I’ll Meet You At The Altar: Why People Elope


Elopement is becoming increasingly popular in our modern world as more couples are favouring a discreet, intimate ceremony over a traditional wedding. Historically, eloping was a form of rebellion, in the days of arranged marriages it gave couples the chance to marry the person they truly loved, not just who they were betrothed to. Today, eloping is becoming more common with couples of all ages, especially amongst millennials, but for very different reasons.

What Is Eloping? 

When looking at the etymology of the word, ‘elope’ means to run away, to take off or to escape. By its nature, an elopement is a marriage performed in secretive, hurried or spontaneous circumstances with few or even no guests at the ceremony. Ever since the middle of the 18th century when the government tightened marriage laws, sweethearts have been running off to Gretna Green to tie the knot away from family input or control. As a result, the romantic notion of two lovers running off to the Scottish Border has been a recurring feature of many love stories and films over the years. And it’s not just Scotland! 


The great writers Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley took off to France after Mary’s father disapproved of their union. Today, when you think of a modern elopement, the image of a young couple flying to Las Vegas for a hasty service performed by an Elvis impersonator may come to mind. Just think of Ross and Rachel’s last-minute Vegas wedding in Friends or Leonard and Penny’s somewhat tipsy ceremony in The Big Bang Theory. Or you may think of a couple taking a trip to the registry office during their lunch break for a low-key service. Or lovers getting married underneath the Eiffel Tower while the sun sets. 


An elopement can be all or none of these things. While eloping with your sweetheart was traditionally done in secret, today an elopement wedding is often a small ceremony conducted in front of a few of your closest friends and family. It can be in an exotic location, or in your hometown, in a church or registry office – there are no rules when it comes to eloping!


groom holding brde

The Advantages Of Eloping

At its core, an elopement provides a simplistic alternative to the traditional wedding ceremony. Often, couples choose to elope as a romantic way to make the most out of a small-scale wedding, while having the advantage of minimising costs. An average wedding in the UK costs around £30,355, which can be seen as either reasonable or a huge burden dependant on your individual circumstances. It’s understandable that a lot of couples choose to elope to save money, which can be put towards your honeymoon, house or other plans!


Weddings can be extremely time-consuming, often taking a year or even two to plan. One of the advantages of eloping is that it offers ultimate simplicity. You don’t have to worry about your guests, the food service, the venue or anything else! Due to the rise in elopement weddings, elopement packages have sprung into existence in response. These packages let you create a personal, unforgettable experience without the need for extensive planning. Although they vary, these packages often include the ceremony itself, an overnight stay, your food and travel costs. This ensures that everything is organised for you, all you have to do is invite the guests! 


Another advantage of eloping is that it’s a way to celebrate your union with your loved one in a ceremony free of all the bells and whistles that accompany a wedding. A wedding wouldn’t be a wedding without a guest list. Yet no matter how big or small the list is, it can be difficult to ensure everyone is happy. An elopement gives you ultimate control over who you invite, as the size of your ceremony could range from just you and your partner to 10 guests (or more). 


This is ideal for those couples who don’t like the spotlight or want to keep their wedding personal. It’s the perfect alternative to a lavish fairy-tale wedding if you’re wanting to avoid an extravagant ceremony. You and your significant other get a whole day to yourselves to show your love for one another, tying the knot in a private and intimate way. 


bride in simple wedding dress

Is it better to elope or have a wedding?

An elopement isn’t just about flying off to a romantic destination and tying the knot, it’s about the experience that you and your partner share together. Whilst many couples dream of a fairytale wedding complete with a huge guest list and displays of splendour, others may dream of a simple and nonchalant ceremony with no one but their significant other present.  


There are plenty of advantages of eloping, and each couple has a different reason to opt for an elopement over a full-scale wedding. The final decision should be entirely personal to you and your significant other. Your elopement can be whatever you and your partner want it to be. It could be a spontaneous trip which you plan the night before, or it could be a ceremony which you spend weeks planning. 


Ultimately, it is your decision as to whether you would prefer a wedding or an elopement. One choice is not overly better than the other, as each couple will have their own opinions and preferences. For those who wish to avoid the extravagance that a wedding may bring – with its endless expenditures, family theatrics and the stress of wedding planning – then elopement could be for you! 

At Andrea Hawkes, we understand that every ceremony, wedding and bride is unique. Just as your wedding ceremony should be personal to your individual tastes and preferences, your wedding dress should embody your personal style. We offer a range of wedding dress styles – from backless wedding dresses to strapless and corseted gowns – all created using minimalistic designs, simple detailing and expert dress-making craftsmanship. Book an appointment with us today to experience a completely personalised wedding dress shopping experience.



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