Wedding ceremonies in today’s materialistic and option-filled world quickly become an overwhelming stress fest for the bride, groom, and potentially everyone close to them. When faced with thousands of dollars in bills, endless decisions from bridesmaids’ dresses to whether servers should wear gloves or not, and the anxiety attacks to go along with all of this… an extravagant wedding day ceremony might not sound worth the effort.
It’s no wonder eloping is sounding like the better to many engaged couples lately. It is easier, cheaper, and faster. Eloping allows the bride and groom to focus on each other and their visions of love, marriage, commitment, and the rest of their lives–rather than arguing about wedding ceremony details or simply having to live with each others’ stressed, grumpy moods for the engagement period. At some point, most engaged couples have the thought that eloping would be the easy way out of their wedding planning mess, but it’s not right for everyone. Should you elope? Here are the pro’s and con’s of eloping versus planning a more traditional wedding ceremony:
Pro: Money! Eloping is cheaper. There’s no doubt about it, it’s easier to elope on a budget than it is to plan a wedding day on a budget. If financial concerns are a big issue, the engaged couple can start their marriage off with less financial stress. Debt is no small issue in today’s world, and avoiding it by eloping is a good option for some new brides and grooms. Also, some of the money saved by not planning a big wedding ceremony can be used in other ways that are more suited to the couple. Because they are eloping, they may be able to plan a destination wedding and run away to Europe to get married when it would otherwise be financially impossible. The honeymoon can be extended or a large reception party can be planned later with the thousands of dollars saved by eloping.
Con: Losing childhood fantasies of a dream wedding. If the bride or groom has been imagining and daydreaming about their wedding day since they were children, doodling themselves in wedding dresses and fantasizing about walking down the aisle in front of everyone they know at age five, eloping is probably not the right decision. It may seem like the simplest option, but if the engaged couple will later regret not having had their dream wedding, it’s probably not worth it. The bride and groom should be filled with joyous memories of their wedding day, not “I wish we hadn’t…” In this case, consider putting the wedding off for a while if it’s causing to much stress or becoming too expensive. Waiting to get married a year later is better than eloping right away with a bad feeling in your gut.
Pro: Eloping can be more exciting and romantic. Depending on individual personalities, the bride and groom may find that eloping is much more romantic in the “running away together,” adventurous sort of way than a big formal ceremony could ever be. Eloping in Las Vegas evokes images of a spontaneous, fun couple; eloping at the courthouse has an old-fashioned romance feel; and a private beach ceremony is exotic and increasing popular. Just because a couple is eloping doesn’t mean they can’t plan details of their wedding to suit their personalities–and eloping will be a great romantic story to tell the grandkids.
Con: Not having your family and friends there. If either bride or groom is close to their family, not having them there to witness the wedding may be sad for the couple and disappointing or hurtful to the families, especially if they aren’t told about the eloping plans ahead of time. If eloping is really what the bride- and groom-to-be want, their families may have to live with the decision, but parents’ feelings should be taken into consideration. Try explaining to loved ones that getting married should be about committing to a life together, not the actual wedding ceremony. Another option is for the engaged couple to invite just a few of their closest relatives or friends to the eloping ceremony so that they will be able to feel their love and support on your special day, and important family and friends won’t feel left out. On the other hand, if either the groom’s or bride’s family is disapproving of the engagement and marriage, or there are divorced parents who can’t stand to be in the same room together, eloping may be a way to avoid extra drama or catastrophe at the wedding. Be careful with this one, though, as being left out of a secret could just make family members angrier.
Pro: Many guests don’t want to sit through the wedding ceremony, anyway. Eloping with a reception or party later is a great way for guests to enjoy the fun part of your wedding without having to endure a long ceremony with their wriggly toddlers. No one beyond your closest friends and family members probably cares whether you’re eloping or planning a wedding ceremony, anyway.