Big Wedding Vs. Eloping: The Grass Is Always Greener

Some people have literally been planning their wedding since they were 5 years old, thinking of every little detail from the menu to apparel. Eager brides and grooms can't wait to share the special day with every family member and friend and only hope that a large enough venue exists to house them all. Conversely, there are those who dread the spotlight and just want to run away to the courthouse without telling anyone until after it's all said and done. They don't want to deal with over exuberant Aunt Jan or the embarrassing tales that Cousin David always shares when he has a little too much to drink. They just want to be married!

Those who fall into the latter category would probably appreciate eloping, which is when a couple absconds to the courthouse down the street or perhaps to an exotic location far away to get married in secret. They come back and surprise everyone with rings and a marriage certificate! Those who prefer the opposite, gather all of their closest comrades and throw a big, unforgettable bash that will be talked about for years to come, if everything goes well.

Future lovebirds have a lot to consider on both sides of the coin.

The Benjamins

Big Weddings

Clearly, a big wedding is way more expensive than eloping. The average cost of a wedding in the US is a shocking $26,000. One out of three couples even go into debt to secure their perfect day. You want the day to be perfect, so you may be willing to field any expense. The costs can really add up when you consider that making every detail exactly as you want it truly has a price. There are: save the date cards, invitations, decorations, dresses, suits, gifts for bridal party members, gifts for the parents, favors, rehearsal dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and so much more. It's basically just a long process of hemorrhaging all your cash into the big day.


Eloping is a great option for anyone who wants to save money. In some states, a marriage certificate costs just about $100. It may be simply for the sake of saving, or perhaps you'd rather spend a bunch on a fancy honeymoon, purchasing a house or starting a family. It's for people who are simply too practical to shell out tens of thousands for a lavish party that only lasts a day. The thing that people who elope always keep in mind is that they are only spending money on exactly what they want, leaving funds for other important life milestones.

The Drama Factor

Big Weddings

Anytime there is a large group of people gathering together, the potential for drama arises. If you do the work of making sure all the family feuds are separated by a few tables and are comfortable with the possibility of your conservative uncle meeting your liberal friend who works for Greenpeace, then you will be well prepared to deal with any drama that may come your way.


With a quick and dry wedding, there isn't any drama on the day of, but there may be some that follows. Family members can feel hurt that they didn't get to witness your special moment. Plus, people might talk. In earlier times, people would only elope if there was something amiss, like a sudden pregnancy, which was a major no-no back then. Regardless of the state of your uterus, eloping is a valid option as long as you're willing to field the questions that will come your way.

The Romance

Big Weddings

A big wedding can be the most romantic day of your life. The best part is, your whole family and all of your friends will be there to witness it and share the whole day with you, enhancing loving feelings and cementing community bonds.


When you elope, it's kind of like you have a romantic secret that only you and your spouse know about. It's secretly just you two against the world forever, and that's what truly matters!

Memories Forever

Big Weddings

With the whole community watching your nuptials, there will be a lot of memories to cherish. Large weddings have a professional photographer, and maybe a videographer to make a special tribute to the day. You had better believe that all your friends will be whipping out smartphones and making social media memories for everyone to see. Personalized party favors are a common keepsake to help people remember the day.


There will be fewer keepsakes to remember the day by, but you will always have that marriage certificate and, at the very least, a few photos when you need a reminder of that special day.

You End Up With the Same Result

Whether you enjoy a big wedding or an elopement, the end result is exactly the same. You will go in front of a person who has been ordained to marry people who are in love, exchange some sort of vow, give each other the perfect wedding rings and end up joined as a team together for the rest of time.

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