Deciding If You Should Elope

Have you ever thought about eloping?

Deciding if you should elope can involve a lot of factors. Maybe the thought of planning a wedding stresses you out. Or maybe a traditional wedding doesn’t quite feel like the right fit. Or maybe you want to avoid family drama or tense relationships. Or maybe you want to simply elope, but don’t know what all that actually could look like.

We compiled all the factors involved with deciding if you should elope, and what that could look like for you. Hopefully this gives you some clarity on what you want your wedding experience to be and what direction to start!

The sweetest ceremony on summer evening // Michigan Forest Elopement

Things to Consider

Your Values

A major deciding factor in whether you should elope or not is your values.

Maybe this is controversial, but your wedding day is not the most important day of your life. Sure, it’s definitely a top contender, but marriage is full of exciting and monumental days together. It’s about your love for each other that matters most!

Traditional weddings are typically very family / guest centered, with a lot of emphasis on following tradition. And that isn’t a bad thing! For some people, that aligns with their hearts and what they want, and is a perfect fit. But for others, that isn’t an authentic or good fit for their wedding day, and can bring on a lot of negative emotions. And when starting a new and exciting chapter of life with your partner, you deserve a space of peace.

Elopements value a very intentional experience over everything else. It’s 100% about you, without distractions, drama, or expectations. At the end of the day, you’re committing to each other and celebrating your love! People that elope tend to highly value experiences over things, and are excited the most for commitment and life together.

The beauty of elopements means you can strip down all the pressure, expectations, obligations, and anxiety, and simply be in an authentic and safe space, celebrating you. You can be intentional about your time together, and be your authentic selves. Eloping honors your essence, and breathes peace into your wedding experience,

It doesn’t matter who you’re with, where you’re at, what you’re doing, because ultimately you are committing your lives to each other in love. And that’s what matters most to you. And if you align with that, eloping would be the perfect experience for you.

Things to Consider


Weddings often have a big emphasis on the guests ( a lot of guests) and a lot of family centered traditions. And for some that sounds great! And for others, that could bring on a lot of anxiety. Maybe you have social anxiety, or are introverted. Or maybe you have tense family dynamics. Maybe you just want a personal and intimate experience the two of you. Or you want to include some family and friends, but aren’t sure how. We’ve got all the factors to consider about people and your wedding day here!

Did you know 50% of the population is considered introverted? Traditional weddings are often very heavy with talking and entertaining guests, as well as the spotlight being on you most of the day. And that may be exciting and fun for some. But for others, it could make you feel sick to think about. And that’s okay! Eloping breaks the mold and allows you to create a safe space where you can be comfortable, and be yourself. You can decide if you want guests, or just have an unique, peaceful experience just the two of you. Because with eloping, you have options, and don’t have to follow expectations that don’t fit you!

Entertaining and talking to guests comes at some degree with weddings. If you think about it, traditional weddings are actually very guest centric! The average wedding has about 200 guests, and for some, the thought of making small talk with that many people feels draining already. It’s usually expected the couple at least greets every guest, whether through a line or making rounds at dinner tables. So let’s break down the number on that expectation.

The average wedding has 167 guests. Say you spend 3 minutes chatting with each guest.

3 minutes x 167 guests = 501 minutes

501 minutes / 60 (minutes) = 8.35 hours

Yes, almost EIGHT and a HALF hours are needed to be able to make small talk with every single guest! And that’s how couples end up not eating dinner or missing dancing, and the reality is, you still end up not being able to talk to everyone! With eloping, you can be intentional about who is present on your day, and have more intentional time to relax, talk, and enjoy the guests you do have.

Eloping doesn’t have to mean no guests at all, because for some that doesn’t quite align with their hearts. But instead you can be intentional about your time and who you’re spending it with!

Some people have very tight knit, close relationships with their family, and a larger, traditional wedding might feel right for them. But the reality for for a lot of people is tense or distant relationships, and having a large wedding could be awkward, uncomfortable, or downright painful. And traditional wedding planning can often flare up drama and put more strain on relationships.

Eloping can give you the freedom to avoid flaring family drama or tensions, and more importantly, creates a safe and peaceful place for you to be be your 100% self. No judgements, distractions, or obligations. Remember, nobody has a “right” to be at your wedding! You have choices, and can create an experience that is the best for you.

It’s okay if you aren’t close with your family, always remember that you have your chosen family as well! Because being present at your wedding is a privilege, not a right.

And it’s also okay if you are close with your family, and just want to elope to have a personal experience! Whereas traditional weddings have a family / guest focus, elopements have no rules, so you can choose who and how you want to involve people in your day. Consider some of the following elopement “solutions” when deciding if you should elope!


  • Friends and Family – Invite and celebrate with close friends / family, go hiking, rent an airbnb, have a dinner / dance party, this could look like however you want!
  • Split your time – spend half the day alone together, and the other half celebrating with family and / or friends
  • Make it a weekend thing – Spend a whole day together alone, doing your favorite activities and spend the next with family and / or friends celebrating together
  • Have separate celebrations – If you want to keep your groups from overlapping, celebrate with each group separately. This could look like a dinner with family one time, and a dance party with friend another time.
  • Post Celebration – Elope just the two of you, and have a separate celebration at a later date
  • Send an announcement card – This is a great way to include a registry if people want to give gifts!
  • Elope just the two of you and your photographer!

Some people want a lot of guests and traditions, and the traditional wedding model makes sense. But for a lot of others, a wedding doesn’t quite fit, and deciding to elope can create an experience that is personalized and authentic.

Things to Consider

Planning & Stress Levels

Did you know that getting married is the 3rd most stressful event most people will experience? And there’s a reason for that. Wedding planning is a LOT of work with a lot of moving parts. And not everyone is an event planner. In fact, most people have never planned an event of that size before! Traditional weddings come with a lot of stress around planning and family dynamics, and for a lot of people, it becomes a joy sucker. It’s so important to consider your stress levels and what factors those may be when deciding if you should elope!

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard someone say “I can’t wait for this to be over with.” And it makes me so sad to hear. You should be experiencing more positive emotions like excitement and joy, than negative emotions like stress when it comes to this stage of life. After all, you’re starting a new chapter and celebrating committing your lives to each other!

Planning an elopement isn’t *completely* stress free, but deciding to elope takes significant amounts of stress out of the equation. Stress factors could include family dynamics, planning a large event, guest lists, a large enough venue, and so much more. Planning an elopement is a much more exciting and fun experience, because it’s personal to you! You can choose what activities you do, who you want to include if anyone, where you’ll explore, and instead of feeling like a job, it’ll be like planning the best vacation of your life.

When you choose to elope, you’re choosing an enjoyable experience, because it’s whatever you make it! You can cut out the complicated planning and stress factors, and be able to focus on soaking up every moment of this chapter with your love. Eloping allows you to focus on what matters to you most.

Things to Consider

Your Experience

Traditional weddings have a pretty set, cookie cutter structure of the day. Usually it’s a fast paced timeline that follows the ceremony – photos – dinner – speeches – first dances model, and leaves little time for anything else. And that’s exactly what some people want! But for others, it doesn’t quite feel authentic to them, or is too fast paced to feel enjoyable. Deciding if you should elope or not boils down to your experience, and what you want that to look like.

Eloping gives you the freedom of a million choices of how your day could go. You could spend the morning making pancakes and getting ready together, before exchanging vows in beautiful scenery. Or you could do a kayak tour with friends and have a campfire dinner celebration after (with smores!)

If don’t want a cookie cutter wedding experience, but don’t know where to get ideas for how to make your day unique, these are some good questions to sit down together and answer!

What are your favorite activities to do together?

Is there an experience or activity you’ve always wanted to try? (wheel thrown pottery class, hot air balloon tour, etc.)

What is on your bucket lists?

Is there a location you’ve always wanted to visit together?

What does a typical shared day off look like for you?

It’s also important to be prepared for the unexpected. Eloping in nature means different types of weather, but with a flexible timeline you’re able to roll with whatever happens. When deciding if you should elope or not, know that most couples who elope tend to value their time and experience with each other, regardless of whatever the fine details of the day are.

At the end of the day your wedding day is an experience. Maybe you want a fast paced, firm timeline and a traditional experience, and a wedding would be a good fit. But if you vibe with taking things at a slower pace and having a personal and unique experience with your partner over expectations, then elopements are the perfect fit for you.

Couples who elope value experiences over things, because what matters most is their love for each other. And traditional weddings involve a lot of things! A lot of weddings use single use, wasteful items that cost a chunk of change as well. Couples who elope care more about their intentional experience with one another than stuff.

If valuing meaningful experiences with each other over things aligns with your heart, then eloping would be the right decision for you!

Things to Consider

Your Photos

Think about this, at the end of the day your dress gets packed away, your flowers wilt, but your photos live on, forever freezing the story of your wedding in time. Now since traditional weddings have a very set mold, wedding photos tend to be cookie cutter, and all look the same. And your photos shouldn’t look just like everyone else’s! Your love story is beautifully unique, and your photos should be the same.

Choosing to elope means your photos will truly reflect your relationship and who you are together, authentically. If you highly value photos that are meaningful, emotional, and unique to you, then eloping is the way to go.

We believe in documenting the story of your elopement through a blend of photojournalism and cinematography, so you can look back on your photos in 50 years, with the emotions of the moment flooding back. Your story is one of a kind, and your photos should reflect your hearts and who you are.

Deciding to elope doesn’t have to be scary, We’ll be there with you every step of the way so you have a clear path and a joyful experience in a space of peace.

So if an elopement experience sounds like your jam, reach out to us and we can help you get started!

Hey! I'm Corinne, an adventure elopement + intimate wedding photographer based in Indiana, but documenting love stories across the U.S. I believe in documenting the start of your marriage in an honest and emotional way that reflects your legacy. So that you can look back on photos fifty years from now with the same emotions of the moment flooding back. Let's take the road less traveled by together and craft your dream wedding day!

When I'm not documenting sweet couples, I spend my days with my sweet husband, Jake, two kitty babies and a crazy dog in our hometown of Fort Wayne. I'm obsessed with hiking and finding new trails, Game of Thrones, and creating art.


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