment, picture the perfect day in your head. Do you want to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter or see the New Zealand glaciers? Is a treehouse in the Washington state mountains more your style, or perhaps a villa on the cliffs of Big Sur? While the aforementioned details are certainly not required for a successful elopement, many couples choose to go all out for their nuptials. The point is that you shouldn’t let the stereotype of elopements as cheap weddings stop you from planning a meaningful event.

6: Nobody but the couple is present at an elopement.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions you may have had about whether or not having visitors during your elopement would make it any less of an elopement. There is no reason why your elopement couldn’t include family and friends as well as the two of you!

However, keep in mind that the more guests you invite, the more your elopement may resemble a conventional wedding in order to accommodate them. The smaller and more intimate your guest list is, the more free time you will have for yourself and your guests.

However, the main line is that you are free to host guests if you so choose. How you picture your day unfolding is exactly how it will go! Want to include your closest companions, family, and pet dog? Do it! Considering a family wedding elopement? Just do it! Plan on having a small celebration with close relatives and friends after you’ve had some alone time together? Hell, yeah! If today is your special day, then celebrate it in your own unique way. Do you want your visitors to feel included on your elopement day, but also have some alone time? You can just ask me for them because I have them.

7: Elopements are an act of self-indulgence

Wait a minute. But first, let’s ask: who are weddings for, and what are they celebrating? While cultural norms vary (ask a traditional Asian family, and they may tell you that weddings are about the union of two families, not two people — P.S. I can only speak to Asian families, as I am Asian myself), I think we can all agree that a wedding would not be happening without the two of you and the relationship you’ve built. So, excuse me for offending my Asian heritage, but I think your wedding day should be all about the two of you and the relationship the two of you have worked so hard to cultivate. A desire to have a wedding ceremony and reception that is personal to the two of you and reflects your unique identities is not selfish. (It’s actually selfless of other people to expect you to rearrange your schedule to accommodate them.)

The most important thing to think about is how YOU want to commemorate your union. Including distant third cousins (who are, after all, still relatives) in your wedding festivities is entirely optional. A large wedding party is nice, but you should also feel free to celebrate your marriage with just the two of you and maybe a few close relatives and friends. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so enjoy it in whichever way makes you happy.

8: Elopements Are Neither Romantic Nor Unique

Let’s clear this up because it’s a MASSIVE misunderstanding. Indeed, I would say that elopements are much more intimate and romantic than regular weddings! Elopements provide for more quality time with loved ones because of the small group size (whether it’s just the couple or a handful of close friends and relatives). Just the two of you, or a hundred of your closest friends? Think of the most romantic date you’ve ever been on. How romantic and memorable it would be to have your first dance as a married couple on a beach as the waves crash against the cliffs below you, or to exchange your vows atop a mountain as the sun rises and paints the landscape in brilliant hues.

9: Elopements are for those who don’t care about having a big wedding.

Let’s flip that logic on its head. People who place a high value on their wedding day should NOT consider an elopement. During an elopement, the bride and groom can focus solely on each other, without worrying about things like the color of the plates or the arrangement of the tables. Elopements are all about setting off with a clear purpose in mind, so that you can have your wedding day precisely the way you envisioned it. Without having to worry about entertaining a large number of people, elopements allow the happy couple to spend the day focusing solely on each other.

10: Elopements aren’t as significant as full-blown ceremonies and should be treated as such.

All right, if you’ve been following along, you might be able to guess what I’m about to say next.

NO. You should never feel like you are settling for less because you chose to elope instead of having a traditional wedding. If it isn’t obvious, let me shout it from the rooftops: elopements provide SO MUCH MORE.

Let’s go back to Myth #2 for a second, okay? You should not let the quantity of guests at your wedding determine its significance. Your wedding day should be a celebration of YOU, your relationship, and your love for each other; how “genuine” that day is is up to you.

Traditional weddings, many couples have told me, involve an element of performance since they feel like a “event” the couple is putting on. Sometimes it isn’t until the day is over and you’re finally alone that the reality of your recent marriage sets in. Rather than focusing on the “performance” of a wedding, elopements highlight the experience of the couple. You can spend more quality time together, have more shared experiences, be more purposeful in your planning, and have more time for spontaneity when you elope. They are one-of-a-kind, memorable, and, in some respects, more “genuine” than a standard ceremony.

If you’ve been on the fence about an elopement for any of the aforementioned reasons, I hope this has given you some food for thought. Or, if you’re still unsure whether or not an elopement is the best option for you, we may discuss it more. I’d love to help you figure out what’s best for you, because just like traditional weddings, elopements aren’t for everyone.

For the time being, imagine your ideal day in as much detail as you like, and P.S. I would love more than anything to assist you in making that day a reality!  For more information visit

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