Between the expense and stress of planning a wedding and the ongoing pandemic, getting eloped can be very tempting.
Not for nothing is planning a wedding considered one of the top most stressful events people face in a lifetime.
There are friends and family members to appease and an organisational mountain to climb, stacked high with things like napkin colour choices, dress and suit fittings, table settings and much, much more.
Even if everything goes swimmingly – and you have the most low maintenance loved ones the world has ever seen – there’s still the sheer cost of it all.
Add that to the effects of the pandemic, with the multiple lockdowns and lingering restrictions of the last two years forcing many to reschedule or scale down on the plans for their dream day, and elopements start to look a lot more tempting all of a sudden.
Indeed, there appears to be something of an aftertaste to the lockdowns when it comes to planning weddings, with wedding experts Ginger Ray finding interest in micro-weddings and elopements has risen over the last two years.
Google searches for the term ‘elopement’ have risen 22%, from 14,800 to 18,100 searches per month, from September 2019 to now, and the hashtag #Elopement has over 126.8 million views on TikTok.
Jess Martin, wedding expert at Ginger Ray, says: ‘With the amount of postponing, re-planning and stress that has gone into pulling off a wedding over the last two years, I’m not surprised to see that elopements are on the rise; couples are simply desperate to marry their partners.
‘It’s very romantic, too. The idea of running away and marrying the love of your life on your own terms and with no added pressure of planning the big day.’
If you’re considering or planning an elopement, here are some tips on how to pull it off with aplomb…
Pick a venue that’s special to you
While we’re definitely not knocking it, not all elopements need to happen in a Vegas chapel.
‘Whether it’s a first date location, a first holiday destination, or just somewhere that has a lot of importance and meaning to the couple – these are the most common types of elopement locations,’ says Jess.
‘Think mountain tops, deserted beaches and forests – all locations with enough natural beauty to make up for the lack of guests, and really make the couple feel like they are the only two people in the world.’
When you think about it, the world is still your matrimonial oyster no matter how small your wedding is going to be.
Self-employed digital marketer Becca Collier-Cook, who recently eloped with husband Lewis in Niagara Falls, says: ‘We both have fairly big family rifts and wanted to avoid the inevitable drama.
‘We also love to travel. We’re big fans of the American version of The Office and wanted to recreate the Jim and Pam Niagara Falls elopement.
‘We’d seen it in the show and looked at if it was a real-life thing that you could do, and it was.
‘It only cost us £500 to actually have the wedding on the boat, so it was perfect for us.’
Opt for a photographer
If you have the money, you won’t regret forking out for a photographer to help you capture the memories of your wedding.
Jess says: ‘This is definitely one way to ensure you capture the day, so you can share the memories with others if you choose to.
‘And, weddings (no matter how big or small) tend to be over and done with in the blink of an eye – this way you make sure you have beautiful imagery from your big day that you’d want to hang up in the home you are planning to make with each other.’
Don’t forget the witnesses
Legally, you need at least two witnesses to marry no matter how big or small your wedding is.
This can be a great way to involve a couple of parents or a best friend each in your special day while still keeping it low-key.
Alternatively, if you want to keep your wedding to yourselves, Jess says there’s nothing saying you can’t have your photographer be witnesses, or pull a kindly stranger or two off the street.
Just because you’re shunning a traditional wedding doesn’t mean you need to leave out all the traditional elements.
The day is for you after all, so if you have the means and the motive, why not get the decorations out?
By cutting your guest list, you’re already saving money, but if you want to keep those purse strings tight, a couple of subtle decor choices can still make a big difference.
For example, if you’re getting married outside or in, an arch can really bring the wedding vibe no matter where you are.
You can pepper your venue with dried flowers, which can last a year (or years if they’re dyed), and move them to your home afterwards as a keepsake to remind you of your little big day.
Dried flowers will also make a great, long-lasting, and far more budget-friendly bouquet.
Make it up to your nearest and dearest with a big party
No matter how you feel about having your friends and loved ones at your wedding, it stands to reason that some people in your life will be pretty disappointed that they missed your big day.
Entrepreneur Chris Hutchings, who eloped with his wife a few years ago, says the promise of a big party helped appease their nearest and dearest.
‘Even so,’ he says, ‘friends and family still bring it up, three years later!’
Jess at Ginger Ray says: ‘For some, the idea of being the centre of attention and the focus for a whole day is just too much to bear, so having a wedding party without the wedding technicalities is a great compromise.
‘Friends and family tend to just want to be there to celebrate the couple, so eloping and then having a wedding party after the fact is one way to make it up to those who – for whatever reason – were not invited for the main event.’
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