I asked all my couples (over 100+ couples) why they chose to elope, and while I could write out more than just 10 reasons to do so, these were the top 10 reasons my couples decided to turn their traditional wedding celebrations into meaningful elopements, and why you should considering doing so as well.
#1: You Want a Wedding Day Focused on Your Relationship
Did you know that the main reason couples elope is because they want a wedding day completely focused on their relationship?
No matter how much time you add to your wedding day timeline to be together, it’s never enough. You’ll always be pulled to the side by guests wanting to chat, parents who want just one more picture, and extended family wanting to catch up. Suddenly, your wedding has become a big production and family reunion, not the intimate and meaningful celebration it should be.
Eloping gives you the opportunity to slow down and actually enjoy your wedding day with your partner.
“After going to three different weddings where the bride and groom were separated, I knew I wanted to plan something smaller. The most important thing to me was being able to be together on our wedding day. Once we let go of the big wedding idea and started planning an elopement, we realized we were doing the right thing. I wouldn’t trade my wedding day for the world.” – Rebecca + Thomas
#2: Wedding Planning Is Stressful
Where do you even start when it comes to wedding planning?
Planning a big wedding is an extremely time-consuming and stressful process. From figuring out a color scheme and venue to designing a seating chart and event timeline, the real meaningful of why you’re getting married tends to get lost in the process. Instead, your wedding day becomes all about throwing the best party for your guests instead of what’s really important… committing your lives to one another.
Instead, you’re wondering how many plates of food you need to order, how long you can book a venue for, whether or not you should hire a dj, how much alcohol you should buy, and the list goes on.
While elopements still require some planning, the planning process is a lot less stressful. In fact, it’s extremely fun and exciting to see all the personalized details come to life, making this one of the top reasons to elope.
“As someone who planned their own traditional wedding in less than three months, I can honestly say that if I was given a second chance, I would have eloped.” – Brianna + Joe.
#3: You Want to Avoid Wedding Day Drama
Does this sound familiar?
You finally sit down to start planning your wedding only to be bombarded with opinions from your friends and family about the venue, color scheme, and amount of guests. Your mom wants you to wear a certain dress, your father-in-law wants a certain type of food, and your sister thinks you should forgo the cake-cutting.
You’re already overwhelmed, so you give in. And now, your wedding day has suddenly become about what everyone else wants, not about what you want.
I’ve been there, and so have a lot of other couples.
This is why elopements are so amazing, because even though you may get a comment here and there about something, at the end of the day, you know it’s ultimately your decision. Elopements give you back the freedom and power to say no, because you know that your elopement is a day specifically designed to focus on you and your partner.
“I can’t tell you how many times I was given unsolicited advice about my own wedding. I finally sat down with Matt and we talked about the possibility of eloping. After we found you, we never looked back. I can honestly say that ditching the big wedding and eloping instead was one of the best decisions we have ever made.” – Kelsey + Matt
#4: You Want to Go Somewhere Adventurous for Your Elopement
One of the best parts about elopements is the opportunity you have to travel somewhere new.
Since the majority of your budget is no longer going to catering and a venue space, a majority of couples end up combining their honeymoon and elopement into one by visiting someplace they have always wanted to go. Not only is this a super fun experience, but you now have a special location you can come back to and visit on anniversaries.
“We always wanted to visit Olympic National Park. Living on the East Coast, we don’t get the chance to see such beautiful scenery often, which is why we decided to go west for our elopement. We’re already planning a trip to go back.” – Maddie + Eric
#5: You Want to Save Some Money
Did you know that in 2019 the average wedding in the United States was $28,400? Yes, almost $30,000, half of which goes to the reception. Oh, and did I mention that this doesn’t include the price of a honeymoon?
Now, I’m not opposed to anyone spending this much on their wedding. I wholeheartedly believe that you should invest a little extra in your wedding experience, especially because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime day.
However, this major price tag can be hard to swallow, especially when you start to think of everything else you could be using the money for.
With elopements, this $30,000 price tag is easily able to be cut in half, thirds, or even fourths.
“I was shocked at how much it would have been to book a venue for just 4 hours. Frankly, we just didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a venue we didn’t even love. Instead, we decided to fly ourselves and family members out to Oregon for our wedding where we rented a big Airbnb and ordered pizzas for dinner. Best wedding day ever.” – Laura + Alex
#6: You Don’t Want to Be the Center of Attention
Does the thought of sharing your personal and intimate vows in front of everyone make you sick?
Don’t worry, it did for me too.
If you’re introverted or simply don’t like being the center of attention, planning an elopement is a great way to get around this.
At a big wedding, you’re forced to read your personal feelings out-loud, talk to multiple people throughout the night, and have hundreds of people stare and compliment you for hours. While it may sound like paradise to some, other couples hate the experience which is why they decide to elope. They don’t see the value in trying to be extroverted if they’re just not. They’d rather feel comfortable sharing their personal vows with their partner than with a crowd of people.
“As a major introvert, I HATE public speaking. Reading vows in front of 100 people was a big no for me.” – Layla + Kyla
#7: You Want to Protect the Planet
Did you know that one wedding causes and average of 400 lbs of trash and 63 tons of CO2? Yikes.
Just think about all the waste that comes from weddings, like leftover food, napkins, plates, decorations, etc. While wedding vendors are doing a much better job at trying to combat this problem, it’s still a large issue today.
One of my favorite reasons to elope is because it’s much more eco-friendly. Almost all items, with the exception of flowers, can be purchased second-hand for an elopement. All you really need is the attire and a marriage license and you’re good to go!
Most elopement photographers, including myself, are also very aware of Leave No Trace guidelines and put them into practice at all elopements.
“Michelle and I are both really big on sustainability, which is the main reason we decided to elope. We want to help protect the planet and knew it wouldn’t be possible if we had a big wedding.” – Kara + Michelle
#8: You Want Amazing Photos
Not only will you get photos of you two in an incredible landscape, but you’ll get photos who truly reflect you two as a couple.
At a traditional wedding, your photos will more than likely end up looking the same as everyone else. Same family poses, dancing shots, and posed couples portraits. However, at an elopement, your photos will capture the raw feelings and emotions you felt throughout the day. Elopement photography takes on a much more documentary type of approach, which is why so many couples are drawn to it.
Plus, getting photos on the top of a mountain sounds much cooler then getting photos in a downtown venue, in my opinion.
“We spent the most money on you for our elopement, and it was worth every penny and then some. You captured every moment of us perfectly. We can’t thank you enough for making our elopement day a dream come true.” – Jenna + Nick
#9: You Want Something More Personal
While you can plan a big personalized wedding, you can only go so far.
For example, most venues only allow you to book their preferred vendors, select food from a limited menu, and set a limit on how long you can stay at the venue.
With elopements, you have total freedom and flexibility to create a day that can be extremely personalized and unique. You have complete freedom to choose your exact ceremony spot, style, and traditions.
“Planning the big wedding made us feel like we didn’t have a choice.” – Rachel + Brian
#10: You Value Experiences Over Things
If you’re choosing to elope, it’s probably because you value experiences over things. You’d much rather go zip-lining in the jungle than get a new wardrobe.
Sometimes, a big wedding just isn’t for you, and that’s okay. Instead of forcing yourself to plan an event that will please others, take your time, money, and efforts and plan something you will always remember forever, an experience.
Yes, that’s right! An elopement is a full-blown experience. It’s one day where you get to do whatever you want. You can take a helicopter tour of a glacier, go to a reindeer farm, or simply lay out on the beach before your ceremony.
The options are limitless.
Now that you’ve read through all the main reasons to elope, it’s time to take the next step. If you still more elopement help, consider reading about the difference between a wedding and an elopement, an article about the definition of an elopement, and a full guide all about how to elope.
I’m passionate about helping couples realize they have the choice to ditch the big celebration and opt for something that’s much more them. Feel free to reach out if you need advice or want to discuss whether or not an elopement is right for you.
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.