What Does Eloping Even Mean?

Destination wedding in Connecticut

So what does eloping mean? What is an elopement photographer? Is it the same as a wedding photographer? What are the benefits of eloping? These are questions I get a lot. So much so I’ve decided to devote some time to answering them as best as I can.

What does eloping mean? How do I elope?

The confusion with eloping comes from the word’s connotation versus denotation. The denotation, or dictionary definition, hasn’t changed. What has changed is the word’s connotation or the cultural and literal meaning as weddings have evolved. Eloping used to strictly be when a couple sneaks away to get married. It had a negative association. This was when church ceremonies and banquet hall receptions set the standard for weddings. But this has changed. A LOT.

Elopements today can still include a couple sneaking away to get married, but are more commonly a couple creating an intentional plan for a private wedding day. These plans can include no guests or a handful of guest, but almost always happen outside (think hiking up a mountain, escaping to a beach, going deep into the woods, renting an epic AirBnb, or all of the above!). I’m pretty sure us outdoorsy adventure folk figured out that spending the day doing something we love (being outside) while marrying the one we love was an amazing combination and the rest was history. Just for context, I eloped with my husband in 2007 to the Bahamas with 26 of our closest friends and family. You can elope close to home or far away. The first step might be figuring out what you want your day to look like (like skiing in Colorado and then saying your I do’s on the slopes).

What is an elopement photographer?

We are your photographer, planner, cheerleader, and hiking buddy. Great elopement photographers help you bring your vision to life. Most of us not only photograph your elopement, but help craft an adventure that is worthy of your love story. The cool thing about elopement photographers is we travel everywhere and anywhere. While we have our home base (mine is Cleveland, Ohio), we are always hoping on planes to fly to the next great adventure. And with the use of Zoom and FaceTime, meetings and planning is super easy.

What are the benefits of eloping?

Umm, everything? Seriously, though, I think everything about eloping is amazing. But, to keep it simple, here four benefits of eloping:

  1. The Experience: Can you just imagine standing on a cliff in Moab, Utah overlooking the massive red rock formations in Arches National Park as you say your hand written vows? Everything about that would be breathtaking. If you do invite guests to join you, they would be the people that mean the most to you. Not some random coworker of your parents that you’ve never met. The people you surround yourself with are the ones who have helped to create your epic love story.
  2. The Photographs: I had to include this because, well, you know. The photographs at elopements are pieces of art. The backdrops look like some sort of fairytale dream- white capped mountains and crystal clear blue lakes. But this is real life. And this is your wedding.
  3. The Day Of: There is no major rush, no packed timelines. You get to create the EXACT experience you want to have. Forget about those endless lists of “must do’s” for weddings. You will have time to soak in the day and the experience.
  4. The Cost: The average wedding cost in the United States ranges from $23,000-53,000 depending what state and city you live in. Then add onto that the cost of your honeymoon (another $5,000). You could create the most unbelievable wedding turned honeymoon in one of the most beautiful places in the world for much less.

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