You’re engaged, how exciting! But hold up, before you jump in and start planning that grand wedding (because you know, that’s what you have been trained to want), you should work out if you actually want that. I mean, what is an elopement? What makes an elopement different to a wedding? How do I involve family in my elopement, and shit, how do I even legally elope? Eloping vs wedding…how does it all work?
Don’t worry, I got you covered. In this article I am going to run through the 11 major reasons why to elope, as well as a heap of other information you will need to know if you decide you want to elope.
This is probably the first thing people think about when they get engaged, and start planning their wedding. How expensive they actually are! In the United States, in the year 2020, the average wedding will cost you approximately $33,900, that’s a lot of thousands of dollars right there. To put that in perspective, the average elopement costs approximately $5,000-$7,000. Take a second and work that out, that is a big saving. That is your honeymoon right there. Given the average couple spends around $7,000-$8,000 on their honeymoon, that gives you one pretty epic honeymoon right there!
So with all that in mind, eloping obviously costs you a lot less money than having a traditional wedding. It really comes down to working out what you prioritize when it comes to the wedding. Elopements can be absolutely epic, and don’t need to force you into another mortgage, but that is not where the benefits of eloping vs weddings stop.
Another one that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Elopements are significantly more intimate. One of the biggest concerns I get from my brides and grooms is that they get anxious about being the center of attention, or, that they don’t want to feel like they are ‘putting on a show’ for everyone, when all they really care about is their partner.
You don’t need to explain yourself to me, I get you! So typically with a wedding, you will be the center of attention all day. You will typically be in front of 130 or so people, which if that’s not your cup of tea, is going to really suck. With an elopement, on average you will have you, your partner, a celebrant and photographer. You will need one additional witness (the photographer can serve as one witness) if you want to legally be married during the elopement, otherwise, you can do the legalities before or afterwards anyways.
The long and short is that elopements are far more intimate, they are more about just you and your partner sharing your love without any bells and whistles, which leads me perfectly into the next benefit of eloping vs wedding.
Effectively, almost 100% of my brides and grooms said they stressed over their traditional weddings, they believed it was pointless to do so, and they regret it. But eloping is a totally different ball game, and people are turning to elopements in order to avoid stress. In a society where approximately 17% of people at any given time are suffering from a stress related mental health disorder, avoiding stress sounds like a good idea.
So without going into too much detail, I think we can work out why eloping vs wedding seriously reduces stress. It costs less, and as such creates less financial stress, which was the most common thing people stressed about. It comes with less drama, less worrying about family and friends, and less worrying about their opinions. You are doing what you want, how you want it, with only the person (or extremely few people) you want. It’s a recipe for lowering, or removing stress.
So many couples say (and you’ve probably heard it before), that they can’t wait for the wedding to be over…don’t be that couple.
Eloping almost always come with less planning, and less organizing than a traditional wedding would. Given the fact that instead of having to organize around 15-20 vendors for a wedding, an elopement usually has only a small handful (photographer, celebrant, florals, hair and makeup). This means, less planning, less organizing, less coordinating between vendors, and of course, less financial planning in order to make the payments.
This is a huge load off. But there’s more…because most couples who elope tend to elope midweek (why stick to the traditional Saturday weddings when you don’t have to worry about guests), they don’t need to organize their wedding 12-18 months in advance like we recommend most wedding guests. More often, elopements can be planned on as little as 90 days, but usually it’s 3-6 months. This, in itself comes as a huge relief to so many people. Planning 18 months ahead is crazy.
My couples tend to get married at some pretty insane places when they elope. Now, let me caveat this by saying, elopements don’t always have to be epic, adventurous, 3 day treks to the location styled shoots. Some people elope by going to the courthouse and signing the paperwork. This is the old-school, traditional way of eloping. So don’t get hung up by all the stuff you see online, your elopement doesn’t have to be a trek through the Himalayan Alps, it can be whatever you want it to be.
In saying that, the locations are endless. It could be the top of Mount Everest, or it could be in your backyard. So take your pick! You could have a mountain elopement, lakeside elopement, beach elopement, clifftop elopement, urban elopement…I could keep going, but I wont’. So sit down with your partner, talk about it, work out what your vibe is, what kind of location is ‘you guys’ and where you want to have your memories captured. Eloping vs weddings…the options are limitless.
Yes, I do get to travel to other countries, to really remote and cool locations that make most people jealous, and you get to come with me. Now this automatically is going to make the photography easier. But let me touch on 2 additional things.
First of all, most people who elope tend to be a lot more laid back and less intense. That suits me personally really well, and means we should get along perfectly (which is really important, check this out). Because of this, there tends to be less anxiety and nerves on your behalf, which means the photos are far more natural and the couple have more fun with it. This makes the entire experience so much easier, and always leads to better photos (regardless of the location).
Secondly, we have more time. Because you aren’t being pressed by a strict wedding day timeline (which is the second highest cause of wedding stress), we can take our time. We can explore a bit, find the perfect spot, and really not rush it. I’ve taken hours on an elopement portrait session before. Cracked a few beers, took our time, and really had fun with it. We only stopped when we lost all of our light (and had to trek back in the dark).
Eloping can be an easy way to push the fun aspect of marriage. Don’t get me wrong, weddings can be loads of fun (mine was), but if we look at what we discussed above, it is easy to see that weddings can often be more stressful than fun, and too strict to facilitate fun. Elopements on the other hand are just fun. Fun, fun fun! If you’re still not sure why, please, go back to the top of this page and read again, you should get it.
So get out, pick a cool location on a mountain somewhere, and trek there with your partner and do it! Make a weekend of it, get in the 4WD, travel to a remote area, camp the weekend away and elope while you do it. How amazing would that be, particularly if that is the kind of thing that sums up your relationship. Elopements should be fun, so enjoy them!
This one kind of goes along with the above point. The reason a lot of people choose to do engagement shoots, or elopements, is because they value experiences.
In the past, it used to be about the venue you booked, how many guests you had, and how expensive your dress was. Some people still really get down with this belief, and that is fine for them. However, most people (most likely you if you are still reading this) couldn’t give a shit about that stuff. You would rather have an epic story to tell people about your elopement than a huge traditional wedding.
Deciding whether an elopement is best for you if ultimately up to you and your partner. But, the good new is, there are no rules! So if you want a few people there, invite those people! If you want to still have a picnic with a unique centerpiece, have one! If you want to go all out, or be conservative, you do you! Make your elopement day a complete reflection of you, fill it with the things that make you happiest, and the things that will allow you to have the best day of your life! Thinking you want to elope? Have questions about eloping? Not sure where to start? Get in touch below and let’s chat!