What is an Elopement Wedding? Meaning, explanation, definition

„Elopement“ is a new wedding trend that is now being implemented more and more often by couples. Roughly speaking, it is a marriage in secret or in a very small circle, which is performed by both spouses in spec for many reasons. Thus, an „elopement wedding“ stands in relatively great contrast to conventional wedding customs, according to which weddings are drastic and extensively celebrated events to which countless guests are invited. The main reasons for an „elopement wedding“ can include reasons such as getting married as quickly as possible, need for money or other, bureaucratic reasons.

The number of people in Germany opting for an „elopement“ instead of a traditional wedding has been on the rise for years. The term „elopement“ and how such a „small wedding“ is conducted will therefore be the subject of the following article. Popular locations for „elopements“ will also be mentioned.

What is an elopement wedding? Meaning, explanation, definition

The term „elopement“ is derived from the verb „to elope“ (meaning „to run away“ or „to elope“). Thus, „elopement“ is an artificial word which is modelled on „engagement“. For the formation of the word, the stem of the verb „to elope“ was supplemented with the ending „-ment“.

An „elopement“ is therefore a small and often spontaneous wedding that takes place without a larger celebration or a large number of guests. The hallmarks of an „elopement“ are therefore the speed, spontaneity and small scale of the wedding celebration, with which an „elopement“ clearly differs from a traditional wedding. At the same time, the word „elopement“ has another meaning. An elopement is also an event that occurs unexpectedly or unintentionally.

How does an elopement wedding work?

An „elopement“ is often spontaneous and thus carried out without much notice at the homes of friends, relatives or acquaintances. Sometimes only the closest family members are invited. Thus, an „elopement wedding“ takes place in secret and at unusual locations. Since a church or civil wedding requires a lot of planning and time, „elopements“ often take place in romantic locations such as on the beach or on a mountain top.

Other typical features of an „elopement wedding“ are the absence of a banquet, a small wedding party and a wedding ceremony that is limited to the essentials. However, the vows, the exchange of rings and the „yes“ word are also part of an „elopement“. Thus, an elopement focuses solely on the couple and their love for each other, without any great distractions or expectations from the outside.

Where can an „elopement“ be implemented well?

Basically, an „elopement“ can be carried out in the most diverse and individual places. The important thing is that both partners like the location and that there is a good overall wedding atmosphere. Therefore, unusual, romantic locations are more popular for an elopement than churches or registry offices. In the following subsections, the most popular locations for elopements will be listed.

Nature & secluded places

As nature offers romantic atmospheres and picturesque backdrops, it is particularly popular for elopements. The following locations, for example, are suitable:

  • Romantic mountain huts
  • Lonely beaches
  • Idyllic forests
  • Blooming parks and crystal clear streams
  • Rocky outcrops by the sea
  • National parks and breathtaking natural scenery

In principle, „elopements“ are suitable wherever the participants can get married in front of an exciting and stunning backdrop. A small arch is often erected in front of the respective backdrop, where both partners are then married by a wedding speaker.


But also unusual locations abroad, such as Las Vegas or castle ruins in Scotland, as well as beach houses in the Maldives, are popular venues for spontaneous elopements. These offer an equally exciting backdrop and are more accessible for at least one or two guests than if they were to take place completely out in the open. The only important thing about an elopement abroad is that the couple fulfils the requirements of the local laws and that the marriage is then actually recognised at home.

What should be considered for an elopement wedding?

An „Elopement“ should always be performed in a small circle (of between 5 and 10 people). However, both partners should bear in mind that important people may still be invited. The legal regulations of the respective place or country should also be clarified in advance. Despite the rather small number of guests and the manageable scope of celebrations, the costs for an „elopement“ should be kept in mind. Because of the exclusivity, these can still skyrocket. And even if an „Elopement“ is a rather spontaneous as well as unpretentious event, the wishes and needs of both partners should definitely be taken into account so that an „Elopement“ nevertheless becomes an unforgettable day.

Criticisms of „Elopement Weddings“

Although an „elopement“ has become increasingly popular, there are of course also critics who are strictly against such marriages. Many criticise that an „elopement wedding“ only takes place in a small circle and thus important people in the lives of both partners cannot be invited. At the same time, an „elopement“ is less festive and thus less memorable than a standard wedding in a church or registry office.

Many couples also regret an „elopement“ after the fact (and did not celebrate more fully). There is also a much higher tendency for marriages that were concluded via „elopement“ to be divorced again. Last but not least, wedding planners, wedding speakers and other people employed in the wedding industry make up the majority of critics. They see „elopement“ as a worrying and profit-threatening new trend in the wedding industry.

Conclusion on the topic of „Elopement“ (Wedding)

In summary, an „elopement“ is a spontaneous, short-notice, small-scale „mini wedding“ for the purpose of getting married. An elopement often takes place in unusual locations in nature or abroad. „Elopements“ have many critics who see this form of wedding as a worrying trend that could cause the industry to lose profits.

Related to the term „elopement“ are, for example, the expressions „micro-wedding“, „elopement“ or „spontaneous wedding“. The three alternatives mentioned have basically the same meaning as the word „elopement“ and are used much more frequently, especially in the German-speaking world, than the still fairly new word „elopement“.

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

Hallo, ich bin Autor und Macher von BedeutungOnline. Bei BedeutungOnline dreht sich alles um Worte und Sprache. Denn wie wir sprechen und worüber wir sprechen, formt wie wir die Welt sehen und was uns wichtig ist. Das darzustellen, begeistert mich und deswegen schreibe ich für dich Beiträge über ausgewählte Worte, die in der deutschen Sprache gesprochen werden. Seit 2004 arbeite ich als Journalist. Ich habe Psychologie und Philosophie mit Schwerpunkt Sprache und Bedeutung studiert. Ich arbeite fast täglich an BedeutungOnline und erstelle laufend für dich neue Beiträge. Mehr über BedeutungOnline.de und mich erfährst du hier.

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