When I got engaged, my dad told me that he would write me a check for $10,000 if I would elope so that he wouldn’t have to pay for a big expensive wedding. I just laughed it off as a joke (and it was), but it got me thinking—how else could that wedding money be spent? Would it make more sense to just go down to the courthouse and be done with it? Should you spend thousands of dollars on your wedding if it doesn’t align with your financial priorities? With the average wedding cost in the US is hovering around the $25,000 range, your “average” wedding requires a HUGE cash outlay for one big day. While your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event, your budget should reflect an amount that you are comfortable with. If your ideal wedding doesn’t align with your financial situation, it might make sense to elope.
While it might not be the ideal way to get married for many people, eloping has its advantages. If you’re not sure about whether to elope or not, it may help to look at the big picture. If your parents are paying for the wedding, you don’t want to burden them with a big bill that they can’t really afford. If you’re paying for your own wedding, you don’t want to put you and your future spouse in a tough financial situation if it can be avoided.
So, should you elope to save money on your wedding?
Here are some situations where eloping makes sense:
- If your parents can’t afford the wedding you want, don’t expect them to pay for it. Offer to split the costs, or compromise on the budget. If money is tight and the numbers don’t work, eloping may be the best option for everyone involved.
- If you have student loans, credit card debt, or other debt, your money is better spent paying down debts rather than paying for an expensive wedding. You and your spouse will benefit from starting your life together debt-free.
- If home ownership is important to you and your spouse, the money set aside for your wedding could instead be used for a down payment on your home.
- If a big wedding is not important to you, the money set aside for your wedding could be invested for the future.
Here Are Some Reasons Not to Elope:
- If a traditional wedding is important to you, have a traditional wedding. You may have to make a few compromises to stay at a budget you’re comfortable with, but at least you won’t regret skipping out on your big day.
- If you’re not sure, or you and your spouse disagree about whether to elope or not, then you should not elope. You may later feel like you missed out on something, and one person may end up resenting the other for it.
- If eloping will cause bad blood between you and your family, or your future in-laws, don’t elope. You need to stay on good terms with these people—it will make your married life easier.
- No wedding = no gifts —most people won’t send a gift if they are not invited to the wedding.
To many people, eloping seems like something you do when your family doesn’t approve of your marriage. But you don;t have to run off in the middle of the night. In fact, eloping is becoming more common these days. If finances are tight, it may be the best option for you, your spouse, and your family. Take a realistic look at what you can afford, and then decide the best path for your situation. You will likely receive some blow back about eloping from family and friends, but be up-front about your reasons, and in the end, do what you feel is best for you.