The Pros and Cons of Eloping

When the traditional wedding isn't for you.

Eloping Couple

Eloping Couple photo via Shutterstock

When Marni Kaufman and Damon Katz of Boston got married on Christmas Eve on the balcony at Grand Central Station, they had only been engaged two weeks and hadn’t even begun to discuss a wedding.

“We thought we’d probably wait a while, but after talking about some stuff with my husband’s mom when visiting their house in Connecticut during holiday time, we decided to get married there and then,” the bride (a Boston magazine contributor) says of their elopement. “We drove to the city, parked the car on the Upper East Side, took an express train down to City Hall, and slipped in just as a clerk had the door in his hand to lock it.” The couple got their license and found a justice of the peace in the yellow pages. “We went back the next day, stood on line at Tiffany’s and bought wedding bands,” she says. They went to Grand Central and got married.

Worcester’s John and Kerri Deely also tied the knot in this untraditional way. “Eloping worked for us because we were in our 30s and 40s, so we were a little older when we got married,” says Kerri. “We didn’t feel we needed a big spectacular wedding, nor did we want the cost of one. We were living together for years, had already established a home, so it wasn’t about gifts. It was just about us committing ourselves to each other, it was personal to us. There’s nothing wrong with big weddings, it just wasn’t our thing at the time we decided to get married.”

The couple decided to elope when they booked a Las Vegas vacation. “Marriage seemed like the natural next step,” she remembers. “The thought of eloping was fun, and the more we talked about doing it, the more it felt like the right decision for us. We were able to focus on each other that day and really make it about us. John zipped me in my wedding dress, and we walked each other down the aisle. We had a ‘traditional’ wedding performed by a minister. I wore a wedding dress and John wore a tux. I had my hair and makeup done, and we had limo service. We had everything a regular wedding has, except guests.” That was almost nine years ago. Who says Vegas weddings don’t last?

We asked these two local brides what they felt the pros and cons were to elopement.

PROS

  • “Since nobody was there, you have a good story—usually one that’s fun to tell, so you get to relive your wedding over and again,” says Marni.
  • With the average wedding costing $31,000, eloping definitely saves on expenses. “Between the hotel, airfare, cost of wedding ceremony, dress, tuxedo, pictures, etc., [the wedding] was about $3,000,” says Kerri.
  • There’s no time to be a Bridezilla.
  • You don’t have the normal wedding-day stresses that most brides and grooms face.
  • Let’s face it. It’s romantic.
  • This is truly your day. “We did exactly what we wanted and didn’t have judgments or opinions from anyone that might’ve swayed our decisions,” says Kerri.

CONS

  • “If you like to dress up and plan parties, you’ve given up a chance to do that,” warns Marni. You could always do an all-out anniversary bash for friends and family later.
  • If you didn’t plan ahead, the photos may be so-so, unless you get creative and make the best of it. “I was wearing a black blazer. I got a florist in Grand Central to make me a wrapped bouquet of white roses in half an hour, so in black and white, the photo is actually pretty sweet,” adds Marni.
  • You won’t share that moment with your family and friends. A traditional wedding means you would have family standing up with you, as opposed to hotel personnel as witnesses.
  • “I didn’t have that mother-daughter wedding dress shopping experience,” says Kerri. “This is my only regret of eloping.”

 


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