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Eloping couple Kaitlyn and Doug walk hand in hand on sweeping sand dunes with snow capped mountains in the background.Eloping couple Kaitlyn and Doug walk hand in hand on sweeping sand dunes with snow capped mountains in the background.

What does it mean to elope?

Wondering what the definition of eloping is? Eloping used to be synonymous with Las Vegas and an Elvis impersonator at a drive through chapel (confession- a rad Vegas elopement complete with Elvis is definitely on my bucket list!)

In the media and public mind, eloping was little better than a shotgun wedding. At best, it was a punch line.

These days, empowered couples are taking elopement weddings to the next level and the possibilities are truly endless. A stress-free wedding is completely possible and entirely within reach for every couple who wants one.

The Tradition Trap

In 2019, the average couple in the US spent over $38,000 on their wedding.

Another study by WeddingWire showed that 28% of couples went into debt for their wedding.

In the face of these numbers, and the general reputation of traditional weddings (often straight from the mouths of married couples), it’s not surprising that many couples feel stressed, overwhelmed, and downright bullied into spending more and more just to have an “average” wedding.

This feels most wrong to people who value simplicity, temperance, and for those who look ahead to their future as a couple. I often hear about the struggle couples have with hosting friends and family and saving for a downpayment on their first house, or affording the honeymoon that they have always looked forward to.


Aaron and Taryn embrace on their wedding day in front of a dormant volcano in eastern Oregon. Sunset lights up the trees behind them.Aaron and Taryn embrace on their wedding day in front of a dormant volcano in eastern Oregon. Sunset lights up the trees behind them.

Eloping doesn’t mean cheap, last-minute, or not important.

Choosing an elopement or intimate family centered wedding doesn’t mean spending NOTHING- it doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to treat yourself to some of the traditional luxuries- a nice dress or suit, beautiful flowers, a makeup artist to help you feel gorgeous, (yes, even a photographer who’s work you love and who will deliver amazing photos).

Once you exclude the costs that tradition has deemed necessary- wedding favors, monogrammed knick-knacks, food and alcohol for 150 people, a rehearsal hall, on and on- you can comfortably budget for a “treat yourself” experience that feels reasonable and right.

Looking forward to the honeymoon but not the wedding?

Wouldn’t it be so much better if planning your wedding felt more like planning your honeymoon?
Destination elopements can take this concept one step further and combine your epic honeymoon and wedding day into one amazing experience.

Instead of pricing out rental tables, chairs, linens, flatware- imagine spending your wedding planning time perusing a curated list of epic locations to explore. Imagine how much more exciting and fun wedding planning can be if it was more like planning a vacation.

A great location can bring so much fun and wonder to an already wonderful day. Would you love to surf down rolling dunes after saying “I do” or does a sunset boat ride up the coast while sipping your signature wedding day cocktail sound more your style? Whether you want to whale-watch, stargaze, or any adventure in between, a Wild Earth Wedding means the heavy lifting is done for you while you and your partner just enjoy the ride!


Eloping couple embrace at sunset in front of a calm lake.Eloping couple embrace at sunset in front of a calm lake.


A barefoot couple walk through sand dunes on their wedding day.A barefoot couple walk through sand dunes on their wedding day.

Eloping means you can be barefoot if you feel like it!

Comfort is a huge priority when planning your elopement- and that can mean a lot of different things. 

Once you choose to create a uniquely-you wedding- you’ll find yourself freed to make other decisions for your comfort. No “sown-in” gown for elopement brides- elopement wedding dresses don’t need to be white, tight, or movement restricting (hint- they also don’t need to be thousands of dollars!). One of the very first things that goes out the window are slippery, pinch-y dress shoes and uncomfortable heels. 


A couple ecxhanges vows while horses graze in the distance.A couple ecxhanges vows while horses graze in the distance.

Saying your vows doesn’t have to feel like being called on in front of the class!

It’s NORMAL to dislike being at the center of attention (especially while bearing your heart). Most nerves on a wedding day center around public speaking- something that most people hate doing. Ask yourself if celebrating your marriage with those you love HAS to include an audience to this moment.

Having privacy to share your commitment to your partner is one of my favorite aspects of elopements and smaller weddings – it’s MORE THAN OK to save your vows for your partner’s ears alone.


Non traditional wedding dress- blue looks amazing!Non traditional wedding dress- blue looks amazing!

Most importantly- Eloping doesn’t need to mean the same thing to everyone.

Elopements are about you and your partner, and you’re unique.

In my book, the only thing that defines an elopement is prioritizing yourselves over everyone else. That means you can have your family there if you want do, or not. That means you can have your hair and make up professionally done, or not. White dress not your style? Shine brightly in whatever you decide is “you.”

Your relationship is yours- your wedding should be too.

November 14, 2019

What does it mean to elope?

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Wild Earth Weddings Specializes in Planning and Photographing epic wedding days.

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