So, you’re wondering about the pros and cons of eloping. As a wedding photographer who loves helping capture elopements, destination weddings, and of course, weddings right in my home city of Detroit, Michigan, I’m here to help you decide if eloping is the right choice for you!
Whether you’ve had your heart set on eloping your entire life and just want to learn more about it, or it’s something you’ve only recently started considering for your big day, this post has got you covered. Like with any other decision, it’s great to take a birds-eye view of the benefits and the cons to ensure you’re fully prepared.
Here are the pros and cons of eloping!
Let’s start by chatting about some of the benefits of eloping. There are quite a few!
When it comes to the pros and cons of eloping, one of the best benefits is that the planning process can be a lot quicker. You could decide to get married and then elope within the next few months (or even sooner!).
Truthfully, you could even choose to get married in a matter of a few days if you can find a wedding photographer and depending on the marriage requirements for the state in which you plan to wed. While some couples will still spend upwards of one year planning the perfect elopement, it’s an option to spend significantly less time than with a larger wedding. It’s perfect if you just want to go with the flow when the day comes.
One of the best reasons for eloping could easily be that stress levels are much lower. Since fewer people come to elopements (if any at all), there’s a lot less drama that comes along with it.
Couples who have elopements tend to find the day really easy-going yet magical, without sticking to a strict timeline – more on that later! Overall, though, there’s much less to worry about with elopements since there are fewer moving pieces.
There’s no need to worry about the schedule, how everyone else is feeling, or even if there’s any other drama. An elopement is entirely and only about you two, so you’re free to just enjoy the day!
The average cost of eloping is a lot lower than that of a wedding, so couples who have a smaller budget for their big day may opt to elope! Elopement costs tend to be lower overall because fewer people are involved, and the venues are much smaller than renting out huge banquet halls.
For reference, couples tend to spend around $5,000 to $15,000 for an elopement in the United States, and if a couple chooses to elope just the two of them with no other guests, that cost can be even lower.
Note that cost varies on many factors, including location, time of year, the date a couple is getting married, and more.
Another of the pros of eloping is that the wedding venues are endless. Seriously, no matter where you’d like to get eloped, you pretty much can!
For instance, some popular spots to elope in the United States include national parks, beaches, and even the couple’s backyard. It doesn’t always have to be some super elaborate destination, but it definitely can be if you genuinely want it to!
Some couples may even choose to get married in super remote locations for ultimate privacy, their local courthouse for convenience and simplicity, or head to an Elvis chapel in Vegas for a spontaneous weekend. The location is entirely up to your imagination.
When it comes to pros and cons of eloping, one of the best benefits is that the timeline can be a lot more flexible. The thing that makes an elopement so special is that you can design the day to be and include whatever you want! That might include an intimate ceremony and a version of a reception. Or it might not at all. One of the things many couples struggle with when it comes to big weddings is coming up with a timeline, from the ceremony to the reception. Well, that all goes (mostly) out the door with an elopement!
You have the pleasure of being a bit more spontaneous with an elopement. It’s perfect if you like adventure and more spontaneity and just want to take the day as it comes without the stresses.
Adding personal touches to an elopement is really simple. You could elope in a sentimental location or cross off a location from your bucket list together. Because there are fewer guests at elopements, you don’t have to worry so much about other opinions. Instead, you can make your own decisions based entirely on your own likes and dislikes, making the day feel a lot more authentic to the two of you and your relationship.
When it comes to a big “traditional” wedding day, the couple is together for only part of the day (more if they do a first-look) but regardless, they’ll likely be pulled in many different directions between family and guests! However, because elopements are days designed intentionally for you and you two only, you can spend a lot more quality time together, which could make the day even more memorable.
This is especially true if you opt to have your elopement be just the two of you, making the day super personal and private.
Now it’s time to discuss the latter part of the pros and cons of eloping. While there are many pros, there are a few cons worth considering when deciding if it’s worth it to elope for a couple.
Now, the fact that there are fewer guests could be considered a pro or a con, depending on the couple! Some couples worry about offending certain family members or even friends who don’t get invited. If you choose to elope, some families may be disappointed that they won’t be involved in the big day, especially if you choose to have no guests at all. And maybe you’re both just total social butterflies, and the thing you look most forward to is having everyone you love in one place to celebrate. In that case, a wedding is probably for you! Or maybe you fall somewhere in between, like many couples. In that case, you could choose to elope but still have some type of celebration or reception after the wedding, so everyone feels involved.
When it comes to eloping, most couples won’t have a wedding party for their big day because it doesn’t make total sense, especially if fewer than twenty or so people attend. If having a wedding party is super important to you, then a larger wedding is likely more your jam. Elopements often involve way less pomp and circumstance than a larger wedding too; things like bachelor and bachelorette parties and bridal showers might not happen, and you’ll certainly receive fewer gifts. If those things are important to you, then it’s definitely something to consider (although, who’s to say you can’t go party it up in Tulum with your tribe before jetting off to Maui to say “I do” that would be one hell of a way to celebrate). Or, you could decide to take the untraditional route and opt to have a small wedding party anyway for an elopement; there truthfully are no elopement rules (which is the beauty of it)!
This was mentioned as a benefit earlier in this post of the pros and cons of eloping because some couples may love the spontaneity. However, there are some instances where couples may not want to, especially if they’re having an outdoor elopement on top of a mountain and the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Now, rainy weddings can truly be beautiful, but it’s worth it to think about if you’re the type of person who prefers structure and a plan or wants a more fluid wedding day. With that being said, there are some steps you can take to make it easier to think on your feet, like always having a backup plan!
When it comes to taking wedding photos, this is definitely something I (or your wedding photographer if you go a different direction) can help you with.
A “traditional” wedding typically starts with a ceremony, and the reception occurs right after. This reception includes partying, drinking, and overall having a good time and celebrating the newlyweds.
One of the cons of elopements for some couples is that they don’t include a reception. Elopements are usually just the ceremony. That’s not to say that a couple can’t go out to eat for a makeshift reception or even throw a celebration party at a later date, but that’s just something to keep in mind.
Last but certainly not least, this could be a pro or a con depending on the couple; it can sometimes take a bit more work to get to the “venue.” This is more true if a couple opts to get married in an outdoor location in nature, like in the middle of the woods or at the top of a mountain that has to be hiked to.
For couples who love the great outdoors and have a passion for adventure, this will be absolutely amazing and will add to their overall wedding experience.
This post was all about the pros and cons of eloping. Eloping can be an amazing and unforgettable experience, as can a traditional wedding. It’s important to remember that the point of a wedding or an elopement is to celebrate your love and make your marriage official. How and where you choose to get married should be entirely up to you and your soon-to-be spouse!
If you’re still looking for the right photographer that will be your biggest advocate and #1 cheerleader, no matter how you choose to get married, be sure to get in touch. I work in Michigan and beyond, and my bags are already packed, ready to travel!