(Closed) What made you decide to elope instead of a small wedding?

posted 4 years ago in Elopement
Post # 2
2804 posts
Sugar bee

I always thought I wanted to elope but we are now planning a small wedding instead. We came to this decision for a few reasons. First off, he was afraid of disappointing his mom. But the more we thought about it, the more we could both get behind doing something small and simple. For me, though I’d always thought that eloping with just your beloved was most romantic, I started to understand the significance of sharing that experience and special moment with loved ones, and inviting them to be included in our day. Since we live on the opposite coast from most of my friends and family, it’s also an opportunity for them to see us together and get to know us as a couple in a way they might not if we eloped. I also wanted it to feel like an “occasion” and I was a little worried that if it was just us at the courthouse, it might feel anticlimactic in a way. Definitely not trying to sway you here or say small wedding is better, but those are the reasons why we are choosing to have a small wedding rather than elope. 

On the side of eloping, I see the pros as:

– Much less expensive – even if you buy a $$$ dress and hire a pricey photographer, you don’t have to feed a bunch of people or decorate a venue. This could also allow you to spend more on the things that are important to you, or save the cash for the honeymoon, a downpayment, etc. 

– Less stress – no politics of who gets invited, because no one does. No dealing with difficult family members, or worrying what your wedding colors will be. 

– More intimate – it’s really just about the two of you. 


Post # 3
769 posts
Busy bee

We are eloping (three months to go) and our biggest regret is we told people ahead of time. We thought we were doing the right thing but we have had a lot of grief from it. 

Eloping because: it’s romantic, it’s more intimate (neither of us want to be the centre of attention), it’s cheaper, we only have ourselves to please, and we can totally do it our way without much worry. 

Post # 4
3437 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

We had a small wedding (50 ish ppl) and we don’t necessarily regret the day but given a second chance would have eloped.

We absolutely got sucked into traditions that we didn’t want. – his family harassed us to “start the dancing” (I hated, and I mean sincerely despised every second of my one minute on the dance floor), DJ announced both an entrance we specifically asked not to have and our cake cutting which was meant to be unannounced

Cost – kept it fairly low, all-inclusive venue was $5456 with everything including plated dinner and decor but still…breaks down to like $1k per hour 😣 Could have gone on another fabulous trip

If you want to elope, elope! Parents will get over it, they have no choice. A celebration a couple months later sounds perfectly fine if you elope. If possible I suggest a location and time where all the traditions won’t be as expected. Brunch wedding, afternoon ceremony in the park then restaurant reception etc.,

Post # 5
26 posts
  • Wedding: November 2017

View original reply
jonasbutterfly :  We ended up with a hybrid of your above proposed decisions. One of my biggest loves is to travel. I’ve known from a very young age I wanted to be somewhere beautiful and far away for my wedding. My fiance was totally on board when we got engaged. We ended up inviting just parents and siblings to join us. Will be small and intimate but I am cutting the wedding traditions I don’t like or don’t fit my fiances or I’s style.  We both don’t like being the center of attention or all eyes on me so this worked out perfectly for us. 

In the end do what you and your fiance want! Yes we got some grief as we told everyone before. But in the end I’m very excited for the personal and intimate ceremony and reception we will have on Maui.

We are coming home and having a “cake & punch” reception with everyone we would have invited to a “normal” wedding. To share pictures and celebrate with friends and fam. No wedding traditions here more of a “grad party” style. 

Good luck and have fun!

Post # 6
78 posts
Worker bee

I’d wanted a huge dreamy wedding since I was a little girl, but when the time came the thought of it stressed me out so much that we had a small simple wedding. I took a chance doing that, but I didn’t regret it one bit! And I still have all the fun of planning huge perfect weddings in my head, without the stress : ) 

Post # 7
2070 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

After years of thinking I “had” to do this or that because someone else thought it was up to them to decide how I should live, I have learned that I can always kindly and firmly do what I think is right and what I am comfortable with. Even with those people I love and who have raised me. It’s unkind to yourself and to others to live otherwise. Honestly, it was a great life lesson for me. At my first wedding, my mother begged me to dance (“please, please do it for me. Your own mother!”). I was like, “no, mom, we’re not having dancing. I’m going to go talk to Biff now. Can I get you a glass of wine?”. She did not die. She did not disown me. She doesn’t even remember that anymore.

So, my suggestion would be to come from a place of love and respect for your parents, but with the firm knowledge that you and your FI decide what traditions you will participate in. Does your Mother-In-Law control your actions? Will she grab your arms and force you to smash cake in your husband’s face? When I get anxious about stuff like that, I like to remind myself, “oh yeah, it’s completely up to me.” If you want to do something to please them, then do it completely free of resentment and because you truly want to do that for them. Otherwise, follow your own wishes about your wedding or elopment. No guilt.

Post # 8
307 posts
Helper bee

I don’t like going to other peoples’ weddings so I imagine I would have dreaded my own. I never even considered anything but eloping.

Post # 9
3281 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

We eloped. I never had dreams of a wedding, and certainly not a wedding with other people. Both of us are introverts. Our family and friends are scattered throughout the country, so getting everyone together would have been complicated.

We wanted to do things our own way–not doing things for other people. We are from different religious backgrounds so that might have made it more difficult to please family members. 

My grandparents were happily married for many years and they got married just the two of them in a church with a couple of witnesses. DH’s parents were happily married for many years and they had eloped to Mexico. 

So, eloping seemed like a very natural choice for us. We just had to decide where to do it. We told people ahead of time about the elopement. Some people gave us a hard time because we didn’t have an event they could attend. I think it was mostly fun for our family and friends because I kept posting a countdown to the elopement date. So, they were included. I also posted when we got the marriage license, wrote the vows, etc.

Enlopement was perfect for us and I have no regrets. 


Post # 10
1045 posts
Bumble bee

We didn’t “elope” exactly. DH and I were back and forth with how to do the smallest wedding possible. But due to him having a very large family and me not so much, there was just no way we could invite everyone on his side (MIL demands). Example although I am close with my aunts, cousins, nephews, etc, DH isn’t close with his. Mother-In-Law would have flipped if one of my cousins were invited and the 25 on her side wasn’t. Plus my Mother-In-Law and SIL just had too much say on how we should do it. My family could have cared less as I had the big wedding before with my ex and I didn’t want to plan a giant circus all over again. DH wasn’t excited to plan a wedding either. 

So one day we just decided to hit the courthouse, just us, the following week. My SIL and Mother-In-Law pretty much found out a few days before we did it. Mother-In-Law accepted it but was NOT happy at all. We had some backlash from her that we weren’t even going to plan a “party” to celebrate. Even if we were to have such a party, again, there was no way to keep it small. Having 100ppl over for a bbq wasn’t going to happen and I didn’t want a hefty bill having so many people at a hall or restaurant to please someone else. At the end of the day, it’s our marriage, our choice. 


Post # 11
1724 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

H has almost crippling social anxiety, and I have toxic family.  H’s parents are also practically immobile, and in 2012, when H’s brother got married, it was just shy of impossible to get them to the wedding and reception, which was only 5 blocks from their home.  The dad had an agoraphobic panic attack from being away from home and almost collapsed in a parking lot.  And H and I are the most likely to get them to and fro, so no one would b on hand to do it for us had we opted for the hometown church.

One set of friends who had a huge wedding told us to spend more on the honeymoon than the ceremony, which got us looking into resorts for a honeymoon.  We discovered that those same resorts perform weddings, and so we could get married AND have a honeymoon in Jamaica for a week, for the same cost as a 30 person or less wedding and reception locally.

All in all, just us was wonderful, I loved it, and it let us focus on just getting married.

Post # 12
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2020 - La Jolla, CA

I supposed it depends on what your idea of a small wedding is. I want to have a very small wedding, but elopement style. I know where I want to do it, but we have an almost 3 year old son-and he’s a runner. So someone would need to hold on to him. Meaning someone else needs to be there. But I can’t invite my mom

ans not his (or vice versa). And I would want my sister there, but I can’t invite her without his brother. And so on,

so forth. So it’s his mom, brother (and gf), dad (hopefully, from cross country), my mom (and step dad), dad (and step mom), ex stepdad, sister (and nephew), and Grandma.  And one friend, if we each decide we want to. Much smaller than if we were to go traditional, much more informal and shorter in length. And then we can all go to dinner after. My perfect day. We can do the big day/party another time, but for now, I just want to be his wife, and not go into debt!

Post # 13
644 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

I am really really torn between a small wedding, an eloptment (with an amazing honeymoon), a small ceremony and taking everyone out to dinne…etc


Our budget is about $5k. I am pretty sure I could do a small wedding with a small reception within our budget. However, I am also a traveler by nature and am super tempted to just skip out on the stresses of planning and take a vacay.


I want to both celebrate with our family and friends, and to run away just the two of us to elope and take a trip. 


He wants whatever I want, which is not helpful right now lol.

Post # 14
37 posts

Our decision to elope actually happened while attending my cousins wedding. I was a bridesmaid and my cousin did all the expected traditions. During the reception we had to dance in in front of everyone alone and I about died. I hated all eyes on me and just wanted to melt into the floor, and I knew everyon there! 

My cousin (and others weddings I have attended) was stressed out and dealing with my family pulling them this way and that during the day. She had a HUGE blowout with a couple family members over the no child policy which I knew if I wanted a ceremony I didn’t want kids. And it was clear she was uncomfortable with the majorty of the tradions like you mentioned. All I could think about is why would she do this is she clearly was haitng it. 

My fiance and I are both very non-spotlight people. The thought of having all eyes on us as we share such an intimate moment sounded compltely awful to us. We are also dealing with having family in 3 different countries and I would be planning a wedding in the US from Europe which is a statistical nightmare. 

Now we are planning to take a long weekend and go somewhere just us. It will be intimate and I like that the moment will be shared between just us. We’ll have a reception in the country we live and in the US to celebreate with family and friends but they will be casual and take the pressure off things (we hope!) . We’re very excited now that we’ve decided this route 🙂

Post # 15
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

we decided we wanted a house instead of a wedding. luckily we were able to pick whose parents to move in the mean time while we save for a house. in the past two years we have saved 10 grand for future house and have spent about 4-6 grand in vacation over two years.

16-40 thousdand is probably what people spend on a wedding for one day

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