"Borderers were not the kind to ask leave for anything, and especially not to go courting.The last resort of a couple that wants to get around a troublesome Arranged Marriage or are Dating What Daddy Hates. Run away and get married! Contrast Runaway Bride, although if the eloping occurs close enough to an Arranged Marriage, the two can overlap. Sister trope to My Own Private "I Do", where a couple about to be married with fanfare runs off to be married quietly. Compare and contrast Shotgun Wedding, which takes place similarly on the fly, but almost always has one of the parties unwilling to go through with it. Sometimes overlaps with Fourth Date Marriage, but this is not required, nor are all early-in-the-relationship-marriages elopements. According to dictionaries, elopement does not necessarily require marriage. Two people loving each other and running away from those who might tear their relationship asunder also counts. The Inverted Trope, when people choose to divorce in a certain place because divorce laws are lax there, is Divorce in Reno.
They married across the line with a fine disregard for the laws."
They married across the line with a fine disregard for the laws."
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Anime and Manga
- Chobits has Shinra and his cram school teacher eloping because her husband has rejected her for a computer android they purchased.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: Nagi suggested to do this with Princess Arika when he realized she had developed feelings for him, getting a blast of magic in response. Ironically, they end up eloping after he rescues her from her execution.
- Mushishi has Hana and Zen, a pair of young lovers, who decided to escape, when Hana was to be forced into an Arranged Marriage. They probably would have succeeded, if Hana hadn't hesitated and fallen from a bridge, changing in the process into a Mushi-possessed zombie.
- In Card Captor Sakura, Nadeshiko and Fujitaka (the parents of The Protagonist) did this, because Nadeshiko's parents did not approve of her relationship with Fujitaka at all. Partly because he was in his 20's and she was only a teenager (still in high school), and partly because he was a poor schoolteacher, while Nadeshiko's family was very wealthy. According to Sonomi, she was still in her Seifuku when they married.
- It's invoked and subverted in Toradora!, where Ryuuji and Taiga find themselves finally in love with each other, but in dire circumstances; Ryuuji has left behind his mother and the scarce resources he had; Taiga has practically disowned herself from her mother's family after her absentee dad (her monetary sustenance thus far) skipped town following the failure of his business. As such, they only have each other. They decide to wait out the few months left for Ryuuji to turn eighteen so that they can marry unimpeded while living in manga cafés and odd places. Their friends Minori, Ami and Kitamura decide to help them by providing them with food vouchers, money and a roof to sleep; however, in her dejection and after leaving him behind, Ryuuji's mother provides him with a means not to elope by telling him to go to her parents' home. They resort to use this resource, preventing the elopement.
- Niki and Marlene go to do this in Rush, in direct contrast to his rival James's very public and showy wedding that quickly ended in divorce. Niki regrets it, less because he's now married and more because now he has something to lose if he dies in a race. The very next race nearly kills him.
- In The Kingkiller Chronicles, Kvothe's mother is a noblewoman who ran away to marry his father, an itinerant performer.
- Heathcliff and Isabella run away together in Wuthering Heights, likely to Gretna Green.
- Subverted in Pride and Prejudice where everyone thinks, even hopes that Wickham and Lydia have eloped. It turns out they're in London, and very much not married.
- In Jane Austen's Love and Freindship, Janetta, at Sophia and Laura's persuasion.
- Bear and Lena in Redoubt get married to keep Bear's family from forcing their preferred Arranged Marriage. However, they've been in love for the entire Collegium Chronicles. (Which is part of Bear's problem with an arranged marriage to someone he doesn't even know.)
- Mentioned in one of the Letters to His Son by Lord Chesterfield: "Here is a report, but I believe a very groundless one, that your old acquaintance, the fair Madame C------e, is run away from her husband, with a jeweler, that 'etrennes' her, and is come over here; but I dare say it is some mistake, or perhaps a lie." (letter 238)
- In Sir Walter Scott's poem Lochinvar, Lochinvar and Ellen elope from her wedding to someone else.
Live Action TV
- Downton Abbey: Sybil and Branson make a run for Gretna Green (see below) in Series 2; Edith, Mary, and Anna interdict them (thank God Edith can drive.)
- In Once Upon a Time, Regina's Start of Darkness was caused by Snow White denouncing to her abusive mother Cora her intention to run with a stable boy to flee an arranged marriage with Snow's father. Far from being supportive, Cora killed the stable boy right in front of her daughter to teach her that Love Is a Weakness.
- On My Name Is Earl, all three of Earl's marriages were done in this way. All three of them, too, were examples of a Fourth Date Marriage, and two were Accidental Marriages.
- Doctor Who: in "The Caretaker", Danny Pink accuses his girlfriend, Clara Oswald, of eloping with the Twelfth Doctor. She denies this, however in a later episode, "Last Christmas", her decision to return to travelling with the Doctor is framed in this fashion (by this point, Danny is no longer an issue), and in "Hell Bent", before she and the Doctor are forced to part, possibly forever, as forces gather to prevent their relationship from continuing, Clara invites the Doctor to "just fly away somewhere" with her.
- 'Allo 'Allo!, Rene and Yvette constantly plan to do this one day, but circumstances keep preventing it. They finally do it during the Distant Finale.
- On Game of Thrones, Robb Stark marries Talissa in secret, because he was already engaged to one of Lord Frey's daughters in order to seal a political alliance, but Robb wanted to Marry for Love instead. This move cost him dearly.
- Jenny and Luis do this almost by accident in Safe Havens, when they accidentally pull into a drive thru chapel in Las Vegas instead of a fast food joint. They didn't get it annulled since they did love each other, but were too embarrassed to tell their friends until Jenny ended up pregnant. It does show how much Jenny loves Luis though: the normally greedy Jenny gave up thousands in wedding presents to elope with him.
- Later, Rupert and Rosalind do this, mainly cause they still had student loans to pay off and didn't want to go further in debt to stage a fancy wedding.
- Anne and Henrik elope near the end of A Little Night Music. Since Anne is already married to Henrik's father this is really the only option.
- Romeo and Juliet run away to Friar Lawrence to get married.
- In A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia and Lysander run off to do this, since Hermia is going to be forced into an Arranged Marriage to Demetrius (or put into a convent). However, events work out so that Demetrius cancels the wedding and the two are able to get married in Athens after all.
- In The Taming of the Shrew, Lucentio wants to do this.
- In The Rose Tattoo, Rosa runs away from her home with Jack in the final scene.
- This trope is the story of Lyndis' parentage in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword. Her mother, Lady Madelyn, was the daughter of the Marquis of Caelin. Her father, Hassar, was the leader of the Lorca Tribe, one of the three tribes of Sacae, a group of nomadic people. In order to stay together, Madelyn left Caelin to live with her lover on the Sacaen plains.
- Hawke's parents from the Dragon Age II Back Story: he was a runaway apostate mage, she was a noble with an Arranged Marriage looming.
- In the Trespasser DLC of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the player character can do this if she's a female Inquisitor who has romanced either Cullen or Sera. Her love interest will propose during their first conversation at the Exalted Council, and the wedding takes place literally moments later. The only ones in attendance are the happy couple, Mother Giselle and, in the case of marrying Cullen, his dog.
- One of the subplots of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door involves the daughter of a Pianta mafia don eloping with one of his underlings. The first time you meet, he agrees to secure you a ride to the place where the next Plot Coupon is if you bring them back. On finding them, they return of their own accord and he tells them to get lost but gives them his blessing in a roundabout way. They settle on a tropical island a few chapters later. In the next chapter you need a ride once again, so you return and find him sick (literally) with worry about them. One subquest later and you have your ticket, the couple and the Don reconcile and everyone's happy.
- Elwyn and Nancy's sidequest from Tales of Phantasia, Elwyn's father is a rich business man who rejects Nancy being a poor girl. Keith suggests Elwyn elope with her, with which he complies. The rest of the quest is a chain of fetch quests to fix the father and son's conflict and finally get the lovers married properly.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can find a journal at a campsite near an inn on the road to Markarth. The journal belonged to the daughter of the head of a rich mining family who fell in love with one of the workers in her father's mine. She noted her father would never approve of her relationship, not only because of the class difference, but because her lover was a Dark Elf. They decided to save up some money and run away together after meeting up at the campsite. Unfortunately, they were both killed by a saber cat at the campsite.
- At the end of Anastasia, Dimitri and Anastasia elope.
- Attempted in Steven Universe episode "Fusion Cuisine" by Steven and Connie, when they thought they might never hang out again, got on a bus to live somewhere else, however an angry Alexandrite catches up with them.
- Also happens during the episode "The Answer" in which tells about Garnet's origins, in which Ruby and Sapphire ran away from the Homeworld's wrath after the two accidentally fused for the first time into Garnet, in which was a breach of their rigid caste system. Since fusion is equivalent of 'gem marriage' (at least for Garnet and the viewer's eyes, since the Homeworld frowns any kind of fusion between components of different types), the trope was played straight.
- The Scottish village of Gretna Green is the place where English teenagers used to traditionally run to to get hitched when they wished to defy their parents (because Scottish law was more easy going about such things, and it was the first Scottish village on the main London-Edinburgh road). It's still possible to go there for a traditional "wedding of the anvil", although this is no longer recognised in law.
- In the United States, Las Vegas is popular for this since the marriage offices are open until midnight every day, and in Nevada you don't have to wait between getting the marriage license and getting married. Convenient! Before Vegas became big, Reno had this reputation. (So you could have your quicky divorce from the one you hate, followed by your quicky marriage to the person you love!)
- The "Catholic Monarchs" of Spain, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille were united in this way in 1469. While Isabella was still the heiress presumptive of Castille, her half-brother, King Henry IV, promised her that he would not force her to marry, while stipulating that she would not marry against his will. However, he broke his promise and made several attempts to arrange marriages for her that Isabella found unacceptable; she averted this by eloping with her cousin Ferdinand, the future King of Aragon, whom she considered a more fitting match. This strained her relationship with her brother, but after his death, she managed to get herself proclaimed Queen. Isabella's marriage to Ferdinand effectively united Spain in the long term.
- The 17th-century aristocratic French writer Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force fell in love with a much younger man, Charles Briou, whose family did not approve of their union. When Charles was locked up at home, the resourceful de la Force visited the Brious with a theater troupe disguised as a dancing bear. She managed to get access to him in this guise; they ran off and got married with the King's permission. Unfortunately, Charles had a highly-placed and influential father; his family had the marriage annulled and Charles locked up in a madhouse. Perhaps unsurprisingly, de la Force published the fairy tale Persinette in 1698; an early version of Rapunzel, it also deals with the theme of forbidden love.
- In 1795 the then-Army officer and future short-lived President of the United States William Henry Harrison wanted to marry Anna Tuthill Symes, but her father, a judge, disapproved of the match and would not sanction the relationship. They were married when the father was away. Supposedly, when Judge Symes returned and demanded to know how Harrison meant to support his daughter, he gallantly replied "by my sword, and my own right arm, sir."
- Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, married his Pennsylvanian wife, Emma Hale, by eloping to nearby New York in 1827. The reason Emma's father gave for disapproving of the match was that, beside being a stranger, he could not approve of Smith's "occupation", which at the time involved (unsuccessfully) using "psychic powers" to look for minerals and hidden treasure.
- Scotland seems to be a country where elopement was an accepted fact of life. A story is told of Archibald Chisholm, who became an officer in the Black Watch in 1841. As the story goes, Archibald wanted to marry Maria Frances Lynch, who was of a very wealthy, well-connected family. Apparently due to her brother's disapproval, Maria's father withdrew his consent. In what must be one of the boldest elopements on record, a priest was brought into the bride's home at night who married Archibald and Maria in the kitchen; in the morning, Archibald informed her father of the fact and drove her away to Glasgow for a church wedding. Just in case Maria's family were to attempt to pursue them, officers from Archibald's regiment were standing guard along the way! The marriage is said to have been a happy one.
- Another contemporary Scottish anecdote concerns the celebrated piper John Ban Mackenzie, who was Piper to Davidson of Tulloch. Allegedly, his employer wanted to (bigamously!) elope with the heiress Maria Mackenzie and used John Ban as his go-between. The piper, however, was a handsome man, and in 1833, she ended up eloping with him instead. In need of a job, John Ban, who was a master of his art, was taken on by the Marquis of Breadalbane; he had to be single for the position, so Maria lived apart from him. Eventually, though, John Ban was compelled to admit to the Marquis that he was married; the latter took it well and brokered a reconciliation between both John Ban and Davidson and Maria and her uncle.
- Alice, the beautiful young daughter of James Douglas, the first Governor of British Columbia, fell in love with Charles Good, her father's secretary. Governor Douglas forbade them to see each other; in 1861, when Alice was 17, they caused public sensation by sailing to the nearby United States and being married by a justice of the peace. On their return, Douglas saw that they were properly married in the Anglican Church. The event was immortalized in the song "Chief Douglas' Daughter". The union did not last, however, and was dissolved in 1878, after which Alice remarried.