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Why Elopements are Here to Stay: An Interview With Wedding PR, Leila Lewis

As elopements have been steadily rising in popularity with couples, boutique businesses and services specializing in this type of alternative wedding have grown right alongside them. To give you some outside perspective on just how strong the elopement movement is, we spoke to Leila Lewis, the publicity and marketing force behind some of the wedding industry's top talent, businesses, and venues, and the founder of the popular wedding and lifestyle blog, Inspired by This. With her finger on the pulse of all things wedding-related for more than a decade, Leila has a unqiue viewpoint of what's trending, what's waning, and what is here to stay within the wedding industry, and graciously shared some of her insights with Photo by Allyson Wiley.

How and when did you notice an upswing in elopements within the industry in terms of both real events and inspirational shoots?

The elopement trend really started happening more during the recession. People couldn’t afford big weddings so they ran away together! Styled shoots always catch on to current wedding trends so it wasn’t long after that we started seeing some really creative elopement inspiration. From that, couples realized how special elopements could be and the trend continued to grow even after the recession.

What do you believe are the main motivations behind couples taking the elopement route?

I think elopements make weddings incredibly intimate and personal. It becomes solely about the couple without the distractions of hosting a huge event and planning every last detail for months on end. Couples who don’t want to take on the added costs and stresses that come with planning a huge event can still have a beautiful ceremony to remember forever.

Do you believe that inspirational elopement shoots have influenced the way couples are now eloping, and if so, in what way(s)?

Absolutely! Inspirational shoots have caused a burst of creativity for elopements. They’re not just your standard courthouse weddings anymore. People are designing beautiful custom bouquets, picking out specialty dresses, hiring high-end photographers and jetting off to amazing locations!

What are the benefits for wedding professionals who invest/participate in inspirational elopement shoots, and for the brides who then have access to them?

Elopements are much smaller and less expensive to stage than a full wedding shoot so the vendors wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket. It also gives them a lot of room to get creative because an elopement can be anywhere or anything! Additionally, it’s a great way to grow their portfolio and show what they’re capable of while also breaking into a whole new market of “weddings.” On the other hand, brides who are looking to elope don’t have to feel discouraged about not having a beautiful styled wedding like they see on all the blogs. Instead, they can still have a beautiful, intimate ceremony with a photographer, bouquet, etc. for much less cost. Styled shoots are great to inspire both vendors and brides alike!

In your opinion, how has the elopement trend most benefitted the wedding industry?

By making elopements trendy, styled shoots have opened up a new world of possibilities for the style of an elopement. Dress designers can create more simple designs that can still be high end but made for a less formal ceremony. Florists and photographers are able to receive bookings they might not have for the more simplistic courthouse style elopements that used to dominate the market. Couples have more money to spend on a few smaller items and can therefore, book more high-end vendors. In the past, they wouldn’t have booked vendors at all but the new trends are opening up a whole new market for elopement elements.

Leila Lewis, known as Wedding PR, is the founder of Be Inspired® PR and the popular wedding, baby, and lifestyle blog, Inspired By This. Be Inspired® PR is a Los Angeles-based boutique agency specializing in marketing and public relations in the luxury wedding and lifestyle industries. You can follow her on Instagram: @weddingpr

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