It happens to a lot of couples - somewhere in the midst of wedding planning you wonder if maybe it would be better if you just elope, and weighing the pros and cons of eloping can be challenging.
Sometimes planning can bring a temporary moment of frustration, and other times it’s a sign that you really should elope instead! And if you’re here, you’re probably a little on the fence - wondering if maybe the big wedding isn’t for you, wondering if maybe you don’t want the stress, wondering if a small ceremony is more your style.
While I’m all about adventure elopements, I think every couple should have the wedding day of their dreams - whether that means throwing a huge party, or eloping somewhere pretty with no one around. So to help you decide, here are some of the pros and cons of eloping!
The Pros of Eloping
First on this list of the pros and cons of eloping, let’s talk about the pros - and the things I love most about elopements.
You Can Get Married in Nature
One of my favorite pros about eloping is that instead of a big venue, eloping allows you the option to get married almost anywhere outdoors, with nature as your backdrop! For couples who love exploring, or hiking, this can be a huge perk of eloping. You can also choose from more destinations, as you won’t need to worry about catering to hundreds of guests. It's not uncommon for couples to elope in national parks, or even head off to a destination for their ceremony, and with the world as your oyster, the possibilities are limitless.
Your Wedding Can be an Adventure
One of the best things about eloping is that there are no rules - you can do anything you want! And that means your wedding day can be an adventure, and you can plan anything that would make it the best day of your life. This can mean hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, or even traveling to a new place together. A lot of couples that choose to have a destination elopement, tend to include their honeymoon into their trip. Whether it's backpacking across Europe, or relaxing in paradise, eloping gives you the chance to cross some must-sees off your bucket list.
A More Intimate Experience
You can totally invite guests to your elopement - but unlike a traditional wedding, you won’t have a huge audience watching you all day long. This means that your day is much more private, and more meaningful. If having no guests and helping just the two of you sounds right, you can do that! Either way, being intentional about who is around you on your elopement day can make the experience so much more intimate and personal.
Less Planning and Stress
Elopements still require some planning - but not nearly as much as a traditional wedding, and the process isn’t nearly as stressful! A huge perk of eloping is that you have a lot more flexibility in what you can do on the day, and you have room to be spontaneous and go with the flow.
Elopement budgets all look different, because there’s no one way to elope. But because you get to decide what you spend money on and what’s important to you, eloping is usually less expensive than a traditional wedding! And the money you spend goes towards investing in experiences rather than things. Many couples love to experience something new during their elopement, whether it's an activity like snorkeling, or taking a glacier tour, with eloping you'll be able to spend your budget towards the things that you care about most.
Weddings are a huge source of carbon emissions and of waste, and eloping is a great way to reduce your impact. Getting married outdoors, with less people, and no single use decorations helps the environment!
It’s All About You
A lot of the time, it seems like big weddings become about everyone but the couple. With eloping, you can plan your day around what makes you happy, instead of worrying about throwing a party that you barely get to enjoy. This is the beginning of your marriage, so shouldn’t it reflect who you are?
The Cons of Eloping
Now, let’s talk about the cons of eloping - if these sound like deal breakers for you, that might be a sign that a more traditional wedding is the right choice after all!
A Shorter Guest List
While your elopement can totally include guests, the list will be shorter than it would be at a traditional wedding. Parks usually can’t accommodate hundreds of people, so eloping requires you to narrow down who’s invited. It's also not uncommon for couples to elope out of state or abroad, naturally creating a smaller guest list.
Your Dress Might Get Dirty
When you’re wearing white outside, it’s inevitable that your elopement attire will have some dirt on it by the end of the day! It’s all part of the adventure, but if you want to keep your dress pristine this can be a con of eloping.
You Risk Disappointing Family
One reason that a lot of couples are hesitant to make the decision to elope is that they worry about disappointing their families. While this can be a con of eloping to think about, I encourage my couples to remember that this is your day, and that it should be about what you want - not about pleasing other people! There are tons of ways you can include your friends and family in your elopement plans without them being present. Here's a resource on how to tell your friends & family you're eloping, along with a few tips on how you can include them in the planning process.
There’s Less Structure
The fact that there’s less planning can go on both sides of the pros and cons of eloping. Some people love the freedom that eloping gives them, but other people like to have a solid plan! Elopements are less predictable, because when you elope outside the weather can change quickly, and things like road closures or trail closures can affect your day. If you prefer to have a plan and stick to it, a traditional wedding, and the planning process, might work better for you.
There’s Less Excitement from Others
With weddings, there are wedding gifts, bachelor parties, wedding showers, and the excitement from your guests knowing they’ll be attending a big event. When you elope, you may not have that from other people - while your close friends and family will still be excited for you, you may not get to experience the fanfare of having a hundred people celebrate with you. For some couples, their own excitement is enough, but if you want the parties and celebrations, this can be a con of eloping.
Is Eloping Right for You?
Now that you’ve read the pros and cons of eloping, it’s time to decide if eloping is really right for you! Sit down with your partner, and see if these lists resonate with the two of you.
The meaning of eloping has changed a lot, so make sure you know what this really means! An elopement isn’t just something you do to avoid investing time and money in your wedding day, it’s an intentional choice to make sure your wedding day actually reflects you, and it’s a day you’ll actually enjoy. You can do anything - fly to Iceland or get married at your favorite park, go for a hike or take a helicopter tour, scuba dive or relax on the beach… the options are endless!
And if you think you want to elope, contact me! As an elopement photographer, I’m here to answer any questions and to be your cheerleader in making the brave decision to elope. I’ll help you plan a day that’s perfect for you, from beginning to end.
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