The old definition
elopement by definition in the past – “to sneak away and marry in secret”
While you can see from the definition, eloping was all about secrecy, shame and running away. Perhaps even when you think about eloping. Your first thoughts may be, running off drunk to a chapel in Vegas. Or sneaking off in private away from a disapproving family. Or perhaps a quick last minute signing at a court house. And while these are all ways you could potentially elope. They certainly no longer rule the definition. Eloping is a very misunderstood word. And the concept around eloping really has nothing to do with any possible negative connotations anymore. This is not the way of eloping today.
The modern definition
elopement by definition in modern day – “a small destination wedding”
In modern terms, eloping is all about creating an intentionally intimate experience, where the focus of the day is entirely on the two of you as a couple. It’s where you no longer look to what society tells you your wedding day should be. And instead follow your own rules. It’s all about staying authentic to who you are. Choosing the traditions that align with you, and ditching the ones that don’t. Eloping is about downsizing your guest list to only those that mean the most to you. So you can actually spend your day focusing on the two of you and your relationship. Or giving you the option to not worry about guests at all. It’s an intimate, meaningful and authentic experience, filled with choice.
Recently, the Merriam Webster Dictionary have changed the definition to “a small destination wedding”. And while the “small” aspect is true, it really is so much more than a “destination” wedding. Elopements can take place anywhere. In your own backyard, at a airbnb, a small venue, or somewhere out in nature. The destination can be near or far. All that really matter is that you chose somewhere that is either meaningful/significant to you, fits perfectly with the type of scenery/climate you desire most, and/or strongly represents who you two are (ie. your interests/personalities/hobbies).
Location is a massive part of the experience. As choosing somewhere that truly aligns with who you are will ultimately create that intimacy and authenticity that comes with eloping. While the Merriam Webster Dictionary refers to it as a “small destination wedding”. We would further discribe it as “an intimate and authentic wedding experience, that can take place anywhere”.
Let’s break it down for you
An elopement is…
- an intentionally intimate experience, where the full focus is on the two of you
- allows freedom to go wherever, and do whatever you choice
- provides a safe space to be authentic and stay true to yourselves
- a meaningful and intentional way of committing to one another
- an exciting experience with unlimited possibilities
An elopement is NOT…
- a shameful and secretive act
- a spur of the moment decision
- about running away from your family without acknowledging them
- only allowed to be just the two of you (you can have up to 20 guests)
- selfish – because your wedding day should always be about only the two of you
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with going the traditional route! In fact, we at Coast and Pine, strongly encourage you to marry in the way that feels most true to you. Big, small, medium – please, do whatever it is you feel most called too!
The reason we are so passionate about elopements is because, we want to show couples, that there are always options! We understand that there are pressure, anxieties, and stress that comes with planning a wedding. We also understand that big events are not for everyone. As outdoor loving introverts, ourselves – we know that a big event with hundred of guests, at a fancy venue really isn’t for everyone. That’s why we are here for the couples that are after a more intentional, and intimate way.
So how do you know if an elopement is right for you? Well eloping allows you to…
- Take back the reigns, and have choice on your wedding day
- Put the full focus of your day on the two of you and your relationship with one another
- Release the anxieties, stress and expectations of a big production event
- Put yourselves above all else and create an experience that truly reflects who you are as a couple
- Strip away the traditions that don’t align with you
An elopement is all about striping back those areas of a wedding day that don’t align with you. Throwing away the expectations, pressures, and obligations that make you feel tied down. Allowing you to put the full focus of your day back on you. It’s about being intentionally authentic to who you two really are. Eloping allows you the freedom to go wherever, do whatever, and share in this commitment with whomever you chose. Eloping is all about you.
If these statements have you signing a breath of fresh air, and feeling a whole new sense of excitement, then chances are an elopement is right for you!
Size of elopements
Now that we’ve discussed that elopements are intentional, intimate, and bring back freedom and choice into your day! You might be wondering, how intimate exactly? While there are technically not rules when it comes to eloping. Elopements are typically kept between 2-20 guests, in order to maintain that intentional feel throughout the experience. By no means does eloping mean you cannot have any guests, it’s just a more intentional way of choosing who you want to be there on your day. There are no longer the pressures of inviting long lost relatives, or acquaintances you work with. This is where you can freely choice to who you really want to be there, or if you’d prefer a safe space of only the two of you.
In order to legally marry within Australia, you must have two witness’. But this can be anyone from family members, friends, or even your wedding vendors (such as your photographer, videographer, etc.) For more information on how to legally elope within Australia, you can check that out here.
Elopement vs. Intimate Wedding
Elopement’s and intimate wedding’s are virtually the same thing. They intentionally have the same feel to the day, and are all about putting the focus on you, rather than hundreds of guests. The only real difference we would say, is that intimate wedding’s can have more guests. While elopements typically stick to under 20 guests to have that real intimate feel, and the freedom that comes with the experience. Intimate Weddings, can sometimes be a tad more traditional and allow up to 50 guests. We are lovers of both Elopements and Intimate Weddings, as they are both intentional wedding experiences that put the focus of the day back on you!
Well there you have it! I hope that leaves you with a better understanding of what an elopement actually is. For more resources on elopements, such as elopement timelines, planning an elopement, elopements vs. traditional weddings and so much more, explore here.
And if you have any questions, or want to find out more about why an elopement might be right for you, don’t be shy! Connect with us on instagram, or slide in our contact form. We love meeting new likeminded couples, and are happy to answer any and all questions you may have!