‘Should we elope?’ You might be asking this question if you can’t see yourselves having a traditional wedding. Maybe you’re starting to second guess planning a big celebration because you’re feeling overwhelmed by expectations and obligations. Or maybe you feel like current events are conspiring against your wedding plans and you JUST WANT TO BE MARRIED ALREADY (because you can always elope now and party later).
Historically, elopements were hurried marriages conducted in secret to escape family objections. The modern equivalent is much less dramatic, but no less romantic! To elope is to have an intimate wedding ceremony anywhere in the world with at least two witnesses. The focus is entirely on the couple and the act of getting married, whether it’s at a courthouse or on a clifftop!
If you’re considering an elopement, this is your definitive guide to all the pros and cons.
In This Story
- Pros of Eloping
- Cons of Eloping
Wherever in the world you want to get married, our Epic Elopement Planner will guide you through the process of planning an intimate and unforgettable experience. Even if eloping seems less complicated than hosting a traditional wedding, this is still no ordinary day! This interactive digital download will help you organise all the details step by step to make your elopement everything you want it to be.
Pros of Eloping
You can plan your day, your way
If the last thing you want to hear is what you should and shouldn’t be doing for your wedding, eloping clears the aisle on what can and can’t happen, with whom and when! You can choose the date, time of day and location, wear whatever you want and have the food you like without worrying about anyone else’s needs or preferences. This is one day where you deserve to be front and centre on every decision.
You’ll spend less time on logistics
You’ll get your weekends back – no heading off to yet another wedding expo, vendor meeting or venue tour. Even your inbox will be blissed out! It takes a serious team to pull together an event for a large group of people, and that’s a lot of research, phone calls, emails, mood boards, briefs and contracts. If you’re time poor, this may be a much needed relief!
There’s no stage or spotlight
An elopement means more privacy, and with that comes an added level of intimacy. Words that are really only meant for each other are only spoken to each other – not shared with a whole room full of people over a microphone. You won’t feel like you have to edit what you say or control your emotions because you’re in front of a crowd. You’re also less likely to feel the nerves that come with the production of a larger wedding.
You can ditch the strict timeline
Elopements usually have a pretty flexible schedule, so you’ll have more time to savour each moment and skip the frantic pacing of a day that can feel like it’s going by in a blur. There’s been a whole movement built around decluttering your life. Maybe they’re onto something for weddings too? We’d like to avoid wedding day amnesia, thank you!
You’ll have more time together
There aren’t the same hosting duties for an elopement as a larger wedding. Instead of scanning the room trying to find each other as you flit from table to table, you and your partner get to enjoy every aspect of the day you’ve planned together.
You can get married anywhere
There are some spectacular settings that lend themselves to intimate elopements – think dramatic cliff tops, snowy vistas and private beaches. All of those beautiful places that may be challenging to reach with guests in attendance are now an option.
You’ll enjoy a private portrait session
You’ll have the time to visit more remote locations for incredible photos and video. They’ll be a lot easier to access without a wedding party in tow, and you’ll enjoy more of those loved up moments without your crew catching your eye on the sidelines. Plus, you won’t be feeling the time pressure of needing to hurry back to your guests!
It’s easier on the wallet
If you keep your guest list small, you’ll immediately reduce any wedding expenses that are calculated per head. Even if you add a few luxurious extras, you should still be in front on the dollar count.
You can personalise every detail
From quirky details to private jokes, this is your chance to include what matters most to each of you. Say farewell to the cookie cutter wedding, which only came about because it was the most affordable and efficient way to host a large number of guests.
Cons of Eloping
You still need to budget
There’s no getting around it – working out your priorities and available funds is just as important for an elopement as it is for a larger wedding. Eloping may be considered the cheaper option, but it’s easy for costs to blow out if you start splurging on more details with the money you saved.
Choice can be limited
That wedding date, venue or vendor you love might not be an option due to minimum spend or headcount requirements you can’t meet. You may need to adjust your vision more than you expected and explore how important certain aspects of the day are to you.
Your plans can be derailed
It starts with the two of you and your witnesses on a tropical island…soon it’s a destination wedding with your entire entourage in tow and you’re back to the logistics and costs you were trying to avoid! For anyone eloping to have a stress-free wedding experience, ending up back on the planning-go-round can be a letdown.
There’s less wedding fanfare
You might breathe a sigh of relief that there’s not going to be a kitchen tea (what even is that?), but you might not feel the same about forgoing hens and bucks parties which don’t usually happen with elopements. There will be fewer opportunities to involve loved ones in your wedding plans and enjoy the rituals that help build excitement for the day.
Loved ones can feel excluded
A time that‘s supposed to be filled with joy can be fraught with drama if loved ones question your decision to elope. There may be feelings of loss and sadness that they won’t be part of your day, or disappointment that long held expectations won’t be fulfilled. Some of these responses can be hurtful or seem unreasonable, but will still need to be addressed.
You’ll be asked tough questions
The probing questions don’t disappear just because your event is smaller. Why do you want to elope? I really want to be there, can I still come? Is there still going to be a reception? These might feel harder to answer and be more intrusive than you anticipated!
The fun can fizzle out fast
You’ll have a relaxed morning getting ready, an intimate ceremony, a glass of champagne, a slice of cake, a romantic portrait session…and then what? The day could feel underwhelming unless you have some plans in place to continue the celebration. One person’s perfect event is another’s non-event.
Not everyone can attend
There’s a chance you might miss some familiar faces who have celebrated other important life events with you. Having an elopement also means those loved ones won’t be able to share in the memories of your wedding day except through photos and video.
You may wonder, “What if?”
If you choose to do something small to mark a big life event, it’s only human to wonder what a traditional wedding might have been like. We believe whatever decision you make is the right decision for you at the time. But if you’re questioning whether you’re missing out, an elopement could lead to regret if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected.
Only you can know how important each of these pros and cons are to you as you decide whether an elopement is a good fit for your personal priorities. Whatever you choose, we hope your wedding day is everything you’ve been dreaming of!