For couples who are already struggling with student loans, low wages, and unaffordable housing, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding doesn’t make sense. If you don’t want to start off your marriage in the red, you might be inclined to find an alternative that allows you to enjoy your special day without spending more than you can afford.
One option that many couples (especially millennials) are embracing? An elopement. Although eloping was once regarded as suitable only for pregnant couples who needed to quickly make things official, it’s now a trendy way to get hitched without hitching yourself to an undue financial burden.
Every year, roughly 2.4 million weddings are performed throughout the United States, with approximately 44,230 ceremonies taking place every weekend. And despite the fact that couples are waiting longer to tie the knot (and the marriage rate among adults aged 18 to 64 is only 48.6 percent), the wedding industry is thriving like never before.
In fact, The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study revealed that the national average wedding cost is a staggering $33,931, and that doesn’t even include how much couples pay for their honeymoon. Whether they were unrealistic about vendor costs, fell in love with must-have details during the planning process, or realized they simply couldn’t leave certain guests off the invitation list, Americans tend to spend a lot more than they anticipated just to say “I do”.
It’s no wonder that approximately one-third of couples who were planning to walk down the aisle between 2018 and 2019 planned to borrow up to $10,000 to cover their wedding expenses, with 11 percent saying they’ll take on $50,000 or more in debt as a result.
Perks of eloping
But in the eloping vs wedding argument, cost isn’t the only consideration to keep in mind. When you opt for a traditional wedding, the event may be about more than just you and your future spouse. You’ll need to satisfy your parents and in-laws by including details that may not matter so much to you. More than likely, you’ll feel pressure to invite relatives you barely know or exclude others from the guest list who you’d ideally like to be part of your day.
And if you’ve got family drama to contend with or have a larger social circle, this process can add a lot of unnecessary anxiety to an already stressful process. When you elope, however, you can make the day solely about you and the love of your life. Your wedding can be whatever you and your partner envisioned and have a more intimate feel, rather than being a big show you’re putting on for others.
Eloping also allows you to be more creative and personal in terms of your choice of location and any special details you want to include. Instead of being forced to conform to a particular venue’s rules or a set of outdated traditions in which you don’t believe, you’ll have a lot more control over the experience.
Whether you choose to be married in a national park or at City Hall, you and your partner can determine the type of ceremony that fits with your desires and your relationship overall. This makes for an even more special and intimate experience.
Ways to elope
Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have the other people you care about witness your nuptials, however. You can absolutely invite a few of your closest family members and friends to witness your vows. Alternatively, you can decide to elope and then throw a fun party later on to celebrate with the people who matter most in your lives.
Not only will this take some of the pressure off on the day, but you’ll actually have a chance to spend time with your loved ones in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere if you go this route. If you have relatives or friends who felt hurt to not be invited to your initial elopement, hosting a small reception or soirée after the fact can go a long way. It also gives you an excuse to have cake and champagne, and who doesn’t want that?
Choosing to elope allows you to bypass the costs and traditions you don’t want to deal with. But if you have your heart set on taking dance lessons and impressing your guests with a turn on the floor with your new spouse, you’ll also have the freedom to include certain aspects of a wedding.
Essentially, eloping provides you with more freedom and control while alleviating stress and the need to overspend. Given all this, it’s not surprising that elopements have become so popular in recent years.