Even if you’ve always dreamed the big-white-wedding dream, there are going to be moments, especially when the planning gets a little too crazy, that you’re going to contemplate the E word. Yes, elopement!
Whether it’s a fantasy about jetting off to Las Vegas or the Gold Coast for a quick, pain-free wedding, the drama that often accompanies elopements seems a whole lot easier to handle than planning a fully-blown wedding.
Those who’ve done it, generally love it – until they get back home to face spurned friends and relatives. Of course, others wouldn’t have it any other way.
Elopement refers to lovers who run away together with the intention of getting married. In the past it may have been because their parents did not approve of their match, or perhaps even because the girl was pregnant.
These days, however, when people refer to eloping, they usually mean a planned destination wedding where the only people present are the bride and groom and a couple of witnesses. The witnesses might be complete strangers provided by the wedding venue, or a couple of close friends, perhaps the people that would usually have been asked to be best man and maid of honour.
If you are tempted by the idea of exchanging your vows on a beautiful beach at sunset in an intimate ceremony, the following pros and cons of eloping should help you to make up your mind.
Three reasons to elope
1. Your wedding day will be very personal and intimate, and will be just about the two of you together rather than about the right venue, the wedding breakfast, or whether the DJ plays the right songs. You will be able to spend the entire time with your new husband without having to socialise with hundreds of guests.
2. The whole wedding will be much less expensive if you don’t have to pay for venue hire, catering and entertainment for a roomful of guests. If you are taking your honeymoon in your elopement location you may not have to pay for the actual wedding at all.
3. You will avoid guest list dilemmas as it will just be the two of you and perhaps your witnesses. You won’t have to decide how many levels of cousins to invite, whether you should ask your work colleagues, or whether it’s impolite just to ask certain people to the evening event when their friends are invited to the whole day.
Reasons not to elope
1. Although you may think it won’t matter, you might regret excluding your family from your wedding celebrations. There are many significant moments during a traditional wedding ceremony, and seeing the pride in your mother’s face, or walking down the aisle with your father are special feelings that are hard to define.
2. Family and friends may react negatively to your elopement. It’s easy to say that it is your wedding and you should please yourself, but it’s not going to be a great start to married life if you’ve estranged your closest friends. People are sometimes offended of they don’t get an invite to your wedding, or if you organise a wedding that they can’t go to, especially if they have catered for you at their wedding.
3. You might offend religious or family values. If your family have strong moral or religious views, they may not see eloping as a suitable way to get married. If your family are strict Catholics, for example, you may cause offence if you decide to get married on a sun drenched beach instead of having a traditional church wedding.