To Elope or Not to ElopeGetting married is a huge commitment whether you have a formal wedding or not. It takes time to get to know another person and to cultivate the foundation for a relationship that can last a lifetime. If you are certain that you have made the decision to spend the rest of your life committed to your partner, then go ahead and seal those vows! However, if you’re not certain about committing to a more formal wedding ceremony with all of the bells and whistles, then discuss the following factors with your partner to determine if elopement is the best choice for you.

Privacy and intimacy. When you think about what is important to you as a couple related to a wedding ceremony, one item to consider is how intimate you want your time together to be. For some couples, they imagine being in the spotlight in front of a large group of people professing their undying love. For others, just having their family and friends present is more meaningful. Elopement is an attractive option if you imagine a day completely focused on each other and on the commitment you are making. It allows for greater privacy, more uninterrupted time together and greater control over the invite list — just the two of you!

Cost factor. When budgets are tight, cost becomes an important consideration. Weddings can be very expensive, often costing thousands of dollars. When planning a wedding, you have to think about the costs related to invitations, catering, venue, photography, food, decorations, dresses and tuxedos, etc. These expenses can really add up. If a wedding is important to you and your partner and you can develop a reasonable budget, then most would agree that it is money well spent. However, if a wedding/reception is something on which you aren’t comfortable spending much money—or if you’d rather allocate funds to the honeymoon or to a party celebrating your wedding later—eloping can still provide a very memorable, and often less costly day.

Time commitment. Planning a wedding takes a great deal of time and effort, and can be quite stressful! If you already have a very busy schedule, you may find it nearly impossible to fit wedding planning into your daily routine. While it can serve as a valuable opportunity for you and your partner to work on communication, problem solving, and compromise, some couples may decide that their time is better spent on things more important to them than an actual wedding event. If you find that time and hassle are key considerations, eloping may be a viable option.

Family disparities. Due to differences in religion, culture, or even general opinions about the upcoming marriage, it can be difficult to keep both sides of the family satisfied when planning a wedding. Sometimes trying to find compromises that are satisfactory to both sides is not always possible. It is important for couples to ensure that their wedding day is a day dedicated to their commitment to one another, and not a day spent keeping everyone happy. Discuss whether elopement would be a good choice for you based on your family situation.

While weddings provide the opportunity to share your commitment with each other, your friends and your families, they can also bring tremendous stress to your relationship. Depending on your circumstances, what is truly important to you could easily get lost in the details involved in planning a wedding. For some couples, the dilemma of whether to elope or not to elope is answered more easily after discussing these issues. Regardless, it is important to make sure that whatever you decide, it suits your relationship and your circumstances in a meaningful way and for a lifetime.