Tying the knot can look different for everyone. Whether you want a big grand wedding, a small ceremony, or a private elopement, the choice is yours — it’s your love to celebrate, after all! This week in my podcast, Queerly Beloved, I had the honor of speaking with Maple and Sloane about their story and experience with eloping. They share some wisdom on why this can be an excellent option for LGBTQ+ couples and offer some wonderful relationship advice I think we can all take to heart.
There isn’t a story I’d rather start this post with than the one of Maple and Sloane. These two found each other online through Tumblr and D&D. At the time, Sloane was in Minnesota while Maple was in Ontario, Canada. But the distance didn’t stop them — they braved the world of a long-distance relationship for five years.
Between visiting each other twice a year for a week at a time and trying to understand how their lives fit together, the couple did a lot of life planning. “We started developing a five-year life plan of what we wanted,” said Sloane. “We knew we needed to cohabit for a bit and live together to make sure we could handle living together too.”
So, Maple moved to the States for four months, where the couple ultimately speed-ran the real deal. Even with the stresses of moving to a new apartment and Sloane working ten-hour shifts, at the end of the day, they didn’t want anything else but each other.
Over the years, the couple had frequent conversations about their long-term future together. This led to several proposals over time. We can sum up what they consider their “official” proposal in a few phrases: volunteer tree-planting, surprise package, unsubtle, picnic, and pure excitement.
So, Sloane officially popped the question, and the two eloped shortly after.
It happened in the forest at the Quarry Hill Nature Center, where they had two close friends as their witnesses and another ordained to officiate.
“We didn’t trust anybody who didn’t know us personally,” Sloane explained. “I didn’t want this to be a thing where we have to explain how we feel about each other.” This approach is a testament to the ongoing struggle for queer couples — it can be exhausting trying to prove to others why your love is valid over and over again.
Now that you know a little bit about one of the cutest couples on this planet, let’s get into what eloping is and why it’s a good idea for queer couples.
Traditionally, eloping meant running away and getting married in secret. These understandings are changing, though, with more LGBTQ+ couples choosing this option and paving the way for new definitions.
While elopement may still be “non-traditional,” it’s more widely accepted as an intimate and intentional way of getting married. Often, couples elope with their closest friends by their sides as witnesses, making the day genuinely comfortable and tight-knit.
If you’re on the fence about how you want to tie the knot, here’s why eloping is a good idea, especially for LGBTQ+ folks.
“I think elopement should be considered by most people looking to get married,” said Sloane. Often, we grow up with expectations about what weddings need to look like. This leads to pressure to perform, which can be anxiety-inducing and take away from the intimate experience.
“For queer couples specifically, there can be a bigger expectation placed on us to have this big wedding and reaffirm the worthiness of the couple,” said Maple. An LGBTQ+ elopement ultimately removes the pressure to validate your love, allows you to exist as you are, and focuses on joining your lives together in ways that work for you.
“When I think about our elopement, I think about you and me,” commented Maple on her elopement with Sloane.
Because you don’t need to worry about planning a huge wedding, the pressure is off, and you can focus all your energy on each other. Additionally, having a few of your closest friends takes away some of the performative aspects of weddings, such as trying to ensure everything is perfect. Since you can trust everyone present, you’ll likely feel more comfortable expressing your most authentic love.
Some people see elopements as a cop-out to a traditional big wedding. While cultural messages make society and even your closest family members feel like you’re doing something wrong, when it comes down to it, the experience should be about you and what makes you happy.
As a queer couple, it might be important to hire LGBTQ+ wedding vendors for your special day. However, finding queer-owned or queer-friendly vendors can be challenging, especially if your options offer no explicit statement of awareness and acceptance. This search comes with its own set of anxieties and awkward encounters. An elopement can cut out this entire process and ensure that everyone present is 100% there to support and celebrate you.
Since you don’t have to plan for a big wedding and cater to hundreds of guests, you can save some money — and who doesn’t love that? The financial stresses of big weddings can often distract a couple from what really matters about the day. Eloping can eliminate these financial worries and help you focus on each other.
Since elopements are already the non-traditional option, you’re free to do whatever you want. You know that popular wedding tradition that says you can’t see your partner before the ceremony? If that’s not for you, scrap it and spend the entire day together! You get to decide what you do before, during, and after and how it’ll play out in a way that’s perfect for you as a couple. Eloping is an excellent way to give yourself permission to be free from old traditions.
Sloane said it best: “There’s no one size fits all for how you want to celebrate your love.”
While Maple and Sloane are enormous advocates for elopements, all that truly matters to them is that you choose an option that makes you happy. Along their journey, they’ve picked up some valuable wisdom we can all take with us and sprinkle in our own lives:
If elopement as a queer couple feels like the right option, it would be my honor to help you on this journey! As an LGBTQ+ elopement photographer, I’m here to capture your special day’s beautiful moments while ensuring you feel comfortable, validated, and celebrated. Connect with me today to learn more.
If you want to learn more about Maple and Sloane’s love story and hear more of their elopement and relationship advice, check out my interview with them in “Queer Love Stories: Maple and Sloane’s Elopement,” the fifth episode of my podcast, Queerly Beloved. Catch you there!