This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime…
There are plenty of articles and posts out there telling you all the “shoulds” and “musts” while planning your wedding: buy this, don’t do this, you have got to do this…! Maybe eloping has come up in conversation, which leads to a whole new bundle of questions. If you’re on the fence about choosing to elope, consider the following positives and negatives. After learning more pros and cons to eloping, you’ll be able to make a confident decision on what type of wedding truly reflects the two of you best.
Pros to Elopements
You’re easily overwhelmed
I hear this all the time from my brides: “I get overwhelmed really easily, and the idea of planning a wedding with a lot of guests stresses me out.” Planning a wedding is no quick & easy feat; even with an amazing wedding planner, you still have tons of decisions to make along the way. Choosing an elopement eliminates a handful of bigger decisions, and is great for low-key, relaxed couples.
You don’t like to be the center of attention
You’re walking down the aisle, all eyes on you, you stand with your best friend in front of everybody you know… wait. That sounds terrible! Everyone will be staring at you the entire time? If that’s not quite your cup of tea, take solace in knowing that you have another option: elope instead, and bring your parents or a few close friends; or better yet, keep it simple with just you two!
You prefer to invest in different priorities
Let’s not forget: weddings can cost a pretty penny when all the expenses are tabulated. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of making that beach house a reality soon. Or maybe it’s that three-bedroom craftsman-style fixer-upper in town. Or perhaps you focus all your extra savings towards a yearly adventure vacation! You have dreams, and spending extra on a lavish wedding just isn’t one of them. Honestly, if you’re married, by the end of the day that’s all that really matters.
Your ceremony is a sacred part of your wedding
Making promises that will last a lifetime to your other half is a big deal. Marriage is a brave and beautiful endeavor, and you want to keep your promises between just the two of you. You may still choose to celebrate with everybody at a reception later, but the ceremony is best kept for you two alone.
You wanted a destination wedding anyway
You’ve envisioned marrying in a faraway land since forever, and it might not be feasible to expect all of your friends and family to make the trip with you. Instead of stressing over who can make it, who can afford it, who will travel, who will feel left out (you get the idea…), nix the guest list and head out on your honeymoon early ;-).
You like to explore and find beautiful places
Exploring is second-nature; if there’s a new trail, you’re on it. If it hasn’t been done before, you’re all over it. Why not incorporate your love for the wilderness with the most beautiful day of all – your wedding? Hike to your favorite spot, or find a new overlook with expansive views and exchange vows together there!
You’ve already had the big wedding
You’ve had a wedding before, and everyone (plus your dad’s boss’s nephew!) was there. This time, you’re focused on each other. Life throws you enough curveballs already and you have so many other things happening, so a quiet ceremony and lovely dinner is all you’re after this time around.
Cons to Elopements
You can’t invite everyone when you elope
Weddings are about bringing two families together, and eloping eliminates this aspect of your day completely. You have such a great support system that has helped you two make it to this point, and you can’t imagine leaving them out of your big moment.
You love to be the center of attention
You’re walking down the aisle, all eyes on you, you stand with your best friend in front of everybody you know… Yes! That sounds amazing! Everyone will be staring at you the entire time? That’s totally your cup of tea!
Wedding planning is fun!
This is arguably the biggest day of your life: there are so many things to think about, so many people to talk to, so many vendors to book, so much cake to try… Turns out, planning a big party is super fun! In fact, maybe you could do this for a living…
You (or your parents?) have been saving since you were a little girl
Your dream wedding: you’ve been planning it since you were five years old. You pretended that your white bath towel was your wedding dress and the hair towel was your veil (or was that just me…?). And you’ve got resources in the form of savings, set aside specifically for this moment of your life. So why keep it small when you can bring your dream to life?
Elopements are hasty
You want to get married to your best, life-long friend, and there’s also no real rush. You don’t want to “run off” and get married without going through a bit of preparation beforehand.
You appreciate traditions
Women in your family have always gotten married in the same church. Or your best family portraits happen at family weddings. Or large group dances are just part of every single party! Whatever traditions run through your families throughout generations, continuing them in your own wedding is not only important, but you’re excited to be a part of something bigger!
You can hardly wait for the big party
The best part of a big wedding? The big party after the ceremony! Here’s your chance to let loose and really celebrate the last few months of planning and preparation and just. have. fun!
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 big decisions – like whether you want to elope or hold a more traditional wedding – find a quiet space to clear your mind. Take some time to dive into your own visions, and build the day around what you two find most important for yourselves.
Follow your heart
You do you, boo! Seriously. Make sure your wedding is created for you, by you. The more you pour your hearts into your day and let your personalities shine through, the more honest and genuine your wedding (or elopement!) will feel. If you’re confident in your decisions from the beginning, your day will feel just right from start to finish.
Here’s your chance to share: what did you decide? Did you elope? Did you have a small wedding? Did you go all out and invite the entire town? Share your story and why you decided to follow your path!
Bio: Emily Schmutz is the owner and main photographer at Summit Mountain Weddings, a Colorado mountain based elopement package company for couples looking for help with the essentials. Emily has been photographing in Summit County, Colorado for eight years, and loves collaborating with couples who are inspired by connection, truth and the simple joys in life