Pros and Cons of Eloping – Is Eloping Worth It?

Pros and Cons of Eloping

Here’s the truth – I’m all about elopements. The great outdoors, the authenticity, the comfort of being able to do whatever you want on your wedding day, the amazing vibes, and intimate moments. 

But, for some couples, a traditional wedding truly is what’s right! And I think every couple deserves a wedding day that makes their hearts soar, and one that will feel totally them. The decision to elope can be scary – and the fear of disappointing others, or of stepping into something so unfamiliar, can often hold couples back! So, here are the pros and cons of eloping, so that you can decide for yourself if the perks of eloping are worth it, and if this decision is right for you.

Elopement Pro: Get Married Outside

This is one of my favorite perks of eloping – instead of a traditional wedding venue, you get to tie the knot somewhere beautiful! You’re not limited to places designed to host 150 people, so you can elope on a cliff over the ocean, on top of a mountain, on a sandy beach… the options are literally endless!  

Choose a spot that you love or visit somewhere entirely new, and say your vows are surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Elopement Con: Outdoor Wedding, Outdoor Logistics

You’ll notice that a lot of the pros and cons of eloping are, well, pros and cons. While getting married outdoors is one of the huge perks of eloping, it can also come with some added logistics! Tying the knot outdoors means you likely don’t have a rain plan, and you have less control over what happens on the big day. 

Things like trail or road closures, wildfires, or just inclement weather can be inconvenient when your ceremony location is in the great outdoors – but, with a little extra preparation and a backup plan (and booking an elopement photographer and guide who can help you navigate any obstacles), you can roll with the punches, because it’s all part of the adventure! The pros and cons of eloping are really just about your preferences and your mindset, and every couple is different.

Elopement Pro: More Sustainable and Eco Friendly

Big weddings are a huge source of waste and carbon emissions! According to the Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces 400 pounds of waste and 63 tons of carbon dioxide. Those are scary numbers – but one of the perks of eloping is that it’s so much better for the environment.

With a shorter guest list, little to no single-use decorations, and no huge venue powered by electricity, the environmental impact is so much smaller! Plus, when you get married outdoors, if you’re paying for a permit, that money supports the parks – so you get to give back to your “venue.”

Couple Eloping on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park Maine

Elopement Con: Fewer Gifts, Keepsakes, and Fanfare

For some couples, this part of the pros and cons of eloping can actually be a pro, but for others, it’s a drawback of eloping. Getting married usually brings along celebrations – your loved ones are happy and excited for you, and you get to celebrate with engagement parties, wedding showers, and wedding gifts, and it’s all about you! If the fanfare and extravagance of a big wedding are appealing to you, an elopement might feel less exciting – but, if you’re torn, you can always elope and have a reception party later, or an engagement party before the big day!

Elopement Pro: No Stress

One of the huge perks of eloping is that it’s so much less stressful! Elopements still require planning, but it’s a lot more flexible than traditional wedding planning. You get to decide what you want to do, and you can ditch any traditions that you don’t like! Instead of worrying about throwing the best party and pleasing everyone, you can focus on choosing a location you love, and planning something fun, meaningful, and unforgettable.

Couple Cudding In the Grass after their elopement Hollywood California

Elopement Con: No Rules

Another one that falls into both the pros and cons of eloping – there are no rules! While having the freedom to do literally anything on your elopement day can be liberating and exciting, there’s also a little thing called analysis paralysis. You know when there are too many options and you don’t know how to begin narrowing it down?

Not having a roadmap or a rulebook for planning your elopement can stress some people out – but one of the perks of eloping is that as an elopement photographer, part of my job is helping couples figure this part out! I’ll get a feel for what you want, and narrow down some options so that you have an easier time deciding.

Elopement Pro: Spend Time Together

At big weddings, so much time is spent running around saying hello to all your guests, or making sure that things are going well, that couples hardly get time to breathe! One of the perks of eloping is that you get to be truly present in the moment, and spend time together. You connect with your partner, and enjoy the day – because aren’t weddings supposed to be about the two of you?

Couple Eloping on the Cliffs of Big Sur California

Elopement Con: A Shorter Guest List

Eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have guests at all – you can totally invite a few loved ones if that’s what you want! If you want a private, intimate day, the short, or nonexistent, the guest list can be one of the biggest perks of eloping. But if you really do want to celebrate with 100 of your friends and family members, a traditional wedding might be better for you! 

Elopement Pro: More Budget Friendly

While elopements aren’t about saving money or avoiding investing in your wedding day, one of the perks of eloping is that it usually costs less than a traditional wedding! The average US wedding costs over $30,000 – and while every elopement and every elopement budget is different, one thing that they all have in common is that you get to decide what you want to spend your money on. It can be an international flight or a National Park Pass, a helicopter tour, or a picnic – the point is that the value of your elopement comes from the experience you have.

Elopement Con: Risk Disappointing People

Weddings tend to come with a lot of expectations – especially from those closest to you. Families sometimes feel personally slighted when it comes to couples making the decision to elope, and one of the biggest barriers for couples can be the fear of disappointing their loved ones.

The truth is, this is your wedding day – and I think that’s pretty important! Your experience is more important than anyone else’s sense of entitlement, and you deserve to celebrate your marriage in a way that feels right to you, without worrying about outside opinions. So while considering others’ feelings is never a bad thing, I believe that ultimately, the decision should be yours. And once you explain why you want to elope, maybe they’ll come around!

Couple Getting Married at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur at Sunrise

Pros and Cons of Eloping – Making the Decision

As I said, many of the pros and cons of eloping are just about your preferences, and the way you feel about this whole wedding thing! Some perks of eloping for you might be drawbacks for another couple, and vice versa. If you’re still on the fence, check out these 5 signs that eloping is right for you.

And if you’ve decided that an epic day in a dreamy location sounds like your jam, contact me! I’ll help you navigate this brave decision, and guide you to planning the best celebration, ever.

elopement photographer evangeline lane in yosemite national park

Hey, I’m Evangeline

an adventurous and laid-back elopement photographer helping couples plan meaningful experiences for their wedding day in nature. I focus on capturing the vibe of your day and the epic landscape views all over the West Coast, Acadia National Park and beyond.

Let's chat about your day!