Is an elopement wedding the right choice for you and your spouse-to-be?

The Elopement Wedding Movement

by Leah Morgan

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Should We Elope?

Eloping has gotten an image makeover in recent times. History's taboo secretive ceremony has transformed into an attractive alternative to the wedding chaos of today. Brides and grooms are choosing to elope over planning the traditional wedding with all its social pressures, financial demands, and family obligations. Eloping has become something that couples plan with excitement, share with their families, and look forward to with as much, if not more, enthusiasm as a traditional, 250 guest wedding.

Couples choose to elope for a mix of reasons, not any one reason entirely according to a poll on However the one reason most couples include in their bag of reasons is the financial burden of getting married today. The average cost of a wedding is between $27,000 and $29.000, which does not include the honeymoon. Since almost one-third of couples now pay for their own wedding entirely, it is a serious burden to have a traditional wedding today. In many cases, the wedding budget is the serial cause of couple's arguments during the wedding planning process. Many couples decide that the strain is not worth it during what is supposed to be the happiest time in their lives. Others realize it is not the foundation they want for their marriage. Some simply have other priorities for their money beyond a one-day extravaganza.

One trend is that people are getting married at an older age and bearing more of the financial burden of the wedding themselves. They want the focus to be on them and their ceremony, not anyone else. The nature of elopement weddings offers boundless opportunities for personalization. The wedding day becomes an intimate and focused celebration of the couple by the couple. Second marriages are often elopements as well. People remarrying may have had a traditional wedding the first time around and as such have realized that the wedding was about much more than just the couple.

Family issues that include divorces, control issues and disapproval of the partner are a source of stress for many couples. Stories such as the groom's divorced parents could not be in the same room together, or the couples have such large families that they can not afford a traditional wedding come up again and again.

Elopement weddings return the focus and romance to getting married. The bride and groom are able to relinquish the irrelevant tasks such as catering tastings and flatware decisions and instead brainstorm about their perfect ceremony location and activities. The stress of planning a traditional wedding dissolves and the excitement of marrying the one you love returns.

Eloping also enables couples to get married in locations that wouldn't be feasible with 250 of their "closest" friends and family. Happily Las Vegas is no longer the only convenient option. All-inclusive elopement ceremony packages are available throughout the U.S. Many officiants and Bed and Breakfast's offer all-inclusive elopement packages that include the ceremony service, marriage certificate filing, photographer, simple bouquet, music, and champagne toast. Most officiants offer ceremonies custom to each couples beliefs. Reverend Judith Malear of Pacific Coast Weddings stated that, "It is my goal to create a meaningful ceremony to fit each couple's spiritual beliefs and heritage. More and more of my weddings are now elopement weddings."

Each officiant can usually perform ceremonies at a few of the surrounding vista points. On top of the turn key ceremony solutions offered, these officiants and B&Bs assist each couple with the state marriage requirements, recommendations for restaurants, hotels, and nightlife, and any general questions about the area.

Leveraging these nationwide officiant ceremony services, some couples decide to take their dream vacation as the setting of their wedding and honeymoon. Others choose to visit a place that has special meaning to them or to incorporate an activity that unites them such as hiking, snow skiing, sun worshiping or wine appreciation. Imagine getting married in a winery, on a mountain side, in a hot air balloon, or on the beach!

Elopement weddings are the sweet soul of what used to be a wedding. So before you pay the wedding industry troll its $30,000 entrance fee, explore the idea of a simple sunset ceremony for two. It will be a day you will never forget.

Updated August 2014

Visit Leah Morgan at where elopements are made easy. The premier two-person destination wedding site allows you to plan your wedding, search for ceremony locations and set up your registry.

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