Elopement weddings in the UK and abroad were traditionally rebellious acts, secret marriages between forbidden lovers, but now that they’re less about secrecy and more about surroundings, they’ve taken on a whole different meaning. After all, what speaks your truth more than marrying just the two of you, the way you always wanted it to be?
As an elopement wedding photographer, I obviously absolutely adore them, and am so happy to see that they’re becoming more and more popular. So why elope in the UK or at all? Well there’s a myriad of reasons why – logistically, financially, familially, just to name a few bigguns – but I don’t think any of them are as important as simply how elopement weddings feel. The true heart of elopements is an incredible, intangible quality that makes everything seem so rosy and romantic and glorious, a feeling you’ll truly treasure forever (as much of a cliche as that may be). For this reason, it’s a quality that’s quite hard to describe in words but I’m here to give it a go…don’t ever say I don’t treat you!
Elopements give you an epic sense of adventure
The thrill of a forbidden, secret marriage may not be there for most elopees any more, but that doesn’t mean the sense of freedom and adventure that went with it is lost too. With less guests and less people to have to accommodate, you can elope somewhere genuinely far-flung and adventurous – why not hike up a mountainside in a different country for your wedding ceremony? Why the hell not? I can’t hear any objections…
They allow you to get married in some magical locations
Elopements can, by definition, be anywhere. However, more often than not, elopement weddings in the UK are held with a pretty epic location as the backdrop (especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where outdoors ceremonies are legal! C’mon England and Wales, sort it out…) Sure, part of the excitement of elopements comes from the fact that you can run away anywhere, but you might as well go somewhere worth running to. Whether that’s atop a hill, in a glen, a secluded beach cove or a river – the electricity of being in such incredible surroundings is pretty undeniable. And that’s without even mentioning how they look in photos – which is, as you may have expected, pretty unbelievable.
They’re an intimate setup
Whether it’s just the two of you or you’ve got a select small crew in tow, elopements are beautifully intimate. Smaller (or non-existent) guestlists mean that you don’t have a big, distracting, beady-eyed audience, who inevitably come with (well-meaning!) pressure; instead, you can be fully focused on the moment and allow yourself to totally commit. It can also help you feel closely connected to your surroundings, helping you feel wholly present and at one with your location.
Weirdly, big, expansive surroundings actually help with those feelings of cosy, safe intimacy too; seeing things stretching out so far out in front of you reminds you all the more that you’re a tiny, tightknit unit – just the two of you, and that’s all you need.
You get the opportunity to really do your wedding your way
Without any external expectations or constraints, elopements leave you totally free to do what you want to do. Whatever you want to wear, whatever you want to eat, however you want to mark the occasion – the world is your oyster and you two are its shiny eloping pearl. Though I’m not saying elopement weddings in the UK are necessarily a super cheap option, the simple fact that you’re not buying 50+ of everything also helps your money stretch further. This allows you to potentially travel further, for longer, and really make the most of it. A lot of people use their elopement as the first leg of the trip of a lifetime; a long, luxurious honeymoon; or, simply the first part of a huge adventure. If you’re thinking of heading beyond the UK then take a look at my wedding destinations in Europe post for some ideas.
Given that travelling to far flung places is pretty restricted at the moment, then maybe you’re in the throws of planning a micro wedding for an intimate celebration…if so then check out my micro wedding guide.
Are you planning on eloping or having a micro wedding and need a photographer? I know a guy…it’s me. Feel free to drop me a message. I’d love to hear your plans!