Weddings are a big deal, sometimes too big of a deal. It becomes so overwhelming for some couples that they marry secretly without all the fanfare (and sometimes without the knowledge or permission of family members). It's called eloping. Here are some of the main reasons for choosing to elope rather than staging a traditional wedding.
Save money. According to ABC news, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $20,000. If the parents aren't footing the bill (traditionally the bride's parents) then a financially strapped couple may not wish to spend that much money on a ceremony that can be done on the cheap by a justice of the peace. For many couples, starting out a new life in debt is an additional obstacle newlyweds don't want. Worried about gifts? Well, $20,000 can buy you a few nice gifts.
Avoid hassles. Planning a wedding is an expensive hassle, especially if there's conflict within the family. Couples often choose to elope because one of the parents does not approve of the choice of spouse. In some cases, the newlyweds see no reason to stage an elaborate wedding and undergo the sneers of derision from family members who don't understand their once-in-a-lifetime love.
Excitement. An open bar with multiple kegs and square dancing at the local trade union hall doesn't quite capture the romance of a secret getaway to the Bahamas and sipping fruity alcoholic beverages poolside or in a grass hut on the beach.
Choosing to elope, however, can also have negative consequences.
Family resentment. If you thought your parents disapproved of Bruno the bounty hunter when you announced your nuptials, just think how upset they'll be to discover Bruno "kidnapped" their precious princess and got married secretly in Reno. Although in-laws can be a nuisance, they can also be a source of strength—a source of strength you could completely alienate by eloping.
Missed opportunity. A wedding is an opportunity to reconnect with close and extended family as well as a chance to bond with your new family. There's a difference between being the mysterious stranger that your nephew married and the delightful, beautiful young lady who has brought so much happiness to little Bruno. There's also the potential post-elopement feeling that you missed out on something special.
Hurt feelings. The expression "time heals all wounds" may not apply to the hurt feelings of mothers whose dear children fled for Acapulco to get married in front of surfers, cliff divers and strangers instead of the woman who sacrificed her all to raise a decent child.
If you're thinking about eloping, be sure to ponder the consequences before making a decision.