Why You Should Elope and Forgo the Big Wedding

Redefining Elopement

“Elope” as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a verb meaning, “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent” … umm excuse me, WHAT? They seriously need to update that definition because elopement is so much more than a secret, runaway marriage.

Here’s my take on elopement: An elopement is an extremely intimate experience celebrating the marriage of two people who are passionately in love. It often incorporates just the couple and occasionally includes immediate family and/ or the closest of friends. On this day, there is an emphasis on what is meaningful to the couple getting married – from locations to food to the spoken and written words between them. It is the ultimate authentic reflection of the couple’s life together past, present, and future.

Doesn’t that sound a whole heck of a lot better? Don’t worry if you, like many others, thought that the dictionary definition was the only definition. It’s a common misconception that elopements are just signing the papers in a local courthouse or running away to Vegas to get married by Elvis, which it absolutely can be. But it can also be so much more than that!

Full Day Elopements

bride in black dress and black veil

Just because you’re not inviting 200 guests to watch you exchange vows and party all night doesn’t mean you need to skimp on your special day. Elopements are just as meaningful as big wedding days and deserve the attention and documentation as such. Don’t sell your day short! You have the opportunity to craft a whole day or even an entire weekend and more around just the two of you – your favorite things, your desires, your love for one another – without having to think about your guests. Be selfish!! Go out for a boozy brunch before you get ready together, take a hike up a mountain to watch a gorgeous sunset, jump in the ocean, eat at a sick local pub, wear nontraditional clothes. DO YOU! But whatever you do, make sure that you have someone you trust there to document the entire experience for you.

Now I know all of this sounds good in theory, but you might be asking yourself, “What does an all-day elopement look like in action?” Take a peek at this timeline for a look at what your elopement day could be like specifically in Providence, RI.

How to begin planning your elopement day

If you’ve made it this far, clearly your interest is peaked. But you might be wondering where exactly to start. It’s a common misconception that elopements require less planning, but when it comes to an all-day elopement, there is still quite a bit of coordination that happens to make the day come together. So here are a few quick pieces of advice:

– Sit down with a cocktail or a cup of coffee and hash out the big picture with your partner. Things you’ll want to discuss are: what would make the day meaningful for you, what sort of vibe you want your day to have (nature, urban, glam, cozy, etc), and where might you want to get married (locally, at a destination).

– Decide if you want to just keep it to the two of you or if you want to include parents, immediate family, close friends, etc. Remember to still keep it small though. This day is about YOU!

– Get yourself a good photographer who can help you with planning. A good elopement photographer will be able to suggest locations, guide your timeline planning, and make you feel super comfortable throughout the process. They’ll make sure that the day you plan together and the memories they capture are intentional and authentic.

Newport, RI couple eloping in the beach grass

Now that we’ve decided we’re eloping, what do we do next?

If you’re now jazzed about eloping but have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here! I’m always happy to discuss all things elopements, and hey, we’d love to photograph you too!

Meaghan is the owner and lead photographer of Rhode Tripper Photography, an alternative, inclusive wedding and elopement photography company. She lives in Rhode Island, USA with her husband (and second photographer), Evan, and her rescue pups, Arya and Ginny. You can frequently find her hitting up all the best foodie spots, barcades, and music venues around Providence, RI

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Created by Ali Coşkunfrom the Noun Project
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