Modern Day Elopements


Elopements are no longer confined to teenage members of the family who sneak off on a whim to a Las Vegas chapel before Mom and Dad find out and try to stop them. And often, destination or away-from home weddings today are what your elders called eloping back in their day. In fact, elopements are now used to describe many different kinds of small weddings — both spontaneous and pre-planned. "Now it's not so much about whom you marry, as how you get married," says Lynn Beahan and Scott Shaw, in their book Let's Elope: The Definitive Guide to Eloping, Destination Weddings, and Other Creative Wedding Options. They describe a whole class of "hybrid elopements” — distinguished by a simple, intimate ceremony and a small guest list.

There are a myriad of reasons why a couple may decide to forego a traditional wedding and elope. It may be to save money, religious preferences, to avoid awkward situations with relatives, a second marriage, or simply because the couple cannot for-see putting forth the enormous expense that goes into hosting a traditional wedding and reception. Whatever the reason, If the thought of eloping sounds liberating and you get excited just by the mere notion of it, then consider our tips to eloping in style and see first hand how these Chicagoland couples did it as well.

I. Follow your dreams. By opting to elope you have really taken complete control of your own destiny and should feel free to do whatever you want. A weekend in Vegas topped off with a trip to the wedding chapel, a quiet ceremony on a beautiful beach someplace, or even just a quick trip to the local courthouse, your only limits are time and budget. In addition, you are likely saving yourself a great deal of money by foregoing the big planned wedding so a myriad of options are likely to open up to you that you otherwise may not have been able to afford, especially when it comes to the destination you plan to run off to. Often couples even invite siblings and close friends and may even vacation with them after the ceremony. Others invite the parents from each side. If you want, you can even ask a small group of your nearest and dearest to join you and celebrate with a dinner afterward. You may even want to vacation together for a few days before or after the nuptials take place.

II. Eloping is understandable but not always to our closest friends and family-members who may have their own defined image of a traditional wedding day where everyone comes together to celebrate your nuptials. In addition, the somewhat dated definition of "elopement" only implies that it is a secret to be kept from everyone until after the ceremony and that notion could make some people feel slighted. Although you should not feel the need to defend your choice in eloping, nowadays, prior to the event you may want to inform your parents, siblings, or anyone else whose blessing is especially important. Talking about it may also aid in extinguishing any unnecessary or inaccurate notions anyone could start thinking as to your intentions for eloping.

III. Don’t forget to research the legalities of the area you plan to be wed. Wherever you choose to get married you are going to need a marriage license and the services of an officiant with the proper credentials. You will also possibly need a witness. These are all details you need to work out in advance to avoid the disappointment of finding out on the Big Day that you can't get married after all.

IV. Do plan a celebration for family and friends at a later date. A post elopement party is a popular choice among those who choose to elope, and for good reason. Just because you did not invite hordes of people to a traditional wedding does not mean you don't want them to share in your happiness, and such a celebration is a great way to have a little bit of the best of both worlds. It does not have to be anything too fancy or expensive; a simple dinner at a great local restaurant will suffice. Alternately, you could wait a while, save up a little money and then treat everyone to a big party where the emphasis is on fun and not on following strict etiquette or wedding 'rules'. You also can send engagement or post wedding announcements, participate in any of the traditional festivities surrounding a wedding you choose, and host a simple party instead of a formal reception.