Getting married is so exciting. You have found the one you want to spend your life loving, learning with, and growing old next to. If you follow tradition, you will commit that lifelong desire to one another in front of family and friends in a rather large celebration, anticipating and planning for months or even years. Planning a traditional wedding can make people makes people giddy, crazy and irrational.
But what if the thought of a traditional wedding makes you stressed. Many couples may find the stress of coordinating a large wedding more than they can afford, want to take on, or it may just not be their idea of a dream wedding. What if saying “I do” to one another, surrounded by only the beauty of a secluded beach or mountain top, in an intimate ceremony is more your style? The beautiful thing about getting married is it is up to you and an elopement may be just the thing you need. For the adventurous, wayfaring, think outside of the box kind of couple, there are many reasons why an elopement may be your ideal wedding.
1. Costs Less
According to Cost of Wedding, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $25,576 and that doesn’t include the honeymoon. Yep, weddings are expensive. The venue alone can costs tens of thousands of dollars. Then comes the dress, the cake, the flowers, the limo...the list could go on forever. Hard earned money is handed over for an event that will really only last half a day. The venue will be scrubbed clean of your memories and prepped for the next wedding, those flowers will wilt, so much of the food will be thrown out, that cake will sit in your freezer for a year before you throw it out on your first anniversary. And the dress...that beautiful, perfect, fairytale dress will sit in the back of your closet slowly aging as the years go by never to be worn again. Do you really want a traditional wedding enough to spend all that money and potentially go into debt? If you have the means and ability to have a large wedding, and it is what you both have dreamed of, then go for it! But maybe you’re looking for something a little out of the box, a little different, or something more adventurous? Eloping might be the answer for you!
2. Less Stress
Planning any wedding can be a stressful time. With so many vendors to coordinate, family members and friends to please, and decisions to make the excitement and anticipation of your wedding can be easily overshadowed. An elopement, being much smaller (sometimes just you and your fiancé!), requires much less time and decision making while still allowing you the ability to enjoy the process and focus on what you really want.
3. Avoid Drama
Sometimes big weddings bring out the worst in our family and friends. With weddings comes a flurry of opinions, and you will be surprised by just how many people think they can offer their unsolicited advice. From your dress to the table linens, family and friends are all too happy to nit pick every last detail. If they aren’t tearing apart your decisions, then someone will be complaining about being left out or why they don’t like the dinner options you and your fiancé fought over for 2 weeks. Let’s not forget the fight that breaks out in the parking lot after people have a had a few too With big weddings, we tend to take a special day that is supposed to be all about the two of you, and it becomes about other people instead.
4. Place the Focus on You
Unfortunately, some couples feel the pressure to put on an elaborate celebration for their guests that includes not only a meal, but favors, extravagant décor, entertainment and more. They end up spending more money and time on pleasing their guests that they miss the opportunity to even write their own vows. Some even end up with leftover favors, food, and more. What if you were able to focus on those details that mean the most to you rather than party favors for the sake of party favors?
5. Epic Location Options
Instead of using all that money on a traditional wedding, why not go crazy with it? Skip stuffy, overpriced venues and get married on a beach in Hawaii, cliffside in Ireland or in a hot air balloon. So often people get caught up in the wedding process that they lose sight of themselves. They are talked into things they don’t really want and pushed to spend money on things they don’t need. This can lead to a circus of a wedding that doesn’t reflect who you are together. Get back to who you are as a couple, and pick a location that is all about your relationship. Whether it is totally out there or a simple ceremony at your favorite park, make it count. Create a wedding that showcases you and forget about who doesn’t agree, who can’t make it, or what people might say. It is your day. Do something authentic and new, something that makes you happy, not anyone else.
6. Romance & Adventure
One of the greatest things about eloping is the ability to have a destination wedding without the guilt of burdening family and friends with the costs of travel. Want to get married in a vineyard in Italy or a beach in Hawaii? You can still have that dream wedding without worrying about who can’t make it. And for the really adventurous couple who wants to hike a mountaintop for their vows there is no pressure to coordinate a whole ceremony full of guests up top with you. The intimate environment of an elopement allows you to focus on one another. It is all about you and your love.
7. Happier Memories
A traditional wedding day goes by in a blur. Most of your time will be spent being ushered from one thing to the next. Your morning will be spent fussing about your hair, makeup, nails, and dress. If you are lucky there won’t be any tears or catastrophes. The big moment you walk down the aisle will be over before you know it and suddenly you are married! Then it is time for photos. From there you’ll hit the reception where you’ll try your very best to talk to everyone and hustle around the room making sure your guests are having fun. You’ll get a couple dances in and maybe a little of that food you spent so much money on and of course a great shot of the cake cutting. However, that doesn’t mean you got to eat a piece. Somehow, it is the end of the night, and it is all gone. Over. Skip the obligatory traditions and elope. Make memories together. Memories that will last forever. Memories that center around you, your partner in life and the commitment you have made to one another.
8. The Experience
Without the pressure of planning an elaborate wedding, an elopement allows you to put your mind, heart, and soul into creating truly memorable experience for the ones who matter most. Eloping provides you with a world of opportunities you may not otherwise have with a large wedding: traveling to an exotic location, personalizing your vows, more time with your photographer/videographer, or actually enjoying your cake? Your marriage begins on your wedding day so what better way to remember it than to make the experience truly yours.
9. Fantastic Honeymoon
Instead of throwing a lot of money at a traditional wedding, you could turn your wedding into an epic vacation. Think about what kind of trip you could take with thousands of dollars. You could plan a romantic getaway to a tropical island and stay holed up in a water bungalow away from the craziness of the world and your families, you could say “I do,” drenched in sunlight. Then, spend some time exploring, skinny dipping, lounging, eating, and enjoying each other. So much money goes into the event of a wedding when the honeymoon could be the main event. Getting married should be about enjoying each other but so often the actual wedding trumps everything, overtaking your relationship. This is a happy time in your life and your relationship. Live it up. Do what you both love to do and enjoy it before obligations tie you down.
10. Have a Party
Instead of holding a ceremony and reception, plan your ceremony wherever and however then throw a big bash after the fact. A year from now no one will remember the food or the flowers, and all that painstaking planning will fade away into countless other weddings. Instead have a true celebration. No jacket required, no costly bridesmaid dresses that will be worn once, let everyone comes as they are and really enjoy this milestone in your life. Don’t worry about centerpieces and linens. Focus on truly celebrating the beginning of your life together. Hold a beach bonfire or a backyard BBQ. Rent a house for the weekend and spend quality time with friends and family. It will be easier for everyone to enjoy themselves. Don’t get sucked into the wedding magazines and the mountain of suggestions. Think outside the box. Traditional doesn’t always mean fun.
Even after reading all these reasons, you may still think, “I want my big wedding. I’ve been planning this since I was 5.” Then go for it! Every couple is unique and only you know what your dream wedding looks like. But I encourage you to consider what is most important to you and your fiancé on your wedding day and to not let the pressure of what is “traditional” guide your decisions. You have a lifetime to learn and love one another and your wedding day is only the beginning. Let’s make it something beautiful together!