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Have you spent the past 3 months in lockdown, had to cancel or postpone all of your wedding plans due to COVID-19, and now you’re wondering how long will it be before everything goes back to normal? 

You may have always wanted to elope, or perhaps you are considering it now for the first time – because you don’t think you will be allowed to have a big wedding any time soon. Whichever category you fit in this article was put together for you! 

As a wedding photographer, I strive to provide the best service to my clients and this means going above and beyond merely taking pictures. These are difficult times for every engaged couple and if I can help you make a decision, or even just give you some useful insight, I won’t think twice. 

This is why I decided to interview 5 very different couples who kindly offered to share with us their elopement experiences and the decision-making process that led them to choose an elopement over a traditional wedding. 

Are you ready to find some answers to your burning questions? Let’s dive right in. 

Emma & Christian 

Emma and Christian, from the UK, picked one of the most amazing destinations for their elopement: the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia. 

Photo credit: Ash Holdsworth

What affected your decision? – “Firstly,  our love for Bali and travelling. Secondly, the desire to avoid family disagreements. A large traditional British wedding wasn’t of interest to us and in all honesty, we couldn’t be bothered organising it!” 

Personal considerations – “Our elopement was exactly what we wanted, quiet, sunshine guaranteed, and very intimate”. 

Do you believe elopements will become an increasingly valid alternative to traditional weddings in a post COVID-19 scenario? – “Yes, I think there may be a slight increase in eloping due to people wishing to avoid large crowds and gatherings and to avoid the disappointment of guests not attending due to their own personal concerns of large gatherings. However, I think that many people will still plan large traditional weddings if that is what they really want”. 

Emma & Christian’s advice to other couples – “We would highly recommend it. It was such a wonderful occasion for us and we wouldn’t have done it any other way. Plus, we saved a small fortune!” 

Aneliesa & Gary 

Aneliesa & Gary, from the UK, are not married yet and have decided to remain in their home country, picking Hurley (Berkshire) as their elopement destination. 

What affected your decision? – “Our decision to elope came down to three main factors, not liking the lime light, keeping costs down and wanting something more casual.” 

Personal considerations – Aneliesa and Gary are mainly looking forward to “it just being us. Having our ceremony and then a nice meal and a few drinks.” 

Do you believe elopements will become an increasingly valid alternative to traditional weddings in a post COVID-19 scenario? – “I think so. Larger gatherings won’t be allowed for some time so I think couples who just want to be married will go and do just that”. 

Aneliesa & Gary’s advice to other couples – “For us it’s about marriage and not the wedding. But I think it’s a personal choice”. 

Maggie & Thomas 

Maggie & Thomas, from the USA but resident in the UK, have a unique story to share about their marriage which could inspire those of you who feel the most undecided. 

What affected your decision? – “We actually had a traditional wedding in Lake Placid, New York, but we had a styled elopement photoshoot prior to our wedding with our photographer (Whitney from Mountainaire Gatherings). I had always wanted to elope, but my husband comes from a very traditional family and eloping was out of the question for him. I really wanted some ‘wild’ and gorgeous elopement photos though (and wanted some with our dog Wilson, who would not be attending our wedding), so Whitney gamely suggested that we have a styled elopement shoot in the Lake District, which is one of our favourite spots here in the UK”. 

Personal considerations – ” Our photographer flew over to Sheffield, where we’ve both been living as expats for the past 5 years, a few months before our wedding and we all had some fun shooting engagement photos in our favourite spots around town. Our styled elopement in the Lake District was incredible – we were the only ones out at Winnats Pass that evening in May, and it genuinely felt like we were having a special ‘pre-wedding’ celebration with just the two of us. It was a win-win situation for us, because I got to enjoy the wild and care-free feel of an elopement (with the stunning photos as evidence!), but we still had our wedding with friends and family back in America”. 

Do you believe elopements will become an increasingly valid alternative to traditional weddings in a post COVID-19 scenario? – “Absolutely. I think it will be difficult for many couples to wait another year or two to officially get hitched. I could definitely see couples opting for elopements whilst lockdown restrictions are still in place, but then saving the big wedding celebration with friends and family for a time when it’s safe to do so again. I see it as a win-win – couples get to have the wild, carefree yet intimate experience afforded by an elopement, but also get to celebrate with family and friends later on”. 

Maggie & Thomas’ advice to other couples – “You do you. Elopements aren’t for everyone, but neither are conventional weddings. There’s no prescription for how you’re supposed to get married. My husband and I come from very different families and had wildly different opinions about how our wedding day should play out. Fortunately, we were able to compromise, and legitimately had the best of both worlds. I loved our styled elopement experience, but I’m also glad we celebrated with our friends and families with our ‘real’ wedding a few months later. There’s no right or wrong way to do things, but do make sure you stay true to yourselves and don’t try to force your day into any specific box to make anyone but yourselves happy.” 

Joe & Elizabeth 

Joe & Elizabeth, from the UK, couldn’t get married due to COVID-19 but are still planning to elope in the wonderful Isle of Skye in Scotland. 

What affected your decision? -“We are both outdoorsy, prefer ceremonies with less formalities and tradition and most of all we want it to be more about us, not pleasing others and ultimately doing what we want. Plus, it’s cheaper. 

Personal considerations – “We both love the outdoors and the loch is a beautiful place. We would also have a mini adventure on the Isle of Skye in our camper van”. 

Do you believe elopements will become an increasingly valid alternative to traditional weddings in a post COVID-19 scenario? – “Elopement does allow for easier social distancing and less people in one enclosed space; however, I feel most people want a traditional wedding and so wouldn’t be swayed. I think eloping requires certain desires/circumstances from a couple that fit outside the social norm, weddings are extremely traditional and family oriented”. 

Joe & Elizabeth’s advice to other couples – “You can get married in so many beautiful and special places so it should be considered. Especially if you are not religious, which must be the norm these days or on the increase at least. You can have a party afterwards with family and friends and have the formal/traditional bits then. So, you celebrate twice and have a mini getaway together for the elopement”. 

Hannah & John 

Hannah and John, from the UK, got married in Japan, which is also where they currently live. 

Photo credit: Paul Gilmore

What affected your decision? – “We wanted to get married as soon as possible! That really is the main reason! Others included – it was cheaper than legally marrying in the UK and also the COVID-19 situation made us worried about future travel”. 

Personal considerations – For Hannah and her husband the decision to elope came down to one simple reason: “it just being the two of us!”. 

Do you believe elopements will become an increasingly valid alternative to traditional weddings in a post COVID-19 scenario? – “I think so. It’s actually quite nice in a way because you remember that at the heart of it all, being married to each other is the most important bit”. 

Hannah’s advice to other couples – At the end of the day it’s about what marriage means to you: “It’s your wedding – do what you want!”. 

Conclusions

There is no doubt that this is a personal choice and you should weigh all options and pick the one that will turn your wedding day into a true representation of what love and life mean to you and your partner. 

That said, the COVID-19 pandemic may not make this possible for a long time and in all this uncertainty you should evaluate how long you are willing to wait and whether getting married matters as much as the ceremony itself. 

Ultimately, if a big wedding that all your family members and friends can attend is very important to you, you should wait. Yes, you may need to wait a long time – maybe a year or two? Nobody knows for sure at the moment – but it will be possible if you are patient. 

If you and your fiancé realised that getting married and being together is all that matters, then you should seriously consider an intimate ceremony or elopement. Opting for an elopement, due to few attendees – or just the two of you – and the possibility of an outdoor setting, will likely allow you to get married as soon as lockdown is lifted. 

If you decide to elope and hire a photographer, you can also take home some pretty spectacular images, especially if you pick one of the UK’s many beautiful beaches on the coast, or a national park like Snowdonia, the Peak District, Lake District or one of the many stunning locations in Scotland. 

Finally, remember that you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two! Like Maggie and Thomas, you can opt to get married the traditional way but still have an ‘elopement’ styled shoot to satisfy your thirst for those beautiful and unique images. Regardless of your decision, I wish you best of luck with your wedding planning and please don’t hesitate to use the contact form on this website for your enquiries. 

We are all in this together! 

Sarah

Comments

This is such a refreshing take, I love that you incorporated the opinions of real couples who eloped and why it was a great choice 🙂

Great post about why couples should elope! Super helpful to have the couples’ perspective too. Thanks for this!

The best thing of this post is that your are reading real opinion NOT OUR opinion. This is SUCH A GREAT INFO for couple who want to elope!

Yessss! I love this so much! So freakin cool to see the real opinions of couples. 🙂

So cool to have quotes from the couples. Getting their mindset is uber-important for new clients. Kudos on the drone ocean image!

I love that you included your clients insight and experience on eloping !!! Beautiful cover image. I would def elope if I had to do it over again.

It is really important to hear the opinion of people who eloped! I think it is great to have an elopement, instead of a big traditional stressful wedding, but I cannot be sure until I do it myself! I love the fact that nobody really regret the decision to have an intimate wedding.

Hopefully after reading this a lot of people who were interested in eloping will book you! Great read

This is so helpful! Really great insight into the benefits of eloping, how awesome it can why and why to choose an elopement over a traditional wedding. Plus, AMAZING images! Really in love with the drone shot of the couple in the sea!

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