What is an elopement wedding?

Written by Fatima Falcon Garcia
January 29, 2021

If you are reading this, you are probably researching what elopement means and how it is different from a traditional wedding.

There is a chance you are thinking about the secret marriage between Princess Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker in Clone Wars. Or, perhaps, what comes to your mind is the image of Romeo and Juliet getting married in secret, with the help of Juliet’s nurse and Friar Laurence.

While those are both perfect examples, in recent years elopements have become more enchanting events. Couples pronounce their heartfelt vows in front of an officiant, a photographer, and in some cases, a small group of their dearest relatives and friends, in a special destination or place, with a breathtaking landscape as a background.

Though the eloping trend has been rising in recent years, this trend of couples changing the more traditional weddings to elopements has been strongly encouraged by the recent restrictions placed on events and gatherings due to COVID-19. So, at least for the first half of 2021, we will still witness quite a few elopements.

Rather than postponing their marriage for 6 months or more due to the pandemic, many couples are choosing the more intimate, and more affordable route of eloping during the pandemic.

But not everything is about the current situation. There are many reasons why couples have been choosing to elope.

With that said, let us look at the main characteristics of an elopement.

What does elopement mean?

In its purest connotation eloping is an act or instance of running off secretly, as, for example, to be married. So, by definition, an elopement wedding means to secretly get married, without telling anyone, and that may include parents and families.

Although originally the meaning does not make a direct reference to weddings, its significance is widely used in the wedding argot.

Today, eloping does not necessarily mean running away, and some couples who choose to have an elopement wedding inform their families before their ceremony (but probably, do not invite them to attend).

Some people do not get the essence of its meaning and want to get their family involved in their elopement wedding. But strictly speaking, if you have more than 10 people, it is no longer an elopement. It probably is a small wedding, also known as a Micro Wedding

Intimate Elopement Wedding Ceremony
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6 good reasons to choose an elopement wedding

If you remember Clone Wars, the marriage between Padmé and Anakin was kept secret due to Amidala’s place as a prominent Senator in the Galactic Republic and because of Skywalker’s membership in the Jedi Order (the Jedi Code prevented its members from falling in love and forming attachments such as marriage). The only witnesses were the droids C-3PO and R2-D2.

Regarding Romeo and Juliet, remember that their families -Montague and Capulet- were feuding, so Friar Laurence agrees to marry the two teenagers in the hope that the families would come to peace on the account that the youngest of their houses had seen past their differences. However, the Friar keeps their marriage a secret for fear of blame and contempt, so the marriage is only revealed until the two lovers die.

But do not worry! You don’t have to be living extreme situations like the ones those characters lived to choose an elopement. There are other valid arguments for why to choose an elopement over a traditional wedding.

1. You value experience over a big wedding

Planning an elopement is easier than planning a wedding in a lot of ways and there are fewer or zero limitations. Each elopement can be completely customized to what you want. The venue, the location, the vows, or what you wear. 

You can choose an elopement by the sea, on an intimate beach in Baja California, or on the top of a mountain. The options are endless, and it all starts by choosing the perfect wedding venue to share your vows!

READ: 8 luxurious hotels to get married in Los Cabos in 2022

Also, you can tie your elopement with your honeymoon and make it the trip of your life! 

2. Elopements give more intimacy

If you ask your friends who had a traditional wedding, they will tell you it can be hard to focus only on your loved one during a wedding celebration. You will have to be attending timelines, details, your guests, and the event.

A big wedding involves a lot of elements, and it is difficult to give time to each other when there are so many other things and people demanding your attention.

Eloping is more private, and intimate, and can be a very memorable experience. Picture yourself exchanging vows with a lush forest surrounding you, or walking down the aisle on a magnificent, hidden beach.

Sharing your first kiss in a traditional, tiny and beautiful, Italian town. Wow!!

Elopments have very few guests, or no guests at all!
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3. You want to spend your money on something else

Weddings are more expensive than an elopement. According to The Knot’s 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $33,900 and that does not even include the honeymoon. The cost of a destination wedding can be somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000.

But how much do elopements cost? If you choose to elope, you will be saving money on expenses that this type of ceremony does not need. Your day is not about others, it is about you and your partner making a commitment in a way that is honest and genuine.

Pearl of wisdom: If your budget falls short for a traditional wedding back where you live, you can always consider a destination elopement to tie the knot.

4. You want to explore something new

If you are thinking about eloping, you are most likely considering a spot more exciting than your local church. Think about the stuff you love to do together or the places you want to see as a married couple.

5. Planning is not one of your superpowers

People hire wedding planners for a reason: planning a wedding can be hard and time-consuming! The idea of tackling a huge, traditional wedding, seems like a nightmare for many couples. If that is your case, don’t do it!

It is not written anywhere that you must plan an elaborate day considering every opinion family and friends throw at you. Instead, focus your time and energy on the things you love, like finding an epic elopement location, writing beautiful vows, or spending time with family.

Leave the rest to a professional wedding planner. We alleviate the stress by joining the dots together for a memorable event.

Even an elopement will need some planning so, if planning is not your thing, call a professional.

READ: How to plan an intimate wedding in Los Cabos 

6. Less stress, less anxiety

For many couples, a wedding for over 150 people is probably the biggest event they will ever put on in their lives. Having to deal with that amount of people, 10 to 20 vendors, spending tens of thousands of dollars, and listening to everyone’s opinions can add stress to the cocktail and cause some anxiety.

Many couples have said they chose to elope because they rather have a less stressful wedding day and turn it into a more intimate moment. 

Elopement vs wedding

There are a lot of controversies out there on what to choose: an elopement wedding or a traditional wedding ceremony. Why choose one or the other? Where do you draw the line between the two options? Are there other kinds of wedding alternatives?

But with so much to talk about the subject, conversations about “elopement vs weddings” usually focus on one type of ceremony or the other. We will help you determine the common points and differences between these two types of ceremonies to help you make an informed decision about which ceremony may be right for you. 

Guests: This is one of the biggest contrasts between traditional weddings and elopements. Traditional weddings can have guestlists of two or even three digits. For elopements, it is not uncommon to have 20 or fewer guests. 

Intimacy: Elopements are far more intimate. In an elopement, on average, there will be no more than 10 people.

Planning Time: Traditional weddings require more planning time than an elopement and the higher guest count is one of the main reasons. You must create seating charts, organize dinner, and select the right entertainment. Planning an elopement is easier since the number of guests is significantly smaller. 

Venues: An elopement can happen almost anywhere you can think of. Beautiful mountain tops, national parks, or gorgeous beaches are just a handful of spots where an elopement can occur. Traditional weddings tend to take up more space, so venue options are generally more limited to places that can handle the needs of the ceremony.

Learn more about some of the wedding venues we love to work with.

Price: As we mentioned before, another big difference between a traditional wedding and an elopement is the price. Weddings require a bigger budget, and the numbers can be a bit intimidating. Elopement ceremonies are typically less expensive, as you are paying for a more concentrated experience.

Do not forget there are differences between an elopement and an intimate wedding. Understanding these differences makes the planning process easier for everyone. Both types of ceremonies are simplistic, very romantic, and involve few, or no guests at all.

Elopement vs Wedding
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Destination elopements

If you and your sweetheart have decided to elope, choosing the best place to do it is where everything starts. The first step for any type of Cabo destination wedding is finding the perfect spot. 

Start by thinking of the places that have an important meaning for you both, what you like, or how adventurous or luxurious you want your elopement to be.

While downsizing weddings are a growing trend, there are some services you just cannot skip, like hiring a professional wedding planner, especially if you are thinking about a destination elopement and find it hard to travel to your dream destination. 

If you dream of having a beach wedding or an elopement by the ocean in Los Cabos, we can help you with a stress-free planning process.

Do I need an elopement planner?

It is common knowledge that the big day can be an incredibly stressful one, even though you are eloping. There are always a bunch of things that still need to be done and even though you are overly excited, you can still feel a little nervous. Therefore, you should consider hiring a Wedding Planner.

A professional elopement wedding planner will give you many advantages:

You can have the perfect timing for your elopement

Hiring a wedding planner for your elopement means you will not need to get stressed about the small things or have to worry about how smoothly things are flowing.

A wedding planner will take care of every detail, and make sure that the music starts as you walk down the aisle, or that the champagne glasses are filled in time for the first toast. 

Wedding Planners will relieve you from a heavy burden

When you hire a wedding planner, you will soon notice that the stress of researching and finding out which are the best vendors vanishes! You will save hours online looking for providers, asking for quotes, and coordinating everything.

You and your planner can meet (or have a videoconference if you are having a destination elopement) to discuss what your budget is and work around that. Wedding planners have a lot of local connections so they can help you choose the best vendors according to what you want while sticking to your budget.

Distance is not an obstacle

If you are having a destination elopement, you might not know a lot about the country and where to find all you need in the best way possible. Local knowledge is one of the biggest strengths of a destination wedding planner.

They know the right places, and what works best according to the location and they have experience and valuable connections with a wide variety of vendors.

Planners have good relationships with providers for almost everything you can think of, like flowers, wedding cakes, hairdressers, or good photographers.

Do not worry if your planner is halfway across the world, you can always use online communication to transmit how you envision your destination elopement and your preferences to your destination wedding planner.

Wedding planners will sort out legal constraints

Local wedding planners are familiar with all the legal aspects of marriage, so it does not matter if you are unfamiliar with the place where you chose to elope. They will tell you what important documents to bring and what is needed to get married in their country. Leave all legal aspects to your planner, she knows what she is doing!

Learn more on how to get married in Mexico.

Wedding planners can craft unique and gorgeous elopements

It is always a good idea to keep your mind open to the ideas of other people, just to get some additional inspiration. Surely you have a whole load of ideas, and just do not know how to blend them together. If that is your case, a wedding planner is a perfect fit for you!

As professional wedding planners, we have a lot of experience with everything related to weddings. So, if you are planning to have a destination elopement in Los Cabos, we can help you. Whether you are dreaming about an intimate ceremony on the beach or a small, intimate elopement, in a trendy restaurant.

Take a look at Shah and Charles’s elopement. They wanted to live the moment fully as a couple, enjoy each other and be present, so they reached out to Momentos Weddings and Events Los Cabos. Together, we made their expectations come true.

Another beautiful example is Shan and Darryle’s luxury elopement at Marquis Hotel Los Cabos, which resulted in a very intimate and meaningful experience for the couple.

If you dream of a destination elopement in Los Cabos, Mexico, you will find this magical place offers everything to have a beautiful, intimate, and unforgettable experience. Please feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation.


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