ELOPING, a practice once reserved for forbidden lovers, is now on the rise with ever more couples rushing to tie the knot in secret.
According to local sources, eloping couples from across the state arrive hand in hand to wed in Warwick for more than one reason.
"I would say 50% of the weddings I would have done from the start of the year till June are couples who have eloped," local celebrant Erica Bailey said.
Erica says there are multiple reasons behind the influx of eloping couples to Warwick.
"I think couples see weddings as too expensive. There may be a shy bride or groom or family politics may be an issue," she said.
Many of the eloping couples Mrs Bailey has officiated for travelled from Brisbane and Toowoomba for the private ceremony.
"When they ring to book they usually ask for venue suggestions," the celebrant said.
"They aren't locals, these couples travel from at least 100km away," she said.
A soon-to-elope bride who would not disclose her name said she initially wanted a larger wedding until she saw the price tag.
"Once we started going through the details it just got bigger and bigger," she said.
"We realised the day became more about the event and less about each other.
"It should be about the ceremony, that's all. Everything else is just gravy," she said.
Engaged last December, the bride and her groom said they'd always had the idea of running away.
"When push came to shove we thought we should go for it."
Instead the couple invested the wedding funds into a deposit on their first house, for which they signed the papers earlier this week.
"For us it was a question of putting all our money into one day or putting it into our future."
The unnamed bride and groom plan to travel an hour from her home town to Warwick for the big day.
"It's just us," she said.
However, the wedding will not be without the traditional trimmings. White dress, cake and first waltz are on the agenda, with a two-person reception after the ceremony.
The pair who had already sent out save-the-date cards said not everyone was as ecstatic about the decision.
"Both our mothers did feel like they were missing out on something," she said.
"My best friend was a little jealous when I told her.
"I actually convinced her out of eloping herself," the bride laughed.
Instead, the newlyweds hope to have a "hey we got married party" in their new home at a later date.
Peta Burley, wedding planner with Weddings & Events by Peta & Sue, said she also believed smaller weddings had become more popular for the same reasons.
"People are keeping it small and personal, with only 20 or so friends and family," she said. More couples are opting for community halls as a cheaper alternative".