What Does it Mean to Elope These Days | JayneMayAgnes Photography
Eloping Couple climbs up a rock in Colorado by a lake

What does it mean to elope?

Planning Resources

Elopements have become a popular option for many couples looking to ditch the expensive wedding venue and stressful planning process. But what does it mean to elope? 

Eloping opens up a world full of possible locations to say “I Do”. You can plan the perfect day to honor your love and have the freedom to spend time with you partner, just the two of you. 

Whether you’re on the fence about eloping or planning your elopement, I’m sharing how to make the day all your own, no matter what you have in mind. 

Enjoy,


Is an Elopement Right for You? 

Planning a wedding day can be stressful, especially when you factor in all the judgement (well-meaning or not) and the long to-do list. Admit it: it’s exhausting just thinking about picking out all your vendors, figuring out the seating charts and coordinating all the day’s events. 

You can still plan your perfect wedding day without the big wedding. You can still honor your love and your relationship outside of what many would consider a traditional wedding experience. Elopements are a popular way for couples to tie the knot their way, and it’s my job to help you plan the perfect, adventurous day for just you two.


What does it mean to elope?

Elopements are all about freedom. They are about celebrating your love and your relationship in your own unique way, without fear of judgement or overwhelming stress and worry. Many couples come to me knowing they want to elope and other couples write to me asking for advice about elopements. It can be hard figuring out whether an elopement works for you as a couple.



Consider these questions when deciding whether it’s the right option for you both: 

  • Do you want a more intimate ceremony, or is a big ceremony with everyone important to you? 
  • Is a big guest list important to you? Many couples struggle with not having certain guests there on their wedding day, but nowadays, elopements don’t have to be just the two of you. I’ll explain more below. 
  • What types of activities do you love to do as a couple, and do you want to do them on your wedding day? Elopements aren’t just about getting married alone — many couples craft their elopement around their favorite hobbies or experiences, like hiking, rock climbing or exploring a new country together.
  • How do you want to honor your love? Elopements are all about your love, your way. Don’t be afraid to make your wedding day exactly what you want it to be.


Many couples will ask me: what does it mean to elope? Nowadays, an elopement is anything you want it to be. Let go of the stress and the anxiety of planning a big wedding and embrace your adventurous side. 

By doing exactly what you want, you will feel free to be your truest self, alive in the deepest sense of the word.


How Does an Elopement Actually Work? 

Let’s face it: elopements nowadays are so different from elopements 20 years ago. Traditionally, an elopement is when a couple runs away and gets married together — seeking the approval of their family much later. Elopements come with a lot of negative connotations, too – but nowadays, times have changed, and elopmenets don’t have to bring any judgement.  

Whether you’re exploring your options or whether you’re certain an elopement is right for you, it’s important to understand the logistics of how an elopement actually works.

Just because you’re eloping does NOT mean you have to forget about some of the most beautiful and heartfelt wedding traditions. Writing your own vows or toasting your love isn’t just for big wedding days, after all! 

Many elopements loosely follow a traditional wedding schedule, and many couples include the elements of a traditional wedding that speak to them in their elopement. It may seem a bit difficult to figure out, but I’m going to guide you through the whole process, start to finish, and make sure your day is the perfect fit for both of you. 



No matter if you’re backpacking to the top of a mountain or horseback riding on the beach, when you visualize your elopement, think about these factors and special moments for your big day: 

  • THE GUEST LIST Modern-day elopements DON’T have to include just you and your significant other. You can have a small wedding party, or include your parents, or bring along loved ones or your beloved pets. It’s important to invite the people that will honor your love and not cause additional stress. 
  • VOWS My couples love writing their own vows, and it’s an important part of their elopement. Vows aren’t exclusive to traditional church weddings, you can say vows no matter where you elope!
  • WALK DOWN THE AISLE The aisle isn’t just a church – it can be anywhere you want. From a mountain top trail to a secluded meadow to a cliffside beach look-out, you can pick your perfect “aisle.”
  • FIRST LOOK If you two want to have a first look prior to the ceremony, you can still have that special moment no matter the location.
  • TRADITIONS It’s YOUR day, so feel free to incorporate your own cultural, family or religious traditions into your ceremony. 
  • FIRST DANCE No dance floor? No problem. I’ve helped organize first dances for couples on mountaintops, on beaches and beyond. Nature is the best backdrop for your first dance as a married couple. 


I can help plan out the specific logistics of the elopement and make sure the day works out exactly as you want it to. For example, if you plan to backpack to your elopement location, I have plenty of experience working through some practical tips for my couples, from picking the right flowers to getting your hair camera-ready in the wilderness. 

What does it mean to elope, if not embracing all the wonderful parts that feel genuine and authentic to you as a couple. An elopement is an incredible, intentional and intimate way to begin a lifetime of adventures together as a couple!


Where Can You Elope? 

Your wedding should be as adventurous and fun as you are! When it comes to picking the perfect place to elope, the world is literally your oyster. 

One of the most common struggles when it comes to a big wedding is the venue and the location. It can be hard to find that perfect place that speaks to your love, your sense of adventure and your personalities – while also fitting other requirements. Will your venue fit your guests? How will you decorate the place to fit your personalities? And HOW much does it cost?! 

Throw out the rulebook and the big expenses and opt to spend part of that money on what really matters to you as a couple: starting your life together with a grand adventure. 

It’s true that you can choose to elope nearly anywhere. But there are a few things we have to be aware of before planning your perfect elopement. For example, we can’t trespass on private property, and we may need to obtain some permits for certain areas. But aside from these considerations, you can pick LITERALLY anywhere you want. 

Still feeling overwhelmed? Start by making a list of some locations and environments around the world that you love or that hold a deep meaning to you as a couple. There’s no place too big, too small or too adventurous for your big day. 

If you want to helicopter to the top of a mountain peak and say your vows in the middle of the beautiful wilderness, GO for it! Have you dreamed of doing a multi-day backpacking trip with some of your closest friends? I love backpacking, and I’m DOWN. Do you want to honor your love under the Northern Lights in Norway, or ride camels in Morocco? There is literally nothing stopping you from having the most amazing adventure for your special day. 


If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of the amazing ideas you can pick for your elopement:

  • Hike the Tour de Mont Blanc trail through Switzerland, Italy and France and say “I Do” with the beautiful mountain range as the backdrop. 
  • Spend a week driving Iceland’s Ring Road and pick one of the stunning spots as your place to vow your love to each other.
  • Climb the world’s highest dunes in Namibia and say your vows at the top.
  • Raft through the Grand Canyon, sleep under the stars and spend time just the two of you before your lifetime together. 


I’ve got plenty more ideas, too. What does it mean to elope if not living out some of your wildest dreams with the love of your life? 

That’s the best part about an elopement: you and your partner can honor your love, your way. An elopement takes away the expensive parts of a big wedding (like the venue! And catering!) and the restrictions around location possibilities and instead opens up the world as your playground. 

Wherever you decide to elope, just know that I’ll be there right alongside you capturing some incredible photos to share with your family and friends when you return.  


How Do You Elope? 

Eloping is a very personal decision, and you should treat it as such. It can be SO HARD to set aside other people’s opinions and pick the best option for your wedding day. 

But that’s the best part about your wedding day – it is entirely your own, and you should make decisions to feel connected to each other and feel alive, in the truest sense of the word. You have the freedom to make your own choices for your relationship. 

My couples come to me seeking a special way to say their vows and say “I Do,” and it’s my job to help you figure out all the details in between. It’s easy to get caught up in questions like, “How will the schedule look?” and “When will we say our vows?” or “Can I walk down an aisle?” 

What is an elopement if not the chance to craft your own wedding day exactly the way you want it. Here’s a breakdown of “how to elope” – and how it all works!

Many elopements follow a similar schedule to a traditional wedding day, believe it or not! Of course, the schedule will depend on any additional activities you may want to do throughout the day. 

You’ll wake up the morning of your wedding day and go to the spot where you’ll say your vows. The morning of your wedding day will depend on your location. 

Some couples will finish their multi-day hike to their wedding spot, while others will spend the morning getting ready at their cozy Airbnb before jumping in their Jeep and heading to the ceremony location. If you do plan to do a short or long hike to your wedding location, there are plenty of ways to get ready (and look fresh!). 

Whatever your wedding day looks like, remember, it’s a total plan-your-own-adventure experience! 

Once you’re at your wedding location, you’ll have time to get ready and put the finishing touches on your outfit before the ceremony begins. 

You’ll still be able to work certain wedding traditions into an elopement, too! You can choose whether you want to do a first look, write and read your own vows, or simply say “I Do.” Afterwards, you can have your first dance as a married couple and enjoy a picnic together.

If you have adventurous plans you want to include on your wedding day, you can do them the day before the wedding, the day after the wedding or even on the day of your wedding! 


At the end of the day, getting married is a huge commitment – and an EXCITING one!

Does an adventurous elopement sound like the perfect option for you? Or do you have a few more questions about the process? Whatever you need, feel free to reach out to me

I'm an outdoor obsessed elopement photographer based out of Oregon. I empower couples to plan a 'true to them' wedding day and document their story in a timeless and beautiful way. I travel worldwide for elopements and have a heart for protecting our beautiful land by following all Leave No Trace Principles in all my adventures. 

HI THERE, I'm JAYNE!

@jaynemayagnes

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