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Ah! Eloping. The thought crosses every bride and groom’s mind. Sometimes it occurs in the early stages of engagement. Sometimes, it occurs much later — somewhere between choosing bridesmaids, twenty discussions over chicken and your grandma requesting an entire front row seat for her emotional support dog.
Where did this idea come from? This breaking-from-tradition concept can be traced back to the early 1300s, when it was defined as the act of a wife leaving her husband to run off with her lover. Then, later in the 1800s, it evolved into meaning lovers who run away to get married. Clearly, our modern understanding of eloping is most likely influenced by classic love stories of couples giving the middle finger to society in favor of romance.
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Today, however, eloping entails anything from small weddings of around 10 guests to tiny weddings of two very important guests to spontaneous weddings that happen on the fly. (Hello, Vegas.) It’s become so popular that, in the past few years, many services and wedding planning companies have opened businesses focusing on eloping alone.
We asked Claire Newall, founder of Elope to Sydney & The Hunter Valley, to tell us why she thinks some couples are preferring eloping to a grand ceremony. “I can honestly say the couples who have eloped with us have been the most in love people I have ever met. Having worked as a photographer and events manager for a number of years before starting Elope to Sydney & The Hunter Valley, I have experienced first hand how the real reason for the wedding can get lost in a big event. Couples who elope don’t need hundreds of witnesses to their union, or want the stress or monetary expense of a big day. They just want a beautiful, romantic day with the person they love the most!”
Yes, of course, there are drawbacks — like, not having a registry for presents (*many of you will probably stop reading this article at this point) and disappointing close friends and family. Still, for some, forgoing the norm for the likes of adventure and privacy is worth it...for many reasons...
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PLANNING? NO THANKS.
If you’ve watched The Wedding Planner a hundred times and fanaticized about solving problems whilst speaking quickly into a headset, then organizing a wedding is probably going to be thrilling for you. Otherwise, it’s a major commitment (atop another major commitment) that takes up a large amount of time. If you already struggle combining work, friends and yoga into one schedule, eloping is a very attractive option. Another major positive is that you don’t have to invite anyone you don’t want to, because, well, no one is invited anyways!
According to The Knot, an average wedding these days costs about $29,000. Depending on a couple’s personal situation, this could definitely be a WOW-ZA moment. Maybe that money is better spent on an amazing getaway wedding or honeymoon, or invested into something beneficial down the road? You can still have the dress and the flowers and the photographer, but eloping allows you to be a bit more off the grid. No hashtags needed. Remember: cutting the grand ceremony doesn’t mean zero celebration. Many couples host a big party after their nuptials, and isn’t the best part anyways?
According to Claire Newall, budget and romance don’t need to go hand in hand — a fact she’s inspired her entire business around! “The idea for Elope to Sydney & The Hunter Valley came about after my Husband and I eloped to Queensland with a handful of close friends. It was a wonderful day, but the event felt a little generic and not personalized for us. I wanted to create a business that offered couples a chance to have a wonderful, and stylish elopement without breaking the bank. I absolutely love creating unique ceremonies for each client and feel very honoured to be part of such a special day.”
The intimacy of eloping takes away all the foreseen stress factors of having a wedding. Sure, you think you’ll be the coolest bride, but if you’re a people pleaser at heart, a wedding can be difficult as you try to satisfy those closest to you. Eloping is simply about one thing: marriage. You don’t have to worry about public speaking (i.e. coming up with clever or smart vows); you can be completely and utterly the comfortable version of you.
If you change your mind, you’ll save some embarrassment and wasted money. OK, I’ll admit, this is awful to put on the list, but I’ve seen too many rom-coms not to include it.