Elopements. One of the top wedding trends of 2017. Well, I'm not sure about that but they sure are growing in popularity.
But, why elope? What "kind" of people elope, and why?
The answer is simple - all kinds of people elope! For all kinds of reasons!
Traditionally, elopements were for very specific reasons and had a certain stigma attached to them. People eloped because the bride-to-be was pregnant, or because one the couple was not deemed to be a "suitable" match for the other. Interestingly, money was a major player in the elopement game as well - people eloped because they didn't have the means to throw the big bash that society expected of them.
Today, there are many more reasons why a couple chooses to elope, and the stigma attached to an elopement isn't there anymore. Elopements are an accepted way to marry in modern-day New Zealand (and, one of my personal fav types of weddings!).
If you are engaged (or thinking about it) and trying to decide whether or not to elope, here are some points to consider.
Privacy - If a small, intimate wedding is what you desire, you can really achieve this with an elopement. You need two witnesses for a wedding but these needn't be guests - some elopement couples use the photographer and videographer as their witnesses, since they are there anyway! And if you don't have any witnesses, that's not a problem either - I often bring a witness or two along.
Venue Freedom - With an elopement, you have the freedom to choose whatever venue, whatever location that you want. Lakeside, hillside, a hot air balloon - the world really is your oyster.
Cost - This always has been a major factor in wedding planning - some people don't want to, or simply don't have, the money to have the big wedding. Did you know that the average wedding in New Zealand is $35,000? In today's day and age, when parents are no longer in a financial position to pay for the wedding (as per tradition), or couples are self sufficient and prefer to pay their way anyway, it can be hard to find, and part with, thousands and thousands of dollars for a wedding. Elopements in general are considerably cheaper than a big wedding, without having to sacrifice all the things that you want in a wedding.
Your wedding, YOUR WAY - Elopements give you the freedom to mold your day into the wedding you dream of, without having as much pressure to conform to the proper wedding Do's and Don'ts.
Shhhhhhh, it's a secret - One of the best advantages to an elopement, is the ability to keep your wedding under complete wraps until you want to let people know. Whether you tell people as you board your plane, or simply change your profile picture on Facebook when you get back - however you choose to do it, if having your wedding be a secret/surprise for whatever reason is what you are after, elopements are the way to go.
Pressure to have the perfect wedding, mason jars and all - Pinterest is an amazing tool in wedding planning. How anyone planned a wedding before the internet, I have no idea! But, it is really easy to get caught up in the Pinterest Wedding Ideals - what you should do, what you have to do, what you absolutely need to do. Well, truth be told - you don't have to do anything. Aside from the one legal line that is required in the ceremony, everything else is gravy. Your choice. Up to you. 100%. If you want a 7-strong bridal party, that's awesome! If you want your dog as your bridal party, that's awesome too! Don't like flowers? Don't have them.
Family have feelings too - Even though the wedding, at the end of the day, is about the two of you getting married, the reality is you may well have family members who will be invested in attending the wedding. They might be hurt that you choose not to include them in the day. That being said, a little conversation goes a long way. My husband and I were all set to elope (to Vegas, no less!) but chose not to for fear of upsetting his parents. When we came home they were genuinely surprised that we didn't elope, and would have been perfectly happy with it!
You want the big white wedding - if you want the big wedding, the big shindig with all your family and friends, then by all means, go crazy! And enjoy it! Elopements are not for everyone, just like anything in life! Many people live/dream/desire the big, wonderful wedding and love it.
You are so fed up with wedding planning, LET'S JUST ELOPE! - this is a tricky one. One on hand, are you wanting to elope because you are just fed up with the inevitable drama/politics/colour schemes of wedding planning? Are you so tired and brain-farted with wedding plans and Pinterest boards that you are starting to think, why in the heck are we not on a plane to Bali right now?? On the other hand, are you wanting to elope because you feel like the wedding planning has gone away from your initial vision of your perfect day, and you just don't know what to do?
It's a generational thing - As mentioned earlier, elopements used to happen for very specific reasons. I was trying to explain elopements to my father the other day, and the conversation went around and around. He kept trying to get his head around why someone would elope, while I just kept reiterating to him - it's because they want to do it that way. And that that is a wonderful enough reason!
So, why elope?
The answer when asking if you should elope or not is simple - how do you see your day, marrying the person that you love? It's really easy to get caught up in all the wedding planning, and lose sight of the base line - the reason why you are getting married. Remember that guy sitting over there on the couch? Yea, him. The love of your life. Remember that time you first saw that hot chick on Tinder? Yea, her. The love of your life.
We are really lucky in New Zealand to have a marriage system that allows most any kind of wedding to go ahead. When we say to you, you can do what you want to do, we mean it. If you can't bear the thought of not sharing the day with all of your family and friends then have the wedding you dream of. You can have a fun, personalised wedding and still have 120 guests.
But, if the thought of speaking in front of 40 people makes you sweat, if you close your eyes and imagine your wedding as being you, your One True Love, and your very few, very close friends by your side, then perhaps an elopement is the way to go.
Elopements no longer carry the stigma that they used to, and are a fun, affordable, personalised and intimate alternative to a standard wedding, if that is what you are looking for.
For more information or any questions about eloping here in Queenstown (or anywhere!), give me a call or flick me an email!