Pros and Cons of Eloping: An In-Depth Guide

Elopement Tips & Advice,
7 min read Apr 25, 2024
Pros and Cons of Eloping

If you and your partner are considering eloping, you’re in good company—a recent national survey found that most engaged couples were interested in a scaled-back, elopement-style wedding.1 To accommodate this preference, personalized elopement packages offer a comprehensive solution, handling every detail from the venue and ceremony to the professionals involved, making the process smooth and stress-free.

Choosing elopement can often take some of the pressure off of your big day. It typically means a smaller budget, a more intimate crowd, and the ability to customize your ceremony and reception to your heart’s content. Without the need to check traditional boxes, you can center your love and your closest loved ones.

But many people wonder, is elopement worth the risk of family reactions, guest list cuts, and legal logistics?

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of eloping, look no further. This comprehensive guide breaks down everything you need to know before leaping toward “I do.”

Choose Your Own Adventure: Introduction to Eloping

The outdated idea of eloping might conjure images of secrecy and rebellion: running away and coming back married without anyone else’s blessing or attendance. Elopement can absolutely be a private affair. But if that’s not your style as a couple, don’t worry—that’s certainly not the only way to elope.

We define an elopement as any wedding ceremony with 20 guests or less. The focus of an elopement is the couple (as opposed to tradition or guests’ preferences), and ceremonies often take place outdoors in a scenic location.

Elopement is an intimate way to choose quality over quantity and center your love on your special day. By keeping your guest list small, you’re ensuring that only those who know you and your love story will surround you. Then, choosing a special destination locks in lifelong memories of a meaningful adventure—the happy ever after to that story.

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Pros of Eloping

When deciding between an elopement and a traditional wedding, first consider the perks of eloping. Pros of eloping abound—from savings to intimacy to spontaneity. You’ll reap all the benefits of a smaller traditional wedding with an added layer of simplicity and flexibility.

Cost Savings

These days, the average wedding might be one of the highest expenses you incur in your lifetime. The typical American wedding costs a whopping $33,000 in 2024, encompassing fees from an average of 10 professionals in addition to the venue (typically the budget’s biggest contender).2

However, by choosing elopement, you can slash that cost exponentially. A smaller guest list means a smaller space and fewer plates (the average wedding catering costs up to $85 per plate, plus up to $60 a head for bar service).3 Not to mention, you can pick and choose the professionals you hire (from officiants to photographers to musicians to florists).

Simplicity and Intimacy

The traditional wedding operates with a lot of moving parts. There are customary moments to be checked off, from the many “tosses” (bouquet, garter, rice) to a series of speeches to the hunt for something borrowed and something blue. There are young flower girls and ring bearers to wrangle, as well as wedding-adjacent events to plan (from the bachelorette to the morning-after brunch).

When you elope, the traditions you choose to indulge in are completely up to you. This makes for a much simpler ceremony and reception (where the focus is on what’s most important: you and your partner’s commitment).

With the pressure off, elopement tends to feel much more intimate—a once-in-a-lifetime moment for you, your significant other, and your closest friends and family.

Flexibility in Planning

Elopement gives you the gift of freedom and spontaneity. If you’re hoping to elope in the traditional sense, you can plan your wedding just days in advance. If you prefer time to go outfit shopping, compare catering, and invite a handful of guests, you can book a date a year out.

There are no rules or deadlines when planning an elopement. You can add elements (like a videographer, a few extra guests, or extra musicians in your band) or pare down whenever you like ahead of the big day. You can choose a local venue or a destination a flight away. The vibe is yours to curate, and your happily ever after is there to claim the moment you’re ready.

Cons of Eloping (and How to Overcome Them)

Pros and Cons of Eloping

While eloping can be incredibly freeing and bring a comforting element of intimacy to your day, no process is perfect. If you’re concerned about dealing with the downsides of eloping, don’t fret—there are tried and tested ways to handle the common roadblocks that make them more than worth the pit stop.

Limited Guest List

If you have a sizable family, friend group, or group of colleagues, the thought of inviting fewer guests might be daunting. However, getting your invites down to elopement size may be easier than you think.

Consider the real VIPs (or MVPs) in your life—those people you couldn’t wait to tell you were engaged, and whom you talk to regularly. You’ll likely find that there are only a dozen or so friends and family members with whom you feel that lifelong bond.

These loved ones should be your non-negotiables, while distant family or coworkers you don’t talk to outside the office might not make the list. If you’re still hoping to squeeze in a few extra invites, consider making room by opting for a kid-free wedding or eliminating plus-ones.

Finally, virtual guests are always an option for an elopement wedding. If you’re gutted about leaving certain people out, consider asking them to video call in or contribute a toast or song request.

Potential Family Reactions

One of the most significant inhibitors facing would-be eloping couples is the prospect of negative family reactions. Family members who don’t make the list might feel left out or mourn the big, traditional wedding they’d envisioned for you.

However, there are ways to offer comfort and understanding while also setting boundaries and claiming your special day.

Let family members know that you’re eloping gently, in person. Emphasize that the decision is not personal and that you’d appreciate their support. Explain your rationale and paint a picture of your scenic venue and intimate ceremony.

Additionally, if certain family members are set on seeing family tradition worked into your wedding, explore ways to incorporate family heirlooms or small traditions that don’t take up from your vision. This balance can ease potential conflicts that arise from traditional wedding planning, allowing for a harmonious blend of both family values and your unique preferences.

Legal and Logistical Considerations

While many potential elopers worry about logistics, organizing a small, intimate wedding is actually far easier to contend with than dealing with a large guest list or team of professionals (especially if you invest in an elopement package or service).

In terms of making the marriage legal, just be sure to make an appointment at city hall in advance. Research the requirements, like the documents you’ll need and the timing of your ceremony. (For instance, in New York, you must wait 24 hours between receiving your license and getting married unless you obtain a judicial waiver from the NYS Supreme Court.)4

How to Decide if Eloping is Right For You

Pros and Cons of Eloping

Elopement is a completely personalized process, which means it can be the right choice for any couple seeking a simple, intimate destination ceremony. However, there are some key signs that eloping is the perfect fit:

  • You’re looking for a bang for your buck – For a couple seeking to elope on a budget, an intimate celebration may offer the perfect solution. A scaled-down elopement ceremony and reception provides significant savings, emphasizing quality over quantity, and ensures a special, unforgettable experience.
  • You want the planning off your plate – If the thought of wedding planning stresses you out, elopement is ideal. With an elopement package, all the planning is taken care of, from finding a venue in your ideal location to hiring professionals.
  • Adventure is all you ask – Eloping is an adventure, especially if you choose an outside-the-box destination. If spontaneity and uniqueness align with your love story, eloping is the perfect way to express that and set the tone for the rest of your life’s journey together.

If any of these sound like you, a destination elopement just might be your fairytale come true.

Eloping Packages and Services

If you’ve decided to elope but don’t know where to start, an elopement package or service can streamline the process, leaving you room to focus on the important stuff. Elopement packages are designed to make your day plan itself. You simply choose a venue, a guest list size, and which services you’d like to opt into (like a photographer or band) and pay a flat fee based on your customizations.

Especially if you have an idea of the type of location you’re interested in (like a beach or among the mountains), an elopement package is a win-win and can help you achieve the elusive stress-free wedding day.

Choose Adventure with Simply Eloped

Pros and Cons of Eloping

Eloping is a leap of faith—one that allows you to focus on the heart of what your wedding is all about. While making cuts to your guest list and contending with family feelings can feel challenging upfront, what you’re left with is a beautiful, intimate celebration tailor-made for you.

If you’re hoping for a stress-free elopement, Simply Eloped was made for you. With our elopement packages and services, all you need to do is share your vision with us, and we do the rest.

Choose from dozens of scenic locations, opt in or out of day-of services, and let us know whether it’ll be just the two of you or up to 20+ guests. We’ll make the magic happen.



  1. PR Newswire. National survey finds most engaged couples are interested in eloping this year.
  2. Forbes. Average Wedding Cost: How Much Should You Budget for Your Big Day?
  3. New York Food Truck Association. Catering Costs: The Complete Pricing Guide (2023).
  4. The City of New York, Office of the City Clerk. Marriage License.
Elopement Tips & Advice
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