“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
That’s a classic, swoon-worthy quote from When Harry Met Sally, but it’s a concept that many couples consider when they decide to get married.
Elopements are on the rise for several reasons. They’re less stressful, they’re often more intimate, and they can end up saving you a lot of money.
Traditional weddings are beautiful, and it’s a great way to include your family and friends in your special day. But, the average wedding costs $19,000.
By choosing to elope, you can put that money elsewhere or simply choose to save and start building up your bank account for a long and happy life together.
Financial issues can be a problem for couples, and they’re not easy to talk about. Starting your marriage off with the debt of a wedding could cause extra stress.
So, it may be worth it to discuss eloping and what the benefits can be. Not sure what to bring up? Let’s look at some of the financial benefits of eloping and how you can still make the day special and beautiful.
To Elope or Not to Elope
Eloping is a very personal decision, especially if you’ve always had a big, traditional wedding in mind. Because of that, it’s important to understand the financial benefits while weighing the pros and cons of eloping.
Aside from potentially saving thousands of dollars, eloping truly makes your wedding ceremony about you and your partner, instead of the “celebration” surrounding the day. It also creates less stress and pressure, which is a big plus for anyone who deals with anxiety or doesn’t like large crowds.
However, there are some “cons” to consider, including:
- You won’t get to share your special day with everyone
- It’s not a “big deal” like a traditional wedding
- Your family/friends might feel let down
Ultimately, deciding whether to elope is about what’s best for you, your partner, and your future. There are also some things you can do to reduce the impact of some of the cons listed here. Doing so can make your decision to elope easier on the people who care about you.
How to Include Your Loved Ones
Most people think that eloping means running away to get married somewhere completely isolated and private. That can be the case if it’s what you want.
But, your elopement can also involve those closest to you. If you want your parents or a close friend to be a witness at your wedding, it’s okay to invite them.
Having a few people there will allow you to take part in more traditions, and it can also feel special knowing your loved ones are seeing the most important day of your life.
But, what about your extended family and friends?
That’s where technology steps in.
Even if you choose to elope, you can still hire a photographer/videographer to capture your special day. You then have the opportunity to share those images and videos with your friends and family whenever you want.
Alternatively, you can choose to live stream your wedding or host it on Zoom. Doing something like that allows you to invite as many guests as you want. People can tune in, make comments, and talk to each other before and after the ceremony, and congratulate you along the way.
Some people who elope also choose to have parties or bigger “receptions” later on. That’s something to consider if you really want your family involved. But, if you’re eloping to save money, it’s best to stick with one of the options above.
What to Do With Your Savings
Saving money on your wedding will allow you to focus on other things. You can put the money you were going to use on your wedding toward something else, like a downpayment on your first home.
If you’ve made one of the usual mistakes people do when planning to buy a house, like forgetting to include your student loan debt in your ratios, you may be struggling to afford a loan.
Using your “wedding savings” toward your home buying experience can get you the house you want faster so you can start building your life together.
You can also use that money as you start thinking about your future, putting it toward things like:
- Home improvements and expansions
- Contributing to your children’s college fund (it’s never too early, even before you have kids!)
When you choose to elope rather than spending your money on a big wedding, your perspective can shift. You’ll be planning for the marriage, not the wedding.
That can start you and your spouse off on a strong foot as you officially begin your lives as one. Imagine how much the average cost of a wedding could help you achieve your financial goals. Or, how it could benefit your future.
Keep these benefits in mind as you make your decision about eloping. When you and your partner are both on board, you can save a lot of money by starting your marriage with a complete focus on each other and your future.
Dan Matthews is a freelance writer with a penchant for financial wisdom and solid research. You can find him on Twitter @danielmatthews0 and LinkedIn.