‘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.
Eloping might seem less complicated than hosting a traditional wedding, but there’s still a surprising number of questions that need to be answered to plan this special experience. How to Plan Your Epic Elopement will help you work through every detail step-by-step to realise your dream of a private and personal celebration that’s big on love and small on stress.
Pros of Eloping
You can enjoy 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 more freely choose the date, time of day and location, wear whatever you want and eat whatever 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.
It takes less time to plan
It takes a big team to pull together a knock-your-socks-off party for a large number of guests, and that means countless hours spent on research, calls, emails, mood boards, briefs and contracts. Without all of that on your plate, you get your weekends back! (Of course, there’s always the option to hire a wedding planner to help.)
There’s no stage or spotlight
An elopement means more privacy, and with that comes an added level of intimacy. Words only meant for each other are only spoken to each other – not shared with a bunch of people over a microphone. You won’t feel like you have to edit what you say or keep your emotions in check 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
With fewer places you need to be and things you need to do, you can set a more relaxed pace for an elopement than a wedding. Instead of feeling like everything is going by in a blur, a less frantic schedule makes it easier to savour every moment. We’d like to avoid wedding day amnesia, thank you!
You’ll have more time together
Fortunately, there aren’t the same hosting duties for an elopement as a 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 not be practical with guests in attendance are now made possible!
You’ll enjoy a private portrait session
You’ll have the time to visit more remote locations for incredible photos and video and they’ll be a lot easier to access without a wedding party in tow. Plus, you won’t be feeling the time pressure of needing to hurry back to your guests!
Your budget is more flexible
With a tiny (or non-existent) guest list, you’ll immediately reduce any wedding expenses that are calculated per head. This makes it easier to control how much you spend, and what you spend it on – and leaves some room to splurge on luxurious extras.
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
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 explore how important certain aspects of the day are to you and adjust your vision more than you expected.
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 traditions like 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.
Not everyone you love 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.
Family and friends 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 get some tough questions
The probing questions don’t disappear just because your wedding is smaller. “Can I still come?”, “Is there going to be a party afterwards?” and even, “Why do you want to elope?”. These might be more intrusive and harder to answer 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.
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!
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