The traditional definition of 'elope' refers to a sudden and secretive marriage, usually to avoid parental objections. Today's elopements are often exciting, planned alternatives to traditional weddings -- and parents, close friends, and family may even be invited.

Reasons People Elope

Parental objection to their child's choice of spouse is no longer the only reason couples elope. There are many benefits that make it an attractive option for modern couples. Advantages over having a traditional wedding include:

  • Saving Money: This is one of the most popular reasons for eloping. Feeling pressured into having the 'prefect' or most 'unique' wedding, many newlyweds find themselves buried in debt. Rather than spend thousands of dollars they may or may not have, couples may choose to forego a lavish wedding and reception in favor of eloping.
  • Fun, Excitement, and Romance: The thrill of having a destination wedding or taking off with your fiancée is what lures some away from traditional weddings. The sense of spontaneity and adventure that accompanies an elopement can be very appealing.
  • Avoiding Stress of Wedding Planning: Even a planned elopement that includes family and friends does not take the time and attention to detail of planning a traditional wedding ceremony and reception. Many places, like Napa Valley's Enchanting Elopements, Yosemite Valley's Elopement Packages, and Nashville's Butterfly Hollow Wedding Packages make your wedding virtually stress free.
  • Privacy and Intimacy: For some, the wonderful experience of getting married is best celebrated through a private and intimate getaway. This allows the couple to really focus on one another and the special joy of their marriage.

Other Considerations

While there are numerous advantages to eloping, there are also some drawbacks to consider before you book your flight to Hawaii or start packing your bags for Vegas.

  • Consider the impact on your family and friends. Some people may be very hurt by your decision not to have a traditional wedding. Are you prepared to deal with their reactions? If you decide to elope alone, are you completely sure you won't miss celebrating your special day with them?
  • Are you planning on eloping because you feel you don't have enough time to plan your wedding? Most wedding guides advise ample time to plan and prepare for your wedding, but that doesn't mean you can't plan a fabulous wedding in less time. With a little ingenuity, you can still have the wedding of your dreams.
  • Do both of you want to elope? If both of you are not totally comfortable with the idea, it may not be the memorable experience that one partner envisions it to be.
  • Are you rushing into marriage too soon? Some couples run away to get married after falling 'instantly' in love, only to realize later they were not prepared for the mental and emotional commitment of marriage. Your actual wedding plans may be spontaneous, but your decision to marry one another should be fully contemplated.

Top Places for Marriage Getaways

Some of the most popular places to get married include:


If you are considering the idea of eloping, but aren't totally convinced, you have a wide range of alternatives to a traditional church wedding and a dinner reception at a hall. Modern weddings aren't governed by the kind of social sanctions of the past -- your wedding is, after all, your wedding, and you can do it however you like.

You could choose a morning wedding and a light brunch with close friends and family, a backyard wedding and a barbeque, say your vows under a pavilion at your local zoo or at a local park. There's nothing wrong with getting married by the Justice of Peace and including your close family and friends with dinner at a favorite restaurant or a potluck dinner.

Whether you choose to go ahead with a standard wedding and reception, focus on the private experience of marriage with just you and your fiancée, or only include a few of those close to you, your day will no doubt be special.

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