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What Does Eloping Mean in 2020?

When you hear the word “elope” an image may come to mind- perhaps two lovestruck teens from the 50s running off together much to the chagrin of their parents? Or a couple who just met heading to the Little Chapel in Vegas? Some may think foregoing a “white wedding” to be scandalous and uncouth, but the truth is, eloping has become the newest and arguably most modern trend in the wedding industry, especially after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Historically, elopements used to happen only if the couple wouldn’t receive their parents’ approval. To elope, literally, means “to slip away” or “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent.” In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, Hamish Shephard, founder of wedding planning app Bridebook elaborates on the changes to the term in the twenty-first century: “The modern couple are less likely to be dependent on securing permission in the same way nowadays, but the romantic idea of escaping hand-in-hand to exchange vows in secret still holds appeal." 


In April 2020 , Bridebook published a study that found that coronavirus would “directly impact up to 64 percent of weddings in 2020 either by postponements, cancellations or travel logistics.” And that was 8 months ago! Whether partners’ lost their jobs, family and friends couldn’t travel, venues shut down, or it just didn’t feel right to do so at the time, many couples had to make the difficult choice to pare down, postpone or cancel altogether. The wedding industry, like many, has been permanently changed. 

An eloping couple


Regardless of the pandemic, many couples are choosing to elope for other reasons. They may not feel comfortable in the spotlight or would prefer to spend their hard earned money on a house or large purchase than a one day party. A 2020 Eloplement and Microwedding report from Simply Eloped found that as of mid-March of 2020, the average elopement costs $1,200 – thats a 20% a decrease from 2019’s average of $1,485. This shows that couples may be “prioritizing the financial aspect of a wedding due to the economic impact of COVID-19.”

Many feel they are bucking tradition and doing something perfectly suited for their relationship. And this is where we see the rise in elopements come into play. The definition of getting married in private has developed hugely. As Harpers Bazaar puts it, for many, it’s now about running away from something considered “archaic to many, uncomfortable for others, and unjustifiably expensive to most.”


That doesn’t mean you have to get married in secret if you don’t want to. With the power of Zoom and outdoor elopements that are COVID compliant, your family and friends can still attend, whether in person or virtually (if your elopement location is in an area that can get wifi that is). Many couples have found the process of picking just a few close friends and family easier than debating whether your co-worker from 5 cubicles down warrants an invite. With minimal guests and vendors at most elopements, it may be the safest way to get married for the foreseeable future. Elopements also often equate to a hyper-personalized event. By paring down in areas such as guest meals, transportation, venue fees and more, couples are often able to put that money towards making their dream wedding (albeit a smaller version in some cases) into a reality. 


Whatever an elopement looks like, one thing is for sure- it’s a choice between you and your partner. 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.” If you need help planning an elopement or even just want some advice, contact us!

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