Should I Elope?

January 9, 2023

An intimate elopement captured on top of a mountain with a breathtaking ocean view. The couple stands hand in hand during their ceremony, radiating love and joy. The partner on the left wears a simple white dress, while the one on the right is adorned in a navy suit. Both wear delicate flower crowns, adding a touch of natural beauty to their special moment.

“do i even want a big wedding?”

If you’re here, you’ve probably asked yourself this question before. Maybe this sounds familiar: you love the idea of having a big wedding, but when you really start to think of what’s actually involved when it comes planning and executing a big wedding, you’re not as much in love with the idea and would rather ditch it all to elope.

I get it.

Big weddings sound a whole lot like spending a sh*t ton of money on just one day that’s going to fly by in a blur, for a whole bunch of a guests that you may only be inviting out of obligation and won’t even get the chance to say hi to on the big day. And in the aftermath of the pandemic, I think something that a lot of have realized is that things don’t to be extravagant to be meaningful and special. In fact, i’m a believe that the opposite is true – the smaller and more intentional something is, the more meaningful it becomes.

So here’s the good news: you don’t have to have a big wedding!!!

I’m here to tell you that it’s OKAY to not want to have a big wedding, and you can absolutely elope if that feels right to you. Even if you feel pressure from parents, grandparents, or maybe even your friends – it’s your day, not theirs.

So should I elope or have a big wedding?

Ultimately, i can’t tell you what you should do – but I can help you get closer to your decision. I have a list of questions you can ask yourself that will help make your decision clearer, as well as the pros and cons of a big wedding vs eloping.

questions to ask yourself to determine if you want to elope

do you want to be, or even like being, the centre of attention?

  • At a big wedding, ALL the attention is going to be on you. While this sounds good to some people, this is the absolute nightmare for others. Do you want to have 200 eyes on you while you walk down the aisle and proclaim your love to your partner? Do you want everyone to be gawking over you in your dress?

how do you feel about all those traditional things you see on at big weddings, like the cake cutting and bouquet toss?

  • While there is room for uniqueness at a big wedding, there isn’t that much room – which is why most couples opt to do those traditional activities you see at big weddings. Do you care about those traditions, or even know what they mean?

are you comfortable saying your vows in front of a large crowd?

  • At a big wedding, you might have to say your vows in front of anywhere from 50-150 guests. At an elopement, it’s more like 2 to 20. Do you want to state those (maybe very personal) things in front of everyone you know?

do you want to have the time and space to freely and openly express your love to your partner?

  • Big weddings often feel rushed, and many couples say that the day flies by. During an elopement, you have all the time in the world as you don’t typically have to follow a strict timeline.

do you not want to spend thousands of dollars on guests you might not even have the chance to say hi to at a big wedding?

  • While elopements are not necessarily cheaper than big weddings, the money you are spending is much more intentional. You’ll be spending money on things you actually want rather than things you have to spend money on.

do you want to travel somewhere to get married, or would you rather stay local?

  • elopements are great opportunities to travel somewhere, and you aren’t stuck staying local because of all the guests.

do you want to do something fun that feels aligned to you on your wedding day, or do you want to just do what everyone else usually does?

  • The thing that makes elopements unique is that you’re able to do activities on this day. Many couples choose to do things like hiking, canoeing, hot air balloons, and the list goes on!

what are the pros and cons of eloping?

Of course, nothing is without flaws, and that goes for eloping. Here are some of the pros and cons of choosing an elopement over a big wedding.

PRO:

You can elope whenever and wherever you want. It can be in the middle of the week in Italy, or you can spend a weekend up at your family cabin. You aren’t confined by the work week, or having a huge amount of guests to account for.

CON:

You do have to narrow down the guest list, and take into account your friends and families budgets. While you are able to travel wherever you want to elope, your closest friends and family may not be able to.

PRO:

you can do whatever you want on your elopement day. you want to go bungee jumping? sure. you want to go for a 3 hour hike and having a romantic picnic setup at the top? let’s do it. let your imagination run wild! what does your dream day look like?

CON:

you have to miss out on the big party at the end of the night. need i elaborate?

PRO:

There is so much less pressure (about everything). If something goes wrong, it’s easy enough to make adjustments. You get to the wedding day and there’s something you don’t feel like doing? Literally no worries. And there’s no reason to feel like you have to put on a “performance” for your guests – it will only be your closest family and friends there!

CON:

You have to put in the work of researching your vendors. When you elope, the vendors you choose become that much more important. You want to ensure your choosing the right people who truly do care about making your day perfect.

What are the next steps?

If you’ve come to the end of this post and you’re starting to think that eloping may be for you but you have no idea how to go about planning one, I’ve got you.

Check out my blog post on planning your elopement in 5 simple steps!

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amanda reed is an elopement photographer based in vancouver, british  columbia capturing authentic love stories for the couples who don't take themselves too seriously.