The Pros and Cons of Eloping

Lisa Lefkowitz Photography

Have you ever considered eloping? It's a difficult decision for many couples. Some brides and grooms don't want to deal with a big wedding and all the planning stress that goes along with it. Other couples don't know how to get their guest list down to an affordable size without offending a lot of people who believe they should have been invited. Other couples simply want to have their big moment be entirely between them, with nobody else present to distract them. Whatever the reason, don't underestimate how many brides and grooms are choosing elopements over big traditional weddings.

As with every major decision in life, there are pros and cons to consider. Take a look at my lists below to help make the right decision for you:


1. Every decision you'll make in planning is about what exactly you and your fiancé want. You don't have to take anybody else's preferences or wishes into account.

2. You can elope and have your honeymoon all in one place, saving you extra travel expense. While your friends are returning from their own weddings exhausted, you'll come back refreshed from a relaxing vacation.

3. You only have to spend the money for you and your fiancé's enjoyment. If you want to have your wedding dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town, go for it! It's just the two of you.

4. If anybody in your life objects to your wedding plans, you don't have to tell them anything about it until the deed is done.


1. Some of your family will feel hurt they weren't included. And good friends may feel slighted as well. Especially if it's a surprise.

2. You may have to plan some sort of back-home reception later on to avoid hurt feelings, and that means you're not really getting out of wedding planning by eloping, just postponing the inevitable.

3. You won't get amazing wedding photos of you dancing with your father, your friends dancing badly, and other late night shenanigans because the only trouble you'll be getting into will be with your new husband.

4. You don't get to be "Princess for a Day" with a full court of ladies-in-waiting, so to speak. Getting ready will be a more solitary experience. And while you'll be the center of attention for your new spouse, you won't be the guests of honor at a big party just for you.

If you really want to run away and get married, but you fear, most of all, the blowback from those who love you, my professional recommendation is to suck it up and live with planning some sort of informal event with those people after you've returned from your honeymoon. You don't have to do it right away, but let everybody know that you will, in fact, be inviting them to come celebrate your marriage with you soon.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

Related Stories