We are a husband & wife team. Based in the mountains of Montana & Washington State, we’ve been photographing and filming couples since the start of 2021.
Welcome to our blog where you’ll discover elopement planning resources, as well as beautiful galleries from real weddings!
There’s no right or wrong way to have your elopement. But there is a right way for YOU. Big weddings are great if that’s what you truly want! For a lot of people, though, bigger weddings aren’t what they truly want. So here are some reasons why people elope! If you’re currently planning a bigger wedding, but you feel like some of these points resonate with you, considering changing your plans to having a wedding that is authentic to you! After all, that’s what matters most, right? Well, here are 13 reasons to elope in case you’re still on the fence!
A lot of the time, wedding planning can be super stressful! Between budgeting, your guest list, endless vendors, invitations, and more… it can be A LOT. And if you’re a high stress person, the sound of that can be so overwhelming. Where do you even start?! That’s one reason why we love elopements so much.
Since we have been photographing/filming them, we have both learned to pivot, change plans, relax, and just enjoy the day with our couples! Putting ourselves in situations where it’s basically impossible to get stressed has made us personally realize that we want to elope when we’re ready! It just doesn’t make sense to put yourself in a stressful situation. Then, all you remember is all of the stress leading up to your day. Not to mention, the stress on your actual wedding!
You shouldn’t be stressed at all. You should be relaxed. You should feel nothing but excited to enjoy this extremely special day with your partner. You should remember those feelings when you reflect back on your day, and you should want to relive it over and over again. You don’t want to feel like it was so stressful that you don’t even want to remember it.
Eloping used to mean running away to Vegas or just going to the court house. And while you can totally still do those things, elopements have transitioned into being so much more than that! Eloping is now an experience. You might be wondering what that means. Well, instead of just eloping the two of you and being done with it, eloping now is all about the adventures you plan with your partner! It’s about creating an experience that you’ll look back on and treasure. And a lot of the time, people who are eloping only care about that. They don’t care as much about materialistic things. It’s so much more valuable to share adventures and to celebrate your marriage with something new/different.
Instead of having a wedding with hundreds of guests, couples who elope get to have an experience that’s just about the two of them. You don’t have to focus on what food to serve everyone, instead, you get to choose your favorite food and what you both want to do! You don’t have to consider anyone else’s opinions or abilities. You can elope wherever and whenever you want! Each aspect of your day is centered around the two of you, and no one else. That in and of itself is really special.
Along with the idea of your elopement being centered around you and your partner, you don’t have to deal with influences from outside sources. You get to pick your location (dare I suggest Zion National Park??). You get to pick the activities (helicopter ride over the San Juan Mountains in Colorado). You get to plan your timeline. It isn’t based on what anyone else is telling you to do. No one else gets to decide what colors you should have. And no one else gets to tell you that you’re running behind on your timeline. YOU make the decisions, and YOU call the shots.
When you elope, there’s no pressure to include traditions. We know that there are a lot of common weding traditions, like first looks, bridal parties, toasts, first dances, etc. But for your elopement, you can choose to include the traditions that are actually meaningful to you. Or you can make new traditions that you both celebrate. It’s all up to you. Some examples of non-traditional elopement “traditions” are: self-solemnizing, include loved ones who aren’t able to attend by having hand-written letters, or having a picnic after your ceremony. You get to choose the entire day (and after), so don’t include anything that doesn’t have actual importance for you.
While a lot of elopements are just the couple, you can also choose to include family/friends. But the unique thing about elopements is that you don’t have to include anyone. And if you do choose to include family or friends, it’s your close circle! You don’t have to feel like you need to include a ton of other people that you haven’t seen in forever. This makes your day more comfortable and special because you’re with the people that you really care about.
For an elopement, you’re able to spend money on the things that truly matter to you. It’s important to remember, though, that elopements aren’t necessarily less expensive than larger weddings. You’re just choosing to prioritize your budget.
We suggest making a list of the most important parts of your day in order to put together your budget. For example, maybe your top priorities are: photos, video, a unique adventure, a cool place to stay, and new backpacking gear. So, you budget the most amount of money on those top things to ensure that you’re planning the best day! Then, you can allot the rest of your budget to the other things you might need like florals, food, and permits.
This is a huge thing for a lot of people. Before COVID-19, a lot of people had larger weddings. It was definitely more common. But once the pandemic hit, a lot of people needed to shift and re-prioritize. A lot of people realized that they were planning a party for other people, but not focusing on themselves. While some people truly want a party (which is awesome), a lot of people don’t resonate with that.
We personally cannot imagine having a larger event because it would be way too overhwhelming. We both thrive in smaller and more intimate environments. So, we recommend really thinking about who you both are. Does a large wedding feel like you? Is that what you’ve always dreamed of? Or when you think of the perfect day, do you think of a more intimate adventure?
While some people enjoy having an intimate wedding with close family and friends, a lot of people choose to elope by themselves. There are A LOT of reasons for this! For example, we mentioned above that an elopement is an experience that’s all about the two of you. So, for some people, that’s all they want! It’s not that they don’t want to include family and friends, it’s just that it would be more special if it was only the two of them.
But there’s also people who aren’t close with their family, and don’t want to include them. That is 100% okay! You should never feel like you have to include anyone on your day. And sometimes it’s nice to not invite anyone else because then you’re able to avoid unwanted family drama. You might get backlash at first from some people, but you just have to emphasize that this day is about you two and your commitment, not anyone else. Plus, it’s better to have a little bit of drama before or after your elopement rather than actually on your wedding day. You want to just enjoy your day! And hopefully your family/friends will understand and respect your decision without giving you any grief.
Instead of planning things like a rehearsal dinner, rehearsal ceremony, who is going to wear what, or how the table is going to be set up, you get to focus on planning the parts of your day that are actually exciting to you! You get to pick what you want to include, which means you can decide what to plan for. Every single moment/event is your choice.
Another perk about eloping is that you’ll definitely have an EPIC video and photo gallery! You get to choose your location and adventures, remember? So, where do you see yourself? What epic landscape do you want to explore? Wherever you are–forest, beach, mountains, lake, waterfall, field, desert–we’ll capture the most incredible moments for you! But it’ll never feel like an all-day photoshoot, we can promise you that. It’ll just be a fun time with friends!
Check out these epic galleries for an example of what we’re talking about!
One of the biggest reasons why people elope is similar to #6: You Can Invite Your Close Circle. Elopements are intimate. One of the biggest differences is the guest list. An elopement is typically 10 people or less (in our opinion). A small wedding is typically 40 people or less. But that’s not the only reason why an elopement is more intimate. It’s more intimate because you’re actually able to spend time with your partner.
On larger wedding days, there’s so many events and people, that you often don’t get to spend as much time together. Whereas, with elopements, you spend almost every second together! Or at least, you can if that’s what you want.
One of the last reasons to elope is if you don’t want to wait any longer! It’s a lot more common to plan an elopement in a shorter amount of time than a big wedding. This is because you don’t need to book a venue, send out invites to guests, and book other vendors in advance. Of course, you do need to book some vendors with enough time, but we often get bookings only a month or two before the couple’s elopement date. There’s just less planning involved, especially when it’s only the two of you. The biggest things you have to focus on are your elopement location, a permit/marriage license, and your attire!
Sometimes you’re just so ready to marry your best friend that nothing else matters. And that’s awesome!
Hannah and Adam are a Montana and PNW-based Elopement Photographer + Videographer Team traveling across the US and abroad to capture couples' special days. They firmly believe love is love, Black lives matter, and in respecting our planet.
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