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Defining the Modern Elopement in 2024

Payton Rademacher Photography

If you’ve been on social media in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the influx of couples eloping. And while eloping certainly isn’t “new”, it’s definitely taken the wedding industry by storm post-2020. As a Minnesota and Pacific Northwest elopement photographer, I’ve realized just how many couples aren’t certain what an elopement is. So I thought, what better way to help couples with wedding planning than by defining the modern elopement in 2024?! Whether you’re planning your own elopement or are just curious, you’re in the right place. Let’s get into it, shall we?

What is an Elopement?

Not to sound like Merriam-Webster, but eloping is defined as “running away secretly in order to get married.” Additionally, when most folks think of an elopement, they probably think of a couple running away to get married in a little white chapel in Las Vegas, officiated by an Elvis impersonator. While some couples do run away secretly to Vegas, that’s not all that an elopement is. 

As a Minnesota wedding and elopement photographer, I’ve also come to redefine the term for myself and what I want to embody for my couples. To me, an elopement is meant to highlight a couple’s love story in the most intimate way — just the two of them. I value the authenticity and intentionality behind an elopement, especially. There’s something so beautiful about witnessing a couple choosing to celebrate themselves rather than conforming to what they feel like they are obligated to do.

The Modern-Day Elopement

Eloping in 2024 is definitely a trend. And while I’m all for it, I want to encourage you to only do what feels right for you as a couple. If eloping isn’t something that fits with your vision and your relationship, don’t feel like you have to do it. 

“Adventure elopements” specifically have popped off recently. Spoiler alert: I love love adventuring with my couples. However, I know that not every couple dreams of hiking on their wedding day. Maybe you and your honey are low-key people who are happiest strolling a sandy beach while gentle waves crash to shore. Lean into that; plan a tropical elopement in the Bahamas or Hawaii! Spend your morning strolling the beach, hand-in-hand, before getting ready for day. 

Or maybe you are a super adventurous, thrill-seeking couple. Whitewater rafting in Grand Canyon National Park or skydiving might be more your speed. I can’t express enough just how important and invaluable the experience of eloping how you want is. It truly doesn’t matter how laidback or how adventurous you are; what matters most is that you authentically represent you and your partner’s love story. 

Elopement details

Minnesota + Pacific Northwest Elopement Photographer 

Defining the modern elopement in 2024 isn’t as easy as turning to a dictionary solely because it can be whatever you want it to be. I want to encourage you to define it for yourself. Whether it looks like the classic little white wedding chapel in Las Vegas, or exchanging vows beneath some towering pines in Mount Rainier National Park, it is up to you to define it.

Make sure to stay tuned to the blog for more elopement planning tips and inspo. And of course, you can keep up with my own adventures over on the ‘Gram (@paytonrademacherphoto). 

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