elopement couple on wedding day near lighthouse
Wedding Planning Advice

Wedding vs Elopement: Which is Right For You?

Fighting between having a traditional wedding with all the family, and running away together? I share the pros and cons of a wedding vs an elopement in the hope of helping you decide!

Once upon a time, the question of wedding vs elopement was one of good versus evil. If you were good, you were a bible following couple who were married by your local priest, under the watchful eyes of the lord and your mother. But if you were evil, you had chosen to forget your family and your faith, and elope far away from home.

Thankfully, these days, unless you are deeply religious, the question of wedding vs elopement is a lot less serious. And more about the style of celebration you want.

elopement vs wedding

If you’ve Googled wedding vs elopement before arriving at this page, you’ll have found that the results fall heavily in the favour of elopements. They are pretty trendy right now, post pandemic, and creating a cottage industry that nobody saw the explosion of pre-covid. But just because it’s cool, is it right for you? Will you regret not having a big wedding party when looking back 5-10 years down the line?

Or maybe, post-wedding, you’ll wish you’d just tied the knot on the beach some place. With only a handful of loved ones surrounding you? Perhaps planning a big wedding was the biggest stress of your bloody life, and the people present on the day did nothing to make it worthwhile? It happens.

I’m not writing this post with an opinion either way on the wedding vs elopement debate because I am not trying to sell you anything. I don’t care which way you choose to say ‘I do’, I just want you to be happy with your choice. Because at the end of the day, both options are great, in their own special way.

Wedding vs Elopement: The Pros & Cons

In this post, I’m going to share the pros and cons of the traditional wedding, over an elopement. In the hope that I may illuminate your wedding planning, and maybe inspire your overall direction. Or possibly, confuse you further! We’ll see.

The Positives of a Traditional Wedding

Let’s start with the good stuff about a bog-standard wedding.

Nobody Will Think You’re a Weirdo

Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Your friends and family might think you’re a right pair of weirdos for running off and getting married on your own. It’s alright for trendy city types, Brides magazine and cool blog writers to say how normal it is. But ask a real person on the street, in a small town, that doesn’t even have a Tesco Extra. Ask them what they think. They’ll think you’re a weirdo. And wonder why you don’t want a big piss up with your mates.

That’s the real person wedding vs elopement debate, and an argument you won’t have to put up with if you just marry the old-fashioned way.

wedding party opening bottle of champagne

It’s One Big Celebration

Following on from that last slightly aggressive point, you’ll get to party with your nearest and dearest. Whether that means a massive occasion with 450+ people in a sports hall, or 50 in a swanky restaurant. It’s still a big celebration. An event. One that your loved ones will love being at. And you’ll hopefully adore hosting.

The Negatives of a Traditional Wedding

Now for the not so good bits of the wedding vs elopement debate.

Its Damn Expensive

Have you done one of those wedding cost calculator things yet? Christ they’re scary. The numbers are daunting to say the least, and for what? One big party? Imagine what you could do with £10,000 (the average UK wedding cost). You could put a small deposit down on a house. Travel the world. Pay for a couple of weeks of UK university education! There are so many wonderful things you could do with that amount of cash.

You Will Not Spend Any Decent Time With Anyone, Including Your Partner

If you’re planning a wedding with say 250+ guests, I can tell you now, apart from the people at your reception table, you will barely talk to anyone. Everyone will want a chat with you. That great aunt you don’t know, or like. That best mate from school who you stopped talking to during her heavy emo phase. Your mum. Everyone will want a piece of you, but all you’ll be able to do is say a few royal inspired lines. ‘Hello there, thank you for coming, it’s so lovely to see you’. And that’s it. Which is a shame because that emo girl is really nice now, really chilled.

It’s also worth saying, you won’t see your partner too. There will be portraits, photo ops and some opportunities for you to catch up. But you’ll be able to say no more than maybe, ‘wow, this is all so weird isn’t it!’ or, ‘I can’t believe this is all really happening!’. You know, shit like that. But nothing real.

The Positives of an Elopement vs a Wedding

Running away has its advantages.

You Can Be Completely Bloody Selfish

Your mum can’t dictate your wedding if she’s not there. Your vegan sister-in-law can’t scupper your meaty wedding meal if she’s not invited. And you can splash all the cash you saved for your wedding on yourselves. On the stuff you like. Not what people like in general. What you like.

Do you love staying in swanky hotels? Book a suite and get married in that! In Vegas, and then honeymoon there! You both love adventuring? Tie the knot in the middle of bloomin’ nowhere after a trek through an Australian forest. Whatever floats your boat (get married on a boat?), you can do it with an elopement vs a wedding. Because there’s nobody there to complain.

elopement vs wedding

The Spotlight is Not On You

Not every person wants to be a blushing bride, or dashing groom. For some of us, the thought of tying the knot in front of even ten people is enough to bring on a semi-severe panic attack. So why suffer? Wed in privacy.

If you’re prone to stress, or anxiety, I’ve got news for you, wedding planning is bloody stressful mate. There is no getting around it. So if there is an option to remove that panic inducing monkey off your back, why wouldn’t you take it? ‘Cause your mum will be upset? Your headspace comes first.

The Negatives of an Elopement

Now for the hard truth’s.

There Will Be People You Love Who Can’t Come

Alright, I just said think about you first, and your mum after. And that is still true. But if you’re considering an elopement vs a traditional wedding, and erring on the side of eloping for non-mental health reasons. There will be people in your life who will be crushed. The best ones will understand, but will still be disappointed they couldn’t be there with you. Whether that’s your mum, best mate or that clingy friend from work.

And if you do invite some people to your elopement, imagine how pissed off the people who don’t get invited will be. They’ll be double crushed! You’re not having a big wedding, and they’re not invited to your little wedding! Can you cope with that level of dissapintment?

It’s a Bit Boring

If you already live with your partner, and you’ve been with them a while. After the initial excitement on the day of tying the knot, you might be left with the feeling of, now what?

You’ve had the morning champagne, said your ‘I dos’, had your portraits. And now you’re having lunch sitting opposite the same person you always have lunch with, and you’ve got bugger all to say. ‘Cause it’s all done now.

There’s no pre-game banter with your mates. No awkward speeches. No drunken fights. Nothing new to chat about because nothing is happening.

Just consider if the reality you see in all those stunning elopement photography albums is as ‘real’ as it seems, before you take the possibly lonely leap.

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