When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we started with a pretty normal wedding format. We joked many times that we should just elope on the beach because planning was so stressful. 4 months before our wedding, we weren't joking about it anymore. We changed our wedding plans so far into our reception and started planning our Oregon Coast elopement.
This is our travel blog but we want to include this here because we think there's a lot of people like us looking at travel pages like this. Eloping was a perfect decision of us and we hope to show people how awesome this option can be. Since we've eloped, I've basically become a spokesperson for elopements because I love them soooo much. So here's why we eloped so you can see if it's right for you too. Enjoy my rant because I can really get rolling with this.
1. Eloping is about you. You don't have to wedding plan very long before you figure out how much of the wedding is about what you're "supposed to do" and not what you want to do. You'll be amazed at how many opinions come out when you're planning. If you don't do this, you're sending this message (and it's usually negative). You start to feel all this pressure for people to view your wedding the "right" way and you lose track of what you actually want.
2. It focuses on your relationship. We had two parts to our wedding so we had the unique opportunity to see both sides of weddings. At our elopement ceremony, we spent so much quality time together. We even had a 20-30 minute window where it was just the two of us hanging out on the beach. I actually got to see my new husband and enjoy this new milestone with him. At our reception which was more like a traditional wedding, I hardly saw him. We were so busy getting all the wedding stuff done, trying to keep on schedule, and visiting with out of town guests that we had no quality time together that day. Thankfully, we were fine with it considering the amazing elopement we had already had.
3. You get to focus your family and friend time with the people that matter. We had 20 people total at our elopement including us, the photographer, and the pastor. We brought our immediate family and wedding party. We only had the most important people in our lives there. I had so many amazing moments with my loved ones and my new in-laws. I felt like I really got to celebrate and enjoy my time with them. In contrast, I hardly saw them at the reception. You have so many people you rarely see and you want to spend a bit of time with all of them. It was nice to just focus on those people at our reception knowing that we'd already had so many valuable moments with our loved ones.
4. It's so much more private. No offense to anyone, but as a private person, it's hard to wear my heart on my sleeve for my vows when that one person I met once 10 years ago that we had to invite to not offend someone is there watching. Super cool they're watching this super intimate milestone and I'm not even comfortable having a conversation beyond small talk with them.
5. WEDDINGS ARE SO EXPENSIVE. Isn't it fun when an important, meaningful event in someone's life is turned into a cash cow? At least double the price of anything when you turn it into something wedding related. We ended up spending more than we hoped because we already had half of a normal wedding planned (turned reception). We also did a lot to save money when planning everything. Oregon beaches are public land and under 50 people doesn't require a permit (check their site before taking my word though). We stood on a secluded beach with an aisle made of lawn chairs. Our reception was at the fairgrounds which is usually a super cheap bet.
Ya know what we did with the money we saved? We went to Europe for 3 weeks. Do something you enjoy and make some epic memories with your new spouse. You aren't going to remember if you had custom napkins or succulent favors (and I love succulents so much).
6. You get to go somewhere cool. Even if it's a local spot, eloping opens up so many doors for venue. You're not trying to keep great Aunt Edith from falling in a creek and listening to her whine about bug bites for 4 hours. You can pick a spot that's meaningful for you and even make an adventure out of it. We'd both been to the Oregon Coast multiple times. We loooove it there. We've had lots of great memories there.
The location was mainly for me. I've been passionate about the ocean since I was 4. My soul comes alive when I hear those waves crash. I got to frolick on the beach and look for ocean critters on my wedding day. I get choked up just thinking about how perfect that day was. Pick a spot that makes you feel like that. It seriously adds so much meaning to your day.
7. You can make a trip out of it. Not only was my wedding the best day of my life, but the whole weekend was the best weekend of my life. My grandparents are in their 80s so they recently stopped traveling with us. It was so much fun to go on vacation with them for what will probably be the last time. I also got to road trip over with my bridesmaids. Imagine all of your best friends going on a weekend vacation to the beach. HECK. YES. I even had my bachelorette party in Portland which was awesome.
8. No stress. I can honestly say that I experienced almost no stress on my wedding day. It took a little extra time to get ready but our photos also went faster than expected. We started our wedding ceremony 15 minutes ahead of schedule and just went with the flow. We had a beach house rented so we all just hung out together. There was no rush or harsh itinerary. We had a regular ol' dinner all together with our newly joined family. The waves crashed outside. We even have cute photos of my husband's grandparents watching the waves from the window together. So many sweet moments that would've been missed if we had a rigid schedule.
9. You get to totally customize your day. I wore hiking boots. My bridesmaids and our entire family went barefoot. I changed out of my dress for dinner so I could enjoy eating without feeling suffocated. We did our own hair and didn't care when the wind on the beach messed it up. We went hiking after the wedding and got some epic photos (and epic memories). Your day is about you and your partner. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
In case this already doesn't sound amazing, here's some photos of our special day. Shoutout to Karlie Larson Photography (best friend and bridesmaid extraordinaire) for capturing our elopement. I also highly recommend you have a professional photographer best friend take your wedding photos. It makes the poses come a lot more naturally.
My Elopement Photography
As you can tell, I'm quite passionate about getting people to elope. I think there's so many people who are missing out on their perfect wedding day because of the stigma attached to eloping. Eloping has changed. Even if your relatives are being a bit snotty about it, remember the whole point is to focus on you.
I'm going to sneak in here to advertise myself a bit. I've been doing photography for 10 years now and professionally for 6 years. Below, I have some elopement photos I've taken. If this eloping thing sounds like it's for you, check out my work and my rates on my website. I'd love to help you create the wedding of your dreams so you can love your day as much as I love mine.
I also think it's garbage that the wedding industry has turned into this cash cow trying to make money off of an important milestone. I keep my prices low specifically to combat the wedding industry trying to make weddings about money and not love. My time and skill are being fairly compensated but I'm also not going to take advantage of my clients.
If you like my work and you're looking at eloping, check out my professional photography website for rates and information!
Miki & Bob
We're an adventurous couple that travel internationally and travel nationally in our RV. We have a corgi named Sophie that comes along on our adventures. Our goal is to encourage others to travel and show genuine travel over Instagrammable travel.