I have a confession: I had to do some research on just what an elopement is. It actually was the subject of an argument with my husband, who thought of it strictly in the sneaking away from disapproving family to marry someone who was forbidden to you. I thought of it in a much more positive light - people so excited to get married that they just can't wait, and the fact that they don't have the funds to do the average American wedding cost of $20,000+ is not going to stand in there way of having a perfect day.
My husband and I we made up (we always do), but in the meantime I confirmed that I was right about an elopement being a term of art that means more than just two people absconding to some distant place to be married in secret as my husband was so certain.
What my research revealed is that "elope" and "elopement" has come to mean so many things. If you run away to get married, yes, that is still thought of as an elopement. But it is also an elopement to have a tiny little wedding, where you check out of most of the big spending, whoop-la and long waiting to quietly get married with just a handful of your most important people with you, usually on relatively short notice. That is what happened here, and oh my was it beautiful!
This beautiful bride and her handsome groom were going to hit the courthouse (another form of elopement in many people's book), but her mom said "Why don't you get married here at the house?" And, it just so happens they know my husband, a judge, and me a photographer, so they had all the outside pieces they needed to make a wedding, photos and all!
Parents, toddler daughter, sisters, four friends who've been there for the most important things in life, always - that is a pretty powerful group of witnesses. That is enough! So in front of a crowd of 10, Judge Breuner married these two in the upstairs den of a life long home. It was perfect!
In some ways, elopement weddings are smaller than the modern "traditional wedding" - fewer guests, smaller budget (or not) - but the emotions packed into the smaller package are still just as big!
And you still get to do the romantic couples photos - in this case augmented with the 2 year old daughter! And wedding photos in the back yard are amazing on a snowy New Year's Day in Montana!
Bring the two together and look at the beautiful family!
Whatever form elopements take, they are beautiful weddings, and I love to photograph them!