What is a modern elopement?


The difference between a traditional wedding and an elopement

Elopements used to be a way of getting married in secret, away from the relatives and without much planning, however, nowadays a modern elopement is seen as a way how to celebrate your day without the stress, pressure of expectations from your guests, and being able to decide for the plans of the day yourself. On an elopement day you still have a timeline but it is not strict and you can mix and match elements as well as adjust the timings for the best light situation and environment.


Elopements give the couple a moment of privacy and turn into a deeply private and intimate experience. You can focus on the ceremony, meaning of the marriage, be present with your partner throughout the day. Because if the reduced fluff and elements that is part of a traditional wedding, it becomes an experience for and can be less stressful and more pleasurable to plan on your own. Elopements allow you to hold your ceremony in more remote, less visited places as you don't have to think about accommodation for 100 guest and accessibility for them. An epic, never visited before location or a special place to you can amplify your emotions and the overall experience. The planet is your oyster.

A few images from elopements around Europe

Pictured: An autumn elopement at Stockholm City Hall, an anniversary photoshoot in Latvia, elopement photoshoot in Glencoe, the Scottish Highlands.

How to elope in Europe

The main steps to plan your elopement

STEP 1 Choose a place

What is the overall meaning and intention of your day?

What type of scenery do you want?

Are you in the mountains, forests or historic cities? 

What season is it?

How much time can you take off from work?

STEP 2 Get the elopement vendors

Start booking your vendors - photographer, florist, look for attire, catering. I suggest browsing country specific wedding vendor sites, exploring hashtags on Instagram and Pinterest.

STEP 3 Plan the timeline & logistics

Would you like to do any activities during the day - leisure or active?

Would you like to have the ceremony in the morning or towards the evening?

The timeline can be a rough outline for the day. Elopements are all about embracing the unexpected. But some key elements of the day should be centred around the available daylight.

STEP 4 Legalities

Read the governmental websites on the rules for outdoor ceremonies, costs. Some scenic sights require a permit from the local farmer who owns the land or it is not possible to photograph up close some historic buildings without a fee. What are the possibilities to hire an officiant from the registry office or are there other options such as a humanist wedding? Some couples sign the paperwork back in their home country and travel abroad to say the vows. Visit the link to familiarise yourself on laws in Scotland: https://www.mygov.scot/getting-married/ It is legal for LGBTQ+ couples to get married in Scotland.

Many other countries in Europe have their governmental sites in English. In Sweden application can be submitted online and you don't have to show up in person up until the elopement day.

What you can expect from me as the photographer

Not only my photography skills in searching for the best angles, framing and editing but also:

  • Help and ideas for choosing the right place for you.
  • Tips for the best photo opportunities.
  • Assistance with fine-tuning the timeline of the day.
  • Helping to adjust your hair, dress and handing out a tissue paper for tears or hot summer days.
  • Planning tips on how to prepare for your adventurous wedding.
  • A person with a calm personality around.


I focus on capturing the moments as they unfold throughout the day. My images carry a feeling of warmth no matter the weather or season. I photograph in a candid way candid, trying to be less obtrusive and let the couple have their personal space. At certain times such as during portrait shoot, I step in and direct the couple in the way that seems less stiff and reflects their love, connection and at times even a bit of awkwardness. My editing can be described as "polished-natural" as I believe weddings are a kind of photography genre that should reflect the realistic feel of the day. The sunny blue skies or the lush green hills in springtime Scotland - you should remember the way it was. 




Have you selected your elopement location elsewhere?

I have photographed weddings in Latvia, Sweden. Scotland, Denmark, and Spain. Willing to extend my range! Such dream locations as Oregon, the national parks of California, Faroe Islands are on top of my bucket-list.


about me

My name is Ilva and I originally come from a very forest-dense and tiny country in Northern Europe - Latvia. Nowadays I live in Sweden and some of my time also spend in the UK. I picked up photography as a form of art when I was around 13. It was a hobby that gave some purpose to get out of the home and take images of landscapes. I have photographed various events but have felt the most passionate about weddings - witnessing two people in love throughout the day and feeling these positive emotions can never get old. Moreover, being able to add more to the experience to one of the couple's most memorable days in life. 


I speak Latvian, Russian, Swedish, and English with a Latvian accent.

 Let's get started

Thinking of eloping? Tell me your ideas for the day and let's get started from there!