The Pros and Cons of Eloping

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Having a huge wedding ceremony isn’t for everyone, and if you’re considering eloping as an option when you get married, we’ve answered all your questions below and laid out the pros and cons so you can both make the right decision for your wedding day.

What is the difference between eloping and marriage?

Before we dig into the pros and cons of eloping, let’s actually define what eloping even means. Eloping is traditionally defined as a sort of runaway wedding done quickly and in secret with usually only the couple themselves present, but these days eloping really just means an intimate, small scale, more casual wedding with few or no guests in attendance.

Is it OK to have a wedding after eloping?

Yes! First of all, it is OK to do literally whatever you want when it comes to your marriage, wedding, elopement, or anything else for that matter. But particularly as it applies to eloping, having a wedding after eloping can be a great option for a variety of reasons.
Many couples who were scheduled to marry in 2020 during the pandemic opted to do an elopement on their original date and postpone their bigger day for 2021 or 2022. This way, they can keep their first date while still holding onto an opportunity to celebrate later with all their friends, family, and loved ones.
Besides the pandemic, having a bigger wedding after an elopement can still be a great option if you and your spouse-to-be disagree on your preferred wedding size. You can have an intimate elopement with your introverted partner one day and save the larger wedding for your extraverted self (or vice versa) the next! All couples are different, so find what works best for you both.
Splitting up the elopement and a larger wedding is also a great option for couples who simply don’t have the money for their huge dream wedding just yet but are still eager to tie the knot ASAP. Elope on the cheap for now, and then renew your vows with a larger wedding a few years down the line! Whatever the reason some couples may choose to do both, the answer to this question is simply yes.

The Pros and Cons of Eloping

Now that we’ve answered all of your basic queries, let’s dig into the official pros and cons!

Pro: You Can Save a Lot of Money

As we mentioned above, eloping can be a great option if you don’t really have all the dollars to throw down for a full-scale matrimonial extravaganza. This is probably one of the biggest pros of eloping.
We love a traditional wedding as much as the next folks, but that option may just not be for you. Sure, eloping isn’t free but between your wedding attire, officiant costs, and a few other little details your sure to be saving yourself a good chunk of change if you get married this way.

Con: You May Miss Out on Some Traditions

Have you ever tried to do the Hora with only three guests at a wedding? Well, it’s not fun (or possible, really). There are just some limitations that eloping can’t compete with and certain traditions that require a lot of attendees are definitely not elopement friendly. So that means no throwing the bouquet, no parent/child dance, etc. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, you may need to reconsider eloping.

Pro: Way Less Planning

Wedding planning is hard work! Elopement planning on the other hand? Not so much. Whether you’re in a time crunch or just don’t want to go through the effort of traditional wedding planning, eloping is a great way to cut out like 98% of the work it takes to get hitched.

Con: Some People Might Judge You

“Look, Aunt Karen, no one asked you for your opinion.” You may find yourself saying something like this once you start telling friends and family that you and your spouse-to-be decided to elope. When it comes to both family and friends, those with more traditional values may find the idea of elopement anything from frivolous to straight up disrespectful. You may get your share of side-eye, but we say screw the haters. Your elopement, your choice.

Pro: You Can Have Your Ceremony Anywhere

Instead of spending all your money on a buffet for your friends and family, you can put all that towards an incredible getaway to Greece (or literally anywhere) to say your “I do”s. Unlike with a destination wedding where you’d be concerned with whether or not certain loved ones can attend, travel, or afford it, with a destination elopement the adventure is all up to you and your partner!

Con: It Can Cause Drama

Weddings are pretty important in terms of important family milestones for a lot of couples. Though you and your partner may prefer to keep your exchanging of vows more intimate your parents and extended family may not agree. Even though we’re all about doing exactly what’s right for you, we’d be remiss not to mention one of the biggest cons of eloping is potentially pissing off a lot of people.
You’d be surprised at home territorial family members can get over other people’s weddings, so expect a few calls of complaint. If or when you decide to elope, we encourage you to make that decision just for you and your partner and be sure it’s something you really want because you may need to deal with a bit of backlash.

Pro: You Get to Define What Eloping Means for You

As we said before, the definition of elopement traditionally is quite different than how it’s usually used today, so with that in mind, you can basically make eloping mean whatever you want it to! Sure, in ye olden times an elopement was literally just a runaway pair of lovers stealing away into the night, but today it can mean a small getaway with your closest loved ones and the wedding party or a simple family-only ceremony.
You don’t need to run off to Vegas just to consider yourself “eloped.” Like all weddings, you can make your elopement into whatever you want it to be.

Con: You Will Wish Some People Were There

Sometimes a family bash can be fun: catching up with the cousins, meeting the new baby of the family, or finally seeing all of your old college roommates back together! These are moments that might make you feel a tinge of regret when you decide to elope—even if that is the right decision for you and you know it. Just keep in mind that you’ll still be able to celebrate with your family and friends later on!
If this is a concern for you, you might consider planning a larger follow-up for afterward or a large engagement party beforehand so you’ll still have something in place for a larger guest list.

Pro: You Get to Really Be Together on Your Wedding Day

However many people you choose to involve in your elopement, one thing is for sure. If you elope, it’s bound to be a little more lowkey than the traditional wedding. This means that you’ll have more stress-free time to actually spend with the person you’re supposed to be celebrating!
How many weddings have you gone to where the couple was so busy saying all their hellos and coordinating with the caterer that they never had a quiet moment to themselves outside of the first dance? Too many, we’d guess.

Con: You’ll Get Fewer Gifts

Look, there are more important things about a wedding than getting a bunch of gifts from all your guests, but (we’re not going to lie) not getting a bunch of gifts from all those guests may be a bit of a bummer. It may help if you already live with your fiance and don’t need all the typical registry must-haves, so you can probably live without that new toaster from your Great Uncle Mike. However, in terms of the pros and cons of eloping going without gifts is worth mentioning.
What bride (or literally anyone for that matter) doesn’t want to tear through a bunch of wedding gifts after a long night on the dance floor?

Pro: It Makes it less of a big deal

Hear us out here—this may be the biggest of all the pros of eloping! The stress of wedding planning can sometimes put a pretty significant damper on getting married. There’s a lot of pressure on the bride and groom to be picture perfect and have the wedding be the perfect experience for all of their guests. It’s the biggest party of your life, of course, you’re feeling pressured!
It’s normal to be stressed out (try to plan ways of coping though), but if coping isn’t in your plan then you could just skip it all to elope. This way you know there will be a lot less to deal with on the day.

Con: It Makes it Less of a Big Deal

For a couple that’s always known (before their engagement) that having a huge wedding is just not the right experience for them, there can still be some pangs of regret that crop up from time to time. We live in a society where weddings are a huge part of life and culture, so you might feel a bit of FOMO when you decide to forgo all of that for a more intimate wedding.
Whatever decision you end up making, it is totally normal to feel like this even if eloping is the option you know you’d like best. Remember this whenever you want some help setting your mind straight: traditional weddings don’t work for all couples and that’s okay. Your wedding is about spending a day celebrating the love and commitment between you and your best friend in the world. That’s the only experience that matters.

Is it a good idea to elope?

So what’s the final verdict on eloping? Well, (as always) it depends! After digging through all the pros and cons of eloping there are, the final verdict is that no two couples will have the same type of wedding and that’s one thing that will never change. Some might love a tiny little elopement, and some won’t! 
At the end of the day, all we care about is to encourage you to figure out what the wedding day of your dreams looks like and then help you make that dream a reality. Whether that’s an elopement or not is up to you.
Emrys J Hutton
About The Author
Queer, nonbinary writer.
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