Updated on April 7, 2022: Elopify has rebranded as Eloply in an attempt to get away from this and other scam alerts about their company. While Eloply is not using photos stolen from my own business like Elopify did, I cannot recommend strongly enough that couples book their own elopement vendors directly instead of trusting a company like Eloply to handle their elopement planning.
As elopements grow in popularity, new companies are popping up all over the place trying to take advantage of the booming industry. One of these newcomers is called “Elopify — Elope Anywhere!” and I’m here to warn you about working with this company.
In October of 2021, I was made aware that Elopify was using my photos to market their business. I’m an elopement photographer based in Colorado, but I have never worked with/for Elopify, and they have never asked for permission to use my photos. (I would of course never give a competing business permission to use my photos to market themselves.) Anyone involved in the photography industry (heck anyone, anywhere) should know that photos are copyrighted by their owner, and that using them without permission is copyright infringement, illegal, and punishable by some hefty fines ranging from $750-150,000 per photo depending on the severity of the infringement.
What makes this so outrageous is that Elopify is stealing photos from local photographers across the United States in order to book elopements through their company — then advertising to couples as if they’re an experienced company who have done thousands of elopements. Elopify.com was first registered as a domain on October 20, 2020, so the likelihood of them having completed thousands of elopements in their first year in business is unlikely at best, and more likely a straight up lie.
It’s unclear from Elopify’s online presence how many real elopements they have actually booked and completed, since many of their reviews on Google sound fake and the photos on their website are all stolen. But I hate to think that any couple would book Elopify for their elopement thinking they are getting an expert photographer and vendor team, when in reality they are piecing together the vendors based on whoever is new to the industry and willing to work for next to nothing in exchange for gaining experience and portfolio photos of a real elopement.
Here are some of the locations that Elopify advertise as places they do elopements — where the photos circled in red are all my copyrighted photos that they’ve stolen from my website. The other photos are also stolen from other photographers.
Another big red flag about Elopify is that they do not have any information about who runs this company. The only contact information on their website is for their “legal department” with an address that leads to a coworking space in New York. Their About page shows a bunch of smiling faces — but no names, and each image is named “women/5.jpeg” and “men/1.jpeg”.
The Elopify website is incredibly misleading. For example, each location page shows a 5-star rating plus a large number of “votes.” I don’t know where they are pulling these numbers from, but I can guarantee it’s not the number of elopements they’ve done in this location. How can I say that? Because Maroon Bells only allows one elopement per day from late May through early October — do the math.
Lastly, Elopify has admitted to photographers that they have been illegally doing elopements in Rocky Mountain National Park and Zion National Park without the appropriate wedding permits, saying “they’ve been getting away with it” so they don’t need to follow the permit rules. As someone who spends a lot of money every year on permits, building relationships with the park’s permit office, and following the local regulations, nothing makes me angrier than seeing someone pretend like the rules don’t apply to them.
If you book Elopify for an elopement in a National Park, and they don’t get the appropriate permit, you are personally on the hook for any tickets given by the park for breaking the rules. Rocky Mountain National Park will ticket the planning company, any vendors, AND the couple who is eloping — because it’s your responsibility to follow the rules, even if you’re being tricked by a shady company.
Warning signs for elopement scams like Elopify
- The company does not have any clear contact information, names for the owner(s), or names of the vendors who are working for them.
- The company claims to have done thousands of elopements.
- The website sounds like it’s been written by a robot, not a real human being. (One example from Elopify: “30-Point Inspection. Each spot is verified for quality and unforgettable emotions.” How exactly can you verify a spot for unforgettable emotions?)
- The reviews are all short and generic. It’s incredibly easy to buy fake reviews online these days, so when looking at vendor reviews, look for ones that are long and personal with lots of detail that sounds like they’re written by a real person!
- The company is charging a “planning fee” to match you with vendors. Any real wedding or elopement planners will put together recommendations of vendors for you, then let you pick your favorites yourselves. If they claim to take care of everything for you, you have no control over what you’re actually paying for.
To sum this post up: