Adventure Elopement / Yosemite National Park
e·lope: /əˈlōp/ verb - run away secretly in order to get married, especially without parental consent.
When you google the word "elope," this is what the internet tells you. So it has to be true, right? Is anyone else completely taken aback by this? I feel annoyed just by reading this definition and find it to be outdated at best, a total lie at worst. I feel like there are some silly Hollywood story lines to blame for misconstruing perceptions and falsely defining what it means to elope. But if that is how you would still define an elopement, I'm not going to hold it against you. In fact, I'm going to thank you, because now I can share with you why I think that eloping is everything that definition is not.
For starters, there are so many reasons why two people may choose to elope. I will gladly concede that it is very possible that a elopement can be decided upon due to a faulty or unstable family relationship. What I want to emphasize though is this is not the ONLY reason that a couple could be enthralled by the thought of elopement, nor is it the common theme these days!
For starters, I think a large majority of people begin to think about eloping after they have started thinking about a traditional wedding. Here are some reasons people have ditched "traditional" weddings:
MONEY --- The average cost of an American wedding has skyrocketed. The Knot performed a study in 2016, polling 13,000 couples, and concluded that overall cost of a wedding (not including honeymoons) averaged $35,329. WHAT. I highly doubt this information is surprising to anyone who has attended a wedding in the past 2-3 years...but I'm still shocked. I'm not going to lie - every time I go to a beautiful wedding or browse Pinterest, I see swoon worthy details and I fall in love with the creativity and obvious effort that couples put into their wedding day. With that said, I also immediately think, "Holy cow, how much did that COST?!?" Anyways, if I had to guess, this is a HUGE reason why people start to question whether a "traditional" wedding is the right choice for them.
STRESS --- When you put that kind of price tag on a party, you are guaranteed to feel stressed - that is just human nature. According to Brides, on average, people are engaged 12-18 months in the United States. That's 12-18 months of time spent planning one big party - and not just any party. This is the day that you've mostly likely thought about your whole life. Thanks to things like Pinterest and Instagram, there are now one billion ways to style a table. A simple decision inevitably turns into a 3 week ordeal when you start narrowing down ideas and receiving various quotes. And don't get me started on guest lists. Having to create a list of who's "the most important" and who's invited if options 1 and 2 say no - STRESSFUL.
LIFESTYLE --- I don't have any statistics here, but I think it's pretty obvious that people are getting married and starting families later in life. They're also starting to choose experiences over things, making the choice to travel rather that settling down and buying a house in the beginning of adulthood. I think this mindset has a lot to do with the increase in elopements. People are feeling more moved by the underlying purpose of marriage and are no longer focusing on the extra-ness of a wedding day (yes I made that word up). All you truly need on your wedding day is two people who love each other and a promise to continue to do so in sickness and in health. Talk about a money saver and a stress reducer.
ADVENTURE --- I have found that more often than not, people are choosing to elope because they want to do something epic together. The box just doesn't fit them. They are adventurers at heart and they prefer hiking boots over high heels, puffy jackets rather than tuxes. Choosing a venue is hard, regardless of whether you decide on a wedding or an elopement - but when you elope, the cool thing is that's the only decision you really have to make. There is nothing else to add when you say I do in front of places like Half Dome, Cliffs of Moher, Longs Peak, Skógafoss, the Oregon Coast, Mt. Rainier, Utah Arches...and on and on. SO MANY OPTIONS and I may be biased, but I think that's one of the coolest aspects of elopements.
So without further ado, I present to you reason #683 on why you should elope. I think this epic Yosemite National Park Elopement should prove to you that eloping is not just reserved for Vegas chapels and Elvis look a likes. But if you take away only one thing from this lengthy blabber fest, then my most important message here is this:
Find your person - find your place - DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!