Deciding to elope is a super personal choice for any couple. Elopements are often seen as romantic and spontaneous, but they require careful thought to make sure they align with what you both really want. Not every couple who decide to elope initially start out knowing that’s what they want. Often, they will start to plan a larger traditional wedding, and for one reason or another come to realise that a big wedding just doesn’t feel right for them.

So how do you know if an elopement is right for you? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure out if eloping is the right move for you.

So, should we elope? Deciding to elope is a deeply personal choice for any couple. This image captures the essence of an intimate, romantic elopement with two brides smiling with excitement at each other on their elopement day amidst a natural, serene forest setting. Their flower-adorned hairstyles and unique wedding attire reflect the personalized, meaningful experience that an elopement can offer. If the idea of a cozy, personal ceremony away from the hustle and bustle of a large wedding resonates with you, eloping might be the perfect choice.

1. What Kind of Wedding Experience Do We Envision?

Before jumping into anything, think about the kind of wedding experience you both dream about. Are you picturing a cozy, personal ceremony, or do you want a huge party with all your family and friends? Knowing your shared vision can really help guide your decision. If the idea of saying your vows on a secluded mountaintop or a quiet beach with just the two of you sounds perfect, an elopement might be the way to go. But if you love the thought of a big celebration filled with loved ones, a traditional wedding might be more your style.

Remember to really sit and feel your feelings here, ask yourselves are you envisioning a traditional wedding because that’s all you have experienced? Or you feel its expected of you? It’s ok to break that mould and think outside of the box! Dig deep here and ask yourselves what the one most important thing for both of you on your wedding day is? Many couples are surprised at their answers when they are completely open and honest with themselves.

2. How Important Is It to Us to Involve Family and Friends in Our Ceremony?

Think about how much you want to involve family and friends in your big day. Will your loved ones be supportive of your decision to elope, or do you think they might be disappointed or upset? It’s important to consider their feelings alongside your own, but don’t let them decide how your wedding day will be for you. If having your parents, siblings, and closest friends there is a priority, consider how to include them in an elopement *here’s some ideas on how you can do that*. On the other hand, if you feel your wedding day should be just about you being completely authentically who you are for the day, an elopement can let you focus on each other without any distractions.

3. What Is Our Budget for the Wedding?

Money matters when it comes to planning a wedding. Are you looking to spend your budget more consciously? Would an elopement help you stick to your financial goals? Elopements can be more budget-friendly, allowing you to focus on the things that matter to you, and dropping some of the things that don’t. For example, rather than spending a substantial portion of your budget on a venue, would you rather take a few very close people to a once in a lifetime location? Does swapping a 100-person multi course standard menu meal for a 5* private chef experience, sound more enticing?

Traditional weddings can get pricey fast with venues, catering, and all the extras, and whilst an elopement can help you save, it isn’t inherently a cheaper option. During the planning process you still must factor in things like travel expenses, accommodation, and legal fees. As well as the consideration of hiring a local planner if the location you choose isn’t one you know exceptionally well. An elopement does allow you to spend your money on a memorable, unique, and personal experience together.

4. What Are Our Thoughts on Wedding Planning Stress?

Planning a big wedding can be stressful and time-consuming. Do you enjoy the idea of organizing a major event, or do you prefer a simpler, less stressful process?

Maybe the thought of having that family drama play out over a table plan is making you anxious? Or the thought of making 100 guests happy for an entire day, whilst being the center of attention makes you want to reach for your duvet to hide? An elopement offers a more straightforward, hassle-free alternative. If the thought of coordinating a large event with multiple vendors, guests, and details feels overwhelming, eloping might be the stress-free solution you’re looking for. It allows you to focus on each other and the significance of your commitment without all the added pressure.

5. Do We Value Privacy and Intimacy Over Tradition and Formality?

Think about whether you value privacy and intimacy over tradition and formality. How do you feel about breaking away from traditional wedding norms? An elopement lets you focus on each other without the pressure of fulfilling conventional expectations. If you cherish private, intimate moments, and prefer a less formal approach, eloping can create a deeply personal experience. It’s a chance to design a ceremony that truly reflects your relationship, free from societal expectations and traditions that may not resonate with you.

6. How Will We Handle the Legal Aspects of Marriage in the Location We Choose to Elope?

Different places have different marriage laws and requirements. Are you aware of the legal aspects of getting married in the location you’re considering? Researching and understanding these requirements is essential to avoid any legal hiccups. Whether you’re planning to elope locally or abroad, make sure you know what documents you need, any waiting periods, and other legalities. This prep work will ensure your marriage is legally recognized and you avoid any unnecessary stress on your special day.

With an elopement you have a few options when it comes to legality.

  • Firstly, find a planner/photographer with experience in this area. They will be able to not only guide you through the legal process, but they will also have invaluable knowledge on some of the typical pitfalls, having gone through the process many times.
  • You can choose a location to self-solemnize; certain US states allow this legally.
  • You could also decide that a having a celebrant or non-legal ceremony where you say your vows to each other, with a short paperwork signing at home to make it legal in your home country, is easier. This can also be a clever way to include friends and family, by having them there for your marriage certificate signing.

7. What Are Our Priorities for the Wedding Day?

Identify your top priorities for your wedding day. Is the focus more on the commitment you’re making to each other, or on celebrating with others? Clarifying your priorities can help you decide whether an elopement fits your vision. If your main priority is to celebrate your love in an intimate, meaningful way, an elopement can provide the perfect setting. If celebrating with your community and creating shared memories with loved ones is important, you might consider incorporating elements of a traditional wedding or even planning a post-elopement celebration.

8. How Do We Feel About Potentially Missing Out on Certain Traditional Wedding Elements?

Consider whether there are specific aspects of a traditional wedding that are important to you that you might miss with an elopement. Are you okay with potentially skipping elements like a large reception, religious or family traditions? Think about what parts of a traditional wedding hold significant meaning for you and whether you can incorporate them into your elopement somehow. For example, you could have a small celebration with family and friends after your elopement to share the joy of your union.

9. What Are Our Long-Term Goals and Values as a Couple?

Reflect on your long-term goals and values as a couple. How does an elopement align with your vision for your future together? Are you deeply connected to a life together where your partnership is prioritised more than anything else? Or is a wider family and community really at the heart of who you are? A wedding can bring up questions about ethical practises, sustainability, and ecological impact for some couples. Does having guests fly from around the country, or the trash and food waist of a large wedding concern you? *Read more about how to make your wedding more sustainable here*

Make sure your decision supports your shared life goals and values. An elopement can be a powerful statement about your priorities and the way you want to approach life together. It emphasizes the importance of your relationship over external expectations and allows you to start your married life with a focus on what truly matters to you both.

10. How Will We Announce Our Elopement to Our Families and Friends?

Finally, think about how you’ll share your elopement news with your families and friends. Do you have a plan for announcing the elopement and managing any reactions? It’s important to communicate your decision thoughtfully and considerately. Some couples choose to announce their elopement with personalized cards, a video message, or a small gathering to share the news and celebrate. Think about how to frame your announcement to emphasize your joy and excitement, helping your loved ones understand your reasons for eloping and share in your happiness. If you would like to include them in your elopement or planning in any way, consider asking them to participate when you announce your plans. This can help those who are initially resistant to the idea feel like they haven’t been left out.


Eloping can be a beautiful and meaningful way to start your married life together. By asking yourselves these essential questions, you can make a well-informed decision that reflects your values, priorities, and desires as a couple. Whether you choose to elope or have a traditional wedding, what matters most is that your wedding day is a true reflection of your love and commitment to each other. Embrace the journey of making this decision together, knowing that it is the beginning of a lifetime of shared experiences and adventures.

Should You Elope? 10 Essential Questions Every Couple Should Ask

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