What are the benefits of eloping?
Interview with expert elopement wedding planner Valentina Ring from ‘The Stars Inside’
Ever considered that the big, ball-gown wedding just isn’t for you? Ever been tempted to ditch the miles-long guest list and opt for a smaller, more intimate affair? If you have, you most definitely will want to read on…
It’s safe to say we’ve photographed our fair share of elopements, but, wanting to get more of an insight into the specific details, we decided to ask an expert all about this beautiful and intimate way of saying ‘I do’.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Valentina Ring, the owner and master planner behind ‘The Stars Inside’, a brand specializing in creating unique and intimate weddings and elopements all over the globe.
In this article, she shares invaluable tips she’s learnt in her career, as well as 10 unique benefits of eloping. But first, what is an elopement?
What is an elopement?
For those of you new to the term ‘elopement’, it’s the practice of getting married in the presence of solely you, your husband or wife, and perhaps a few witnesses. While it can be associated with the act of running away to be secretly married, it can also simply mean that you desire a hassle-free, more intimate moment for your big day.
If you’re looking for a more detailed and practical guide to eloping, make sure to keep a look out for our upcoming blog post ‘Eloping in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know*’.
Get to know our Guest Expert - Valentina Ring:
“How did you get involved in being a wedding and elopement planner?”, we asked. While she gained expertise in jobs such as investment banking, being an Astrophysicist and even a trapeze artist, Val admits she fell in love with the wedding industry when planning her own special day:
“It wasn’t until I started working with a wedding planner for our own wedding that I realized what an incredible industry this is: so much talent and creativity, meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues, and constant ingenuity and problem-solving.”
Valentina’s weddings are characterized by their style, playfulness and integrity, and we most definitely picked her brains about anything and everything elopement, bringing you the ultimate expert opinion all in one place!
What recommendations do you have for anyone thinking of eloping?
One of Valentina’s main tips is to truly hone-in on what you really want from your wedding, and don’t let outsider-expectations dwell on your mind when planning the specifics.
“The most important thing to say is that eloping isn’t for everyone, so if you’re reading and thinking about your big beautiful 200-person wedding and how much you’re looking forward to it - that’s AWESOME too! But for some people, it couldn’t be more right, and gives them a safe, calming, light-hearted option when all other wedding traditions don’t seem to fit. […] your wedding should be a reflection of all the gloriously perfect imperfections of your lives and loves.”
Right, so follow your heart and don’t pay attention to the dirty-looks your mother-in-law is giving you at dinner when you mention the idea of eloping in the Mexican Riviera, got it.
Remember all the positives that a micro-wedding or elopement can allow you and your partner, after it is your special day! Val breaks them down into a nice top-ten list for us, perfect for convincing your no-nonsense business-brained other-half.
Here are ten reasons why an elopement might be for you!
- You get to experience your wedding day even more fully: Eloping means it really is all about your favorite things: your favorite place, with your favorite person (or handful of people!) rather than feeling any pressure from external expectations. Deciding on a smaller celebration means more quality time spent with loved ones, and a more present you in every moment of the day. None of this running around like a headless-chicken trying to make sure everyone knows which table they’re sitting at, and adheres to the seating-plan. Instead, it’s a day with a relaxed timeline, one characterized by heartfelt conversations and memory-making with the person(s) there with you.
- You can have more privacy: One of the most common anxieties surrounding large weddings is the pressure couples feel to entertain and host such a large group of people, all whilst being at the very centre of attention, the whole day. It can be relieving to know that your vows will be heard only by your nearest-and-dearest, and that the news of your wedding and your specific wedding choices can be shared on your own terms. Or, if you want to keep it a secret for a while, that’s fine too.
- You can strip things back - for you: No, we’re not referring to a nudist-wedding, although if that’s what you’re into no judgement here! Many couples are infatuated with the idea of marriage, but aren’t so hung up on the idea of a complicated, elaborate gathering of people. Whatever the reason, you have every right to want your wedding planning to be easy-breezy, whether that be a ceremony with close friends and family only, or just the two of you.
- You can be more intentional with your budget: By cutting down on the guest list, you can reduce overall expensive, whilst simultaneously increasing the budget per person. You can indulge in the things you love, work with amazing vendors, honour your priorities, AND treat yourselves to a personal, luxury experience without overly-testing your financial limits. Having a larger guest list may make it feel as if you’re spending a large chunk of expenses on things that don’t actually matter to you and don’t add to your special day - after all, you don’t want to have to explain to your partner during the wedding breakfast why you had to invite Stacy from the office’s aunties’ boyfriend to your wedding, all in the name of avoiding office-drama. Elopements also tend to be more adaptable to off-season dates, non-traditional venues, and special micro wedding packages that also help cut cost.
- You can be spontaneous: An elopement doesn’t have to entail an adventurous and spontaneous ceremony that strays from tradition and breaks the boundaries of your traditional white wedding, but it can be! If what your heart desires is an adventure wedding, with you and your partner hiking up Matlacueitl mountain in Mexico to say your vows, an elopement may be the perfect way to make it happen. On the other hand, if your dream day looks more like setting aside time for naps, snacks, outfit changes and alone time, that’s also possible.
- You can leave no trace: For those of us looking for a more eco-friendly and sustainable wedding, elopement may be the way to go. Tying the knot with just a few witnesses will help you reduce your carbon footprint by saving on lighting and production, power usage, creation of refuse etc, all without compromising the beautiful memories that will be made.
- You can control your guestlist & vendor team: In many ways, eloping gives you the ultimate pick-and-mix wedding, you can decide on a fully public day, a fully private one, or a mix of the two, you can choose to have guests or not, how many, how long for, the options are endless. Extending this personalisation to your vendor team is easier too, as there are less guests to account for you can decide on which elements of the day to manage yourself or hand over to suppliers that will lovingly organise for you.
- You can pick anywhere on the map: Elopements can happen anywhere in the world, at any time or day of the year. Embrace the fact you’ll be a small group and use your extra cash on planning an epic honeymoon and ensure you’re embracing culture to the full by trying local cuisine, shopping for artisanal items, exploring new places or relaxing on the beach. After all, if you weren’t eloping and you were inviting your great-aunt Mildred, you know it would have to be the dry chicken with parsley sauce on your menu, and not the Cochinita Pibil which you ate on your travels in South Mexico last year and loved so much.
- You’ll have more time to make & capture memories: As we all know, breath-taking photography and videography is one of the most important parts of your wedding day if you want to be able to reminisce on your special moment in the future, and not just flip through a million photos of your partner’s extended family where the younger cousins have their eyes closed in every one (you were supposed to smile on the count of three Benny, not afterwards). Elopements allow for shooting in multiple locations, in multiple outfits and getting stunning couple portraits throughout the day in different lighting levels. The collection you will be left with will be an authentic reflection of the intimate day you had, without false poses or forced group shots.
- You can do what is right for you: Finally, Val finishes her tips by summarising the true attraction of all elopements. It is your day and your story to create. Without the fuss of catering to the demands of a large quantity of people, and the restrictions that so often come with this, you can craft a day that reflects your own priorities and values in a way that is truly personal. One with new traditions, one that honours old ones, and one that reflects the personal legacy of who you are as a couple.
As a photography company we had to ask the big important question, professional photographer or iPhone for elopement weddings?
Well, you heard it here first that iPhone shots are a no-go. It’s all about the professional shots if you want to capture the true memory of your once-in-a-lifetime day:
“No brainer on this one: professional photographer, every time! And if budget allows, videographer too! Having a team with you documenting those memories is always important, and all the more so for elopements.
In many cases, couples will have family and friends with whom they will love sharing images after they’ve returned from their private elopement - and for whom those images and videos will be treasured keepsakes.”
“Beyond that, I think it’s wonderful for couples themselves to have a way of reliving that experience, especially if they invested budget into travelling somewhere incredible, and loving crafted a day that was perfectly unique and personal to them.”
So, now that you’ve got all the info it’s up to you to decide - to elope, or not to elope? That is the question. If you’re still unsure, you can read about macro-weddings, and 2023 wedding trends on our blog ‘The Lens’, links below:
Whatever you decide, just make sure you’ve got some quality photos and videography to remember your special day. If you’re getting married in Mexico, you can count on us at DreamArt Photography to capture your wedding!
Book your wedding photographer HERE