12 Common Reasons Why People Elope (Preferences Explained)

Eloping, traditionally defined as getting married in secret, has evolved over time. Presently, it pertains to a couple choosing to celebrate their union in a manner free from the constraints of traditional ceremony.

Many couples elect to elope as it offers a more intimate, personal experience, absent the stress and hassle of large wedding arrangements. Furthermore, elopement provides financial advantages, allowing couples to allocate resources in a more personalized manner. With the rising popularity of elopements, let’s delve into the twelve reasons why couples are opting for this alternative to traditional weddings.

Why Do People Elope?

1. It’s Hassle-Free and Stress-Free

wedding list

Wedding planning, a notoriously complex process, often requires substantial time, effort, and resources. Traditional weddings typically involve extensive guest lists (averaging around 150 attendees), venue booking, menu planning, seating arrangements, transportation coordination, and more.

An often overlooked stressor in traditional weddings is family politics. If pleasing both sides of the family becomes a challenge, elopement becomes a compelling alternative. Elopements usually only take about three months to plan, as opposed to the 12-18 months for traditional weddings.

2. It’s More Budget-Friendly

illustration elopement wedding

Planning a traditional wedding can feel endless, and the costs can quickly add up. In 2022, the average wedding in the United States cost $35,900. Eloping can significantly reduce this expense, mainly consisting of travel and photography. Some locations even offer all-inclusive elopement packages that can further decrease the overall cost.

3. It’s More Intimate and More Romantic

bride groom intimate

Big and traditional weddings can be overwhelming for some people. Couples choose to elope because celebrating with more than a hundred people can make you lose your attention to what matters most: focusing on the two of you and celebrating your love.

Eloping allows you to cherish every single moment with the love of your life without any distractions. You get to disconnect from the real world and enter a bubble with just the two of you. Every kiss and every hug becomes more meaningful.

The people who will celebrate with you are the people closest to your heart, the people you love and treasure the most. Therefore, it’s much more intimate and more romantic than celebrating with a big crowd.

 4. You Can Travel and Go on an Adventure

seaside couple

Traveling and going on an adventure means exploring new places and experiencing things for the first time. Most couples who elope choose to surround themselves with nature’s beauty, which adds magic to the moment.

When planning to elope, the destination is the primary concern. Many couples choose a location with beautiful panoramic views, like beaches and mountains. Mother nature becomes your wedding decorations, and most people think that there’s nothing more special than that.

Some believe that the harder it is to get to the location, the more valuable and memorable the adventure becomes. Hence, elopement destinations that require hiking are popular.

Elopement is also the best alternative for those who prefer to celebrate in a less fancy but more meaningful location. You don’t need to go to a mountain or a beach. Even a grass field, ruins, or an abandoned dirt road can make the perfect spot for your wedding.

Traveling and going to new places also allows you to experience other cultures. Your novel experiences will make your wedding unique, fun, and unforgettable.

5. You Have More Freedom to Do What You Want

sneakers bride groom

Elopements afford couples the freedom to break from tradition and incorporate personalized elements into their ceremony. The bride can forego the traditional white dress or the couple can create a unique processional order. The entire planning process is open to customization, giving the couple the liberty to make their wedding truly their own.

6. You Can Go Straight to Your Honeymoon  

Some couples opt to elope at a destination they’ve always dreamed of visiting, allowing them to combine their wedding ceremony and honeymoon into one memorable journey. 

This combination leads to a unique and memorable experience for couples. Moreover, this approach streamlines the wedding and honeymoon planning, reducing the mental and financial burden on couples. However, it still allows for an intimate and personalized celebration. 

7. There Are Legal Obstacles in the Way  

gay couple holding hands

Sometimes, couples might encounter legal difficulties in marrying in their native country, such as laws prohibiting same-sex marriages. So far, only more than 30 countries recognize and perform same-sex marriages.  

Lengthy bureaucratic processes and requirements might also deter couples from having a wedding in their locale.  

Elopement can help them overcome these stumbling blocks, allowing them to immediately cement their commitment to each other. 

8. You’re Over the (Family) Drama  

The stress of planning a wedding – mental, physical, and financial – can unfortunately challenge the dynamics and bonds within a family. Conflicts and arguments can even lead to tension.  

Avoiding these issues is a popular reason why couples elope. An elopement will guarantee them that their wedding day is devoid of controversy and criticism. 

9. You Don’t Have a Lot of Time  

soldier and his girlfriend

Sometimes, even if you want a grand and elaborate wedding, you and your partner simply do not have the time to plan one. You might have demanding work, your school responsibilities are piling up, or you have other pressing obligations.  

In the same vein, you or your partner might be anticipating a major change in your life soon, such as military or work deployment. In this scenario, a proxy wedding might not be an option because only a few states recognize it. 

Elopement is a fantastic option in this scenario — you do not have to devote months to planning everything. Once everything eases up in the future, you can start thinking about your dream wedding.  

10. You Have Environmental Concerns  

Traditional weddings, due to their scale, can produce substantial waste. Elopements, by contrast, are typically more eco-friendly due to their simplicity and smaller size.

11. This Is Not Your First Marriage

portrait of couple holding hands

Those who have been married previously or have children from past relationships may prefer the intimacy of an elopement. This allows them to focus on forming their new family without the added stress of a larger event.

12. You Are Not Comfortable With the Attention  

Introverts or those uncomfortable with being the center of attention may find large weddings intimidating. Eloping provides a more subdued alternative, allowing the celebration of love without facing a large crowd.

Final Thoughts

So why are people choosing to elope? Simply put, elopement offers a certain freedom and ease not always present in traditional weddings. However, while it can save time, money, and stress, careful planning is still essential. Elopement, much like a traditional wedding, is a significant adventure in a couple’s life journey.

Before choosing to elope, consider all the pros and cons to make a decision that fits your circumstances and desires. Remember, the ultimate goal is a day you will remember and cherish forever, whether that is achieved through a traditional wedding or an intimate elopement.

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