The Art of Eloping


August 16, 2021
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Jayleigh Flood Photography

Tips On How To Navigate Having An Intimate Wedding

Sometimes the thought of a large guest list or just the normal pressures of well-meaning relatives and friends become too much to bear and the entire focal point of the union – the couple – gets lost. Eloping is the epitome of romance, it removes all external factors and allows the couple to focus entirely on themselves. It can also allow a couple to redirect finances to their first home or a truly epic honeymoon. Whatever the reasoning, we’ve tapped into elopement expert and wedding planner, Morgan Childs of Modern Elopement, for some advice on how to create an epic event for two (or a few).

DID: Are there ways to elope without upsetting friends and loved ones?

Morgan: Eloping doesn’t mean you have to alienate your family or friends. If you can’t invite everyone you love, consider holding a hometown bash after you have tied the knot and have had some time to recover. It is a great way to prolong the occasion and to include everyone without the stress or expense of having to plan a traditional wedding. Your loved ones just want to officially celebrate alongside you and providing them an opportunity to do so will eliminate any hard feelings.

Another way to make sure no one close to you feels left out is to mail them a personalized elopement announcement card after your elopement – and before any big announcements on social media. This simple gesture will prevent any hurt feelings and loved ones believing they are the last to find out about your big news. 

DID: What are your main tips for planning a destination elopement?

Morgan: With an intimate wedding you can choose to splurge on the things that matter to you and not worry about compromising. Whether that is the dream destination or pulling out all the stops for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner, you can do more with less guests. Here are a few of my main tips:

Treat it like your wedding day and don’t skimp on style.

Wear the dress, get the great shoes and splurge for flowers. An elopement shouldn’t be a second-class experience and, this way, you will feel just as special as you walk down the aisle. 

Don’t feel guilty about choosing to elope.

While it may not be the most popular way to wed, it is perfect for many couples and there should be no guilt about wanting a more intimate experience.

Hire a great photographer.

Not only will you want to remember this day forever, but everyone who didn’t get to attend your day will be begging to see the evidence.

Don’t forget to plan something after your ceremony.

An amazing dinner for two, a sunset sail or a night out on the town – whatever suits you best, make sure you have a plan to commemorate your big day. 

DID: What are some of the best reasons to have a destination elopement?

Morgan: It costs less. Less guests and a simplified experience means you will spend significantly less on your wedding day, even with some of the splurges. 

Epic backdrops. One of the benefits of an elopement is you can have your ceremony or photos on the edge of a cliff, on a fantasy tropical island or a stately courthouse – whatever your style, you are not limited by your guest count.

No planning headaches.
 You don’t have to worry about a year of budgeting, vendor contracts, seating assignments and the multitude of opinions and unsolicited advice from your friends and family on your big day.

DID: Conversely, what are some of the reasons a couple might not want to elope?

MC: No dance party. Usually an elopement is a ceremony followed by a dinner reception and doesn’t include the traditional elements like a first dance, cake cutting and those memorable dance floor shenanigans. 

Foregoing the Pinterest wedding. Elopements are by nature simpler weddings and don’t have all the opportunities to add those many ideas and details you may have had pinned on your wedding board for years. 

No wedding registry. Since elopements are small affairs it’s not generally good etiquette to requests gifts without an invitation to the celebration.

Whatever your reason for considering a destination elopement, know you should make the decision based on what is best for you as a couple. Including some of Morgan’s tips will help your event feel special, no matter who is included. Happy planning!

Vendors: Photographer: Jayleigh Flood Photography; Planners: Modern Elopement; Flowers, Bouquet, Hair Flowers & Table Arrangements: Passion Roots; Venue: Dillingham Ranch; Officiant: Reverend Michael Nelson;  Hair & Makeup: Leslie Fair

More on Morgan Childs: Morgan got her start in event planning 17 years ago, working in one of the principal firms in NYC. After finding her passion in event design and planning, Morgan moved back to Hawaii to open Moana Belle Events. After producing many spectacular destination weddings, she noticed a gap in the market for her couples who wanted a beautiful and intimate wedding, so she created her second company Modern Elopement. Modern Elopement is a complete elopement experience curated to ensure effortless planning, without sacrificing any quality or style.

This article originally ran in the Fall/Winter 2019 edition of Destination I Do’s print magazine.

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