Eloping in the UK & What Does it Actually Mean to Elope?

Eloping is a chance to get married without a lot of the fuss, taking your special day back to its roots.

When you hear the word 'eloping', what does it conjure up in your mind? If you're old enough maybe tales of young couples running off to Gretna Green to tie the knot over an anvil. Or it may just make you think of crazy old auntie Glenda and uncle Steve getting married in Vegas after one too many boozy cocktails in the casino! What ever your thinking towards the idea of eloping in the UK is, it may well be different from the reality. In the US, its big businesses, with couples disappearing left right and centre in order to get wed away from the stress and strain of a large congregation. But to elope in 2021 doesn't necessarily mean your family doesn't want you to marry, or you've got some issue with the concept of weddings in general. It can just be that you want a wedding that is not the norm, and is considerably smaller than people would expect.

Before the last lockdown, interest in eloping in the UK skyrocketed due to the restrictions on party sizes. And so couples were either jetting off to safer parts of Europe or further to marry, or they were simply having a no-fuss ceremony in the UK with practically no guests, but with a big party planned for 2021. This was seen as the better alternative to having a micro-wedding with 15 people or fewer, as it removed the need to decide on who can come and who can't.

What Does It Actually Mean to Elope?

Forget Ross and Rachel waking up after a heavy night, and realising they'd gone and got married in Vegas! That may well be eloping, but these days it's a far more classy and thought out affair. The modern idea of elopement is a couple travelling somewhere near or far to get legally married, without telling or not inviting many loved ones. It's romantic, as informal as you like and could be considered a honeymoon and wedding all rolled into one!

It’s very much up to you how you elope in the UK or abroad. You can inform your families beforehand or not. You can have a few friends with you as witnesses, or you can do it completely in secret, just the two of you. You can have a no-frills elopement and follow it up with a big party when you’re back home. It can be spontaneous or planned.

You’ll probably already have a feeling whether a big wedding party is right for you and this guide will only serve to help you solidify your gut instinct.

Why Would We Elope?

1. You Want to Save Some Pennies

Weddings aren't cheap, there's no denying that. If you're already raising a family, or you're on a low income, or you're saving for a house - a big wedding can put a strain on your finances. If you consider eloping, even when you factor in the cost of travelling abroad or across the UK, you’ll still be saving money when compared to a 'traditional' big wedding. An elopement in the UK is likely to cost hundreds, rather than thousands. For example in Gretna Green, an elopement package including a photographer starts from £560!

2. You're not Interested in Family Politics

This doesn’t mean you don’t get on with your family. It could just be that you and your partner can’t decide on whose family to marry near, one set of parents might live abroad and not be able to make the trip, or inviting certain members of the family might cause drama with others.

3. A Traditional Wedding Just Isn't You

Some aspects of the traditional wedding ceremony, such as being given away or being the centre of attention for an entire day, just don’t work for some couples.

4. You Hate Planning

Not many of us have experience of planning a party for 100 plus people, and so arranging a wedding day can be a fairly daunting prospect. When it comes to eloping, you can hire an elopement service to take away all the fuss of organising your wedding, but it’s also pretty simple to do yourself.

Eloping will save you a hell of a lot of time, and you can be married within the month rather than the average 13-month planning process traditional nuptials take.

5. This is Your Second Wedding, or You're Marrying Later in Life

You may have already had a big wedding once, and don't fancy another. Or maybe you have grown up kids, and you'd just like your big day to be a smaller, simpler celebration.

6. You Want to Spend all the Money on You!

Just because you're saving money, doesn't mean you have to save it, you can spend it too! Combine your elopement with your honeymoon and splurge on fancy hotels, expensive meals, bucket-list experiences and a whole new honeymoon wardrobe. An elopement can still be extraordinary, and a lot more wickedly indulgent!

7. You Get to Share a Special Secret

The time before you decide to tell your family and friends, there’s a really special period when no one knows you’re married, except you. That secret can be precious and really sacred for some couples.

8. You Still Want to be Legally Married

An elopement is just as meaningful, legal and valid as a big white wedding in a church or licensed venue. Eloping is an excellent alternative to going to your local registry office too. It is as unique, individual and memorable as you make it.