To be clear: We’re not talking “Britney Spears and Jason Alexander circa 2004” eloping.
This kind of low-key wedding has evolved in recent years–it can mean anything from a courthouse ceremony à deux to hosting 10 of your loved ones at a villa in Tulum. “I do hear a lot about destination elopements,” says Toronto- and L.A.-based event planner Melissa Andre, who has worked with the likes of Drake, Future and The Weeknd. These types of intimate ceremonies are “for family and closest friends—literally the people you speak to every day,” she notes.
We can see the appeal. (So do many Canadians: Our Google searches for “eloping” are the highest they’ve been since 2004, with residents in Alberta and British Columbia in peak browsing mode.) A small wedding cuts down on a lot of the drama of invitations, seating charts and bridesmaid squabbles. It also means you can introduce customized details—like pins as favours or edible name cards—that would cause your bill to skyrocket if you had a guest list of 250.
The downside? You’ll probably get some flak. Maybe from your mom, who always imagined you walking down the aisle in her Princess Diana-inspired gown, or your university bestie, whom you haven’t seen since convocation but who will blow up the group chat if you don’t invite her. If you decide to elope, prepare yourself for the possibility that you will be letting some people down, says Ellis Nicolson, a Toronto- area psychotherapist, who adds that you shouldn’t feel guilty. “The beauty of a marriage is the couple’s opportunity to create their own familial culture...and how we do our wedding ceremony is often the beginning of this.”
Etiquette expert Elaine Swann recommends coming up with a party line in case you’re forced to defend your decision – something like “My fiancé and I have decided that we just want to spend this moment alone, but thank you for thinking about us and wanting to join us on that day.” Because that’s the thing: It’s your prerogative. Just ask Britney.