It seems like everywhere you look, people are eloping. Beautiful images of couples in formal wedding attire on the edges of mountains seem to be everywhere on social media these days. If you are engaged and started planning your wedding, you may have even asked your spouse, “should we just elope”. The answer is, maybe. An elopement, and especially an adventure elopement, is not right for everyone. Here are some advantages of adventure elopements and some reasons it might not be the right fit to help you decide if an adventure elopement is right for you.
Advantages of an Adventure Elopement
Let’s break down some of the biggest advantages to planning an elopement.
You Get to Plan The Day You Want
Your elopement should be a reflection of who you are as a couple. When you have less guests, you have less influence from family, friends, co-workers, etc. You don’t have to worry about being pressured to include any “traditions” that you don’t want to do. If you want to have pie instead of cake, do it! If you want to spend 2 hours just the two of you site-seeing breathtaking views, do it!
Elopements are Less Expensive.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying elopements are the cheap option. Just that, they are less expensive than a full blown “traditional” wedding with 125 guests. The average wedding cost is about $33,000. The average elopement cost is $5,000 – $15,000.
When you don’t have to spend $75 to feed each guest, you can use that money towards what really matters to you on your wedding day. Maybe that is splurging on a helicopter ride to see the views in Sedona. Or hiring a private chef to cook a meal for just the two of you that evening (for only a few hundred dollars compared to $75 per person). Or upgrading to first class tickets for your honeymoon. Maybe even just saving that towards a down payment on a house!
The Focus Is On You (The Couple Getting Married)
I keep saying this, because it is so true. When you elope, the day is literally all about the two of you. Versus, when you have a big wedding, a lot of focus is placed on the guests. For example, hosting an entire cocktail hour just to entertain the guests while you take pictures on your wedding day. With eloping, you cut all of that out.
Less to Plan and Coordinate
When you are planning an elopement, there is so much less to coordinate. You only need to organize activities for the two of you and, maybe, a handful of guests. In a traditional wedding, you are coordinating activities, food, seating charts, etc for all of your guests, yes. But also, coordinating your wedding parties, hair and makeup, outfits, activities, travel accommodations, florals, etc. Planning food for everyone for the whole day: guests, family, wedding party, yourselves. Favors. I mean, the list really goes on.
With an elopement, you can focus on the two of you and what you want to do for your wedding day. Want to go sightseeing with your new spouse after your ceremony, do it! Want to take photos under the stars after dark? You don’t have to worry about guests missing you from the reception. Want some table decorations? You only need to worry about a few tables, max. Less people involved = less you have to plan.
Elopements are Less Stressful
Weddings are stressful. No matter what kind of wedding you have, there will be stress of one kind or another. There is no denying that elopements are considerably less stressful. Imagine waking up with your future spouse and spending the morning cooking breakfast together and snuggling up with fresh coffee. Then you go into separate rooms to don your wedding attire. You have a first look at each other at your air bnb before jumping in your own car together to head to your ceremony location.
VS a traditional wedding where you will probably be spending the night before apart. Waking up alone, shoving some random breakfast in your face before having someone drive you to the venue to start hair and make-up for the whole wedding party. Trying to relax while surrounded by your friends, parents, and other family members while worrying if everyone is going to be ready on time. Shoving some more random food in your mouth before getting in your wedding attire in front of EVERYONE and heading to your first look. And that is just the morning before the wedding festivities really get started.
The point is, yes all weddings will have some stress involved. You may still stress out about the weather on your wedding day. Or forget a tie clip or the earrings you wanted to wear. But, all in all, an elopement is going to be way less stressful than a full wedding.
If you and your future spouse are more introverted people, the thought of proclaiming your love to one another in front of 100+ people may not be your idea of a good time. Then, an elopement with just your immediate family and best friends could be a better option. Or maybe you have strained relationships with your family. So, an elopement with just the two of you is preferred. Or maybe, you just don’t want Aunt Sally, Linda from work, and your friend’s plus one posting pictures of you on your wedding day all over social media. In any case, an elopement is going to provide you with more privacy for your wedding day.
You Can Truly Get Married Outdoors
If you and your betrothed love the outdoors, then getting married surrounded by nature probably sounds like a dream come true. While there are some outdoor venues (with amazing views), they are hard to come by and usually fairly expensive. And, honestly, just does not compare to being surrounded by wild, unkept, nature while saying your vows to each other.
Reasons An Adventure Elopement Is Not Right For You
Ok, now let’s get into some reasons that an adventure elopement might not be your jam.
You Don’t Want to Limit Your Guest List
If you are eloping, you will certainly have to limit your guest list. Most elopements take place with anywhere from 0 – 20 guests. If you think 20 people is a lot, just realize this is about 10 people for you and 10 people for your fiance. Typically only immediate family and a best friend or two make the list for an elopement. If you want to include anyone more than that, an intimate wedding or traditional wedding might be better for you.
You Want A Big Party/Have Always Dreamed of A Big Wedding
This might be the number one reason not to elope. If you have been dreaming of a big wedding and celebrating your love with all your family and friends, eloping is pretty much the opposite of that. Yes, you can elope and still have a larger reception at a later date with your family and friends. But, it might not be the wedding you have been dreaming of. And that is totally okay! Just because elopements are trending right now, does not mean they are right for everyone.
You Do Not Deal Well With Uncertainty
Here is the thing, mother nature is unpredictable. And if you are planning on getting married in the great outdoors, you need to be ok with things not going exactly as planned. The most common concern people have, is that it might rain on your wedding day. If you have an adventurous spirit, you might not care about getting a little wet during your elopement. But, if it is a torrential downpour situation, you won’t have any other option than to change up your plans.
Other things that may affect your elopement are wildfires. Not just active wildfires preventing you from accessing your dream location to elope. But, past wildfires that have devastated the area you planned on eloping. Another thing that can happen is a government shutdown of the public lands. We got married in a Nation Forest and I remember being concerned about the government shutdowns preventing us from using the campground we reserved for our ceremony.
The point is, you will need a plan b and maybe a plan c. This could mean you move your elopement date by a day or two (in the case of weather conditions). Or that you need a backup location for your elopement. In either case, you need to be ok with a bit of uncertainty. If you cannot imagine being ok with a last minute change to your plan, maybe an adventure elopement is not right for you.
You Don’t Want To Get Dirty (Not Even A Little Bit)
Here is a thing, Arizona is straight up dirt and rocks. No matter if you are in the desert or the pines. The first thing I noticed when I hiked in Washington for the first time was how soft the ground was and how my boots came out cleaner than they went in. In Arizona, you will get at least your shoes dusty, if not the bottoms of your outfits. And, if there was recent rain or snowmelt, you may be dealing with mud.
Now, do you have to get downright dirty to have an adventure elopement? Absolutely not. But, if you are someone who cannot imagine the bottom of your dress getting dirty or a bug flying onto you, an outdoor elopement might not be your jam.
Less Resources For Planning An Adventure Elopement
Planned elopements, though gaining popularity, are a relatively new way to get married. And, because of this, there are not a ton of resources available to help you plan your wedding day if you choose an elopement. So, if you are not interested in creating your own path and doing a bit of the work yourselves, this might not be the right option for you.
Now, I will say, don’t think that you are just jumping off into the deep end here without knowing how to swim. There are absolutely elopement planners out there and photographers who will help you plan your dream day, recommend vendors, and help you in any way they can. Just don’t expect to walk into your local bookstore and find an elopement planning book or magazine.
Personally, I am a huge fan of adventure elopements. (They are kind of my jam.) But, I know they are not for everyone. In fact, my husband and myself decided on an intimate/micro wedding with our closest friends and family. I hope this gave you some insight into determining if an elopement is right for you.