Couple at Gretna Green train station after they eloped

Elopement: Frequently Asked Questions.

As an elopement photographer and the rise of elopement popularity in recent years, I get asked from clients and friends lots of questions to do with eloping. With this in mind, I thought id make a blog full of them! If you have some questions you would like me to answer, pop them in the comments!

Quick links to the questions:

  1. What does elopement mean?
  2. Is eloping the same as getting married?
  3. How do you do an elopement?
  4. Is eloping selfish?

What does elopement mean?

While I live only a few miles from Gretna Green and I photograph elopements at the historic blacksmiths elopement venue. In general you can forget the idea of sneaking away to get married across the boarder to Scotland, or in fact getting married by celebrity look a like in Vegas!

Elopement in the modern sense means as a couple traveling somewhere to legally get married. Typically alone, however it is becoming more common for elopements to contain small and intimate family members to witness the elopement wedding ceremony.

In short, elopements are, quick, simple, informal and crazy romanic!

Is eloping the same as getting married?

Yes. In a word. Yes.

Elopement is not a naughty or rude word. In fact, in 2017 I wrote “Elopement Isnt a dirty Word”.

“Elopement isn’t a dirty word. The result of an elopement is the same as a traditional wedding. Marriage, Vows and the Verb, Love. You both still end up yelling “WHAT?!” from different sides of the house, you still spend 20 minutes deciding what to have for lunch because you both “Don’t mind” and you’ll still both wind each other up every now and then… and probably deliberately too.”

How do you do an elopement?

Elopements sound great hey? But like, How do you… do an elopement? Well very similar to a full on wedding in short, but with less wedding planning and worrying about who is going to sit next to who at the reception and if uncle Jeff is going to say something stupid and start a huge family fight.

  • Decide the Vibe of your small wedding.

First of all, as a couple decide the vibe of your ideal elopement wedding. Where in the world would you like to go? Are you going to have a destination wedding abroad or stay in the UK? Visit the incredible Lake District or head to the Scottish highlands or what about wales? The UK has so many options as does the world. Try and decide what you’re after as a starting point and go from there!

Do you want to tie the knot in a location that is meaningful to you and your partner or would you rather find a place that is simply beautiful? Do you want to elope indoors or outdoors? What time of day do you want to get married? What day of the week? Will you have decorations at the ceremony? Is there room for guests?

Are you ok with other people that aren’t your guests being around you, like in a public park or city square? If you know you want to get married near water, do you picture your ceremony by calm water, like a lake, or moving like a river, waterfall, or the ocean? Will the adventure to your ceremony location be part of the adventure, like hiking to the top of a canyon or a remote mountain peak?

The beauty of elopements is that you can almost do anything! Its worth a note that in the UK its only Scotland where you can legally get married outside in the middle of nowhere. Everywhere else (for now but i hope the law changes) needs the wedding ceremony to happen in a licensed venue for weddings.

  • Determine a Budget.

Yawn. Sadly like with everything. Budgets are important when planning how you and your partner are going to elope. One huge plus side however of an elopement is that without having to pay for catering, huge venues and all the other add-ons a wedding has you will probably be saving money in the long run.

Sit down together and decide what you wish to prioritise for when you elope. Its boring but in the long run useful and will help you manage the expenses of planning your elopement. Things that are higher up the list (like youre elopement photographer I hope) you can spend more on than the lower down items on your list and you can budget accordingly.

  • Decide What suppliers you need?

This ties in with the budgeting and planning of your elopement. In short, who and where do you need help in your elopement? Do you need a photographer? You will need someone to officiate the wedding. Do you need hair and make up suppliers? or are you doing it yourself? Maybe you’re eloping in winter? do you need a lighting team to set up the most incredible ceremony in a forest? Are you picking your own flowers or would you like a florist to make you a wedding bouquet and button hole? Its all crazy ideas are a go! its an elopement! Do what you want!

  • Choose Suppliers with Intention.

Its your elopement, its your wedding day! You’re eloping for the freedom to do as you wish. I personally find it very important to gel with suppliers who have the same intentions and heart about elopements as you as a couple do.

A lot of venues in the Lake District do ‘Just Us’ weddings, simple and gorgeous elopement packages, typically with the venues wedding planner! These can include some suppliers so do make sure you check out who they are and that you like their work. Again if the supplier who is arranged with the venue and they’re low on the priority list, feel free to use them and save yourself some stress. If you would like to use someone different then talk to the venue about this! We all jsut want you to have the most amazing eloping wedding possible and im sure we will all work with you to make this happen. I sure know that I do with my couples who have eloped.

  • Make It Official

Now this is a biggie!

Your wedding, elopement, marriage needs to be legit. I know it sounds daft but its something that can be overlooked when we get into the whirlwind of planning a romantic intimate wedding.

Its such a big topic, I wrote an entire blog post just about it so why not check out this blog about The Legalities of Eloping in the UK

  • Think About Attire

Its important to think about your wedding outfits, from your wedding dresses to suits. Its not uncommon for a change of clothes if you’re going to hike up a lake district fell. A change of shoes usually happens before an adventure into the national parks but its something to think about. how does your outfits work with your elopement plans?

If you’re getting adventurous, have a think about if you’re ok for it to get muddy or potentially wrecked depending on where we go for photos and what you plan to do!

  • Share The Happy News with Family and Friends

Lastly, how do you plan on telling everyone? Its quite common for my couples to post the blog I have created for their elopement onto their social media and jsut let everyone knwo that way. Others throw a big party later on and pretend it has a different meaning then enter in a wedding dress or suits! People quickly catch on! but its worth thinking about and budgeting for.

Is eloping selfish?

It depends on your viewpoint really. but my answer might not be what you’re expecting…

I personally belive that eloping is selfish. But theres nothing wrong about that. A big traditional wedding isn’t necessarily about the couple, its sometimes about the guests, your friends and family. Its about politics and its about family traditions. You get pulled and pushed around everyone while never finishing a drink and yet never buying one either! Traditional weddings are incredible, I flippin adore them, but they are exhausting!

At the end of the day, how you get married to me isn’t important, its the marriage that is, after all the wedding ceremony in whatever form that takes is simply the start of a marriage. So why not start the marriage how you plan to live your life? With intimacy and adventure? With meaning and pleasure in the simple things of life?

Being selfish and planing to elope is perfect. It gives you direction, simplicity, and its all about you and your love for each other without random drunk work friends and family embarrassing themselves.

Traditional weddings are not for everyone… and that in my book is perfectly more than fine!

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