Considering eloping? Here are some of my favourite little nuggets of advice for couples who are thinking about deciding to elope. These are just a few things I’ve picked up along the way as a Scottish elopement photographer – hope you find them helpful!
1. There is no right or wrong way to elope
If you spend much time looking at elopements on social media it would be easy to think that modern elopements are reserved for avid all-day hikers. You’ll see lots of amazing photos of couples on epic mountain ridges. Hiking elopements are a popular way to elope but are definitely not the only option.
The true beauty of eloping is that you can choose what the day looks like from start to finish – it doesn’t follow any pre-defined structure and you get to set the expectations for the day.
Fear not, my fellow hiking-avoidant people, you can still have just as much adventure together without the all-day trek. (And in Scotland, it’s super easy to experience and enjoy our awe-striking landscapes without the big backpacks and trailmix lunch)
2. An elopement is more than ‘just an all-day photoshoot’
The experience of the day comes first. When you elope, the planning becomes centered around how you want to spend your ideal wedding day together. This includes the ceremony itself but also the rest of the day. Whether that’s out exploring nature together, having a luxurious outdoor picnic or relaxing by a campfire. It’s having these moments captured which make looking back at your elopement photos so special.
Elopement photos help you keep the memory of your day alive. They’re also a wonderful way of sharing the day with family and friends who weren’t present. It allows them to see the story of your day too. (Some people choose to this by sharing the photos with friends and family at a special event.) Eloping is about having an amazing wedding experience – focused on your love and commitment to each other. Getting wonderful photos is simply a by-product of sharing a beautiful day together.
3. Choosing to elope is not ‘selfish’
Lots of people worry that eloping might be perceived as selfish by family or friends who won’t be present. It’s an understandable worry but I’d also like to reassure you that you haven’t decided to marry this person to make your family or friends happy. You have chosen to marry because this amazing human is who you want to share the rest of life with. No one (not even the people who made you) are entitled to bear witness to this vow you are making.
But lots of people DO choose to invite a small handful of their closest friends or family – and equally, lots of people don’t. Only you can know what is ‘right’ for you.
4. It will not go to plan – embrace the changes the day will bring
In spite of all the research we’ll do on locations, weather, climate, travel etc. the day will not go according to plan. We’ll have a rough outline for the ideal day but inevitably we’ll need to bend and flex with mother nature and unexpected interventions. But there is beauty and excitement in the unplanned. It’s those moments and those small choices which make the day truly ‘yours’.
The key to a wonderful elopement is being flexible and embracing the little unexpected things that pop up.
5. Elopement planning can be done at a slower pace
Unlike planning a big wedding, you don’t need to have all the pieces in place before you start bringing your vendors on board. Usually you would need to have your venue booked first so you have a fixed date to work to and it can easily feel like you have to plan quickly to make sure you have the right suppliers for your day. It can easily feel like a race – like you don’t want to be caught short. Elopements are a little different. Often, people find their planner or photographer first (usually with a rough date in mind) and they can help you navigate the planning process from there. Making it a little less stressful – and who wouldn’t want that!
(But like a bigger wedding, you’ll still need to make sure you have your paperwork submitted and approved on time – giving yourself a bit of a buffer for any potential delays or queries that might come up).