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Wedding ideas: 5 reasons to elope vs a traditional wedding

Right after one of the biggest decisions in life, to marry the one you love, comes another big question: how (and when) to get married? It seems quite a few people are opting to elope to get married rather than have a wedding in front of an audience of friends and family. What are the pros and cons of this seemingly increasing trend to run away and down the aisle, just the bride and groom and no one else?

Wedding ideas: 5 reasons to elope vs a traditional wedding

Pros of Eloping

1. Often the number one reason to elope is financial. The couple doesn't want to fork out what can be the equivalent of a house deposit, on one day in their lives. This is especially true for couples who have been living together, already share a child or are not on their first marriage. Eloping seems like a romantic and financially conservative option.

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2. Avoid stress and escape family drama. Planning a wedding is time consuming and often stressful and anxiety producing as the couple seeks to make everyone in the extended family happy and meet each stakeholder's needs.

3. Focus on each other. Eloping can feel like re-prioritising back to the couple's relationship and their wishes for the core part of the process of getting married, which is to stand together and promise to love and honor one another. When it's just you, the vows you say are for only you and they are truly emotionally examined.

4. Avoid religious and cultural clashes. If there are substantial differences in each person's culture or religion about how a marriage ceremony traditionally is, the couple may elect to elope to avoid the family pressure or expectations around this. Or the couple may want to have their wedding be non-religious.

5. Location, location, location! Often couples who elope do it somewhere fabulous. The expense that may have been spent on a ceremony with tons of people they don't feel terribly close to instead gets spent on a combination wedding-honeymoon in an exotic or lush paradise. A truly loved up holiday together, complete with all the special and photo-friendly memories like others who have traditional weddings get to put in picture frames and photo books.

Pros of Having a More Traditional Wedding

1. Sharing. The marriage is about you as a couple. The wedding is a celebration. Celebrations and rituals involve others, even the crazy drunk uncle and the eccentric aunt. Sharing the day expands the love and celebration even more.

2. It's a good marital testing ground. Yes, OK. Planning a wedding can be huge stress. It can bring out the bridezilla in even the most laid back bride to be's and chill grooms. It can ignite and fan the flames of what were once small issues, into big, roaring disagreements fueled by hurt feelings and power dynamics. But those struggles, conflicts and necessary decision-making processes give you - all - practice for the days and years ahead in marriage. Learning how to communicate, how to let go, how to navigate competing agendas and wishes is great training for marriage. Getting this learning curve under your belt before walking down the aisle can strengthen your relationship.

3. Deepen inter-family bonds. You've heard that you don't just marry your partner, you marry their family too. Some families will know each other before the engagement but many won't. Sharing the wedding (planning or not, even just the day) and creating pictures, speeches, and memories, all together, creates a bond and sense of togetherness between your families as you move forward in a shared life, connected together through you as a couple. It's a warming experience, even for the most dysfunctional of families!

4. Cost effective. Most people assume eloping is cheaper than a wedding and the reason to elope is primarily economic. But one can have a truly fabulous wedding, with plenty of guests, and still make it cost effective. Plan the wedding with your friends and extended family's help, choose a location you don't need to pay (much) for, keep it low key, or even like an elegant party, and it can actually be cheaper than a destination elopement! When the central theme of the event is love, the details don't have to be pricey. Really!

5. A big wedding is your thing. If splashy is your style, and festive is the theme of a big, grand celebration, with everyone you and yours know invited, a wedding is simply THE way to go all out and celebrate! It's one of the events you won't do very often in life, many do it only once, so if there was ever a reason to pull out the stops and go all out in fun and fanfare, a wedding is the premiere choice and you're at the heart of it. Which is why so many, despite the popularity of eloping, still opt to do it!

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