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Secret Benefits of Eloping vs. Traditional Wedding

Have you ever fantasized about whisking away to an intimate, romantic setting with your partner to exchange vows? Well, it’s time to consider the delightful and often overlooked option of eloping! In this blog post, we’ll explore the exciting benefits of eloping and why it might be the perfect choice for couples seeking a unique and stress-free wedding experience.

What is an elopement?

Hanna Sher Photography

Let’s start with the basics. A good definition of an elopement is a deliberate decision by a couple to privately and often spontaneously exchange marriage vows without a large guest list or traditional wedding ceremony. Elopements are typically characterized by their intimate nature, simplicity, and focus on the couple’s love and commitment to each other at the center of attention. It is a choice to prioritize the essence of the marriage rather than adhering to societal expectations or conventions associated with traditional weddings. Eloping allows couples to create a deeply personal and meaningful experience that reflects their unique love story, often in a location that holds significance to them. It provides the freedom to tailor the wedding day to their preferences, whether it involves a small gathering of close family and friends or simply the couple themselves.

These often happen with days, or weeks notice and come with an element of whimsy and spontaneity. 

Spontaneity and adventure will likely be a big part of the intimate celebration, and if the idea of that excites you – it is most definitely the way to go! Traditional weddings come with a lot more formality, and often more vendors to help keep the day on a certain path and fix or address unexpected things before the couple may even know it has happened. With the elopement, you may not have that full support system and it will require laughing when things go wrong. Even having a traditional wedding venue as opposed to a park can help manage surprises as they pop up! Being able to pivot to a new idea, or even elopement location because of weather or other circumstances. Those changes can make for some of the best wedding stories! But if your vision for the day is so strong, you may want to go the traditional wedding route to make sure the whole day is reflective of your vision. 

How is an Elopement different than a traditional Wedding?

Eloping and a traditional wedding are two distinct approaches to getting married, each with its own set of characteristics and implications. Here are some key differences between eloping and a traditional wedding:

Photo by Hanna Sher Photography
  1. Guest List and Size: In a traditional wedding, the guest list tends to be larger, often including extended family, friends, and acquaintances. On the other hand, elopements typically involve a very small guest list, often limited to just the couple or a few close family members and friends. This often helps avoid family drama and is often less stress as a small wedding. 
  2. Ceremony and Venue: Traditional weddings typically follow a structured ceremony with various rituals, readings, and religious or cultural traditions. These ceremonies often take place in traditional venues such as churches, banquet halls, or outdoor venues. These spaces are better set up to hold a large wedding group too! Elopements, however, provide more flexibility and spontaneity in terms of the ceremony and venue. They can be as simple as exchanging vows in a scenic location, without the formalities and constraints of a traditional wedding ceremony.
  3. Planning and Logistics: Traditional weddings usually require significant planning and coordination, involving tasks such as booking a venue, sending invitations, organizing catering, selecting vendors, and arranging accommodations for guests. Elopements, on the other hand, involve minimal planning and logistics. They are often more relaxed and require less time and effort in terms of organizing and coordinating the event.
  4. Cost: Traditional weddings can be more expensive due to the larger guest count, elaborate decorations, venue rentals, catering, and other wedding-related expenses. Elopements, on the contrary, tend to be more cost-effective as they involve fewer guests and minimal decor. Couples can allocate their budget towards other priorities, such as travel or experiences, rather than traditional wedding expenses.
  5. Focus and Intimacy: Traditional weddings can be bustling events with numerous activities and obligations, where the couple may have limited time to connect with each other. In contrast, elopements place a strong emphasis on the couple’s love and connection. They offer an intimate and private setting, allowing the couple to focus solely on their commitment to each other without external distractions.
  6. Time and Scheduling: Traditional weddings often require booking venues and vendors well in advance, typically scheduled months or even a year ahead. Elopements, on the other hand, can be more spontaneous and can take place with relatively short notice. Couples have the freedom to choose the timing that suits them best, without being bound by a specific wedding season or availability constraints.

Ultimately, the choice between eloping and a traditional wedding depends on the couple’s preferences, values, and desired wedding experience. Each option offers its own unique set of advantages and considerations, allowing couples to tailor their wedding celebration to reflect their love story and personal style. Either way you end up with the marriage license at the end!

Learn more about eloping in our Intentional Elopement Guide for the Non-Traditional post.

Benefits of Eloping

While the exact benefits of eloping vary from couple to couple, many see these as the top 6:

Elopement Photosession Springfield Missouri
Hanna Sher Photography
  1. Freedom from Tradition: One of the biggest advantages of eloping is the freedom it offers from traditional wedding expectations. Say goodbye to the pressure of pleasing everyone and adhering to societal norms. Elopements allow you to focus solely on what truly matters: your love and commitment to each other.
  2. Intimacy and Privacy: Eloping ensures an intimate and private experience for you and your partner. Without the distractions of a large guest list, you can share deeply personal moments and exchange vows in a truly meaningful way. It’s just the two of you, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of your chosen location.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Let’s face it, weddings can be expensive affairs. By eloping, you can save a significant amount of money. The reduced guest list, minimal decorations, and intimate setting can help you allocate your budget more efficiently, allowing you to invest in experiences, travel, or future plans together as a couple.
  4. Flexibility and Adventure: Eloping opens the door to limitless possibilities when it comes to choosing your wedding location. Whether it’s a secluded beach, a picturesque mountaintop, or a charming destination abroad, you have the freedom to select a spot that resonates with your dreams and sense of adventure. Explore new horizons and create lifelong memories in a breathtaking setting. This can be in a national park, your mom’s backyard, art museums, or where ever you can craft an unforgettable experience. 
  5. Stress-Free Planning: Traditional weddings often involve months of meticulous planning, coordinating with vendors, and managing a complex guest list. Eloping simplifies the process and minimizes stress. You can focus on what truly matters—your love and the experience—without getting overwhelmed by the logistical details. Let the spontaneity and joy of eloping be your guiding force.
  6. Tailor-Made Experience: Eloping gives you the opportunity to personalize every aspect of your wedding day. You can choose to include meaningful rituals, write your own vows, and curate an experience that reflects your unique love story. The day becomes a true reflection of your partnership, allowing you to embrace your individuality as a couple.

While eloping offers a host of unique benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge that it may not be the right choice for everyone. Traditional weddings have their own merits and hold sentimental value for many couples. They provide an opportunity to celebrate with a large network of family and friends, create lasting memories with loved ones, and partake in cultural or religious traditions. Traditional weddings often involve grand receptions, elaborate decor, and formalities that some couples cherish and find joy in. It’s important to consider your own preferences, values, and vision for your wedding day when deciding between eloping and a traditional celebration. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create a wedding experience that aligns with your desires and brings you happiness as a couple.

Testimonies

If you are still on the fence about eloping, here are some testimonies you may want to read:

  • “Our elopement was a true reflection of us as a couple. It was adventurous, spontaneous, and filled with love. We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” – Mark
  • “Eloping allowed us to have complete freedom in planning our wedding. We were able to design the day exactly as we envisioned, from the ceremony location to the vows we exchanged. It felt authentic and true to who we are as a couple.” – Jessica
  • “We wanted our wedding day to be an adventure, so we decided to elope in a foreign country. It was just the two of us, surrounded by stunning landscapes, and it felt like a true celebration of our love and the start of a grand adventure together.” – Alex
fall elopement juniper gardens springfield missouri, anniversary session, couple session
Photo by Hanna Sher Photography

Involving Friends and Family in an Elopement

While elopements are often intimate affairs that focus on the couple’s love and commitment, there are ways to involve friends and family in the celebration. Here are some ideas to help incorporate loved ones into an elopement:

Before the Elopement

Prior to your elopement, consider sharing the news with close friends and family. This can be done through a heartfelt announcement, a video message, or even a small gathering to inform them of your decision. It allows loved ones to feel included and informed about your plans.

Incorporate meaningful mementos from loved ones into your elopement. For example, you can wear a piece of jewelry that has been passed down through generations or carry a bouquet that includes flowers from loved ones’ gardens. These small gestures can symbolize their presence and involvement in your special day.

Postcard or Letter Exchange: Prior to your elopement, send personalized postcards or letters to close friends and family members, expressing your love and gratitude. You can share your excitement and include them in your thoughts during this special time. This gesture shows that they are an important part of your journey, even if they are not physically present at the elopement.

Arrange for an engagement photo shoot before or after your elopement and invite close friends and family members to be a part of it. This allows them to participate in capturing beautiful memories with you, and the photos can be shared with them as a token of appreciation for their support.

During the Elopement

With technology, you can involve friends and family in your elopement through virtual means. Consider live streaming the ceremony or parts of the day, allowing your loved ones to witness the special moments in real-time, regardless of their physical location. They can also send well-wishes, greetings, or video messages that can be played during the elopement.

During your elopement ceremony, include personalized messages or readings that mention or honor your friends and family. It can be heartfelt vows, a moment of gratitude, or a special dedication. This allows you to express your love and appreciation for them, even in the absence of a large guest list.

After the Elopement

One secret benefit of eloping is that it opens up the opportunity for a post-elopement celebration. You can plan a casual gathering, a dinner party, or even a reception with close family and friends to share the joy and excitement of your elopement. This allows you to have the best of both worlds – an intimate elopement and a chance to celebrate with loved ones. Plan a post-elopement celebration where you can gather with close family and friends to celebrate your marriage. This can take the form of a small reception, dinner party, or casual get-together. It gives you the opportunity to share stories, photos, and memories from your elopement and celebrate together. 

Remember, involving friends and family in an elopement is about finding meaningful ways to include them in your celebration while respecting the intimate nature of the event. It’s a balance between honoring your desires for an elopement and showing your love and appreciation for those who are important to you.

More: Secret Benefits of Eloping

Hanna Sher Photography

Eloping allows you to create truly unforgettable and cherished memories. Since it’s an intimate affair, every moment becomes more meaningful and memorable. You’ll have more time and freedom to savor the little details, soak in the atmosphere, and truly experience the depth of your love and connection. But most importantly you can say Screw It to the trends and traditions that often come with a wedding – and the opinions of everyone you know and that you don’t care about their opinions. While the dream elopement doesn’t have to be about avoiding the negatives, but it can definitely be seen as a great benefit. 

Photography

With a smaller guest list and fewer distractions, elopements allow couples to prioritize capturing stunning photographs. An elopement photographer can be expensive, but some offer planning and exotic location scouting as a part of their elopement packages. As well as just being a key element of the elopement wedding day, keeping things running smoothly but creating and capturing each special moment along the way. These photographers are experts in capturing the entire elopement day or just elopement ceremonies – depending on what the priorities and if there is a tight budget. 

Timeline

No matter the budget, eloping gives you flexibility in timing. You get to choose the timing that suits you best! Whether it’s a sunrise elopement, a romantic sunset ceremony, or even a midweek celebration, you have the freedom to plan your wedding at the perfect time that aligns with your preferences and captures the essence of your relationship. Or maybe its even tucked into one afternoon that is the best between work, school, military, or other obligations. You get to own the time as your own!

Location

You can travel to a dream location for a vacation/elopement combo, making it a special place for your intimate ceremony in dreamy places like the national parks. Focus on Honeymoon: With the reduced stress and expenses of a traditional wedding, eloping leaves more room in your budget and schedule to indulge in an incredible honeymoon experience. You can plan a romantic getaway to a dream destination and extend the celebration of your love beyond just the wedding day.

A Wedding Experience that’s Truly Yours

Elopement Photosession Springfield Missouri
Hanna Sher Photography

Remember, eloping is a deeply personal choice, and the benefits can vary depending on your preferences as a couple. It’s all about creating an experience that aligns with your values, desires, and vision for your wedding day. Embrace the secret benefits and enjoy the journey of crafting a wedding experience that’s truly yours. Eloping is a beautiful alternative to traditional weddings, offering freedom, intimacy, and adventure. It allows couples to prioritize their love, create lifelong memories, and embark on a new chapter together. So, if you’ve been dreaming of a wedding experience that breaks free from convention and embraces the essence of your relationship, consider eloping and let your love story unfold in an unforgettable way. Cheers to love, spontaneity, and the joy of eloping!

The team for this post’s imagery:

Photography by Hanna Sher
Gown: Evermore Bridal
Hair & Makeup: Makeup by Ashley Nicole
Ceremony Decor: Something Borrowed Rentals
Picnic Set: Gathered Celebrations
Balloon Backdrop: Dreamy & Darling Creations
Venue, Design & Florals: Juniper Gardens

fall elopement ceremony juniper gardens springfield missouri, anniversary session, couple session

August 22, 2023

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