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To Elope or Not?

When you first get engaged, it’s hard not to daydream about giant, elaborate weddings and all of your loved ones gathering to celebrate. However, this year’s pandemic threw a wrench in quite literally everyone’s plans, no matter what they were. If you’re on the fence about eloping, this blog will hopefully help alleviate some of your concerns!

First of all, don’t decide not to celebrate. Whether it’s just you and your partner or a few socially distanced friends and family members, every couple deserves the feeling of pure joy that comes with saying “I do.” As the pandemic raged across the world, many couples were faced with a difficult decision - should they wait another year or two to get married, cancel all of their plans and do a civil ceremony with hopes for a larger party at a later date, try and have an event and hope that their guests and vendors were safe, change plans to an elopement or microwedding, or any number of combinations of things they could think of? Many couples faced and still face these difficult decisions, but one thing is for sure- the urge to celebrate their love is still strong. One thing I always tell my clients to do at their events, no matter how large or small, is to take a step back and look at their event from afar. Seeing your loved ones gathered together to celebrate is one of the best things about a wedding. We’ve seen Zoom weddings, drive by receptions and a number of creative ways to still celebrate with loved ones, as we should!

Are you and your partner not the type who thrives being the center of attention? Do you have a relationship with family and friends that may lead to you making decisions for them instead of yourselves in the planning process? Do you feel overwhelmed with the options of choosing vendors and figuring out budgets, timelines, COVID compliance and more? Do you just want to be married already? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a smaller wedding might be for you. A recent article from Harper’s Bazaar examined this exact sentiment. Social media editor Natalie Simon had this to say about eloping relieving all of these issues modern couples face:

"Eloping completely takes off the pressure of planning the 'perfect wedding. Weddings - thanks in part to social media, and Instagram certainly comes to mind here - are so much more visible then they were in the past. It's not just your friends and family who will see it; even people you haven’t even invited might be watching." 

This idea of throwing the biggest or best wedding due to the pressures of social media and society have led countless couples to throw events that weren’t truly “them,” oftentimes going into debt over it. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Pinterest recently reported a 128 per cent increase in searches for elopement photography ideas. They also say that searches for destination weddings in the mountains are up by 32 per cent, with other popular terms including 'elopements at city halls' and 'elopements in forests'. Many modern couples are realizing that a healthy and happy marriage comes from the marriage itself, not an over the top 4 hour party.

There’s good news in the budget department too! Simply Eloped released their 2020 wedding report which had some interesting tidbits budget wise. As of March of 2020 (the beginning of the pandemic for those of you who have also lost all concept of time like us) average elopement costs were down 20%, from $1485 in 2019 to $1200 in 2020, showing that couples prioritizing financial planning and budgeting could benefit from a smaller wedding. That doesn’t mean you need to cut corners if you don’t want to though. If you elope in your home state, costs will be lower than a destination wedding, but that doesn’t mean a destination wedding can’t still be less costly. By cutting costs on things like guest meals, drinks, transportation and incidentals, you can use the money saved on more luxurious decor, a higher end photographer or whatever else you’d like.

This leads to our next point- hyper personalization! An elopement is a chance for your partner and you to make every decision if you want, regardless of what a venue manager or your future mother-in-law may think your wedding should look like. Maybe you’re a huge Star Wars fan but worry having a themed wedding would make your great-grandma uncomfortable. In the case of an elopement, you can have a lightsaber battle instead of vows because it’s about YOU! There’s generally way less outside opinions and the subconscious need to please others when you decide to elope. In an ideal world every wedding would be like this, but let’s be real, everyone’s always going to have an opinion.

Elopements are also a great way to buck tradition if you, like many others, view marriage to be a somewhat archaic institution. TND Head Coordinator Gina Jurlando got her start working for a feminist wedding planning company in NYC because of couples who wanted to celebrate their love in a way that felt equal and modern. By eloping, you can define your own terms of your marriage, whether it be in the language of the officiant, getting rid of outdated and sexist traditions expected at weddings (we’re looking at you, garter toss) or in walking yourself down the aisle without hurting family members’ feelings. An elopement can be a way to show the world that you don’t agree with older societal “norms” surrounding weddings and that your marriage will be an equal partnership.

No matter what you decide, The Nomad’s Direction can help. We’ve planned weddings for hundreds of guests (pre-COVID of course) to small and intimate backyard elopements and everything in between. We believe your wedding should be a true reflection of yourselves as a couple and will do everything in our power to make it happen. Our team works with couples one-on-one to make sure their dream wedding is safe, fun, and memorable, no matter what the circumstances. Still on the fence? Fill out our quick questionnaire and set up a call with one of our coordinators today!

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