You may have noticed that the wedding industry has this funny way of sapping the joy right out from under you. It’s easy to forget why you’re getting married at all when you’re making last-minute calls to guests who never RSVP’d or engaging in hours of small talk at your reception with distant relatives. The pressure to throw a big party for friends and family can eclipse the original reason for that party: your love story. Because of this strange irony, as well as the inflated cost of weddings, more and more Millennials are electing to elope.
Eloping isn’t just about running off to marry for dubious reasons anymore; rather, an elopement can be a truly romantic approach to marriage that honors intention and adventure. Couples are finding that spending a full day doing all of their favorite things with one’s partner and a talented photographer can be far more rewarding and memorable than the blur of a big wedding. Not to mention, the photos from elopements are often stunning because the couple has plenty of time and space to engage naturally and joyfully in some of the most romantic settings.
Celine and Logan are the Brooklyn-based independent filmmakers behind ELO films, who felt that eloping was a natural choice for them. Logan’s parents eloped in Greece in 1978, and Celine’s parents eloped in Barbados in 1989, so you could say eloping is a bit of a family tradition. They explain, “It was really important to us to have the time and space to understand what a big decision marriage is, and for us that meant making the commitment with just the two of us.”
The two found themselves in Nairobi, Kenya, for work in October 2016. It was there that they made the decision to marry. Their travels took them to Muscat, Oman, in December, where they had their wedding rings made. From there, they traveled to Tokyo, Japan, a city they both love, so they planned to elope there. Traveling abroad made the logistics of planning their elopement and ensuring the legality of their marriage a bit challenging, but it also added an element of excitement.
Logan purchased a suit in Tokyo two days prior to eloping, and Celine ordered a dress from BHLDN online. She looked for a pair of shoes in Tokyo, a nearly impossible task since she struggled to find anything in her size. On the day of the elopement, she ended up getting a couple blisters from the tight shoes and opted to go barefoot instead.
The morning of the elopement, Celine and Logan hopped on their bikes to ride to Minato City Hall, where they were married. Their witnesses included the manager and concierge of their hotel, who used their family stamps on the marriage certificate. They then rode their bikes to meet their photographer, and on the way they were stopped by the police due to riding without biking permits, which made for a funny memory on their wedding day. Their photographer spent the day with them, traveling by subway to many of their favorite locations throughout the city. At one point, they stopped at a Lawson, which is similar to CVS, and purchased some pork buns for sustenance. “It was the best day,” they remark.
Celine and Logan later turned their elopement photos into postcards and sent them out to family and friends to announce their marriage. “They were really well received by everyone — a fun little piece of Tokyo for everyone we love with a handwritten message from us.” They wrote about 150 cards as a way to connect and honor their friends and family in the absence of a big wedding. Their parents were also supportive and weren’t necessarily surprised by the news. They opted to throw the couple a party for their seven month anniversary as a way to bring both sides of the family together in celebration.
The two definitely recommend eloping. “There's a lot involved in planning a big wedding ceremony, and often there are feelings hurt and people left out. It feels like it can become about everything other than the actual event really quickly.” They still cherished the opportunity to connect with family and friends afterwards at a celebratory, but much lower-stress, party. For Celine and Logan, there were no drawbacks to eloping, saying, “For us, elopement was really the only way to go.”