Woot Woot…congratulations on your engagement! Welcome, to the 21st century, where marriage is more of a lifelong commitment to each other than a symbolic religious or legal event. We live in this beautiful age where the tradition of something borrowed, something blue, something old, and something new may slowly be going out of style. A beautiful age, where at least here in America, you can get to make up a lot of your own wedding rules and traditions.
While some dream of their wedding day since childhood and have a scrapbook filled with clippings of their gorgeous dream gown, their perfect ceremony, and reception location, others just choose to elope instead.
Choosing to elope with your partner may seem exciting and the right thing to do, thoughts of guilt may cross your mind but remember that it is your wedding, and you get to make your own rules.
Well, according to many people, eloping may mean, “secretly running away with your beloved to get married without the knowledge of your family or friends” – insert a visit to the Courthouse or a booze-fueled trip to Las Vegas somewhere in there. While eloping may seem to have an air of mystery surrounding it, the connection to the phrases “running away” and “secret” has slowly since shifted. Even Wikipedia and Merriam – Webster have since changed their definition of elopement. Elopements are no longer just something that people will do to run away and get married. Today’s elopement takes place in beautiful locations with a lot more planning.
This article is all about our ideas on the dos and don’ts of elopement. But first, we will share a few reasons why couples may choose to get eloped. Ready. Set. Let’s read on!
Reasons why you and your partner may consider eloping over the traditional wedding.
Save a few bucks. Elopements are a handcrafted wedding day experience centered around the couple. That’s it! Traditional weddings are usually centered around extravagance, catering to your guests, and throwing a big party. Many couples choose to elope because it’s way cheaper than a wedding.
Less stress and less family drama. Forget about the hassle of the seating chart, the relatives you may be dreading to see, or the uncle who always gives those long embarrassing speeches…oh and let alone that one cousin who’s always late and gets wasted. Let’s be real, there are a lot of people who aren’t that close to their family members. Not everyone has a dynamic close-knit relationship with their family where they feel entirely comfortable being themselves. Couples who choose to elope may want to also avoid the family drama that seems to always come up at traditional weddings. Many couples want their wedding to be focused on them. They would rather do something that resonates with their heart and story and would rather avoid all the stress that’s tied with the traditional wedding and planning.
Let’s be true. Some couples feel that the real reason behind getting married was swallowed by the wedding industry in expectations that truly did not make sense to them. So many people would never dream of being a part of the traditional aspects of a big wedding—the giant, pompous, fluffed-up, dress-up party in front of hundreds of people. Couples who choose to elope are choosing authenticity. They are searching for an authentic ceremony experience that emphasizes their true selves.
Experiences over stuff. People who value experiences over tangible things tend to be drawn to elopements. Couples would rather forego the beautifully decorated ballroom and the dainty chandeliers and choose to get married at sunrise at an incredible vista that’s dedicated all to themselves. So, instead of paying about $10K for $65 a head meal of over 150 guests, experiences may seem more attractive to many couples.
Now let’s get to the real meat of this article, the dos, and don’ts of elopement. You and your partner are 1000 percent certain; that you’ve now decided to elope.
The Dos of Elopement
Do it for the right reason
You crave an intimate, authentic experience, you aren’t afraid of non-tradition, and you want to save money. The reasons why you and your partner choose to elope are ultimately up to both of you. Do it for the right reason, make sure you both are in complete agreement and it’s not just one party pressuring the other.
Do choose somewhere epic
Your wedding day is one of the days you and your partner will remember for the rest of your lives. You will want to tell a story to your children and grandchildren; an elopement affords you the freedom to wed in your dream destination. Do choose somewhere epic to elope, whether it is somewhere special to you or your partner or it’s a place you want to honeymoon. Take time to plan. Spontaneous eloping is meant to be last minute, but it is important to do some research.
Do tell your family and friends (eventually)
Family members may feel hurt or left out that you’ve decided to embark on an important milestone without them. Explain the reasons why getting eloped was important to you, and they will understand. Your wedding day is the day that you’ve always dreamed of, and your close friends and family have always wanted this for you as well. Relationships with family members aren’t always perfect, but it is likely from the moment you were born your parents always wanted you to be happy.
We encourage you to make your loved ones feel included, make sure they hear about it first, and plan something so that they can join in the celebrations.
Do send marriage announcements
After you elope, do send out an announcement to your extended family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. If it is a cost factor, maybe consider an email or a personal phone call or text to share your big news. Don’t Instagram before the announcement.
Do Dress to Impress
Whether you choose to go classy, casual, or comfortable, always remember that a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Dress to impress. Don’t skimp on your wedding attire. Consider packing a wedding outfit, match your style and your destination and make it memorable.
Do bring a photographer and make every moment meaningful
Capture your wedding beautifully – hire a professional photographer! You’ll always want to remember saying “I do.” If hiring a photographer is a budget concern, then bring a friend or a family member to photograph your big day.
Do prepare yourself for friends and family to get upset
Despite your best intentions and the reasons for eloping, be prepared for your close family members and friends to feel sad. Some of them may not even like it. Just know that everyone may not support your decision, and that is OK. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to tell you how to live your life. Communicate your reasons sensitively, they will understand, eventually.
The Don’ts on Elopement
This is your day, which means you get to celebrate any way you and your partner choose to do it. Whatever reasons they might be, they are your reasons, and they don’t need to be justified or apologized for. Also, don’t feel or allow anyone to make you feel guilty. Your wedding day is about you and your beloved. Savor and enjoy every moment knowing that you and your partner had the wedding of your dreams.
Don’t Elope out of Fear
If you feel pressure in a way (by your partner) or by someone else, take a step back and reassess. Eloping must be a mutual decision that you and your partner both make together. Before you embark on this journey, figure out whether you are doing it for the right reasons or not. Marriage is a major decision that should not be rushed into.
Don’t skimp on every tradition
Write your wedding vows, exchange the ring, wear something borrowed, eat the cake, have the first dance, and toast each other. Eloping doesn’t necessarily mean that you should skip out on all the traditions that will make your wedding memorable. Make your wedding a day that you will never forget. Also, don’t do without the honeymoon.
Discuss with your partner which traditions you should follow and which you should leave out.
Don’t stop the party once you return
You are now married to the love of your life, now it’s time to party! Although a big wedding bash may not be what you and your partner both want, a smaller post-wedding party is highly recommended. Provide a sense of inclusion to your family, and maybe your close friends as well. Have an intimate reception.
This could be lavish as a fancy dinner or as simple as a backyard barbeque. Send out invitations in advance, reenact your first dance, cut the cake, listen to the speeches, and keep the party going. As Miley Cyrus sings,” So la-da-di-da-di, we like to party…We can’t stop, we won’t stop…”
You have eloped and that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun reception too ~ party on and celebrate!
Don’t post your wedding photos before letting your loved ones know
Okay, we all know you love to post on social media…maybe create a reel or two every other day. Don’t post your wedding photos on social media without letting your friends and family know that you’re eloping. Do send out an announcement to your loved ones before you include everyone in your InstaWorld.
When it comes time for you and the love of your life to get married, it truly is a day that is all about the two of you. Of course, you want to celebrate with your friends and families, but you are not obligated to invite everyone; have the wedding of your dreams, and do not feel guilty about how you choose to tie the knot. All weddings are beautiful and unique to the couple, but there is something special about saying your nuptials in front of a smaller group or just the two of you. Be sure to browse through all our engagement, wedding, and prenup resources HelloPrenup as you start to plan for your big (or small) day!
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]