What is an elopement?

22 June 2020

If he wedding in its traditional form (i.e. a venue, guests, a ceremony and a party) is well known, there is another way of getting married and exchanging vows which is gaining popularity in France the last years: elopement.

Before entering directly into the definition of an elopement, we need a little bit of context.

In the U.S.A, it is possible to get married anywhere and make the union legal by signing the papers which are then transmitted to the authorities.

In France, the only way for a marriage to be legal is to live in the country for at least 40 days and go through the civil ceremony in a town hall. Let’s be honest, the civil ceremony often seems a bit short, and is not intended to be very glamorous.

If the religious ceremony is there to bring the more spiritual note that is lacking in the civil… it is not suitable for all. This is how we saw secular ceremonies happen a few years ago. More personal ceremonies that allow couples and loved ones to express themselves in their own words.

This is for the wedding in the common idea.

So what is an elopement? What is the difference with a wedding?

For those who don’t find themselves in the classic form of wedding either, who don’t want a day ith many guests, or who prefer to exchange their vows out of sight: there is therefore the elopement.

Literally, to elope means to “run away”. If for some, the idea of fleeing their families can totally be a motivation to choose this type of wedding, I like to think about a romantic fly away.

| The idea is simple: exchange vows witout any guest (or with a very small group: less than 10 people, bride and groom included) |

The elopement, like the secular ceremony, has no legal value. It simply allows couples who wish to put their words on their engagement.

How is it going?

With the idea of being able to exchange vows when and how you want, the idea of run away came, literally. Instead of organizing a wedding for one day, the couple organizes a weekend, or a trip, more or less far from home during which a day will be devoted to their union.

You might take advantage of it to choose a place that makes sense, or that you dreamed of discovering.

The magic thing about eloping is that no code is attached to it, and there will be nobody questionning your choices with a “but it is a wedding”. The couple can get married 5 minutes from their home, 5 hours, or during a 5 day trip to the other side of the world… The bride can decide to wear a wedding dress, or any other outfit that she likes… The ceremony can be done in a forest, a secret beach, or at the top of a mountain after a hike… The only limits are the couple’s desires.

Elopement does not necessarily mean “quick stuff”. While some will opt for this way, others will have the choice of organizing things a little more, and even of getting help.

Choice of spots, ceremony arch, bouquet, pretty table decorated for two… Details which are added to make the moment even more unique, and which can be managed by the couple, or by a wedding planner . It is not uncommon for the photographer to also help finding a location or on timing issues.

In a next article I will tell you about what we have put in place to help couples organize their elopement.

Which brings us to the budget question.

If eloping can be a way to reduce the wedding budget, it’s not always a cheap solution.

The budget is simply distributed differently.
What had to go in the reservation of a venue, a caterer, a dj, or the rentals… Will go in booking an accommodation for a few days or several weeks, tickets planes, activities to do… It’s like wedding and honeymoon were happening at the same time.

On the side of photographer and videographer, it is the common element with an usual wedding day. In any case, couples want to capture the moment: preparations, ceremony, couple session, activities…

Personally, we have captured several types of elopements: from one day to several days, in France or abroad. It depends on what the couple wishes to keep as a souvenir of their adventure.

Like a wedding day, the most important is to tell the couple story.

To sum up, an elopement is :

  • get married, just the couple (or max 10 people)
  • anywhere, near or far from home
  • no code to respect, you do you
  • Some exemples to see:
  • – Kenzie & Jo in Morocco: Few days in the Sahara desert, two ceremonies with two completely different styles. Part 1 & Part 2

Aida & Ismael in South of Spain. A day in the Tabernas desert, in a western movie set.

Shy & Rafa in Hawaii: a week with their families, between adventure and cultural activities.

Emily & Mitch in Iceland: a day under the rain, and a cereomny in front of a cute icelandic chapel.

Martha & Juan in Barcelona: a day in the city in an old yellow beetle car.

And much more to dicover on blogs like JuneBug Weddings


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