Is an elopement right for you?

When you hear the word elopement, what’s your first thought? Running off to Gretna Green to tie the knot in secret? Flying to a far flung beach to get married in your flip flops?

The dictionary definition of elopement is “an act or instance of running off secretly, as to be married.” But that’s just not the case these days.

What if I told you modern elopements are far removed from elopements of the past. While Gretna is still a popular destination for elopements, most don’t involve secrecy and only the couple to be married present. Or a trip up a mountain for that matter.

Married couple walking across bridge

To describe an elopement these days, I think it’s fair to say it is a wedding with no rules or traditions. No pressure and no stress. They are intimate and unique and all about celebrating your love in the most personal and authentic way. There is more focus on the couple than on the wedding with an intimate elopement in a way that’s not possible with a larger event.

Alex and I attended an elopement last year. It was just us and our friends getting married. It was an honour and overwhelming in equal measures. To witness a day so focused on love, so emotive and raw is something I will forever feel privileged to be a part of. After the ceremony and some photos at the town hall, we headed for a celebratory lunch and a wander around Hyde Park to walk it off.

Married couple walking across bridge

An elopement is a very intimate ceremony and while you can have guests, it’s usually only the most essential people and it will be all about you and your love. This gives you a lot more control over your day as you don’t have a wedding party to organise or make sure everyone is having fun.

It means you’re free to spend your wedding day exactly as you want it. If you’ve never warmed to a big wedding and have always something more focused on your relationship, there are so many possibilities for you with an elopement.

There are many reasons why you would want to elope. If it’s still 2020 when you’re reading this, well, enough said. An elopement or a small wedding is really likely your only option to get married this year. However, I wanted to talk about what eloping could mean for you and whether you decide to get married in 2020 or beyond, and what that could look like for you.

One of the biggest advantages of elopements are in the photos. You’ll have more time to have an extended portrait session in your dream location with a lot less pressure to move on due to a tight schedule.

Couple in Mile End Park walking over bridge

My only hope is that you remember that is not just a photo shoot. I understand there are photographers who offer 2 hour elopement packages but this is your wedding day. Elopements are extremely special and regardless how you decide to celebrate your wedding, I would never want you to feel later that you should have done more. You deserve to get just as much out of your wedding experience as those who have larger events. You too want photos to look back on and share with future generations.

If you’re unsure how an elopement works, I wanted to share an example timeline with you to help clarify the details. I’m here to help you create an unforgettable experience and bring your team wedding to life.

When putting your timeline together, make sure you sit down as a couple and decide what makes you happy and a list of places you want to visit on your day. Think about the best day you could spend together. Spare no details. Don’t forget to add some flexibility into your timeline as don’t forget, the main appeal of elopements is that they are laid-back.

Here is an example timeline for an 8-hour elopement in London. That may sound like a long time but it’s your perfect day and you can’t can’t fit that into a 2 hour photo shoot. It’s a day to be savoured, enjoyed and for your story to be told.

Oh and if you think you can’t elope in Central London, I hope this timeline will bust that myth.

Example elopment timeline

  1. 11:30 - I'll arrive to capture you both getting ready for your elopement
  2. 12:00 - We'll leave for Embankment pier to meet the boat for your ceremony, taking photos along the way
  3. 12:30 - Let's take some photos on Westminster Bridge and capture some of the iconic London views before the short walk to the pier to join the boat
  4. 13:00 - Your beautiful ceremony takes place on the boat as we travel down the Thames towards Greenwich
  5. 13:30 - Ceremony over, it's time to soak in the sights and sounds along the Thames while enjoying your wedding lunch
  6. 15:00 - We leave the boat at Greenwich, taking photos as we wander through the grounds of the Naval College and then up to Greenwich Park
  7. 16:30 - We head back to the boat and back down the Thames for some late afternoon photos while enjoying your favourite sights
  8. 18:00 - We head back to your place to photos of the two of you around the house as you prepare to enjoy your first dinner as a married couple
  9. 19:30 - I sneak out leaving you to enjoy your evening

Your elopement is all about you both want so make it last. They will go faster than you think and some parts will also take longer than planned. But it’s your elopement and one of the best days of your life shouldn’t be rushed.

If you want to learn I’d be happy to guide and support you figure out how to plan your own elopement. Drop me a message and let’s chat.