Elopement is a term that is used in reference to a marriage which is conducted in a sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one's place of residence together with one's beloved with the intention of getting married without parental approval. An elopement is contrasted with an abduction (e.g., a bride kidnapping), in which either the bride or groom has not consented, or a shotgun wedding in which the parents of one (prototypically the bride's) coerce both into marriage.
The term elopement is sometimes used in its original, more general sense of escape or flight (e.g., an escape from a psychiatric institution). Controversially, in modern times, elopement is sometimes applied to any small, inexpensive wedding, even when it is performed with parental foreknowledge.
In addition, the term elopement (or wandering) is used in psychiatric hospitals to refer to a patient with dementia leaving the psychiatric unit without authorization.