At this point you probably have already heard some people talking about elopement, but what does it really mean to elope? What’s the elopement definition?

The definition of eloping has changed a lot over the past few years, but it seems like not everyone understands it. If you Google elope definition you’ll find that elopements are a secret and rushed way of getting married. That may be what eloping used to be about years ago, but not anymore! So, what does “elope” mean today?

Elopement Definition – How I Define Elopements

There are a lot of different definitions out there, but here’s how I define elopements: An elopement is an intimate wedding day experience where the focus of the day is really about you two and your commitment to each other. It’s more about experiencing each other’s company than anything else. A day that is meant to be a reflection of your relationship and what truly matters to you.

Eloping doesn’t mean you’re running away in secret or that you can’t afford a big wedding or that your day will be any less special than a traditional wedding.

Eloping is about marrying the love of your life, your soulmate, building an experience around it that feels authentic to YOU. This can still include elements of a traditional wedding if you want or no traditions at all!

Elopement vs Traditional Wedding

First of all, there’s no wrong or right way to have a wedding day. The reality is, traditional weddings and elopement experiences have different values. I’m not saying that one is better or worse than the other, but the decision between which type of wedding is best for you highly depends on you and your partner’s personality and what matters most to you.

When you thing about getting married you thing about the best day of your life. When you choose to elope instead of having a traditional wedding you’re choosing to have a custom wedding experience!

The Flexibility of Elopements vs Traditional Weddings

Elopements are defined by their freedom. There are no rules when it comes to plan an elopement. You get to choose exactly where and how you want to celebrate your love story.

About locations – One of the biggest differences between an elopement and a traditional wedding is the venue. When you plan a big wedding, one of the first things you have to think about is the venue. Is it big enough for all your guests? Is the location accessible enough? Is it in your budget?

Eloping gives you the opportunity to have your ceremony anywhere (I should say, almost anywhere – some parks have more restrictions than others). So, If you and your partner love nature and love to explore the great outdoors, an elopement outside might be the perfect choice for you!

Your elopement day can be adventurous, luxurious or it can be super low-key, it can be literally whatever you want it to be. That will look different for every couple. The flow of the day is entirely up to you.

About timeline – Traditional weddings require sticking to a strict timeline. You’ve rented a venue for a certain period of time, and it’s important that everything start and stop to match that reservation. Elopements have a general plan and timeline as well but it’s not as strict as a traditional wedding.

Budget For Elopements vs Traditional Weddings

It’s no secret that weddings are pretty expensive. According to a study from The Knot, weddings cost an average of over $33,000 in 2019! That’s a lot of money! But depending on how and where you plan to elope you may end up spending a lot too! Even if the budgets were the same, the way the budget is allocated is very different.

Since most traditional weddings focus on the guest experience, much of your budget is going into table decor, catering, drinks and appetizers, gift bags, cocktail hour games, and other elements of the guest experience.

Because elopements are 100% customizable, you get to decide exactly on what you want to spend your money. An example: If you’re eloping just the two of you in another State or Country, you’ll budget for travel and accommodations + activities you may want to experience on your elopement day, location permits (if any), you’ll need to find an outfit to wear (which can be traditional or non-traditional) and all the basics expenses of getting married like marriage license and officiant (depending where you get married) a photographer/videographer, etc…

Elopements vs Traditional Weddings Guest List

There’s no official number that takes a celebration from being an “elopement” to being a “wedding.” However, I believe that the intention behind it is more important than the guest number. Because elopements are about the couple and how they want to create their own wedding experience, there’s a lot more freedom to set limits and boundaries on the number of people who attend.

For some couples, that means having a just us wedding day where no one else is there. For others, that means inviting only the closest family or best friends. In some cases, that means having a small group of 15-30 people present on their special day.

It can be overwhelming making a guest list for an intimate wedding, but there are a few tips to help you:

  • Talk to your partner. Think about your guest list. Talk through how you each feel about potential guests.
  • Set boundaries and expectations. Don’t feel obligated to invite someone if you don’t want to. Also, think about your location. Some locations don’t allow more than 15-30 people, so have that in mind.
  • Be honest. If someone asks if they’re coming, and you know they aren’t on the list, don’t be afraid. Just be honest with people in your life and don’t feel the need to apologize for not having them there. And it’s not that you don’t love them, but this is about YOUR day, and you should do whatever your heart feels like! 

If there’s anything the past year has taught us, it’s that life is short, experiences matter, and there is no time to waste when it comes to filling your life with the things that matter most to you!

No matter how you choose to celebrate your love, BE INTENTIONAL!
Your love story is unique so why shouldn’t your wedding day be too?!

Are you ready to start planning your dream day?

Check out my elopement packages.

Need some inspiration? Read my blog post about how to plan an elopement.

You can save this guide for later using one of the images below:

Elopement Definition – What Does it Mean to Elope

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  1. Mike says:

    I love the message here – being intentional about life in general is too easy to overlook. Being intentional requires extra consideration but rewards well for the extra effort!

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