why do couples choose to elope? stories from real couples

Why Do Couples Choose To Elope?

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Think elopement and you might think of a young couple in an old-fashioned novel, running away from their parents to elope. But (thankfully!) modern elopements are very different. You don’t have to be young, and you certainly don’t have to be running away. You just have to want a wedding day that truly reflects who you are as a couple. 

As an elopement photographer, I often ask my couples why they chose an elopement over a big traditional wedding. All of my couples have their own personal reasons for eloping, and some have agreed to share their stories for this post. So if you are currently thinking about an elopement, here are some reasons to do it from the people who already have.

“We’re just not traditional people.”

Some people grow up dreaming of having a big white wedding. They run around with pillowcases on their head and can’t wait for the right girl or boy to come along and whisk them off in a horse-drawn carriage. 

And if you want that, that’s great, go for it! But not everyone does. Some people just don’t feel that a traditional wedding is right for them. And an elopement is the ideal way to create a unique kind of wedding, without feeling forced to include traditions you don’t really believe in.

“I grew up never really dreaming of being a bride or of a dream wedding. As our relationship got more serious and we started to think of how we would want to get married, the idea of a wedding was extremely unappealing for us both. It didn’t make sense to force ourselves to do something that didn’t sound romantic or fun.”

“We have been together for nearly 13 years and the thought of marrying just for the sake of it didn’t do it for us.  However, the idea of affirming our love for each other in front of close family, in a location which sums us up, seemed like the ideal thing to do.”

“A big wedding felt like too much.”

No one’s pretending that planning a big wedding is easy. There are all the logistical things to think about, like the venue and the menu and the flowers. Then there are the trickier tasks like who to invite, who should sit next to who, and how you can politely tell your mother/uncle/sister-in-law’s neighbour’s godmother that you know they really like purple but unfortunately that isn’t the colour scheme you’ve already chosen.

For lots of my couples, the thought of organizing a big wedding felt like more pressure than it needed to be. They didn’t want to spend their wedding day with relatives they hadn’t seen in years, or try to “work the room” and talk to everyone before midnight. That’s why they chose to elope, and get married without the pressure.

“Within days of being engaged, we were both overwhelmed with questions such as “Have you set a date?” “Have you thought about what dress you want?” etc and we hadn’t even finished celebrating being engaged. It was just a bit much.”

“We just don’t like big crowds of people who want to talk to us, so this was an easy way to avoid having to invite hundreds of people.”

“We wanted to get married in a beautiful and serene location, rather than feel pressured to put on a show for wedding guests.”

“We are fairly private people and the stress and pressure of finding a suitable venue, deciding who to invite, catering, decor, family dynamics; it all just got to be too much!”

“We wanted to get married somewhere epic”

Most couples who choose to elope choose to do it somewhere awesome: at the top of a mountain, on the beach at sunset, in a misty forest. Often that’s because they’re both big fans of travelling and the outdoors, and want to make that part of their big day.

And even if travelling isn’t a big part of your relationship, with an elopement you’re not tied to a courthouse, church, hotel or any other wedding venue. You are free to get married in a location you both love, wherever that may be.

“Travel is integral to our relationship, and we just knew we needed to incorporate something so important to us into our wedding day.”

“We decided we wanted to do something authentic to us. In all of our adventures together, our favorites have been when we are in or surrounded by the mountains. So we started thinking of where we could elope… we already had a trip booked to Austria and immediately thought “DUH!”, that was where we should exchange our vows and rings.”

“We wanted to tie in our passion for the outdoors and travelling into the day that we committed spending our lives together. So, we decided to invite only ourselves and do exactly what we wanted to do: Get married in the mountains and on the trail.”

“Big weddings are so expensive.”

The average cost of a wedding in the US is now nearly $34,000. $34,000! That’s a lot of money to spend on just one day of your life (particularly when you didn’t really want a wedding in the first place). 

For some couples, money is a major factor in deciding to elope. With fewer guests and fewer “extras”, elopements are usually much cheaper than a traditional wedding. The money you save can then be used to buy a house, convert a campervan, start a company, or otherwise invest in your future together.

“We received a bit of money from one of our parents for a wedding and decided it would be better spent on sheep to continue to build our own herd/future. It was a pretty easy decision to grow the herd and sacrifice a wedding day here in Wyoming spent pleasing others.”

Bride and groom feed sheep on their wedding day. Photos by Wild Connections Photography

“We wanted it to just be the two of us.”

If there’s one phrase I hear time and time again from eloping couples, it’s this one: “just the two of us”. There are many reasons why you might want your wedding day to be just you and the person you love. You could have a complicated relationship with your family, or maybe your family and friends are flung across the world. Maybe you didn’t have time to plan a bigger wedding.

But for most of my couples, they chose to elope this way because it felt right for them. They wanted their wedding day to be just about them and the things they love, without making compromises for others. An elopement gives you the freedom to have a wedding that is the perfect reflection of you as a couple.

“We are fairly private people so we opted to do our own thing, in our own space and our own time.”

“Our wedding is just for us as a couple and to get married feels very organic and natural, which is why it feels right to just do something small for the two of us.”

“To be honest, we’re only kind of eloping. We’re doing a small ceremony with some family and friends, then taking off to do fun things. We decided to do it this way because we got so tired of watching people try to make everyone else happy and ending up with a wedding that wasn’t even about the two people getting married.”

“We started with planning a big wedding and the more into the wedding the more it didn’t feel like “us”. So now we are just so super excited and feel this is the best fit for us coming together as one.”

A couple who chose to elope in Austria dance in the rain

Do you feel an elopement is right for you? As a specialist elopement photographer, I’ve helped many couples like you plan a unique and intimate wedding day. Schedule an appointment with me now and start creating a wedding that feels more “you”.

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