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Is Eloping Right for You? Here are the Top 10 Things to Consider

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Considering an elopement? Should you elope? Check out these questions that will help you decide if eloping is right for you and your partner.

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Whether you have dreamed about your wedding day for years (and years) or you’re just now letting thoughts enter your mind now that you’re engaged, at some point, you will envision how you would like your celebration to look and feel. While some people cannot imagine a wedding day that’s not a big party with all of their closest friends and family members, others would love to experience something that’s decidedly more intimate. If a smaller fete sounds like an ideal event to you, you might want to place eloping on your radar. Below, we’re dishing about the questions to ask and the things to consider while you’re deciding if an elopement is your ideal way to say, “We do.”

What is an elopement?

There was once a time when eloping meant you and your partner would sneak away, get married, and return to your home city with very exciting news. Eloping felt secretive and exciting because it was! But now eloping is simply a way to ease your stress levels (in theory) and only celebrate with your partner, your immediate families, and maybe a few close friends. Eloping is simply a way to have a small, intimate wedding that’s meaningful without quite as many eyes on you.

Why would we want to elope?

Couples choose to elope for a variety of reasons! Some people want to avoid the traditional stressors associated with planning a big wedding (venues, vendors, large guest lists), while other people don’t love lots of attention at their cores and would prefer to experience such a huge, life-altering event with fewer eyes on them. There are also plenty of scenarios where couples want to visit a more far-flung locale, and they feel it’s much easier to go with those closest to them rather than a complete entourage. In short, people elope because it feels like the right decision for them.

Is eloping less expensive?

It can be! Venues, catering, and guest lists are the top three things that can drive up the price of a wedding. While you will likely still have some type of venue and catering fees, your guest list will be much smaller—which is a savings. However, the cost to elope can rise if/when you choose to get married at a destination. Travel fees, accommodations, food, and excursions will likely be involved in this case, which can make eloping a little pricey. But the great thing is you’re experiencing an adventure over the course of multiple days rather than a party on a single night.

Should we tell vendors we’re eloping when we contact them?

Yes! Eloping is a little rarer, so most vendors will assume you’re contacting them to hire them for a traditional large wedding. The needs for an elopement are typically much less than a traditional wedding, so most of your vendors will need to allocate much less time for your event. That fact alone will impact your costs in a positive way, so definitely fill your photographer, videographer, venue, caterer, baker, and florist in on your plans.

Can we still invite friends and family members?

Absolutely! There are plenty of people who will invite their immediate families and closest friends to witness their elopement. The key thing, however, is to keep the group intimate and small. Groups of 15+ tend to get into microwedding territory, which will be a bit more expensive.

Can we elope and have a celebration?

Yes! If the idea of walking down an aisle in front of tons of people makes your skin crawl but you still want to share your new union with your friends and family, consider eloping during an intimate wedding ceremony with a small guest list. Then open things up to your extended family and friends for a larger celebration. You can host it at a venue or in a backyard, and it can happen on the same day as your ceremony or even a few days, weeks, or months down the line.

Where should we elope?

That’s the fun thing about eloping — you can truly go just about anywhere. Travel to a destination, get married in your backyard, return to the site of your first date…cycle through your options, and see which ones excite you. Then research marriage licenses, permits, venues, and vendors.

Is there anything we need to do before we elope?

A little bit of research goes a long way! It’s definitely important to look into whether or not the location where you will elope requires a permit of any kind (parks can require one). You will also want to fully understand and follow the marriage license requirements for the city where you plan to elope. If you don’t have a marriage license, there’s a high probability your union won’t be legal — and that’s not something you want to face during or after the fact.

Does anyone ever regret eloping instead of having a traditional wedding?

There are definitely people who can regret their decision to elope rather than celebrate at a traditional wedding. But those who regret their decision might not have truly considered all of the options and feelings they might experience.

If you’re considering eloping because you’re too stressed out with wedding planning, take a step back first. Look into why you’re feeling stressed. Is it because you’re over budget? Are there too many people involved? Has your guest list grown too large? All of these problems are fixable and worth figuring out rather than throwing in the towel too soon.

The other thing to consider is whether you and your partner both want to elope or if it’s a feeling that’s a bit more one-sided. The people who may regret eloping are typically those who actually wanted a larger celebration. If they elope, they might feel as though they’re missing out on something they hoped to experience, like wearing the wedding dress of their dreams. To avoid this, see if there are ways in which you can compromise (a smaller guest list; a private ceremony with a more public reception, perhaps) to ensure everyone’s thoughts and feelings are honored.

How should we share our news with friends and family?

Proudly! Eloping is fun and exciting, and you definitely should feel thrilled to share your news with friends and family. But the key thing to keep in mind is social media. If your loved ones are likely to feel shocked or left out when you share your news, think about calling or video chatting those closest to you. It’s also a great idea to send a marriage announcement in the mail. In all cases, make sure your friends and family have received your news before you take things to social media. Learning about a wedding on Facebook or Instagram can be a recipe for hurt feelings, and it’s easily avoidable.

The elopements of today as compared to the elopements of years gone by are decidedly different in the very best ways. While some couples do still sneak away to recite their vows, many couples invite their family members and friends to share in their moment. And the bonus is it’s typically in a fun place with plenty of opportunities to make memories together! Before you set your elopement date, consider why you would like to wed, where you would like the moment to occur, and loop in any vendors who can enhance it all (a photographer is key). Then prepare to celebrate!

Are you thinking about eloping? Why does it excite you? What are your concerns? Share with us and our community right here!

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