I would have thought "elope to (destination for the marriage)" was correct. However, I recently saw someone write "elope in (destination for the marriage)," and when I looked it up, the answer wasn't clear as Google Ngrams shows both are used, while Merriam-Webster dictionary only gives examples with "elope in".

Here's how I think they should be used:

  • "They eloped in New York" = "They were in New York, and they went
    away from their families and got married in New York."

  • "They eloped to New York" = "They were in another city, and they went away from their families to the city of New York, where they got married."

What do you think?

  • In the UK the classic elopement was to Gretna Green, which is just on the Scottish side of the border and the marriage process was simpler in Scotland than in England. However if a couple lived in Lambeth and got married secretly in Westminster they would have eloped in London. However they could have been said to have eloped to Westminster from Lambeth.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


Merriam-Webster has an interesting article: The Changing Meaning of 'Elope'

Elope appears to have become shorthand for "small destination wedding," "wedding that is not financially insane," or "wedding that allows us to not invite all the people we would rather not invite."

So, using the example you gave:

  • "They eloped in New York" = "They had a small, private wedding in the city of New York."

This basically uses the second meaning of Elope, which is less to do with running away to get married without parental consent:

: to slip away : ESCAPE (Merriam-Webster)

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