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  • Writer's pictureLisa Flahant

Elope to Cornwall!

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

How I wish, I wish I had done this! But 20 years ago, eloping meant risking the wrath of friends and family by eschewing tradition and tying the knot at the true home of the runaway wedding, Gretna Green. Or it meant escaping in secret to Vegas and deliberating between the drive-thru chapel option or saying ‘I do’ before an Elvis lookalike.

Newly wed couple walk barefoot across a bridge

These days, eloping presents far more choice than racing over the border or securing the services an ageing impersonator. An elopement wedding is more strongly connected with foregoing some of the formalities of wedding planning in favour of a simpler, but incredibly romantic and personal, ceremony.

And where better to elope than to Cornwall? We have such an extraordinary choice of unique venues and locations, perfectly suited to hosting a bespoke, meaningful and intimate ceremony in a beautiful setting. From the miles of sandy beaches to the romantic moors, and from poppy-filled meadows to picturesque lakes and woodlands, there is easily something for everyone. And happily, more and more venues are catering specifically for elopements, recognising that Cornwall really is the perfect destination for a runaway wedding.

So why might you choose to elope?

I know of many couples who started out with visions of a huge, traditional wedding, yet nearer the time, changed their plans to a smaller, more intimate affair. This might have been down to escalating costs, or the ever-increasing stress, or just the multiple challenges in keeping everyone happy – but ultimately these couples remembered just in time what a wedding ceremony is really about – the two of you.

It could be planning a large wedding really isn’t your thing, and your dream is of a far more intimate ceremony. It’s the opportunity to commit to one another on a deeply personal level, without the audience (or some of the associated drama!). It reflects the very heart of why you are marrying – to be together.

Perhaps you have a rather complicated family situation, which means having an elopement wedding reduces some of the issues associated with multiple sets of in-laws, step-siblings and other extended family. Or it could be your second marriage, which sometimes lends itself to a smaller setting. Both scenarios present the perfect opportunity to elope – and create a unique and magical experience just for you.

Or maybe it’s the complete flexibility which appeals to you. Want to get married in your jeans? No problem. Shorts and flip-flops? That’s fine. At sunset or sunrise? You can do that. Celebrate with a swim in the ocean or picnic on the moors? You bet. There’ll be no audience to judge your choices – you can have your wedding day exactly as you want, without the worry of pleasing everyone, or no-one.

What are the different types of elopement ceremonies?

Firstly – the legal ceremony with you, the registrars and two witnesses to observe the legality of your marriage. This can be in the Register Office or licensed venue of your choosing. The upside of this is that the paperwork and ceremony is all completed at once. The downside – you’re unlikely to have met the registrars beforehand, you will need two witnesses, your venue must be licensed for a wedding, and your ceremony will be scripted to reflect the legal process and routine of a registrar-led ceremony.

Or, if you are looking something more bespoke and personalised, or perhaps you have a venue in mind which is not licensed, such as a beach or woodland, you can complete the legal paperwork at anytime, but plan your elopement with a celebrant. They will be an expert in creating bespoke ceremonies, and place the complete focus on writing you a meaningful and memorable ceremony, which reflects the uniqueness of your partnership. (Plus you won’t need any witnesses, so if you really want it to be just the two of you, it’s most certainly the way to go!)

And of course, you might choose to elope, but with your very nearest and dearest accompanying you. That might include your best friends, or your parents, or your children – you can choose to have a registrar or celebrant-led wedding with all the principles of eloping, yet surrounding yourself with just a close circle of those who mean the most to you.

So hopefully this has given you a few ideas around elopement as an option – I know I would choose it if I could do it all again! And if you’d like to elope to Cornwall with the support of a celebrant to design you a wonderfully personal ceremony, I’m your girl!

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