Getting eloped instead of having a big wedding has become extremely popular in the last few years.
If you’re asking yourself, “should I elope or have a wedding?” There are a few factors you may want to consider first.
10 Reasons to Elope Instead of Having a Huge Wedding
There’s a slight stigma around getting eloped, and how it isn’t considered as romantic as getting married.
However the definition of “elope” means “to run away secretly to get married,” and if that doesn’t sound like the stuff of romantic Disney films then I don’t know what does.
So, what are some of the benefits of getting eloped instead of married?
Getting Eloped is Cheaper Than Having a Wedding
Getting eloped usually costs between 50%-70% less than having a traditional wedding.
A traditional wedding usually includes pricey items like a venue, catering, and attire for those participating. By getting eloped you can easily cut down on most of those expenses, and save your money for the things that really matter.
Let’s examine the different price ranges between getting eloped and getting married, so you can decide which one is the best option for you.
A wedding venue needs to hold the amount of invited guests, considering that most weddings have at least 80 guests and go up to 200, the wedding venue will cost more.
Getting eloped usually only involves the couple, and at most 2-3 guests, so a cheap and small venue is the best option. Many people rent an Airbnb for less than $200 and elope there, or you can take advantage of the free venues such as parks, beaches and botanical gardens.
One of the biggest expenses at the wedding, catering generally costs between $75-$150 per guest. So it’s logical that if you elope, and don’t have all those guests, you’ll save thousands.
If you do end up inviting a couple of people, their meals probably won’t even cost more than $100 altogether.
With the stress of choosing a venue, dress and catering many couples opt for wedding planner instead of doing it themselves. This does come with a hefty price tag, while getting eloped can easily be planned by the couple in a short time and if they do need assistance it’s significantly cheaper.
All Inclusive Packages
When you really don’t want to plan your own wedding/elopement, and also don’t want the hassle of finding a planner, there are all inclusive packages to save the day.
These include a venue, catering, guest count and reception. The wedding packages are more expensive based on location and guest count, plus the inclusion of catering. The elopement packages are on the cheaper side and have equally nice amenities.
Getting Eloped is Less Stressful Than Planning a Wedding
Did you know that Reddit has tons of forums just about how stressful planning a wedding is?
Most to-be brides admit to having adverse side effects due to wedding planning such as: hair loss, weight loss, anxiety, and panic attacks. Those effects alone are a great reason to get eloped instead.
Just remember, planning a wedding doesn’t have to be stressful. The problem is that once you get started, there’s no going back, and it can feel like your to-do list never gets any shorter.
If you are feeling anxious about planning a wedding then getting eloped may just be the perfect solution. Not only can the planning be done in a matter of hours instead of weeks, there are less people and factors to worry about.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, many couples were forced to choose between delaying their wedding or getting eloped. While many of them initially felt some disappointment about reluctantly getting eloped, they later admitted that it was well worth skipping the stress of planning a whole wedding.
The Day is About You and Your Partner
The ultimate reason most couples choose to get eloped is to simply make their special day about each other, and no one else.
On the other hand, planning your wedding guest list may have some unpleasant technicalities you’ll need to consider. Aunt Viola is no longer talking to Uncle Bobby, make sure they sit at different tables far from each other. Cousin Timmy has a gluten allergy, make sure there are gluten free options. Sarah and Jake only have a babysitter until 4, make sure to see them before they go early. Shall I continue?
While it’s great to spend time with family, let’s be honest, confining everyone together in a bustling location rarely leads to much quality time. The stress of getting everyone to their seats and keeping the schedule running smoothly can feel like an uphill battle.
If there’s a part of you that worries that your wedding day will be chaotic, then getting eloped is an excellent alternative. Plus, you can always have a more relaxed get together day with your family in the days after the elopement. It’ll be more relaxed, and you can tell stories about how the big day went.
Getting Eloped is More Flexible than Having a Wedding
Since getting eloped usually only involves the couple, and maybe 2-3 other people, you have the freedom to get married wherever and whenever you want.
If you want to get married on top of the Empire State building, or at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you’re totally free to do that. (I mean, imagine those wedding pictures).
Planning an entire wedding means taking into account the particular needs of each guest, and this often restricts venue locations. If anyone in your family is elderly, or has a disability, it requires being sensitive about the location if they’ll easily be able to stay there.
Of course, there are tons of wedding venue options that accommodate all ages and abilities, it’s just something to keep in mind in case you were thinking of something unique or off the beaten path.
Getting Eloped is More Personal than Having a Wedding
It’s very normal to feel some anxiety about your wedding day, but if you find yourself dreading being in front of dozens of people then eloping may be a better option.
Having a large wedding has many stressful factors from walking down that neverending aisle (in heels nonetheless) to reciting your intimate vows in front of a huge group of people.
Most people perform these traditions simply because they assume that they have to, it’s what their parents did and their parents before them. This generation, however, has become the wedding ruler breakers and find themselves opting for more personal options.
Eloping allows the bride and groom to be alone with their officiant, or invite a few close friends or family. The ceremony feels a lot intimate, cozy and comfortable as opposed to wondering if everyone is secretly judging your vows.
Planning a Wedding is Unpredictable
No matter how much planning you do for your wedding, there will always be factors that you cannot control. Your officiant might fall ill, a bridesmaid might cancel last minute, or the venue might have a last minute problem. The riskiest factor to planning being, the weather.
Choosing a wedding date months in advance means you don’t have a chance to check the weather forecast for that particular day, and nothing will ruin your big day more than having an unpredictable storm.
By choosing elopement, you can plan the ceremony much closer to the actual date and have a better idea about the weather conditions.
Weddings are Becoming Outdated
The pricey tradition of having a big wedding has been around for hundreds of years, but recently more and more couples are realizing it isn’t the best choice for them.
Many couples expressed how exhausting many of these traditions were, for example, buying a cake that is actually 95% styrofoam and has a 5% area of actual cake to cut into for pictures. Or the bride needing to hide from the groom the entire day leading up to the ceremony, or perhaps running around to find something old, and new and blue.
With a seemingly endless list of wedding traditions/superstitions to keep up with it’s no surprise that eloping in a calm, quiet ceremony has rapidly become a popular choice around the world.
Weddings are Wasteful
Unless you rent absolutely everything, it’s likely that your wedding will have tons of leftover decor, attire and props that have nowhere to go but the trash.
This is not only bad for the environment, but also another chore to add to your post-wedding to-do list. Many couples hold onto a good portion of their wedding decorations, only to drag it out of the dusty attic years later and realize how wasteful it was.
Getting eloped is an environmentally friendly option, there’s a lot less waste and even better you’ll save all that money you would have spent.
Weddings Take Away from the Importance of Marriage
Of course, this isn’t always the case, however it does happen from time to time that couples rush into a fairy tale wedding without thinking too much about marriage.
This can commonly happen because the whirlwind of the engagement and wedding add excitement to the relationship, but when all the ceremonies and fun are over the couple can often feel lost in unchartered territory. Make sure to align your wedding/elopement with your marriage before deciding which one is the best option for you.
Another reason couples rush into a big wedding can come from family pressure, maybe the bride’s mom wants to pass on her heirloom dress, or the groom’s family want grandma to be able to see him get married. Whatever the reason is, a wedding is a big financial commitment and having time to decide what you want your marriage to look like is ultimately more important.
Planning a Wedding is a Full Time Job
While most couples skip out on hiring a wedding planner to save money, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that planning the wedding yourself takes an enormous amount of time.
If you and your partner already work full time jobs, or are often busy, the chaos of planning a wedding will probably feel like working another job on the side. Many brides have noted that the most stressful part of wedding planning is that once you start, there’s no going back.
If taking on a second full time job doesn’t sound like something you want to do for the next several months then getting eloped will be the perfect option for you.
Where Should I Elope to?
Now for the fun part, choosing where to elope.
Since you don’t have to worry about accommodating dozens of guests, your eloping options are virtually endless. Whether you choose to go abroad or stay close by, there are some stunning national parks, city buildings and beaches that will give you the most memorable day ever.
Central Park – A classic American location, this enormous park is gorgeous any time of year. In spring the flowers are blooming on every tree, in summer the trees and grass are perfectly green, and in fall the orange and red leaves are an autumnal dream.
Maui, Hawaii – The tropical beaches and rainforests of Hawaii will provide you with the best wedding photos possible. Plus, you can effortlessly start your honeymoon immediately after your vows are finished, just head off to the nearest luau or karaoke and start the fun.
Moab, Utah – The Moab desert in Utah has become very popular for elopement due to its jaw dropping scenery. The grand canyon look-alike has a vast view of red rocks, deep canyons, and endless blue skies. It will feel like you’re getting married on top of the world.
Scottish Castles – If you’re ready for an overseas elopement, then the castles of Scotland offer a magical place to tie the knot. Whether you want a historical, magical, or time traveling theme you can scroll through and find the castle that’s perfect for you. Most of the castle elopement packages are all-inclusive, so you don’t need to worry about planning a thing.
Las Vegas, Nevada – Las Vegas is basically ground zero for getting eloped, but more people have opted for this classic location than you might think. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Joe Jonas, Britney Spears, Bon Jovi, J. Lo, and Kourtney Kardashian have all eloped in this sunny city. Whether you choose the classic steeple venue (Elvis officiant optional), or you opt for some of the natural venue options Las Vegas has to offer, there’s something for everyone.
5 Reasons to Have a Wedding and Not Elope
It’s a Memory to Last a Lifetime
Regardless of the possible stress that comes with planning a wedding, the fact of the matter is it will provide you with once in a lifetime photos and memories.
Having a wedding provides an opportunity for both couple’s family members to come together and celebrate. This opportunity may not happen again, especially if some family members live far away. If you can see yourself plastering your photo albums and pictures frames with endless memories of you family and friends, then having a big wedding is the best option for you.
You’ll Get More Gifts
Not that gifts are the main reason to have a wedding of course, but if you’ve made a strategic wedding registry then it’s likely that your guests will buy you things that you really need.
In many foreign countries, it’s customary for for the couple’s relatives to help them buy and furnish their new forever home. One family will cover the costs for furnishing the living room, while the other family will furnish the kitchen. If you’ve put useful and necessary items on your wedding registry then it will also help to furnish your home, which in turn saves you money as well.
Some great gift options to put on your wedding registry include: appliances, electronics, furniture, decor, coffee machines, and carpets. These items add up quickly so even though your wedding expenses may have been a bit steep, you’ll actually make up for some of them with the return of gifts.
Of course, there are also the friends and family members who still gift out cash and gift cards as an easy gift too, which is reason enough to have a big wedding.
It Can Help to Bond Both Families
With everyone’s busy schedules these days, it can be so challenging to arrange a time for multiple family members to meet and bond.
Spending quality time with your in-laws is always important, but it’s also important to have your family meet with them as well. If you’re not able to have this quality time often, then a wedding will be a priceless, invaluable day.
You Can Do Whatever You Want
How often do you get to customize an entire day to be however you want it? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you and your partner to create a party with all the decorations, food and fun you want.
If you and your partner share a fun hobby or activity together, you can use your wedding day as a canvas to show how important it is to you. Some couples have included some super personalized wedding ideas such as: the Star Wars theme song while walking down the aisle, a Harry Potter style wedding cake, and matching Lord of the Rings wedding bands.
This your day, so have fun and make it as memorable and personal as you want.
It Will Start a New Chapter of Your Lives Together
A huge reason why many couples want to have a big wedding together is simply because it will feel like a more concrete beginning of their new life together.
If you chose to elope, the ceremony will be a lot less stressful to plan, but it may also feel less significant. Ending a chapter as fiancees and starting a new chapter as married may feel less monumental if you don’t have the big celebration of a wedding day.
This will change for each couple, so it’s something you should communicate with your partner about and honestly decide which option will suit your relationship best.
Choosing between getting eloped or having a wedding is a personal preference that will change for each couple. Make sure you’ve talked about all the factors before deciding which one is the best for you.
If you are an excellent planner, love large parties and have dreamt about your wedding day for years then a big wedding will suit you well. If you are a spontaneous spirit that prefers a more intimate ceremony with your partner, then getting eloped will be perfect.
What happens during an elopement ceremony?
Think of an elopement ceremony as a mini-wedding, minus a huge crowd of people. The same events will happen, i.e. exchanging rings, exchanging vows, officiant’s speech, walking down the aisle, etc.
What’s the difference between getting eloped and getting married?
Decades ago, getting eloped meant to run away and secretly get married without your family’s knowledge. This was usually because your family didn’t approve of your partner’s behavior, finances, or social status.
However nowadays getting eloped is less of a secret ceremony and more of a smaller, more intimate alternative. Many couples prefer elopement for a variety of reasons such as, it’s cheaper, it’s less stressful, and it’s more flexible.
Is getting eloped legal?
Yes, getting eloped is legal as long as you file all the correct documents and paperwork.
Can I get eloped in another state?
A marriage license will be valid not only in your home state, but throughout the nation. Therefore you can get eloped in another state without needing any extra paperwork or permission.