Are you overwhelmed with wedding planning? Wondering how your guest list got so long and why you haven’t seen most of these people in years? Stressed at the thought of being watched all day long? Tired of picking colour schemes and cake flavours and seating arrangements? Or maybe you haven’t started planning your wedding at all because just the thought of it makes you tired.
You aren’t alone – a lot of couples wonder if all the stress is worth it, wonder if a big party is really for them, wonder if they should elope instead. And if you find yourself in that boat at any point – whether you just got engaged or you’re deep into wedding planning, I want you to know that you have options!
You don’t have to do things the way everyone else does. You don’t have to succumb to the wedding industry and the things it tells you about how your wedding “should be.” You don’t have to listen to your Aunt Karen when she insists that you put your third cousin who you’ve never met on the guest list. There’s another way – you can elope!
So if you’re thinking a small ceremony might be more your jam, here are some signs that you’re right, and 10 reasons to elope instead!
1. You Don’t Want the Stress of Wedding Planning
There are a lot of reasons to elope, and one huge one that often gets couples thinking about it is that they just don’t want the stress of planning a big wedding. And I can’t blame you – planning a wedding is hard work! And at the end of it, so many couples say their day went by so fast that they didn’t get to enjoy any of it, because they spent it all worrying about their guests and making everyone happy.
Elopements definitely require some planning, but there’s a lot more flexibility, a lot less stress, and you have a lot more power over what you really want to do on the big day.
2. You Don’t Want Family Drama
Weddings seem to bring out the worst in people, and if you’re worried about family drama on the day, or you feel more comfortable not inviting some people, that might be a reason to elope. The family aspect of weddings can be painful, and it’s totally okay if you want to enjoy the day without being reminded of that.
You can still invite guests to your elopement – but with a smaller ceremony, you have more freedom to choose who you actually want around you on the day you get married, or incorporate those people into it a different way.
3. You Want to Spend Time Together
Sure, you get to see each other during a traditional wedding. But you aren’t together before the ceremony, and after the ceremony you’re so busy making sure you say hello to everyone and making sure that everything runs smoothly, it feels like the only time you see your new spouse is when you accidentally bump into each other.
Spending the day together can be a reason to elope – you get to be truly present in the moment, doing something you love, and making sure this day is about the two of you – because isn’t that what your wedding day is supposed to be about?
4. You Want to Get Married Outdoors
One of my favourite reasons to elope is that you can get married anywhere! Well, almost anywhere, but when you aren’t confined to a wedding venue you get to decide where you want to get married, and you can choose a beautiful landscape as your elopement backdrop. For outdoorsy couples, this can be so much more meaningful than tying the knot at a venue.
And, you get to have an adventure! Whether it’s kayaking, hiking, stargazing, or having a picnic, you can do anything that feels like it reflects the two of you and your relationship.
5. You Want to Save Money
Elopements aren’t about avoiding investing in your wedding day or taking the “cheap” way, but because you get to be more intentional about what you spend money on, they often end up costing less than a big wedding. You can decide what’s important to you on your elopement day, and the money is spent on experiences, rather than on things. Instead of single use decorations and dinner for 100, you can invest in adventures!
6. You Care About the Environment
Big weddings are a huge source of pollution – between the carbon footprint and the items that end up in the trash, a traditional wedding is not very eco friendly. But, a great reason to elope is that you can help offset that impact by getting married outdoors, avoiding decorations and party favours, and preventing a ton of waste! Just make sure you’re familiar with the principles of Leave No Trace, so that you can protect the environment as you explore.
7. You Don’t Like to be the Centre of Attention
A lot of people get really stressed out by the thought of standing in front of everyone they know and reading their vows – and I can’t blame them! If you’re an introvert, have some stage fright, or you just don’t like the idea of being the centre of attention all day long, an elopement might be right for you.
8. You Want it to be About You
At a big wedding, you’re the centre of attention but the day often ends up being about everyone else. But when you elope, you don’t have to be watched all day long, and the day is about you and what you want!
A great reason to elope is that you can celebrate in a way that reflects the two of you and your relationship – the entire day is about you, your marriage, and starting your lives together.
9. You Want Something Unique
You aren’t like any other couple – so why should your wedding day be based on traditions that don’t suit you? If you crave an experience that’s unique, and a wedding day that’s centred around what makes your relationship so amazing, eloping might be right for you.
There are no rules when it comes to eloping – so you can do anything you want. And I mean anything!
10. You Want Incredible Wedding Photos
There’s no denying that photos taken on top of a mountain, or in the forest, or by the ocean, are going to be absolutely epic. But aside from the incredible scenery, elopement photos are a little different from traditional wedding photos. Instead of taking an hour out of your wedding day to pose and take photos, you get to be yourselves – exploring, having fun, and enjoying the day, while the camera captures all the memories. So when you get your photos back, you’ll remember the day as it was.
The Person Behind The Lens
If you like unconventional, honest, friendly and real photos, I’m your person.
Sam Wildridge is a lifestyle photographer / filmmaker based in Wainwright, Alberta. Sam has been capturing wedding, family + corporate photos for 9 years and defines her style as "organic storytelling".