Marriage isn’t for everyone, but when you have met the one and you choose to put a ring on it, you will most likely immediately start thinking about the wedding day.
Some little girls (and boys for that matter) dream of a fairytale traditional wedding that they will be able to tell their grandchildren about. However, what many people don’t understand is the level of stress, time, and financial commitments involved in planning and executing even an intimate wedding.
Assuming you hire an amazing wedding planner, you’ll still have hundreds of small decisions to make ranging from the venue to the guest list, and everything in-between.
Your invite list is sure to grow and grow well beyond immediate family, and everyone wants to bring a plus one because that’s what happens with weddings.
On the day of the vows, even if things go perfectly (which they rarely do), couples will be pulled in many different directions by many different people, and before you know it, it’ll be over in a flash.
Or at least this is what I have heard and witnessed from my friends and family. Although I have been married to my wife Ana for almost 7 years, I have not personally been through the whole wedding planning process myself.
The reason is that when it was time to seriously consider marriage, it coincided with having just bought our first house and having grand remodel plans from the beginning. Option A was to wait to get married and option B was to wait on our house plans, so instead, we created option C and went with elopement.
We turned an already planned trip to Las Vegas into our elopement day and told almost no one except a very limited number of family and friends. We snuck away to get our license and to make it an adventure elopement at the Little White Chapel.
Although nothing but the vows and wedding photographer aligned with wedding tradition, we still look fondly on our special day. The way we chose eloping over planning a wedding was a little haphazard for many couples, but the principles apply to everyone.
Here are our reasons for skipping the destination weddings, traditional weddings, and of course the big weddings and wanting to elope instead.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Eloping
1. Simplicity of Elopements
I like things that are not over complicated, and to me eloping is the most simplistic route to accomplish in the end what all married couples want, happily ever after.
Consider how complicated and demanding most people’s lives are, and then imagine adding a part-time job for the next few months or years at the end of the day. Of course, the wedding industry will not like what I have to say, but I personally feel that our mental health was greatly improved.
It is a fact though that we lost the experience of our love being the center of attention for a day. That works out ok for us, as neither of us particularly enjoys that kind of attention from all our family and friends, but we are a little different than many couples. For us, vows are vows no matter where or when they happened, but that may not be true for all couples.
Personal preferences aside, making things simple is one of the primary reasons to elope. If you do not want to add complication to your daily life in the pursuit of the big wedding, then you have a great reason to want to elope, whether it’s to Vegas, your local courthouse, or even a traditional wedding venue.
Keep in mind that not all your family members will appreciate your elopement or the fact that they feel excluded from your wedding day. It will be wise for you to include your immediate family and closest friends to avoid those issues (but you can never make everyone happy so it’s about doing what’s right for you).
If you can’t handle a little push back, then this might end up adding more complication than it saves. If you and your partner can brush it off and still do what makes you happy, then don’t shy away from elopement for someone else’s insecurities. Others might ask you, why do people elope? Simplicity should be high up on anyone’s 5 or 10 reasons to elope.
2. Cost Redirection
I would be lying if I said that you should choose to elope because it will save you as the couple the full cost of a wedding. The reality is some family that supports your love may not want to contribute their money if you don’t have the big wedding they envision, so you might be fully out of pocket for the cost of your elopement.
Of course, this should be a significant cost reduction, but very few people will just take that money and put it back into savings. Whether you end up buying a home, remodeling, taking an amazing honeymoon, starting a new business, or a variety of other things, the money will probably get spent.
Instead of cost savings, you will have the flexibility to use the funds on something that will improve your life after you say your vows.
Your wedding, whether it’s a wedding dreams are made of or a very simple elopement, is just the beginning of your lives together. Too often couples see the wedding date as some sort of important endpoint, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When you invest your time in planning a traditional wedding, the real world is still there to greet you the first morning you wake up after getting married. You still have bills, jobs, possibly kids, etc. and none of that cares about what type of wedding you have.
However, if you truly want reasons to elope, the dollars not flying out of your pocket are some fantastic ones. If your families were willing to pay for a destination wedding, you might be able to convince them to pay for a very nice, simple elopement, and put the rest of the funds to work as your down payment or to pay off student loans to start in a strong financial position.
I get it, you want a beautiful wedding, and standing in front of a judge is not what you dream about. But this post is about thinking contrary to the rest of the pack and looking to see if you have a reason to elope.
Choosing to elope is something that could help set you up for financial success a day much sooner than expected. This is something that couples must come to an agreement on because if someone gives up the traditional wedding day experience and regrets it later that could be a point of contention.
Just as getting married is not for everyone, the idea of elopements is also not for everyone. Choose your battles wisely, because in the end, it is you that has to live with each other, not your parents, friends, wedding planner, photographer, or officiant.
3. Reduced Stress
Stress does not go away, and whether you are planning a traditional wedding or have a good reason to elope there will always be some stress related to getting married.
Once you understand and accept that, the reality of stress from big weddings is something you should discuss with your partner. There is a lot of evidence that people are not good judges of what will make them happy or how they will feel about a situation in the future.
Even coordinating an elopement with the help of a wedding planner will have some level of stress, so it’s all relative. The key is not to think that you won’t experience stress if you elope, but rather to understand that the stress will be easier to manage if you elope. Less moving parts means less overall stress and is therefore one of my reasons to elope.
When my wife and I first bought our house, we chose to wait on the kitchen remodel and did other projects first. Although we knew that we would need to do the kitchen because it was important to us, we also know that our relationship was not ready for the added stress (And believe me, remodels are STRESSFUL).
We waded into the waters and learned to work together (although we do still argue), and we make each other stronger not weaker. If you know that your relationship may not deal well with a lot of stress, the big wedding may end up being an impediment to your success as a couple. The high of the bouquet toss, drinks, and all the dancing will wear off.
Our lives are stressful, kids are stressful, business is stressful, investing is stressful, elections are stressful, we all have stress so you must go in understanding that weddings are even more stressful.
However, if you know you can handle the stress because you have each other then you might be a big wedding person, and elopement may not be a factor. Either way, I highly recommend you have a discussion about how you will handle the stress that is guaranteed in the wedding industry. If you are self-aware enough to know how you will respond, then you will have the information to decide for or against eloping.
4. Time Savings
Time is the one thing you cannot get back, and weddings take a lot of time to plan and execute, if you’re looking for top reasons to elope, this is most definitely one of them.
Planning a wedding is a part-time job that doesn’t pay you but instead, you pay someone else for the pleasure. For many couples, the sacrifice and time investment are worth it for the experience that only traditional weddings can provide.
There is most certainly a tradeoff to be made when you choose elopement for your wedding day rather than one of the larger wedding events. You are simply not going to get all the same things out of eloping that other couples do from their large wedding. In finding what the right reason to elope is for you, understanding the tradeoffs is key.
Ask yourself and your soon to be spouse some questions. What do you have going on in your life that you would like to be able to invest more time in? On the other hand, what things can you take time away from in order to invest it into wedding planning?
Everything in life is about trade off and give and take. Love is give and take, marriage is give and take, and so is wedding planning. If you choose to elope to simplify the process for yourself and have a greater amount of time available, you better make that time worthwhile.
If you skip getting married in front of all your loved ones that can witness your vows in person, that time better not be spent watching Netflix or you will regret it and may even resent one another.
If however, you use that free time to start a family, start a business, travel, or do something else that will add tremendous value to your life then it may be worth what will feel like a sacrifice of your wedding day. Even the most beautiful and well-planned elopement ceremony will be different so understand that.
It might be helpful to give you a little background on what my wife and I were able to do with our free time. Like all people and some couples, we had grand plans surrounding our wedding time, but a large ceremony would have been a hindrance to those plans.
We began the remodel of the exterior of our house, including paint, enclosing our garage, and painting the inside of the house. This initial remodel spurred more remodels and more real estate investment which has turned today into a profitable venture as well as a passion.
My wife grew her online business and got the itch to get her real estate license. I had time to continue to grow my business to a point where we had the financial freedom we were looking for.
We also had an opportunity to do a lot of traveling that we likely otherwise wouldn’t have had. Any one of these alone might have been reason enough for use to elope, but all together told us for certain that elopement made sense.
You might be wanting to ask me; do you regret eloping… For us, there is no regret in not having a big wedding. However, now that we are in a different position, we have talked about having a big beautiful ceremony for one of our anniversaries to finally bring everyone together.
For us, now having kids it would be more meaningful to do it now with them involved. The one regret we have is that we did not download the pictures the elopement photographer from the chapel took as part of our package.
The only wedding picture we have is me eating dinner out of Styrofoam containers while we were waiting for our ceremony lol. I highly recommend that you either hire a photographer or use one of the elopement photographers the venue has available, and make sure you save the pictures.
We were far from the perfect example of what to do when you elope, but it was still the best thing for us. Learn from me though and do some more planning even for an elopement so that you can get the most out of it.
Whether you do a simple elopement or adventure elopement spend a small fraction of that time to plan so you can elope and still enjoy the experience and have the energy for the world waiting after.
5. Technology as a Wedding Tool
Technology is amazing today, and your little elopement with a limited number of guests can easily be a wedding with no capacity limit via the internet. I had a friend that recently had a small ceremony but invited hundreds of people to watch via zoom and I really love that idea.
Of course, the reception is much less exciting when you are watching online, but when it comes to the ceremony your guests can feel like they are there without having to travel, make arrangements and eat your food.
If you are tech-savvy you can have an amazing wedding with everyone you know on an elopement budget. In today’s epidemic limited world this is also a great solution to avoid having to put your wedding plans on hold.
Why elope? So that you can get married in a pandemic! Technology is your friend and vows carry beautifully via video. Use the tools that are available to you but know that not all couples will have this flexibility. If you are flexible enough to elope and leverage technology to your advantage you are going to be set up as a couple for future success.
In the end, what is a wedding really? It’s about setting you up for a life of love, enjoyment, growth, passion, etc. One day of your life no matter how big or small should not have a long-lasting impact on strong couples.
Life is about the hundreds and thousands of days that come after your vows that really matter. So, if you absolutely love the idea of a big wedding and that’s the only thing that will make you happy then have that big wedding.
If you feel like you can both accept the tradeoffs and the reasons to elope outweigh the reasons to have that traditional wedding, then I highly recommend you consider it. Love is love, and my wife and I got a great start on our life together without a big wedding.
Of course, I can’t speak for anyone else, so this is a decision to be made by individual couples. Whatever you decide, at least spend a few minutes thinking about eloping, and you can thank me later.