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What is an elopement?

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Elopement in Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

The stigma that running off to get married is shameful, secretive + unrefined is OUTDATED YO. Eloping has been viewed as a quick solution to an unplanned pregnancy or that your family doesn’t approve of the marriage. Thankfully modern day views have changed the outlook on eloping. The idea that you’re not married without a wedding is that of the past.

Eloping means you skip the traditional large wedding and opt for a small + intimate ceremony. It doesn’t necessarily mean you run away with your spouse without telling anyone. It’s a fun opportunity to choose a location that means something to both of you and to plan your day in a matter of weeks/months versus of months/years.

One of the most popular reasons for eloping is intentionality. Wedding culture has trained us to believe that weddings should be based on guest entertainment. While there is beauty in celebrating with a venue full of people, it’s easy to completely lose sight of the core of a wedding. Which should obviously be you, the couple. Eloping allows you to forget the rules and to be intentional about focusing on eachother.

Some choose to elope minimally with only a witness, officiant + photographer. Others invite close friends + family to join their ceremony. You have the freedom to make it yours. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean sloppy either. You can choose to invest time + resources into the same details you would include at a wedding, just on a much smaller scale.

Last but not least, time. We’ve all heard it, money is renewable but time is not. More than choosing simple, eloping is about the experience + time together. It’s your wedding day for crying out loud, who wants to spend it talking to second cousin Eddie on mom’s side. Lol. You have the freedom to plan an entire day around what sets your souls on fire. For example, hiking. Get up for sunrise, hike to the summit to exchange vows, spend the day enjoying time together or with friends/family and then end the day with a golden hour session in the mountains. You’ll never be able to live this day over again, make it unforgettable. Be present.

Many national parks allow ceremonies. What better romantic opportunity than to exchange vows in front of mountains that have stood the test of time for thousands of years?

Small town courthouse, hotel rooftop in a blizzard, mountaintop, Badlands, Tetons, old white church, ranch pasture, I’ve seen so many varieties of elopements with the same heart at the center. I would recommend the small + intimate approach to anyone!

If you’re contemplating eloping, remember these things:

1. Eloping isn’t selfish, you have the right to make the decisions about your own wedding day.

2. You will have beautiful photos. A breathtaking gallery doesn’t require a venue, floral pieces + table settings. You are the center of these images. Intimacy + intentionality make the best photographs.

3. If you’re recently engaged + already stressed about the planning, take a step back + think about what feels right to you. You have permission to choose the wedding day of your dreams!

just my 2 cents

xo rylee


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