Wedding planners + married couples know how much preparation goes into a wedding—there are hundreds of little choices to be made and not a lot of time to execute the end result. But ultimately, it’s worth it….Right?
A lot of couples consider eloping because of that very question: Is planning a big wedding really worth it? Obviously, this is a complex thing to consider. There are all kinds of benefits and drawbacks to elopement and traditional weddings, but one thing is certain: the common perception of both events is changing.
Most people have heard their share of anecdotes about eloping. Spontaneous “Vegas weddings,” boat ceremonies in international waters, and simple courthouse services have started to become more popular; this probably has to do with a change in the perception of elopement over the last few decades. It’s gaining a more positive reputation, rather than being seen as a sneaky way for couples to wed without their parents’ approval or as a secretive last-resort for couples These days, the act has gained more respectability as an intimate, financially sensible choice. The increasingly positive perception of elopement is even reflected in pop culture. Spontaneous, secret, and low-key marriage ceremonies seem to turn out well!
As for traditional weddings, their reputation has remained fairly consistent, although many spouses-to-be are opting for ceremonies that break smaller traditions and better suit their personal interests. People are getting creative. There are a lot of options out there, and our understanding of what a wedding should look like is changing. Still overwhelmed? Planners love offering elopement packages as well..So, is elopement the way to go, or does the bad still outweigh the good?
All Cards on the Table..
Attractive Price Tag
It’s true: weddings can be insanely expensive. You’re paying for every detail—from chairs and tables to flowers and sparklers. With elopement, most of those details aren’t included, so you don’t have to abuse your bank account over them. Due to the lack of guests, you won’t have to pay for catering, seating, transportation, decorating a large venue, or even accommodation (if it’s a destination wedding). The only things you’ll have to worry about buying are the necessities for you, your spouse, and whoever will be with you during the ceremony.
Stress Free is the Way to Be
For most of us, saving money decreases stress, but there are plenty of other things that you can avoid stressing over if you opt out of a traditional wedding. With an elopement, there are fewer guests to manage, fewer decorative elements to tweak, and a much looser schedule to follow—and even those things are assuming that you have any guests, decorations, or schedule in the first place. In the end, a smaller ceremony lets you take your mind off of the little things and focus all of your attention on your new spouse. In fact, that’s a pro of its own:
Intimacy is Key
Without a doubt, having your wedding day all to yourselves is special and personal beyond compare. Although a bigger wedding would allow more people and extravagance, the romance and intimacy of elopement cannot be overlooked; optimally, there are no distractions from one another during the ceremony that binds you and your partner together for life. It’s about just the two of you and your connection, rather than you as a couple in the wider family/community.
More Marriage, Less Wedding
In that same vein, elopement can make your big day all about marriage itself, focusing your attention on the lifelong love and commitment between you and your partner. A traditional wedding, on the other hand, usually requires that you split your attention between your new marriage and the party that surrounds it. Although a celebration can emphasize the excitement of marriage, it can also take away from the solemnity of the day itself.
You Me and Spontaneity
Up until now, I’ve mostly been concentrating on planned-out elopements, but it’s important to note that elopement is the perfect method for getting married without any planning at all. There’s something to be said for the passion and excitement that accompany spontaneity, especially with a decision as big as marriage. If you think you want to get hitched but you want it to happen in-the-moment, elopement is probably the best way to go.
Where is the Personality
Although intimate, elopement doesn’t let you make the hundreds of little choices that typically go along with a big wedding, meaning that you might not feel like the ceremony is as tailored to your taste. There probably won’t be as many decorations, so choices like color scheme, types of greenery, and furniture arrangement won’t be as impactful to the ceremony’s overall look.
Lost Loved Ones
Some elopements include a few close family members or friends, but the guest list still has to stay relatively limited. Even if you have ten of your closest people with you, there will probably be others that you wish were there, too. Also, many couples consider eloping without anyone but an officiary and a required witness. This method, though very private and significant to the participants, is even more likely to result in regret over absent parties. Getting married can be stressful regardless of how it’s done; eloping may not bring as much pressure as a traditional wedding, but you still might want someone other than your spouse there to support you and calm any nerves.
Is Bigger Really Better
For many people, the festivity and socializing that come with a bigger wedding are an important element of their big day. Also, a little vanity can be justified—a lot of couples look forward to all of the attention being focused on them, their love, and their bond for just that one day. With elopement, there won’t be as many people there to give you the gift of their attention, excitement, support, or mere social presence. The lack of attendees and celebration can impact the significance of the ceremony, as well, making it feel like less of a big deal. So, these factors shouldn’t be considered lightly. They can be really important parts of a couple’s wedding day, but they may not be necessary for everyone.
Too Much Drama Mama
If you look up “elopement ideas” online, a lot of the results include tips on how to handle your family’s reaction to the concept. Along with judgement, you should also prepare yourself for drama or resentment from the people who hear about your plan to elope. More conventional people, especially family members, might feel that a wedding is a right extended to the couple’s family and friends rather than a privilege. They may take it personally that you’re not having a ceremony to which they will be invited, and these feelings could create tension between yourselves and your loved ones that you might not consider worth the trouble.
So, those are the ups and downs of eloping. What do you think—is it worth it?