You’re engaged! Congratulations! How exciting, yet some challenging decisions lay ahead of you. Right after one of the biggest decisions in life, to marry the one your heart loves, comes another big question: how (and when) to get married? Are you considering eloping? What are the pros and cons of this decision to run away and down the aisle, just the two of you and no one else?
First let’s cut to the chase about cost. Undoubtedly, the cost of a wedding includes the rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony, the reception and all the parties & “stuff” that comes with them. The more budget friendly alternative is of course to elope.
There are definitely some good reasons that a couple may decide to skip the big wedding and to elope instead.
Most weddings have a lot of decisions to make as well as many unwanted (and usually unsolicited) opinions on which venues to choose, the food, flowers, which colors, themes and on and on. The more people involved, of course the more opinions. With an elopement those opinions are far more scarce leaving you to make your own decisions, and more often to make them together as a couple. In short, FAR LESS stress and headaches along with less out of pocket costs. Big pros for sure for newlyweds!
Now let’s think for a moment about who will be there on your big day. For an elopement you typically just invite your closest friends and family or a couple extra people, if you choose to invite any quests at all. The downside is that this could cause hurt feelings and disappointment to those guests that can’t make that trip or perhaps don’t get invited to your more intimate affair. The pro side of this is that it can be easier on you to tell family and friends that you kept it very intimate and it fit your budget. You could also decide to hold a small party when you return & share your pictures with them, giving them the opportunity to feel included.
Deciding on who you want there might be a difficult decision, but then it might be an easy one depending on you. One thought perhaps is that if it’s an easy decision, elopement is likely right you after all! Most couples I’ve worked with agree they would have had far more people at their big weddings they don’t know well. Surrounding yourself with those who matter most means they will likely be the same people who matter most at your 25th anniversary!
Now let’s explore what you envisioned for your wedding day. Do you envision a gorgeous church wedding and that’s all that you can think of? Or do you imagine a picturesque landscape with a lake or mountains or miles of green space? Or perhaps a courthouse elopement? The choices really can be endless and unique to you. There really isn’t a con for the location for your elopement as the choice you make will fit your budget and your vision.
The Pros and Cons
✓ Pro: It’s Far Less Expensive
Avoid the costs of having a massive reception with a ton of guests, large venue, decorations for a large space, and other related costs.
✘ Con: Potential Hurt Feelings
In an ideal world, people will be happy to let you do your own thing; but unfortunately, the real world isn’t that easy. You may have to deal with some hurt friends and family.
✓ Pro: You Call the Shots
An elopement puts you and your partner back in control. You can make your own decisions without family and friends getting involved.
✘ Con: Fewer Gifts
If you want to receive amazing and touching gifts from family; it’s likely it won’t be as plentiful if you choose to elope.
✓ Pro: The World is Yours
Say your vows by a gorgeous lake or exchange vows on a cliff; the possibilities are endless.
✘ Con: Less Extravagance
Smaller weddings are often less glamorous affairs due to the intimate locations and fewer guests. If fancy soirees are a passion of yours, an elopement might not be the best option for you.
✓ Pro: Only VIPs are Present
If you do decide to bring a few friends and family, they are going to be the ones who matter most to you and your spouse.
✘ Con: You’re Dependent on the Photographer
With the advent of high-quality cameras on smartphones, you can build a great photo album just from photos that friends and family take.
✓ Pro: Privacy
It can be hard to truly share your special moment with 200 people watching you. With an elopement, you can focus more on your special moment.
✘ Con: Fewer Witnesses to Share the Memories
With fewer people, there will be less people to reminisce with about your amazing day. Everyone can see the video but they will never truly know how amazing your day was.
How to Decide
Ignore all the noise
Everyone you talk to about planning a wedding has an opinion, whether it’s what they wish they would’ve done, what they’re happy they did or what they think is best for you. Listen to those who offer their advice, and take it all with a grain of salt. When it comes to making the big decision, take some time to dive into your own visions, and build the day around what you as a couple find most important for yourselves.
Follow your heart
You do YOU! Make sure your wedding day is created just for you, by you. The more you pour your hearts into your day and let your personalities shine through, the more honest and authentic your wedding (or elopement!) will feel. If you’re confident in your decisions from the very beginning, your day will feel just right for you.
Remember, memories are truly what you’re after. The day should be filled with memories of your joy, laughter & you as a couple making the decision to start a life together. Your wedding day should and will be extraordinary. Making your day truly memorable and uniquely special is the primary goal. How you achieve this goal is up to YOU!
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