Where do couples elope to in bid to avoid an expensive wedding?

As wedding costs get closer to the sum needed for a house deposit, there's little wonder elopement is increasing in appeal

London is the sixth most popular destination in Europe for couples seeking to elope, according to a survey of Instagram results. England’s capital, sadly, is a considerable way behind Paris which ranks No 1 in Europe and No 3 in the world overall. I’ve never visited Paris so really cannot comment on just how “romantic” it is (or isn’t), but there must be something in all the hype.

Even so, there are two places on the map ahead of the French capital – Bali in Indonesia and New York City in the States.

North-west-based wedding photography outfit Catherine Luther Wedding Films has analysed 100,000 Instagram images to determine the 25 most popular destinations for wedding elopements.

More and more couples are bucking tradition, choosing to elope near and far for the intimate wedding of their dreams the wedding company found. For some, this decision may be down to avoiding the undesired limelight that naturally comes with a big wedding, and for others, it’s a great excuse to avoid complicated family relationships or simply to keep costs low.

As one of the largest social sharing platforms on the planet, Instagram is a popular place for couples to share their special day with friends and family, with more than 1.4 million images posted with the hashtag #elopement.

“The research was conducted by analysing the location data of more than 100,000 Instagram images that were tagged #elopement,” says Catherine Luther. “We’ve created a handy interactive map on our website that details the rankings and provides more information on elopement weddings.”

Not having to consider a large guest list means couples are not limited geographically to where they can choose to tie the knot. For some, it’s not just about saving money, but the lure of a beautiful remote location to exchange vows with a beautiful backdrop for photographs.

That said, an average wedding costs £17,740 in the UK and $33,931 (about £26,000) in the US and money is a major factor in why modern couples are deciding to elope. As of September 2019 the average house price in the UK is £234,370 so a 10% deposit is around the £24,000 mark. With Government help, some developments can accept a 5% deposit. So young couples could have the deposit for a house and money left over for an elopement – if they are prepared to move away from the capital! The average house price for the London area is £466,824 so maybe couples should just enjoy a big day and resign themselves to the prospect of not getting on the housing ladder for many a year.

The top 10 elopement destinations were as follows or view the full results here.

1.       Bali, Indonesia

2.       New York, USA

3.       Paris, France

4.       Las Vegas, Nevada

5.       Yosemite National Park, USA

6.       San Francisco, USA

7.       Reykjavik, Iceland

8.       Istanbul, Turkey

9.       Seattle, USA

10.    San Diego, USA

Bali takes the number one spot on the list of most popular elopement destinations for couples. Enchanting forests, jaw-dropping cliff-tops, pristine beaches, and spectacular waterfalls provide incredible settings for the ceremony, and with affordable accommodation, an elopement to Bali won’t break the bank either.

If getting married in the great outdoors of the United States is more of your thing, then three of the top 25 destinations were US National Parks. Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Rocky Mountain National Park are popular destinations for adventurous couples that often marry at sunrise or sunset to take advantage of golden hour.

For more information, visit Catherine Luther Wedding Films.

Is this an elopement in the strictest sense? Maybe not, but I won’t apologise for repeating the end of The Graduate movie. Worth watching if only for the Sound of Silence from Simon and Garfunkel
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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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