Are you and your significant other thinking about eloping?
Trust us when we say you’re not alone. Foregoing a traditional wedding in favor of an elopement is a trend that is only going to continue rising. Couples are exchanging wedding debt for an intimate ceremony for two at a gorgeous dream destination of their choosing, and more often than not, the travel expenses are a fraction of the cost. Many hotels and resorts already offer elopement packages, and if they don’t, you can certainly bet they will or risk falling behind the times.
As mentioned, traditional weddings can be very expensive! Involving the hiring of an entire production team, including event planners & designers, decor, florals, catering, rentals, entertainment, open bar, photographer, videographer, venues, staff – this list only continues to grow. And, as someone who has reviewed thousands of wedding submissions, I can tell you with complete certainty that the most common remarks from married couples is how “it all went by so fast” and that they “barely had time to enjoy it,” or were “too stressed-out to have a good time.”
With a destination elopement, it is entirely about you and the love of your life, symbolically joining together for all eternity in a ceremony as old as love itself, and from the moment you say “I do” your honeymoon has begun – already being located in the dream destination of your choice. Furthermore, elopements can take place literally anywhere – limited only by your imagination. They can follow the more traditional path of a wedding; involving a small venue or spiritual place, to being within nature itself – like a beautiful beach or breathtaking cliffside. I’ve seen vow exchanges mid-freefall during skydiving, and have read stories of hiking to unbelievable remote locations, like a shallow lagoon in the collapsed peak of a once active tropical volcano under a night sky filled with so many stars it seemed as if you were floating in space itself. The point is, this moment will be one of the most important in your life, if not the most important, and you don’t have to abide by an arbitrary checklist of wedding do’s & don’ts – it’s your moment about your love and it can be anything you want. By no means does the size and expense of your wedding have anything to do with validating your love – never forget that.
By not spending so much money on a single grand event you free up the potential for creating more unforgettable moments and life experiences while traveling. Also, that budget can now be put towards the finer details you may be most interested in, like fashion items; that couture gown or suit you’ve been dreaming of, or something entirely unique like custom couples’ jewelry. Whatever you decide to do, no matter what you do, hire the most experienced professional photographer in the area! You will forever have those memories in your heart, but you will also want them captured and documented to share with family, friends, and for future reference.
The number one deterrent for couples considering an elopement is not being able to share the moment with their family and close friends. If you must have those people there, depending on your budget, bringing them with you can be an option. This of course greatly reduces the guest list but does allow you to at the least have your immediate family members or closest of friends at your ceremony. Another option, and this one is proving to be the most popular, is to simply have a casual afterparty upon your return from your destination elopement. It can be at the house, in the backyard, a local spot, or even an inexpensive venue. Invite all the family and friends you want, have a potluck, make it a “pajama jammy jam” (you know what I’m talking about 1990s crew) – it’s your party, and showcase all the beautiful professional photography and videography of your destination elopement. It provides the opportunity for both families to mingle and you can even re-exchange your vows if you’d like. This entire thing is about celebrating your love, who you are as people, and what makes your relationship special – so make it whatever you want!
For the wedding vendors of the world, now is the time to evolve and adapt – the sooner the better. As the trend in elopements continues to rise the demand for traditional wedding event vendors will diminish. Yes, there will always be plenty of couples who would love to have a traditional wedding, and that’s truly great, but with the vendor market saturating by a growing number of new businesses trying to get a foot in the door, the competition for those potentially available events is only going to become more competitive. Do what you can to ensure that your resume, review record, and social media marketing is as strong as it can possibly be so that your company name becomes synonymous with your area of expertise – and network, network, network! Also, develop an elopement package! Photographers especially! If you’re a traveling photographer in the wedding industry make sure that your fanbase knows that you offer an elopement package. For planners and designers, align yourself with hotels and resorts that are popular destination elopement locations, and also offer your own service package for elopements. The bottom line is whatever branch of the wedding industry you service, think about how you can expand those services into the elopement arena.
Your wedding is a celebration of your love, so love your celebration.