One of the first decisions you will make after saying "YES" is whether to elope or have a traditional wedding. It can be difficult to know which direction you would like to take your day. Though, I am biased & love elopements, I truly understand they are not for everyone. Just like big weddings are not for everyone either. I'm not here to convince everyone that eloping is the only way or best way. For some people, it isn't. I'm here to tell you that there is another way to get married. You have options.

Most people grow up under the belief that there is only one way to get married. A giant venue, with everyone you know, spending the night celebrating with everyone, circling the room to say hello to people you don't really know including your dad's cousin's wife who will excitedly come up to you and ask if you remember them from the one time you met when you were 5. But that's not the case. Elopements are an option & they're not just for people who get drunk one night in Vegas.

So what is an elopement? The way we define elopements is changing. We are redefining the word elope - even Websters Dictionary has gotten on board and changed their definition of the word.

Elopements are about choosing to create a day that focuses on what matters most, getting married to the love of your life. Your wedding day should reflect you as a couple & eloping allows for just that. You throw the rule book out when you choose to elope. You get to create a custom day centered around the two of you & choose which traditions to discard or keep. Elopements shift from being a production for guests--normally what happens when having a large wedding--to celebrating your love in a way that is authentic to you.

There seems to be tons of misconceptions about what constitutes an elopement. First, let me tell you what an elopement is not.

  • It is not selfish
  • It is not a cheap replication of a wedding
  • It is not a shotgun wedding
  • It is not planned in a week
  • It is not any less special than a traditional large wedding
  • It does not have to be just the two of you

The best part about eloping is that there are no rules. You get to make them. You get to do what you want and what makes you happy on your wedding day. Want to invite your family and friends? Do it. You want to have an epic experience with your partner? Do it. You want a private chef for an unforgettable private meal? Do it.

An elopement is meant to be a true reflection of you and your relationship. An elopement is creating an adventurous experience you will never forget.

There are some pros and cons to both traditional weddings and elopements, so I always advise couples to sit down and take some time together to decide what is most important to them on their wedding day. Knowing what is important to both of you will help you make a decision on whether to elope or have a traditional wedding.

To help you get started, I have included some questions to think about below!

Questions to Ask When Considering an Elopement

Where do you see yourself getting married?

Location plays a big part in your wedding day as it sets the mood for the day and determines what activities you can experience. Maybe it's a place that holds a special place in your heart. The place you got engaged? The place you first met? The place you had a special trip together to?

Or maybe it's a place you've never been to before but you've dreamed of visiting one day. Alyssa and Jake decided to elope in Moab as they have traveled all over the country together, completing hikes, but have not been to the southwest yet! They decided to have the ultimate adventure and say their vows among the red rocks of Utah.

Or maybe, just maybe, your elopement is somewhere totally unreal and you're not even sure if this place truly exists. Some couples have no idea where they would like to elope when hopping on the phone with me, but after hearing ideas and seeing photos of what is possible, they are awe inspired at certain locations.

No matter what you envision, know that anything is possible and as a destination elopement photographer, I cannot wait to help you plan your dream elopement no matter where it takes place!

Who do you see standing there witnessing your vows?

Who to invite to your wedding or elopement can also be a big decision. Some couples choose to elope just the two of them, while others choose to invite family and friends to the celebration. No matter who you choose to invite or not invite is totally up to you. Don't let anyone else pressure you into planning a day you aren't truly 1000% excited about. This is your day and I always say you should only include those people whom you love and who love you back.

If you're torn on whether to invite guests or have a private elopement, why not consider doing both? Sometimes couples choose to invite guests to their elopement, but they also set aside time to share their vows in private. You can also extend the celebration into two days--one day with those you have invited and one day just for the two of you!! Other couples have even ventured to do the elopement on their own, but then came back home afterwards and had a small after party with those they wanted to celebrate with.

Your elopement can and should be everything you want, so feel free to get creative and come up with ideas that fit your vision for the day! And, if you need help, I'm more than happy to help provide suggestions during the planning process.

What else do you do on that day?

Some of the most fun parties of planning an elopement are choosing what you want to do on the big day. Do you want to go boating on a lake or hiking in the mountains? Do you want to ride a helicopter or a hot air balloon? How about hiring a private chef for an epic dinner or an intimate hot tub session at the cabin? Share your first dance over cozy campfire light or on top of an epic mountain?

There are so many fun things to include on your elopement day and the best part about planning your elopement is you get to include details and aspects that are important to you and your relationship.

I hope this has given you some insight and helped you figure out how you would like to commit your lives to one another. If you have decided eloping is for you, I am so incredibly stoked for you!! In my opinion, elopements are the best way to get married, as the focus is truly on who you are as a couple. I would love to help you plan your dream day.


Sally Grieshaber