Just look at this image above that was taken in Yosemite National Park. Should there be any other answer in your mind as to why an adventure elopement is totally the move when you are getting married? It’s small, it’s intimate, and the images you will get are breathtaking. People are redefining what an elopement is. An adventure elopement is when you and your partner decide to choose an experience that focuses deeply on the relationship, on being together for your wedding day rather than spending much of it apart, and on doing something that truly connects you to nature and to each other. It is intimate, untamed, wild, free, and is honestly priceless. In my hometown of Asheville, NC I had mostly photographed bigger wedding ceremonies and it wasn’t until I photographed smaller elopement ceremonies that I realized just how intimate and personal they could be. I had always associated elopements with being cheap, secretive, and for people who don’t have a good relationship with their parents. Well this dynamic is certainly changing or perhaps I’m just getting “woke” to the fact that eloping is not the dirty ugly stepchild of the bigger grandiose, traditional wedding. Elopements meditate deeply on the relationship and less on the production. Perhaps you have always imagined getting married in a big church or at a venue and inviting all your friends and family, so I will start by saying that eloping may not be for everyone. But if this type of imagery and intimacy connects with you, then pay close attention to what I am about to say. You can still have a reception and party like an animal with all your friends and family, even if you elope. There are no rules as far as what you can choose to do when you get married. Traditional large scale weddings where you spend a ton of money on everything and you are beholden to a schedule and to all the other people and a timeline, is only one way to get married. You don’t have to do what tradition dictates, and yes your dad can still walk you down “the aisle” if that is what you desire.
Let me dispel a couple of myths or misconceptions about elopements. Eloping is not turning your back on your parents, heading off to Vegas and having a cheap ceremony (well it can be, but this is not the type of elopement I am describing). I am talking about having an adventure elopement. This is really more of a buzzword within the photography community, but there are loads of us photographers who are trying to redefine what it means to elope. Your wedding day should be about YOU and the person you are marrying. It should not be about feeling pressured to do things a certain way, to be beholden to the traditions of generations before us. Eloping should be all about you. The average amount people spend on a wedding in the US is $25,000-$35,000. The cost really adds up when you think about all the things you are spending money on: the venue, catering, alcohol, decorations, invitations that people throw away, rings, dress, all the things and the list goes on and on and on. Let’s just say this amount is high and you are more so dealing with a $10,000-$15,000 budget. Wouldn’t you love to put that money towards an experience traveling somewhere amazing and having kick ass photos to show for it? You would be spending a lot less money and the money you save could be spent on you, not toward getting all your gal maids and bros-men drunk.
If I could redo my wedding day I would head up to Black Balsam and get nasty over some vows with my wife, maybe just the two of us, or maybe us and our families. The thing about adventure elopements is that they do not exclude family. You can have your family and even close friends join for a ceremony. My recommendation is to keep things as small and intimate as possible in terms of number of guests. My other suggestion is to keep things as grandiose and wild as possible in terms of your location and experience. You can make the day your ideal day and have a photographer like myself capture it. You can read at a coffee shop together, or go to a swimming hole, go rock climbing, or just get some ice cream together. Like I said, there are no rules. In general I like to help couples find a bomb ass location for the ceremony and sunset photos. I also like to photograph them doing the things that really make them tick.
I mean this in the nicest way possible, bump tradition. Do what you want. If you want to wear a black wedding dress, do it. If you want to sky dive, do it. If you want to climb a fourteener, do it, just have someone there to document it. I am giving you full permission to be as selfish as you want and to do things the way you want to on your wedding day. The benefit of eloping is that you get to be untamed, unconventional, and unbelievably yourself. You don’t have to put on a show for other people, it’s all about connecting to each other and making the most memorable day possible. If you feel like this is something that appeals to you, then strongly consider eloping over having a conventional wedding. Feel free to hit me up and we can chat about what you are looking for. I am based out of Asheville, North Carolina, but I travel all over. If you are looking to elope in Asheville or the Blue Ridge Mountains, check out my blog post How to Plan the Perfect Asheville Elopement.