First things first, let’s talk about what eloping is and isn’t.
What is an elopement?
For awhile eloping carried this shameful connotation as if choosing not to have a traditional wedding meant that your commitment to each other was a hasty decision or one that was made haphazardly. While it has been given that stigma in the past, elopements aren’t and never were shameful. And no matter what anyone tells you, or tries to make you feel, an elopement is a real wedding and incredibly meaningful.
Both sets of our parents eloped, not because they had to out of guilt or societal shame, not because they didn’t think having a wedding day was important, but because what was important to them had nothing to do with what big, traditional weddings focus on. They wanted the day to be about them, their love, and what their relationship was all about. Sounds pretty meaningful to us!
What an elopement isn’t
Eloping isn’t shameful, it isn’t weird and it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about how you get married. Eloping is awesome and an incredibly intentional way to celebrate the love that you have built. Here’s the thing…big weddings and huge parties aren’t for everyone. They weren’t for us. When we sat down to plan our “small” wedding, within 10 minutes we realized that it just wasn’t for us. We didn’t care about the traditions. We didn’t care about the guest list, or the food, or the invitations. The only thing that we cared about was getting married and only focusing on each other that day.
We didn’t want to invite family members we barely spoke to or pay a ton of money for food we’d be too busy to eat. We didn’t want to say our vows in front of a bunch of people or dance with a room full of eyes on us. If that was our wedding day, we would have been miserable. If any of that resonates with you, if there’s even a tiny piece of you that is questioning if a traditional wedding or elopement is the way you want to celebrate, then you owe it to yourself to explore some options.
Couples choose to elope for a million different reasons and we firmly believe that there is no “right” way to get married. At the end of the day, the only thing you need for a wedding is two folks in love. We’ve put together a list of some of the reasons couples may choose to elope.
Before we dig in, we want to remind you that your wedding day should be yours and not what anyone tells you it needs to be.
Reason 1: You want a stress free wedding day
There are a lot of moving parts that happen on your wedding day. From set up, getting ready, checking in with vendors, herding a ton of people (that have probably been drinking), keeping rooms cleaned, following a tight schedule for photos and timelines, etc. It is a ton to keep track of, but also a lot to plan. Planning your wedding day should be a blast (for both of you). If you like long to-do lists, or having an entire planner dedicated to one day, then YOU DO YOU! But, if you’d rather keep it laid back and easy-peasy, eloping might be right up your alley. Instead of planning a huge party, you could plan an incredible road trip to a place you love (or have always wanted to go). You can plan an incredible hike and grab a beer after, or get married on the beach and then take a dip in the ocean. You can get married in your own backyard and then go to your favorite bar. It’s your day and it can be as laid back as you want.
Reason 2: You want a relaxed schedule
Ever had a day that was so jammed packed you didn’t have a chance to eat? Traditional wedding days can feel a lot like that. Early wake up calls to allow enough time for a quick rehearsal, set up, hair/makeup, and photos…it can be a lot. You may prefer to just spend that time with your partner doing the things that you love instead of rushing around or stressing out. Maybe you want your wedding day to be focused on spending time together and soaking up each moment of the day. Having a timeline that allows for more flexibility can help you stay present and grounded through your entire day. You can take your time and stay present during each moment.
Reason 3: You want to spend money on things and experiences you value
Let’s be honest, weddings are insanely expensive. If spending on average $20,000 – $35,000 (estimating that your guest list is between 100-150) for your wedding makes you want to cry, you are not alone. Eloping will definitely save you money, even if you decide to take a trip somewhere incredible, hire a private chef, hire photographers to capture every bit of your adventure elopement, you would still spend way less than the average wedding cost. It isn’t that couples who choose to elope are cheap, it’s that they want their money to go to experiences that are important to them. If a big reception and gorgeous venue is what you value, then go for it! But, if it isn’t, then spend that money on what lights the two of you up!
Reason 4: You’re looking for a sustainable option
On top of being super expensive, traditional weddings tend to produce a ton of waste approximately 400lbs, on average. Elopements, by nature produce significantly less. Since the guest list is significantly smaller, there will be less waste, less flowers, less paper products, less food waste, etc. Elopements are an incredibly sustainable wedding option for couples that are looking to prioritize sustainability.
Reason 5: Being the center of attention makes you want to cry
This was a big reason for us. We are both really introverted and feel awkward when all eyes are on us. If the thought of being the center of attention for an entire day makes you sweat profusely, then an elopement might be the liferaft you’re looking for. Because on your wedding day, not only is everyone looking at you, but they are looking TO you for answers and direction. Decision fatigue can ruin a day pretty quickly or leave you completely worn out by the time you say your vows. While you may have to make decisions during your elopement, we can promise that it will be a fraction of the choices that come with a traditional wedding day.
Reason 6: You don’t vibe with traditions that come with weddings
If certain traditions that accompany weddings make you uncomfortable, then by all means, do not have them. Before we decided to scrap our OG wedding plans, I stressed so hard about some of the father/daughter traditions. When we decided to elope, I felt so relieved that things like the father/daughter dance weren’t things I’d have to miss on that day. Traditions like this or others can be a source of pain or trauma for some and eloping can ease a lot of the pressure and emotional heavy-lifting that comes with navigating these traditions.
Reason 7: Family dynamics can be weird
Unfortunately, not everyone has family dynamics that make them feel comfortable, or happy, or even safe. Angsting over a guest list because of this doesn’t have to happen. If someone doesn’t make you feel loved and celebrated, if they make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, then they don’t get to be there. This day is about the two of you. You are not obligated to invite anyone.
Reason 8: 2020 kinda changed everything
With the impact and changes that COVID-19 brought, we saw a big shift in how weddings were done. Many states and counties are beginning to open up, but still taking precautions with large gatherings. We were hurting for so many couples that had to reschedule and reimagine the wedding day that they had already planned and in a lot of cases, had already paid for. Depending on state restrictions, eloping allows you to still celebrate intentionally and with the people that you are closest with. We don’t know what the future looks like or what weddings will look like moving forward, what we do know is that
Reason 9: You want to start this chapter with intention
How you get married really does matter. We are firm believers that the intention that goes into a wedding day is sacred. It isn’t just another day, it’s the day that you are committing your lives to each other and how you do it matters! Eloping gives you the freedom to stay present and create your own traditions, allowing you to celebrate the love that you’ve built in a way that rings true to who you are.
Reason 10: You want your family with you but don’t want a massive guest list
Creating a guest list was a HUGE source of stress for us before we decided to scrap our original wedding plans. No matter how small we tried to keep our guest list, it continued to grow. We felt like if we invited so-and-so, then we would also need to invite what’s-their-name. It got to the point where we were feeling pressure from family members to invite distant relatives and friends that we didn’t even know very well. Spending our day making small talk with people we rarely spoke to just wasn’t how we wanted to spend the day. Deciding to Elope gives you the opportunity to focus on the person and folks that mean the most to you without having to sacrifice an ounce of your time to small-talk.