Hey, I'm an elopement photographer based in Alaska! I love genuine moments between people and love that I get to document them for a living <3

Meet Donna

If you’re engaged (or soon-to-be engaged) and even the thought of planning a wedding is stressing you the heck out, you’re NOT alone. Almost every single couple I work with has felt some sort of pressure, stress, or anxiety over the idea of having to plan a wedding. Whether that stress is focused around time, money, or guests, I often hear the question: “what other options do we have?!” This is why today, I’m walking you through 10 reasons to elope based on all of my elopement experiences!

elope vs wedding

In case you’re unfamiliar with the differences between a traditional wedding & an untraditional elopement, I’ll be going through that first. Then we’ll get into allll the reasons I encourage couples to elope, or at least to think through that option!

Ready to dive into all things elopements?!

reasons to elope

Elopement vs. Wedding: What’s the Difference?

Many people who don’t live & breathe weddings (hello, that’s me) aren’t even aware of what an elopement is, so I’m here to clear it up for you! 

A lot of people still think that an elopement has to be a quick ceremony at a courthouse, or involve a couple running away to Vegas. And sure, you can still 1000% do those things, but those aren’t your only options anymore!

reasons to elope

And let me preface this whole article by saying that at the end of the day, it is YOUR wedding day! So, make it what you want! If a large wedding is what fulfills your biggest desires & dreams, freaking do it. I simply want to make sure you’re aware of all your options! 😉

Here are the basic differences between an elopement & a wedding:

elope vs wedding

Typical wedding:

  • 100+ guests
  • Lots of logistics + timelines
  • You don’t get too much time to actually talk with anyone (& you’re pressured to say hi to everyone)
  • Not enough alone time with your honey

Elopement/intimate wedding:

  • 0-30 guests
  • Can bring your pets
  • Lots of 1-1 time with friends & family (if you invite any)
  • Your timeline is very flexible
  • You get allll the time to spend with your honey
  • Less overall stress

If you’re still unclear or unsure of what a modern-day elopement is, I’ve got a whole article for you to check out: What is an Elopement? Busting Myths, Giving You Tips, & More!

Now, let’s get into what you came here for: why you should elope!

reasons to elope

10 Reasons to Elope (or at least consider it)

1. No need to stress about timelines

When you think about traditional, large weddings, I’ll bet there are a few things that come to mind immediately: 

  • Getting ready
  • Long ceremony
  • Reception with tons of guests
  • Cake cutting
  • First dances
  • Reception games
  • Bouquet + garter tosses

These are all parts of a traditional wedding timeline that most couples include, simply because they’re “supposed to” or because it’s “tradition.” 

But these are also all parts of a traditional wedding that have the potential to add stress to the couple. What if one thing falls behind? Suppose we don’t cut the cake fast enough? What if we don’t get to our first dances on time?

reasons to elope

To me, everything about traditional wedding timelines feels rushed. You’re pressured to get from one thing to the next, to make sure everybody is happy, to make sure things follow schedule. But if you really think about it, why in the world does that strict schedule matter so much on what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your lives?!

Elopements allow you to leave all that stress behind; kick it out; leave it at the door. Byeeee. The beauty of elopements is that the focus is truly on you and whatever you want to do. And because you’ve only invited the people you truly love most, they will be ready to adapt & flow with whatever the day brings. No pressure to stick to a schedule, no stress of falling behind.

You can simply allow the day to flow as it goes, and adapt as you need to!

For a ton of elopement timeline advice, check out my article on Why You Deserve a Full-Day Elopement: Timeline Advice & Ideas!

reasons to elope

2. You have the freedom to explore

And with a timeline that allows you to let the day flow, you’re given more time to explore! If you finish up your vow exchange and really want to explore the area together (especially if you’ve traveled in, or it’s a place that’s new to you), let’s go freaking explore!!

There’s no rush to get to the next part of the day. We can explore as much as you want to. Let’s go check out that glacier over there, that hill, watch the sunset from over there. . . you name it. Elopements allow you the freedom to adventure together and go wherever your heart desires!

elope vs wedding

3. You get more time with each other

Weddings typically bring pressure to hang out with everybody & to say hi to allll of your guests. Then you get to the end of the day only to realize you barely saw EACH OTHER! Boooooo to that. Your wedding day should include time to be together, celebrating this magical day & focusing on your love!

Whether you have guests or not, elopements allow you to spend way more time together because there are no rules or expectations. 

reasons to elope

Wanna get ready together? Do it! Wanna walk down the aisle together? Why not?! Wanna say goodbye to your guests early & relax in the hot tub at your Airbnb? You don’t need my permission!

Instead of letting your wedding day go by too fast & barely getting to be with each other on YOUR day, an elopement will provide you the time to be present with each other, enjoy the day, and live in the moment. Yes, you’ll have incredible photos to look back on, but how much do those photos really matter if you don’t remember how you felt in the moment?

reasons to elope

4. If you value epic experiences > things

Weddings usually revolve around things versus experiences. Think about it: traditional weddings have tonssss of decorations, wedding favors, etc. that are super fun to have on the day, but may never get used again. All those decorations you got from Michael’s are beautiful, but are they reallyyyy so important that you buy them & store them in your garage forever?

If you elope, you’ll have the chance to spend your money on experiences that matter to you more than things that traditional weddings usually expect from you.

elope vs wedding

Instead of buying 100 garlands of fake flowers that you’ll never use again, plan an epic Jeep tour in the mountains for your elopement day, where you have a freaking BLAST with your honey.

Or instead of buying 150 wedding favors your guests will probably never touch after your wedding day, rent out a winery & do a wine-tasting with your closest loved ones after your ceremony. Sounds much more fun & worth the dough, right?!

reasons to elope

5. You can have an elopement + honeymoon all in one

Another great thing about elopements: you can combine your honeymoon with it, if you want to!! 

Let’s say you have an adventure elopement in Alaska, and you travel in from Oregon. You’re going to have to take a good chunk of time off work in order to get to Alaska, settle in, and set up your elopement – right? So you might as well make a honeymoon out of it, too!

You can rent a cute, cozy Airbnb to stay in for 2 weeks – 1 week focused on your elopement + celebrating with your loved ones and 1 week focused on the two of you enjoying your first week of married life.

This way, you can save money because you’re staying in one area, and you have PLENTY of time to just adventure and be together!

groom and bride

6. Quality time with your guests (if you have any)

Rather than trying to make it around your reception hall to hug everybody, elopements provide you the chance to have quality time with your guests if you choose to invite any. 

Tie the knot in front of a stunning view with your very favorite people watching, and then head out on a hike with them to get to an even better view. If you’re somewhere warm by the water, rent out some kayaks and take everybody out on the water. Or rent a cozy Airbnb that fits all of your guests, and spend a weekend having an absolute blast together!

There are sooo many ways to have true quality time with your guests, where you can create beautiful memories to last you forever.

elope vs wedding

7. If you get anxious around lots of people

If you’re someone who gets anxious around lots of people & doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, an elopement might be perfect for you! Invite a few of your closest friends/fam, or invite nobody and focus on the two of you. Easy as that 😉

groom and bride

8. Your $$ is spent on what matters to YOU

Again, elopements allow you to spend your $$ on what matters to YOU and only YOU. No having to worry about fulfilling traditions (something borrowed/new/old/blue, anyone?!) or meeting expectations. You can spend your money on what YOU value most, not what your family and friends value and think you “should” do. 

holding hands

9. You can do anything you want (literally)

If you couldn’t tell already, you have literally SO much freedom with elopements!! You can do ANYTHING you want to do without worrying about expectations or pressure. If you want to eat grilled cheese and cake on your elopement day, do it. You want to go camping on the night of your elopement, away from your family? Do it! If you want to hike 10 miles to get to your elopement spot, do it.

Think outside of the box and get CREATIVE. The world is your oyster! If you pack your elopement day/weekend/week full of activities & people you love, it will be an unforgettable experience!

wedding day

10. Better memories with the people who matter most

Finally, you’ll really just make BETTER memories. Ideally, you’ll have an incredible elopement photographer who will help bring your day to life through photos! But do those photos really matter if you can’t remember what you were feeling in the moment?

In short, elopements allow you to create incredible memories with the people you love the most, and to live in the moment. You won’t have to rely on photos because the day went by too fast! You can rely on the feelings & emotions of the day instead. And isn’t your wedding day supposed to be about all the wonderful feelings & emotions you get by marrying the love of your life?!

wedding picture

Ready to book your Alaska elopement photographer or your destination elopement photographer?! I’m ready for ya!! Contact me here and let’s freaking do this!

elope vs wedding


10 Reasons to Elope: Why Eloping Might Be Right For You

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