Vol.1, No.11

Eloping vs a family wedding

If you are trying to decide between a simple elopement or an extravagant familiy wedding, you need to know the pros and cons of both.

Family gathered at a wedding
Photo Credit: Nathan Watkins
You just got engaged. You are blissfully happy for days on end, dreaming about the perfect wedding that you will have. Soon, you actually start with some of the initial planning. You look at locations, caterers, florists, and so on. Eventually, the mounting expense, not to mention the sheer number of things that need to be done, starts to eat away at your ecstasy. You may even wonder if the wedding is even worth the trouble. If this scenario sounds familiar, then you need to weigh the pros and cons of eloping versus having a family wedding.

Family weddings are traditional for a reason. A wedding is a major event that family and friends want to celebrate together. The ceremony is touching, and the reception is a fun party. Additionally, most brides look forward to the wedding not only because they want to share their happiness, but also because they want to bask in the spotlight for a while. The wedding day is the bride's time show off her beautiful self and her loving husband. Eloping is, on the other hand, a private affair. This, too, has its benefits. Some couples really just want to be alone together. If the couple's friends and family do not get along, eloping is a good way to avoid some unpleasant fights or awkward silences. Additionally, couples who are not very close to their family may prefer eloping.

Family weddings are typically rather extravagant; like most extravagant things, they also tend to be quite expensive. Even small weddings still need flowers, champagne, and food. Many families work themselves into debt trying to create a fairytale wedding, when the money is really better spent on the new life that the couple wants to build. Guests, especially bridesmaids who have to purchase a dress and out of town guests who need to purchase plane tickets, might also suffer from financial strain. Eloping is much less expensive. Couples can get married at a courthouse or they can get married while on their honeymoon; either way saves a lot of money.

Family weddings are also notorious for being stressful. Some of the stress can be alleviated by hiring a professional wedding planner, but this adds to the cost of the wedding, thus causing a whole new type of stress. Many brides are so worn out by the time that the wedding actually arrives that they cannot even enjoy their magical day. Some couples who originally planned on a family wedding opt for an elopement when the stress levels get too high.

Family weddings can be beautiful occasions that everyone will remember for years. They can also be the cause of financial ruin and stress-related bickering. People who have the time and money necessary for a family wedding should probably try to have one, but people who do not have the required resources should consider eloping. A couple who elopes will still have cherished memories, and they can always celebrate with friends and family in a more casual setting later.