A bride wearing a gold wedding dress is wrapping her hands around her partner in the coast of Oregon. The bride is holding a bouquet on her other hand.

7 Reasons to Elope


October 15, 2021

As a wedding photographer who is passionate about capturing every client’s one-of-a-kind love, couples I work with choose to elope for many reasons. However, I have encountered misconceptions about what elopement entails. Let’s debunk them, starting with the definition itself. 

Elopements go beyond the stereotype of flying to Las Vegas to marry in secret. (I’m looking at you Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner!) Though, if that’s your thing–do it! It’s your day. Your wedding, after all, is an experience all your own, not one imagined for you. Elopements center on authenticity, providing a slower-paced, more intimate way to celebrate your commitment to one another without the stress or rush of traditional weddings.

Pin this photo to inspire you to elope!

Should You Elope? (Hint: Yes)

If you’re thinking about eloping, you’re not alone! It’s an opportunity to make your wedding exactly what you want it to be. The possibilities for creating your dream ceremony are truly endless. Here are seven reasons to elope and why many couples forgo the traditional wedding route. 

REASON TO ELOPE #1: You want to get the most out of the experience 

Modern elopement often attracts couples who value their experience. Because eloping allows you to get ready at a slower pace, the day can be spent doing things you and your partner actually want to do–be it a picnic, sleeping in, playing music to one another, watching the sunrise or simply hanging out. For more ideas on activities you can do, look for my next blog post. 

As a photographer, I believe elopements should have just as much value as larger weddings, if not more. Beyond the ceremony and photoshoot, there are so many moments worthy of capturing: quiet time at home; getting ready; pre-wedding activities; being with your family, friends or pets; and all of the dreamy bits in between! Through my photography service, I want to deliver as stress-free, memorable experience for you as possible. Beyond planning around your timeline and shot lists, I’ll even help you map out your day to help your vision come to life. 

REASON TO ELOPE #2: Freedom to invite who you want 

Elopements are more intimate, meaning the guest list is naturally smaller. Or, it may only be the two of you, officiant and photographer (hopefully me)! As the starring couple, who is invited is your call–sans the guilt. 

Inviting who you want also allows for more privacy. The idea of sharing vows and divulging intimate details in front of a large group can be a stressful one, especially if you’re more introverted. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Your love story can be as private or open as you want it to be. 

A bride is laying her head on her partner while her partner kiss her hand. They are relaxing in a tent.

REASON TO ELOPE #3: A Stress-Free, Flexible Wedding Timeline

Since elopements are kept intimate, it allows you more room to tweak your timeline as the day approaches. As stated in reason one, you call the shots on how your day is spent. There is no pressure to keep to a tight schedule, making for a more stress-free experience without any unnecessary drama. 

Slow down, breathe and enjoy your day. There’s no need to rush!

REASON TO ELOPE #4: Spend your money on what matters most

It’s no secret that weddings, especially large ones, are expensive. According to The Knot’s 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average cost came in at a whopping $33,900–and that’s not including the honeymoon. 

Like all weddings, elopements exist on a sliding scale. There are more high-end, expensive experiences and more affordable (just as dreamy!) ones. Because they’re not tied up in traditional expectations, elopements allow you to choose to spend your money on what really matters to the two of you. That could mean anything from splurging on the honeymoon of your dreams or flying out a photographer to a beautiful destination.

If it’s the latter, say no more! I love traveling all across the United States to capture intimate weddings and elopements. If a destination such as a national park requires a permit to wed, I’ll make sure we follow all necessary guidelines. I even have a package that includes travel fees! Check it out here. 

a black couple looking lovingly into each other while riding a canoe in Kentucky

REASON TO ELOPE #5: Combine your ceremony & honeymoon 

This leads me to the next reason! Many couples who elope choose to do so they can flow seamlessly from their ceremony into their honeymoon. There are so many gorgeous backdrops to set the stage for a wedding ceremony that are just as perfect for celebrating after.  

REASON TO ELOPE #6: Ditching wedding traditions

Wedding traditions don’t resonate with everyone. No couple should feel obligated to participate in something that doesn’t make sense to them. Many of these traditions, after all, were not made with inclusivity in mind–or go back to misogynistic ideas. LGBTQ couples or those with same-sex parents, for example, might feel excluded from traditions like “giving away” the bride. Eloping allows you and your partner to ditch the “rules” and celebrate your love in an authentic way. 

a bride with gold dress and her partner running around the coast in Seaside Oregon

REASON TO ELOPE #7: Keepin’ it green

From cake, venues, flowers, decorations, food and beyond, the wedding industry contributes a massive amount of waste every year. As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen this first-hand. According to Katie Harrison’s The Green Bride Guide, as cited in the Chicago Tribune, the average wedding produces 400 pounds of trash and 63 tons of carbon dioxide. The article cites that increases in spending often leads to additional waste. As elopements are smaller-scale, their waste is often less! If you want to have a more eco-conscious ceremony, elopement is a great way to do so. We will follow the Leave No Trace principles, which I’m certified in, during our adventure! Let’s leave the earth a better place than we found it! 

Let’s work together! 

Your wedding should be as unique as you and your partner, but the traditional wedding route is not catered for everyone. There are many reasons to elope and why you should too.

Elopement is perfect for intentional couples who want to forgo traditional rules, move at a slower pace, and spend their day (and money) on their terms. You deserve a day that reflects who you are both as a couple and as individuals. 

This is exactly the kind of experience I’d love to help provide as a photographer. If any of the above reasons to elope resonate with you, I’d be honored to work for you and your partner. 

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  1. Emma says:

    YESSSS. This choice shouldn’t need validation, but it’s always awesome to read affirmations for eloping!

  2. Tracie Jessop says:

    What a great informative piece! Thank you for sharing! Beautiful pictures too!

  3. Abbi Hearne says:

    AH I love this post so much! This is so full of great ideas and advice!

  4. Lena says:

    These are great tips! I love letting couples know why they should elope. Its like so confirming for them 🙂

  5. Anna Long says:

    This was so helpful and well-written! Such great validation that eloping is truly the best.

  6. Leo says:

    Great resource to share, hadn’t really considered the eco side of things…thanks for sharing!

  7. Marla says:

    Love love love this advice! These are all perfect reasons to elope, and gorgeous pictures.

  8. Justyna says:

    Oh my gosh! Yaaaaas….combining the honey moon with your special day….anytime!!! Kayaking on your adventure day…the best ever!

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Mary Andrikus is a Kentucky & destination wedding, elopement & family photographer. Mary strives to create photography experience that you can relax into.

Mary believes that Black Lives matter and always; all bodies are beautiful; and LGBTQ+ individuals should have the right to respect and full equality. Mary does not and shall not discriminate folks of any race, body size, ability, gender identity, creed, sexual orientation, age, religions and national origin.