A bride in white dress and white fur coat leans against her groom smiling after they decided to have an elopement versus a wedding in Yosemite.

Elopement versus Wedding: Which is the best choice for you?

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Are you debating the pros and cons of eloping versus hosting a traditional wedding? It’s a big decision, and for many couples, the choice between an elopement versus wedding options comes down to personal preferences and family expectations.

Maybe you’re drawn to the excitement and adventure of an elopement, or perhaps the big party atmosphere of a traditional wedding appeals more to you. Either way, navigating the elopement versus wedding decision can be challenging. In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of eloping and having a wedding—covering everything from the stress of planning and cost to balancing family involvement and tradition. This way, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your values and vision for your special day.

Pros of Elopement versus Wedding

All About You Two

When you elope, it’s just you and your partner (and maybe a few very close friends or family if you choose). This means you can focus on what really matters—the two of you and the commitment you’re making. One of the key pros of eloping is avoiding the stress of a large event, making your day more meaningful and stress-free.

Big Adventures, Smaller Budget

Another one of the major pros of eloping is how it lets you splurge on what you actually want—like that helicopter ride over stunning landscapes or a private dinner under the stars—without breaking the bank. Eloping versus wedding costs show that you can have an epic experience for a fraction of the price.

Choose Any Location

Dreaming of saying your vows on a remote mountain peak or on a secluded beach at sunset? With an elopement, the world is your oyster. The flexibility in location is a huge advantage when comparing eloping versus wedding settings. If you need some location inspiration, here are our favorite elopement locations in the United States.

Truly Personal Touches

Eloping gives you the freedom to incorporate elements that are custom-fit to your relationship. Whether that’s reading vows you wrote on top of a glacier or exchanging rings in a hot air balloon, these moments become the unforgettable highlights of your day. And if you’re still trying to decide which personal touches to add to your own elopement, check out this list of 15 incredible elopement activities to add to your day.

If you already know an elopement is the way you want to go, what are you waiting for? Book a discovery call so we can hear more about your dream day and start planning your elopement!

Cons of Eloping

Missing Out on the Big Party

While eloping has its perks, one of the cons of eloping is missing the big party vibe of a traditional wedding. If you love the idea of a dance floor filled with all your friends and family, you might feel like you missed out.

Family Expectations When Considering Elopement Versus Wedding

One of the challenges when weighing the pros and cons of eloping is managing family expectations. Some might feel left out, especially if they had their hearts set on a traditional celebration.

Fewer Witnesses

With just the two of you, or only a handful of guests, you won’t have as many people to share in the immediate joy of your marriage. For some, having loved ones around is a big part of what makes the day special while for others they might feel differently.

Pros of Traditional Weddings

Celebration with Everyone

A traditional wedding lets you invite everyone important, sharing your day in a big, inclusive way. This is a significant advantage when considering eloping versus wedding options and it might be something that you realize is important to you.

Generosity of Guests

Traditional weddings often provide an opportunity for your guests to celebrate your wedding with gifts and financial contributions. For some couples, receiving gifts and money can help set up their new life together, providing support for future plans like home purchases or honeymoon travel.

All the Fun Traditions and Parties

Planning a traditional wedding means you get to enjoy all those fun wedding traditions and the parties that come before the big day. Think bridal showers where you’re showered with love (and gifts!), and bachelorette parties where you can let loose with your best friends. And on your wedding day? You get to keep the party going with classic moments like the bouquet toss and speeches from your maid of honor and best man. It’s a whole series of celebrations rolled into one big event.

Cons of Traditional Weddings

Costs of Elopement versus Wedding

Discussing elopement versus wedding costs, traditional weddings often come with a high price tag due to the scale and number of guests, as well as the additional items that come with planning a big party. According to Zola, the average cost of a traditional wedding will be $33,000 while an elopement can range from $5000-$15000.

Planning Stress 

The stress of planning a large wedding can be overwhelming, a common con when comparing eloping versus wedding preparations. It’s one of the biggest reasons our couples decide to elope instead.

Less Intimacy

With so many people to attend to, your wedding day might feel less about the two of you and more about hosting a large event, a key point in the debate between eloping versus wedding. Oftentimes couples spend so much time greeting their guests and making sure everyone is happy instead of spending time together.

Balancing Personal Desires and Family Expectations

Deciding between an elopement and a traditional wedding often involves more than just what you want; it’s about balancing your dreams and ideas with your family’s expectations. It’s completely natural to value your family’s input, as these are the people who have supported you throughout your life. However, it’s also important to remember that your wedding day is about celebrating your relationship and commitment in a way that feels true to you.

If you’re leaning towards an elopement but worried about disappointing family, consider arranging a casual get-together or a celebration party after you return. This can be a great compromise, allowing you to have your intimate, personalized ceremony while also giving your family a chance to celebrate your new life together. Open, honest communication is key—talk to your loved ones about why you’re choosing to elope and how you can make them feel included in your own way.

Wrapping Up the Elopement Versus Wedding Insight

Choosing between an elopement and a traditional wedding is a really personal decision, and both options have their pros and cons. Whether you decide on the intimate adventure of an elopement or the big party of a traditional wedding, what matters most is that it reflects your relationship. Remember, this is your special day, and it should feel right for you and your partner, no matter which path you choose.

If you’re still feeling unsure about which option is best for you, or if you need help planning your dream elopement or wedding, don’t hesitate to reach out. At Scenic Vows, we’re here to chat through all of the pros and cons and love helping couples like you plan the perfect day that truly feels like the two of you. Let’s make your wedding day unforgettable!

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