Last Updated on February 17, 2021 by vowsandpeaks

Zoom out.  Imagine a big, traditional, fairytale wedding scene.  Then zoom in and imagine the years of meticulous planning, the stressed-out family members making it all about them, the enormous venue and catering bills, and the pressure felt by the couple in the middle of it all. Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a fairytale anymore. It’s easy to lose the meaning and emotion of a wedding day when it becomes all about throwing a perfect party for lots of people. 

Now, imagine an intimate wedding ceremony in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Maybe it’s just the happy couple and an officiant; or maybe there are a few close friends and family members gathered to help and celebrate the marriage. Visualize authentic joy radiating from the faces of you and your beloved as you celebrate the most important day of your life in a way that represents who you are as a couple!  I know this sounds crazy but this fairytale is real for lots of couples!

Elopement Definition Bride and Groom Hiking Colorado
Elopement Definition Big Sur at Ocean
Elopement Definition Olympic National Park


Did you even know that was an option? Well, it is. The word “elope” may bring to mind Elvis Presley in a Vegas wedding chapel, but that’s not all an elopement can be.

If you started feeling pressure to have a big traditional wedding from the moment you got engaged, know this: there is another way. Lot’s of couples are bravely stepping away from the obligation and anxiety of traditional weddings and charting a new path by choosing to elope. Couples are quickly realizing that by eloping, they can have a wedding day that truly represents their love.

So what is an elopement?

An elopement is celebrating your marriage in a way that fulfills and inspires you. It’s about creating a beautiful day with your partner that you will look back on for forever!

Most elopements come from couples that value adventurous experiences of material things. Your elopement timeline can be exactly what you want it to be, whether that’s a sunrise ceremony at the top of your favorite hike in Colorado, or a post-ceremony surf on your favorite wave in Oregon, or sharing your vows with Half Dome towering above you in Yosemite. In your favorite park or across the globe in Ireland. Go all out with your desired attire, flowers, and decor, or skip it! There are NO rules to eloping, so you do YOU!

Elopement Definition Yosemite Taft Point Kissing
Elopement Definition Rocky Mountain National Park Bride and Groom
Elopement Definition Ireland Cliffs of Moher


An elopement wedding can be just the two of you, but it doesn’t have to be. You can include a small group of friends, family members, kids, pets (yes, please!), whoever! Some might have mindset that they are your special guest and you should cater your seating chart and menu choices around them. While in reality, you don’t have to invite anyone out of obligation. You don’t have to do all the normal wedding things everyone else does just because. By eloping, you get to intentionally choose every detail of your special day and make it the best day ever for yourselves. Not for anyone else. Eloping allows you to bring the focus back to YOU!

As an elopement wedding photographer and professional elopement NINJA, I’m here to guide you through the process of planning your ideal way to commit to each other for life. Bucking tradition and eloping in Northern Ireland was hands down one of the greatest experiences my wife and I have ever shared. Since then I’ve helped couples elope on mountain peaks, beaches, at the bottoms of waterfalls, and the tops of rock walls. Whether you’d like to backpack into the middle of nowhere for a truly intimate ceremony, or invite 10 friends to a coastal beach you’ve only seen in postcards, I’m down to join in on your big adventure!

At the end of the day, eloping is no longer this outdated thought of running away to Vegas. You aren’t running away from your problems. You aren’t ignoring family and friends. There are so many other views to eloping compared to the way most people see it.

But as stressed above, the real definition of eloping is celebrating your marriage in a way that fulfills and inspires you. It’s about pushing each other on your big adventure and having a true, authentic wedding day that you can look back with no regrets!

Bride and Groom Kissing Colorado Hiking Elopement
Rocky Mountain National Park Elopement Horses
Scotland Elopement


My name is Sean, and I can’t wait to help create your adventure elopement! I’m a free spirit who has dedicated my life to exploring this wild world and connecting to the people in it.

I know firsthand what an important and personal decision this is—my wife and I eloped to Northern Ireland. You’re trusting me to capture this amazing day, and I make it my responsibility to make sure you have an incredible experience from start to finish.

My passion has led me here, where I can follow my heart and share my love for the outdoors with others on their wedding day. It’s truly an awesome experience, and I’m stoked every time I get to document your day.

When I’m not photographing couples, I love to go exploring with my wife and our corgi. Our dream is to own an Airstream and take Vows and Peaks on the road!

Sound like the perfect match? Reach out so we can get started on your epic elopement!

Colorado Elopement Photographer



Love the advice and all the information for couples looking to elope.

You hit the nail on the head with this one! Tons of information for anyone who is looking for information on exactly what the heck an elopement is, I’m beginning to learn that so many people have no idea that eloping is not just running off to Vegas.

Your message is so well said! Eloping can be whatever you imagine it to be. All the images here are so inspiring!

‘Elopement ninja’ – love it!!! These images are everything, and your definition is so perfect. Happy 2020!

This guide is so helpful… eloping still isn’t too common, and it’s great to answer every question that’s out there! Amazing work!

Currently obsessing over your work and quickly finding out where to follow you on social media! Love love love everything!!!

I think that the essence of eloping is to be true to yourself and your partner, and enjoy your special day together, outside of cheesy cookie cutter protocols and old fashioned social obligations. And you have captured this beautifully in this elopement guide. Not only with your beautiful pictures but also with your words. Thanks for sharing

Love love love! It’ s so important for couples to have access to info like this so they can make informed decisions for their day and not feel pigeon-holed by traditions. Love this!

i love your definition of an elopement! And your work is amaaaazing!

Beautiful work and great advice! I think the comparison between a Vegas old-style elopement versus 2020 is bang on. Eloping today is like writing your own personal adventure story to include anything! Keep up the great work!

Nothing sweeter than an intimate elopement!!!

Beautiful work and great advise. It’s good to remind people what eloping is in 2020, you totally nailed it with the Vegas referral. Eloping is like writing an awesome adventure story 😀

I love how you define eloping and it’s amazing that it’s so personal to you having eloped yourself! I can tell that you’ve helped your couples go on some amazing elopement adventures!

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