Photo by MKM Photography ft. Rev Katherine Dupree from the Green Wedding Guild + ElopeNC Green Elopements Challenge
In this crazy world, love is the only thing that matters, and couples will continue to find ways to celebrate their love story and join in marriage. In the post-pandemic experience, setting a wedding date and guest count became more complicated, and couples often feel that wedding planning is full of unnecessary details. If you’ve ever thought weddings are too expensive, too stuffy and traditional, or too overwhelming, an elopement may be the best decision you make, other than saying I Do!
You might have heard the word “elopement” buzzing around, so today we’re sharing the basics of why a couple might want to elope because elopements are awesome. They used to be about running away in secret because the couple’s family didn’t approve, or going to the courthouse on short notice, so you might have a weird idea of what an elopement is. Today, elopements are intimate weddings with a select few witnesses, often done in secret before announcing to the world that you’re married, with a focus on the couple and their relationship.
Elopements aren’t about running away to get married in secret. They’re about running towards something – your lifelong adventure together.
Eloping gives you the absolute freedom to create your dream day – whatever that means to you. Maybe you’re hiking to the top of a mountain for breathtaking views with your besties, heading down to the coast for an intimate beach ceremony, or partying in your own backyard with your parents and dogs. At its most basic level, couples who choose to elope pick some way of making it legal (courthouse or celebrant), hire a photographer, and find some way to celebrate. Here’s how we define eloping…
elopement (noun): an intimate exchange of vows
to elope (verb): to exchange vows in an intimate, authentic setting
Photo by Southern Belle Photography ft. Con Amor by Sucetty from the Green Wedding Guild + ElopeNC Green Elopements Challenge
Picture this super simple elopement:
You and your partner spend your wedding morning together, getting ready at home while your photographer takes the cutest real-life pics. You head over to the courthouse with your two best friends for a signed marriage license and a first kiss. And then it’s party time, so you head to your favorite brewery, where all your closest friends and family are hanging out, ready to celebrate your love and enjoy the taco truck that just so happens to be parked outside.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like such a wonderful, chill day to celebrate love. And the possibilities only go up from there! Because you get to define the day, we want to help you figure out if eloping is right for you, and there are so many reasons to consider planning a non-traditional wedding. Here are 5 reasons couples choose to elope.
Photo by Cirque91 Photography ft Emily Katherine Events from the Green Wedding Guild + ElopeNC Green Elopements Challenge
Why do couples choose to elope?
You want to celebrate your relationship
Every wedding should be about the couple and their relationship, but in the hustle and bustle of a big wedding, you can get swept up in a lot of required activities, side conversations, and awkward traditions before finally getting a few private moments with your partner at the end of the night.
Many couples choose to elope because they want a wedding day that is focused on them, their love story, and the things they enjoy doing. They want that authenticity, to feel completely like themselves on their day, just all dolled up. You don’t need to follow a set of traditions or expectations, so you can intentionally fill your wedding day with moments you’re excited about.
Focus on your favorite parts of your relationship, including your intimacy and personal preferences. Rather than sharing your wedding day with a ton of guests, you have all day to revel in your love and spend intentional time with each other, as well as those closest friends and family who have always supported your relationship. You don’t have to stress the family drama or spend your whole evening caught up in conversation with guests. You get to soak up every minute of that “just married” feeling. Bottle it up, babes.
An Intimate, Backyard Elopement With Their Family | Outer Banks, North Carolina Wedding Video by Summit to Sea Films
Weddings cost too much
A couple shouldn’t go into debt for their wedding, especially for details they don’t care about. We feel so much pressure from pop culture, media, and the comparison game to have this large, gorgeous wedding that people will talk about forever. But not everyone can afford that, nor should you have to.
Maybe you don’t have the money for a full-blown wedding, or maybe you value experiences over material things. Either way, an elopement starts at $0 if you have a friend who’s legally ordained, and you have total control over where your money goes from there.
Whatever your style, eloping allows you to splurge on some details that wouldn’t have fit into the budget with 100+ guests. Maybe that means going full glam with the dress, custom suit, accessories, and flawless hair and makeup. Or you want to remember every second of your day, so you’re going for your dream photographer and videographer. And now that you’re not thinking about 20 centerpieces, you can make sure your bouquet is everything you’ve ever wanted.
Photo by Rachel Abi Wedding Photographer in Raleigh NC from the Green Wedding Guild + ElopeNC Green Elopements Challenge
Planning a wedding is stressful
Weddings have a million moving parts and decisions to be made, so if planning a wedding feels like a nightmare, you can scrap most of the work by choosing to elope. The decisions and details can continue to pile up until, suddenly, it’s the night before your wedding and you haven’t even written your vows! Weddings often feel more about trying to accommodate everyone and everything, and couples are left wondering what all of this is even for.
There are still planning elements that go into elopements, but things can be as simple or extravagant as you want on your wedding day. Plus, if you plan to include a number of vendors, locations, or decor items, an elopement planner can take most details off your plate. Instead of planning things you just don’t care about, an elopement allows you to start from scratch and only add in the elements, people, and activities that are worth taking the time to plan. Your focus shifts from what your guests expect to what you’ll enjoy.
If the guest list has been a struggle, this is the first thing to bring relief with an elopement. You no longer have to worry about forgetting to invite someone, think about plus-ones, or try to fit all 150+ guests into nearby hotels. You don’t have to worry about which friends are a part of the wedding party because you don’t need one, and buying food, drinks and favors just got a heck of a lot easier.
You don’t like being the center of attention
Introverts make up about 40 percent of the population, so it makes sense that there are plenty of couples who get anxious at the thought of a traditional wedding. One bride shared during her rehearsal that she was nervous about the first kiss because they never do PDA, but luckily she and her groom got caught up in the feels and had no problems during their ceremony.
The truth is, your wedding day shouldn’t be something that makes you uncomfortable. It should be a day when you feel like the best, most beautiful, most in-love version of yourselves. So whether that’s just the two of you with two witnesses, or you have a group of friends who bring out your best, elopements give you the freedom to design a day that is perfect for you and your relationship.
Life is an adventure, and so is marriage
If adventure, wanderlust, and new experiences are a defining part of your love story, this is a beautiful reason to choose to elope. Because of the full freedom that eloping allows, couples can choose to join in marriage literally anywhere. And luckily, North Carolina is full of diverse, stunning views, incredible parks and cities, and creative businesses that love celebrating love.
For some, that means visiting somewhere brand new to feel fully alive and fully in love. Many elopements take place outside, beside the coast, or on top of a mountain, but any location that is special to you can make for an incredible backdrop for your vows (and some incredible photos). Couples might even choose to combine their wedding and honeymoon by getting married in a foreign country and then hanging out for a week.
Photo of officiant and makeup artist Ministry-Makeup by Leah Marie Photography + Stationery at Fearrington House, Pittsboro
No matter what, you know that life is an adventure, and you’ll be happy to have incredible memories and gorgeous photos from your adventurous elopement.