What Does It Mean To Elope?

When I first started my photography journey, I had no idea what I wanted to pursue. There were so many different avenues and niches to pick from, and my indecisive brain could not make a choice. It wasn't until one day when I was given the opportunity to photograph an elopement that I felt my world completely change. So much beauty and intimacy between two people. No large gatherings, no big production. The couple had focused more on being in the moment, than worrying about their centerpiece and floral decor. It was something that completely blew me away and made me follow my heart in capturing elopements and weddings.

So maybe you're engaged and you're at the point where you're unsure whether or not you want to elope or have a big wedding. Both, are incredibly beautiful and meaningful, however, both are completely different. It's important to know exactly what eloping is, and what it means to you and your partner.


Before deciding to elope, it's important to understand what elopement actually is. Years ago, eloping definitely had a negative connotation to it. Everyone was thinking elopements were A.) going against their family and B.) getting married in Vegas with Elvis as your officiant. Let me just say that we have come a longgggg way when it comes to our definition of what eloping actually means (although sometimes those very much are the reasons why couples elope!).

Eloping is more than just a spur-of-the-moment decision, against the wishes of your family and friends. It's more about what makes you and your partner the most comfortable, your budget along with the kind of vision that you're having for your wedding day. Having an elopement is to forego a traditional formal wedding and have a much more intimate setting. This usually is between you, your partner an officiant, and sometimes a small guest list (under 10 people).


Like any wedding, an elopement is as intentional and meaningful as you want it to be. When choosing to have an elopement, you're choosing to focus more on celebrating your love and relationship than the traditional scopes of a formal wedding. Elopements can still be incredibly meaningful, even without all of the *fluff* of a traditional wedding.


When it comes time to actually elope, you want to make sure that you are still being intentional and making it meaningful to you, your partner, and your love story. So how do we do this when we're not distracted by all of the fancy pizazz from a traditional large wedding?

  • Write personal vows - This gives you and your partner the opportunity to get deep and speak from your heart. These moments can get incredibly emotional, so definitely bring waterproof mascara and tissues!
  • Choose A Location That's Meaningful To You - If you're choosing to have a destination elopement or elope somewhere that's not a traditional wedding venue, I highly recommend choosing a location that is meaningful to you and your partner's love story. This brings so much intention and thoughtfulness to your wedding day and makes it so much more than just "a place where you're getting married"
  • Invest In Your Wedding Photography - If you're choosing to elope, I highly recommend investing in your wedding photography. You can call me biased! If you're planning on having little to no guests witness your wedding day, the best reminders are your photos! Use your wedding photography as a reason to be intimate, intentional, and get creative. You can also use these photos as gifts in the future to guests/family/friends who didn't attend the wedding!

So when it comes time to choose whether or not you should elope, that is entirely your decision. However, let's lose the idea that eloping is "dead" or disrespectful to our friends and family. At the end of the day, it is entirely your decision and you should do whatever you feel is right for your wedding day.

Photos By Gayle does more than just take photos of people. Rather, it is capturing moments of LOVE and HAPPINESS. Singing to the skies, dancing in a field, smiles that hurt because they’re so big. There is nothing else I would rather be doing than photographing these unique details that make you and your significant other a couple. If this blog puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!