Elopements and micro weddings, a small intimate wedding, are becoming the new norm and could be for the foreseeable future.
Disappointment and uncertainty is rife at the moment as we all know. We are all having to adapt to the ever changing rules and regulations sometimes at horribly short notice.
However by adjusting the expectation of your wedding you will see that there are many benefits to an elopement or a micro wedding.
So let’s unpack the wedding model that’s on the rise.
What is an elopement?
Some would say that eloping is ultimately the most romantic way to get married. Traditionally it was running away together.
Gretna Green in Scotland became synonymous with elopements. The marriage laws in Scotland were more relaxed and Gretna was ideally situated just over the border. It became the ultimate destination for young lovers, to legally marry without their parent’s consent.
Elopements encapsulate that unique intimacy of just two people committing to each another and are now often replicated to include a small group of special family and/or friends rather than just the obligatory 2 witnesses.
There’s no wonder there is an increase in popularity in these Covid times.
Why an elopement is so relevant now?
Pre-covid, elopements were growing in popularity, as couples wanted to save money, avoid the complexities of traditional wedding planning or have more personalized, intimate weddings. Covid has sped up that trend as large group gatherings are now impossible.
If love cannot wait and you are desperate to get married and why the hell shouldn’t you, then use this as an opportunity to have a stress-free beautiful intimate wedding without breaking the bank or the law!
Legal elopement ceremony
To legalise your elopement marriage in England and Wales the ceremony needs to be led by a Registrar and held at a licensed premises just like any other wedding ceremony.
The script of your ceremony must include the declaratory and contracting words to comply with government regulations. Timings are also restrictive because of the Registrars’ workload particularly in these Covid times.
Notwithstanding your legal elopement ceremony is still very much an intimate affair.
Celebrant elopement ceremony
A wedding celebrant will craft a bespoke script and guide you from the moment you first meet to discuss your dreams for your ceremony through to the moment the immortal words are uttered.
This type of ceremony can be held anywhere with heartfelt vows that you may have written yourselves and include rituals such as a hand fasting.
A celebrant led ceremony really is the bespoke option for your elopement with every word resonating as you as a couple.
No rules or regulations just pure and unadulterated romance and intimacy and putting your love and commitment to one another fair and square at the heart of it.
You will not be legally married at the end of this ceremony however. This can be done either beforehand or at a later date. There is absolutely no necessity or need to do it at the same time.
Where can we elope?
Firstly this rather depends on whether you have decided on whether you want a legal ceremony or a celebrant led ceremony for your elopement.
If you have decided to get the legals done separately with a wedding celebrant you can have your elopement literally wherever you want!
Choose the accommodation of your dreams and then have your ceremony in your chosen idyllic location be it a cliff top, magical woodland or on the beach. The only limit is your imagination.
Alternatively there are many beautiful licensed venues where you can have your ceremony with some luxurious accommodation.
There are also wedding venues that specialise in elopements and intimate weddings. Such as Brickhouse Vineyard down the road from me here in Devon who kindly contributed some images for this blog. I am proud to be one of their recommended suppliers.
The advantage of choosing a specialist venue is that they will recommend suppliers who provide services in petite form specifically for elopement weddings.
And finally forget Gretna Green as a far flung destination what about going abroad – still possible during this pandemic and then you can quarantine together on your honeymoon!
Who can we invite or can it just be us?
You do not have to invite anyone if you don’t want to. Uber romantic, incredibly relaxing and absolutely no less exciting.
Imagine having no one else to worry about. By going it alone it will allow you to concentrate fully on each other and the added bonus of being able to spoil each other rotten on your wedding day.
If you decide you would like to share your big day then I recommend you choose only those who you care deeply for.
And as for those who are not invited once you explain your reasons, and possibly what you are planning for a later date, you will be surprised how understanding people will be.
What are the advantages of an elopement or small wedding
Couples often to choose to elope to avoid the family politics and well meaning interference that inevitably happens when planning a larger wedding.
Everything from seating plans to bridal parties can become complicated and a terrifying prospect.
With a smaller wedding or elopement all this detail is unnecessary and the focus remains on the essence of the day which is, after all, is about you and your partner committing to one another.
Another obvious advantage is cost. Although your marriage and wedding should be about your personal commitment to one another and not the finances an elopement wedding let’s be honest is going to be much easier on the pocket.
Lastly with an elopement wedding it sounds a bit obvious but it really is all about you. No other distractions at all.
With larger celebrations the true reason for why everyone has gathered can be overshadowed by all the trappings of a big wedding.
This does not happen with an elopement. It’s stripped back, romantic, memorable and intimate.
This all sounds great but I’m still dreaming of my big wedding
So you are married, you’ve eloped or had a small intimate wedding. What’s stopping you from having a wedding celebration at a later when the time is right?
There is much ongoing confusion about the difference between a marriage and a wedding. So let me quickly clear that up.
A marriage is the legal contract and the enduring relationship between a couple long after their wedding day.
A wedding is a celebration of that marriage. This celebration is being called many things. A wedding ceremony, a commitment ceremony, a sequel wedding even a renewal of vows.
But in truth it’s the party that includes the ceremony, reception and all the other shenanigans you might have been originally planning.
The ceremony aspect can be led by a wedding celebrant. You can ‘renew’ your vows and exchange rings with ALL your friends as witnesses.
You can have a bridal party, wear your dress again or have a new one and include all the other elements that were part of your original vision for your wedding day.
So to conclude for the time being we are being forced to think differently about weddings. It’s time to be positive and I hope that after reading my blog you can see that something really special can be achieved. Both now and at a later date.
Just tweak your wedding planning to thinking intimate, relaxed, hassle-free, affordable luxury, yet without compromising the very special feel of your wedding day.
And then start planning your sequel wedding at a later date.
My thanks as always to the brilliant photographers and Brickhouse Vineyard who have kindly contributed these fantastic images.