The perfect combination of ‘love, happiness and adventure’
There’s no doubt that 2020 upended a lot of wedding plans for couples across the nation. Many couples decided to hold off on their big day for a time when COVID-19 would no longer prohibit their friends and family from celebrating; however others opted for smaller, more intimate ceremonies instead.
Maria Crisafulli, an Elopement Photographer and Guide at Vow to Wander, works specifically with couples that want to do something a little different than the norm — adventure elopements. And at a time when we were forced to become (and continue to be) more focused on strengthening relationships in new ways with smaller groups of people in our lives, this unique style of saying “I do” really took off.
I was able to chat with Maria, a Pennsylvania native, about adventure elopements, and why they might be a great fit for couples planning to tie the knot in 2021:
Q: So, what exactly are adventure elopements?
A: Adventure elopements are all about getting married in a way that is non traditional, intimate, and authentic. It’s about dreaming up an incredibly meaningful and special day with your partner and turning that into a reality, no matter how non-traditional it may be for a “wedding day.”
Q: Is this something that's becoming popular, or just something you decided to pursue on your own?
A: Adventure elopements have gained a lot of popularity in recent years as more and more couples are inspired by the idea of having an epic adventure on their wedding day. More people are realizing that traditional weddings are not something they are deeply excited for or want to do. Lots of couples are taking their power back and are choosing to get married in a way that’s aligned with what they truly want instead of what other people want or expect from them.
COVID-19 has also pushed many people to reconsider their wedding day plans and elope. I have helped many couples transition from larger wedding plans into adventurous elopements with excitement and passion instead of dread and disappointment. It’s an incredibly freeing experience to have your wedding day be focused on one thing and one thing only: you and your partner and your deep love and connection together.
Q: What are some of the most unique places you've done these?
A: National parks and public lands are wildly popular for adventure elopements in the United States. I guide couples towards choosing their dream elopement destination, whether that be Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, Sedona, a favorite hiking trail or even their own backyard. The possibilities are endless, and there are no rules. That’s what is so beautiful about eloping — you get to create your own rules.
So far, my favorite elopements have taken place in Sedona, Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, and the Glamis Sand Dunes in California. I’ve also had just as deeply meaningful elopements on the east coast in small towns in Pennsylvania and beyond. But it’s not the location that makes an elopement adventurous, it’s the couple and their mindset.
Q: Do you expect to see an increase in weddings like this in 2021 as the pandemic continues?
A: Absolutely. I think more and more people are realizing that eloping doesn’t have to be second best…that it can actually be the best thing they never knew they wanted. The pandemic has pushed people to reevaluate what is really needed to get married in a deeply meaningful way. And as it turns out, all you need is your partner and a mutual intention of love, happiness, and adventure to make your wedding day the best day of your life.
Q: What advice would you give to someone that's considering planning something like this versus a traditional wedding?
A: I have a free guide on my website that helps couples figure out if an intimate wedding or elopement is really for them. They’re not for everyone, and that’s okay. What I will say from being in the big wedding industry for seven years vs. the elopement industry now is that I see some common themes. On the big day, my eloping couples are significantly less stressed. They are more connected to their partner and the present moment. They are free to be connected to their emotions and the magnitude of every moment of their day because their attention is not being pulled in a million different directions.
This is why I have left the big wedding industry. I became tired of watching couples with deep connections have their day “hijacked” by all of the stress of material details and outside expectations. My eloping couples are able to be much more grounded in the true meaning of the day on their wedding days. I have only had a handful of large wedding couples over the past 7 years who despite all of the outward chaos are still able to maintain in the present moment for most of the day.