An elopement doesn’t have to mean you and your future spouse on the steps of a courthouse; it doesn’t have to mean sneaking away in the dark of night without telling your family and friends; it doesn’t have to mean that you’re ashamed to be getting married.
Eloping can be just as glamorous and exciting as a traditional wedding ceremony. In fact, it can be even better. Take a little time to put together a planned elopement, and you’ll start to realize that your dream wedding can be a reality.
You’ll save money
Start planning a wedding, and you’ll quickly see the dollar signs add up. You start with a venue that is reasonably priced, and you think it’ll all come in at or below budget. But then you put a per plate cost on each guest — the ones you just can’t cut; you buy gifts for the members of the wedding party; you pick out flowers and place settings; you look into photographers, disc jockeys and bands. (How much an hour?! You might as well hire a stripper and give him or her a camera and a stereo!) You tally up the total column and want to cry. No matter how many shortcuts you take, some things just can’t go.
Elopement packages run at about $1,000 to $2,0000 and include a lot — flowers, a small cake, an officiant, a few nights’ stay somewhere great. Oftentimes special bonuses like chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne and/or a carriage ride are included, too. All you have to buy are the outfits and the marriage license. If you want to splurge, you can hire a professional photographer and maybe a professional hair-and-makeup artist for the bride. To keep it cheap, pick a place within driving distance. Otherwise, splurge on plane tickets. Since you’re saving so much money, what about first class?!
If you start with a basic checklist, planning a wedding seems simple enough. Then you realize the time that has to be devoted every week, and you barely have time to make it to the gym! Suddenly, you become a part-time wedding planner, and the idea of putting so much time and effort into one day starts to seem ridiculous. You didn’t even plan this much to get into college!
A planned elopement requires a few hours spent Googling and making phone calls. Research cool cities and countries to elope to and the packages offered by the various bed-and-breakfasts, inns and other specialty venues. Once you pick the place and choose one of its package options, you call up the venue, and you’re sent some forms to fill out. Google some fine-dining restaurants near your venue and make reservations for a romantic dinner following the ceremony. If you’re traveling far, all that’s left is booking a plane ticket.
You’ll minimize your stress
Watching your money dwindle away is not a happy experience. What about that dream house you wanted to buy with your spouse? What about your student loans? What about buying an SUV for your new life and possible family? GONE. Instead, you’ve spent it all on one day and one party. How can you even enjoy the day knowing how much it costs? All you worried about was ensuring that your wedding impressed. After all, you’re at the age where everyone else is also getting married.
Putting in so much time planning becomes overwhelming, and the fun of getting married goes out the window. You always pictured yourself walking down the aisle with a smile, a gorgeous dress and all eyes on you. However, you never realized how much planning it took to get there. When do you have time to listen to bands, taste food, visit venues, try on dresses, pick out invites and so on?!
Planning a trip and ceremony all for your enjoyment is beyond fun. You don’t have to worry about all the little details of a wedding or the desires of everyone else. Most B&Bs, inns and other elopement venues take care of it all for you. After you’ve checked off the boxes for cake flavor and flower color and have given them a time for the ceremony, you’re just expected to show up. The excitement for the day reemerges, and you finally feel like it’s all about you!
You have endless options
When you’re inviting family and friends, you’re typically locked into nearby venues. Your guests can’t all afford destination weddings, so you inevitably start looking at venues in the vicinity.
When you elope, everywhere is an option. A beach wedding in Fiji? A cliche elopement at The Little White Wedding Chapel in Los Vegas? A natural, woodsy wedding in the mountains of Oregon? A southern-style wedding in Savannah, Georgia? A tipsy wedding in the wine country of Napa Valley, California? The choices are endless and all yours.
It’s intimate and romantic
The idea of proclaiming your love in front of an audience is supposed to seem romantic, but really, it’s just frightening. All eyes are on you as you try to stand up straight, repeat back the vows correctly, and hold back your tears. As you stammer, blush and sweat your way through the ceremony, you’ll be wishing everyone else would just disappear.
At your elopement ceremony, it’s just the two of you. You can be as gushy and loving as you want to be because no one will laugh, cry or later coon over how adorable it all was. You can just be your real selves.
You can roll the ceremony and honeymoon into one
A wedding ceremony and a honeymoon are two distinctly separate events in the world of traditional weddings. While devoting loads of time to planning out the big day, you’re also looking into the costs of various vacation packages and researching honeymoon locations. And once again, you’re looking at shelling out big bucks. You forgot the honeymoon in the wedding budget, didn’t you?
If you pick a unique location for your elopement ceremony, you don’t have to relocate afterwards. Have the ceremony and honeymoon all in one spot. A beach wedding ceremony in Fiji followed by days of sun bathing, swimming and drinking bottomless daiquiris sounds pretty good. How about nights of gambling, bar hopping and shows after your ceremony in Los Vegas?
If you want a change of scenery for the honeymoon, why not road trip to the next destination? Pack your bags pre-elopement to accommodate your traveling needs and stock up the car. You could stop at unique restaurants in different cities along the way. You could stop at local B&Bs to get a feel for the cities you’re passing through. Pack up the car with romantic, silly and throwback soundtracks to make the drive more enjoyable. Spend time with your new spouse in a relaxed setting before the romance and love-making set in.