(Closed) Elope vs. traditional wedding – how to choose!?

posted 5 years ago in Elopement
Post # 2
2597 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

A-HA! Something I know intimately!

So we didn’t elope, but we did have a courthouse wedding with just our immediate families in attendance (so, like 9 guests), followed by a nice breakfast. Then, about 6 months later, we had a post-wedding celebration, which was a brunch with friends and family–no vow renewal or dress or dancing; just sort of a upscale-ish backyard party. We were lucky to be gifted funds from our parents to put towards a house and a wedding (we could divide the lump sum any way we wanted, so we ended up spending maybe 15% on the wedding and the rest on a downpayment, which for us was the right decision). 

And…as much as I love all my friends; as memorable as that party was…I kinda think that I really would have been just as happy with just the courthouse. By design, we chose to DIY a lot of the party, and while it was a labor of love…we’re not professional party planners for a reason. 

So I’m kind of elope all the way. Elope, elope, elope 😉

Post # 3
152 posts
Blushing bee

OMG I got engaged 3 weeks ago and I am having the same questions! My fiance wants to do whatever I would prefer but I am also reaaaallly indecisive and can’t figure out what I would like best!! I hope bee’s reply to this! 

Post # 4
1754 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

View original reply
jcud4:  We are “eloping,” said with “” since it’s a wedding + honeymoon in one trip and everyone knows it’s happening. We are going to France and Poland with a ceremony (with a photographer) in Paris!

We went through multiple plans for a traditional wedding, cutting the first because of money and the second because of money, intrusive family (FILs), and because we weren’t sure we were getting the “best” use out of the money. Even with a 30-person brunch wedding, we weren’t going to be able to afford a big honeymoon, which we kind of wanted since neither of us have ever really been anywhere (not even a cruise). We’re really excited! I was briefly sort of sad about “missing out” on traditional wedding things, but I’m really excited about the trip.

You’re right about the costs/savings though – you won’t necessarily save a lot if you’re still throwing a nice party. In our case, we aren’t planning a big party and we still didn’t “save” any money. We’re spending the same we would have spent on a wedding, but we are getting a private wedding + two weeks in Europe, so there’s a trade-off there. 

I do think parties after an elopement can potentially be less expensive than a wedding reception, though – it can be more casual and it’s more appropriate to use a backyard, not rent fancy chairs, and so on. 

I don’t think I will regret eloping at all – we are gaining a two week experience rather than a one day party, and my family is not upset and is excited for us (FI is now estranged from his family for mostly Not Wedding Related reasons). We will have pictures, I’ll wear my dress… I’m still getting MY must-have wedding things. It depends what your must-haves are!

Post # 6
3580 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

We are essentially doing a planned elopement. Basically, we wanted to elope because we want our wedding to be intimate and stress free, and we aren’t into parties or spending money on one. But I didn’t want to completely exclude parents, especially because I’m an only child and Fiance is his dad’s only. And I knew his mom and sister would never forgive us (they’re currently not talking to brother or his wife because she wasn’t cordial enough at Christmas, so… You get the picture).

We’ve settled on a beach elopement. My mom got her license to officiate online, so she will do that for us. We only invited immediate family and one of my friends. We sent out 6 invites lol. We are simply going to go out on the beach, they’ll stand around us, and we will go out to eat afterwards. Easy, simple, intimate. It’s about a 4 hour drive, so it’ll be a fun beach weekend kind of thing. 

Good luck figuring it out! I was so stressed during that phase. We even booked a small venue, and I woke up the next day crying because I didn’t want to deal with any of the wedding stress. But it all worked out. 

Post # 7
2597 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

PS–my BFF eloped to Brazil and got married with a professional photographer (as a witness to boot) and her pictures are GORGEOUS–she got a dress and everything and it’s just her and hubby with the minister on the beach together. They’re foodies so afterwards they splurged and hired a private chef to cook them their own menu back at their hotel (I think it was an airbnb-type rental) and had their own like, 9-course extravaganza with just the two of them. And then spent another week or so on honeymoon in Brazil. 

She ALSO had a post-wedding party and hers was more “traditional” in that there was dinner and dancing and toasts and all that because her dad was really wanting to do all the traditional stuff with her (father-daughter dance and stuff) which was really sweet, but she also said too that she mostly did that for him and the elopement was exactly perfect itself. 

Post # 8
1549 posts
Bumble bee

Like PP, we didn’t technically elope because we invited immediate family, but we kept our wedding a secret from everyone else. We had a wedding in Paris with all the bells and whistles and a nice informal party for everyone else when we got home. We avoided so much of the usual drama that goes with weddings. We hired a wedding planner and that was it. No stress.

I think what ultimately swayed it for us was thinking about guest lists and what size wedding we wanted. The numbers add up quickly with obligatory invitations (not that you’re obligated to invite anyone, but it feels that way!!). The after party meant we (or moreso, our parents) could invite any and everyone. 

It’s selfish, but with only ten guests we could splash out and have expensive food and wine and spend more money on things that mattered to us.

It was the best day ever! We don’t regret anything. 

Post # 9
605 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

We had a courthouse wedding and went on our honeymoon later that day. We are not planning on having a party. I don’t regret it at all. It was nice to have something small that’s just ours. Don’t feel like you “have” to have a wedding if you don’t want to! 

Post # 10
1143 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

We eloped from the UK to Las Vegas. It was perfect, beautiful, would not change a thing, and no regrets.

Post # 11
2092 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
jcud4:  we considered both options heavily, we had even had several deposits down on a venue and photographer for a large wedding back at home. But it made me sad thinking about the wedding day, all of my friends moved away and we lost contact, all of my grandparents are dead, and all of my extended family live across the country and I felt guilty at the thought of how much money they would have to spend to see us in a 15 minute ceremony. DH has all his friends and family living within 20 minutes of us but no one gets along and it was just constant drama. We got so sick of all the guest list issues and his siblings trying to make our day about them instead of us that we realized the big white wedding wasn’t our dream and we mutually decided to elope.

we have no regrets about it at all, we spent our money on a beautiful destination honeymoon/elopement for just the two of us and it was absolutely magical and stress free. I could share a link to our recap if you want. We did have a small dinner cruise reception for only closest family and friends when we returned from our trip which was nice and low key. We had a small vow renewal ceremony so the parents could hear parts of our vows and it was just enough. No stress or anxiety at all, we just went with the flow on both days. 

Post # 12
7396 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I would have 100% eloped or done a destination wedding and just said whoever can come, come. My DH on the other hand (and my dad, ironically!) were really pushing for the full big wedding. 

For us it came down to a frank discussion about budget. I was pretty clear that if we were doing the big wedding we were going all out. I wasn’t going to spend all that money and still sacrifice things I wanted due to budget – so we were either spending the money to go all out or not doing it at all. My DH and dad wanted the big wedding so that’s what we did. It was a blast and everyone had a great time, but even as awesome as it was I still look back and would have been happy with a small Destination Wedding somewhere. That being said, we’d been together a long time and already owned our home, cars, etc – so it’s not like we were saving up for anything. Had we not been in the position we were I would have totally put my foot down on spending that much on a wedding. 

Personally I just never understood the elope/DW and then have an at home party. The party IS the expensive part, not the ceremony. I think you should really sit down and chat about. Research places you’d like to go get married and the costs – then compare it to the costs of a traditional wedding.

Post # 13
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I wanted to elope from the get go, even though i’d always imagined a small backyard wedding, Fiance wanted a big wedding, but in the end everything was going over budget and family and money was too stressful. We are having a private ceremony, not an elopement persay because we told our family, and then going to have a BBQ with our loved ones a week later! I am beyond happy, it will be August 5th this summer!!!!!!!

Just do what is right for you! In the end, I know I would have regreted getting married the way I pictured when I was growing up, because it isn’t what I want anymore 🙂

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