Elopements vs. Weddings

You probably realized shortly after getting engaged that you have the choice of how you want to marry the love of your life. Whether it be by eloping or having a big traditional wedding, it all comes down to what is going to make you the happiest and what is going to reflect the people that you truly are! 

So Should You Elope Or Have A Wedding?

For some, choosing to have a big traditional wedding is something that they have dreamed about their entire life but for others the thought of having a celebration with that many people makes them cringe! 

There are so many ways to get married ranging from traditional weddings, intimate weddings, city hall elopements and adventure elopements! Whether you have known what you wanted or never thought about getting married your entire life, there are a few things to think about when you are making the decision of how you want to get married: 

Want to plan an Adventure Elopement? Download Our Free Adventure Elopement Planning Guide + Checklist To Help You Get Started!

What is an elopement?

To start, elopements are no longer thoughtless marriages in front of a fake Elvis Presley at Las Vegas while you’re casually walking down the strip (unless that’s your thing by all means) Running away in secret and getting married in at the courthouse and calling it a day is definitely not what you want to envision when you think about an elopement. 

Today’s elopements are much more intentional and you guessed it : They take place in a much more epic location than the boring downtown building in your local city(Not all city hall elopements are boring, we are being a bit dramatic). Sometimes your family and friends can be there too! Eloping has transitioned to a small celebration where the true focus of the day is about you and your partner vs. a big performance that makes you stand in front of 200 people watching you confess your love to each other.

What is a wedding?

You probably already know the answer to this one so we will keep it short! Weddings are just a big celebration that is usually in the form of a big reception with dinner and other traditional wedding things.  

The Key Differences Between Elopements and Weddings

Guest count

It is obvious that elopements are naturally much smaller in guest count than a traditional wedding. Most elopements will not have any guests at all and some will include their closest 20 or less. Weddings tend to have more guests closer to the 80-200 range. When thinking about your guest count a few questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do I see myself celebrating with these people?
  • Will I regret celebrating without these people?
  • Do I want to have groomsmen and bridesmaids?
  • How important is it to have them there with us celebrating our love?
  • Are we just having them because we feel pressured to, or are they really important in our lives?

Planning Time 

Since big weddings have so many moving parts,planning time for a bigger wedding is much longer than planning an elopement. Weddings can take up to a year or more to plan vs planning an elopement which can be planned in as little as 3 months. We have even had couples plan their elopements in 2 weeks, we know it sounds crazy but it was possible! 


It is no secret that planning any type of event whether an elopement or wedding is a stressful activity-especially when it involves other people

Although they still require a bit of planning, elopements are a little bit different and less stressful from this point of view. When you plan an elopement you only have to worry about you and your partner or maybe a select few. Finding activities and locations can be more flexible and more relaxed. There isn’t a set timeline like there would be for a bigger wedding because you are living the day on your own time and not the time of your guests.

When you choose to plan a big wedding you have to take into account what is also convenient for the people that will be attending. Thinking about things like accessibility, food, day of activities and entertainment, details and location that can accommodate them. This can become very stressful and unenjoyable for some people depending on how you feel about it. 


Another difference between weddings and elopements is the setting. When you choose to have a wedding you have to find an established venue that you love and that will accommodate your needs the best. An elopement gives you the flexibility to get married in very untraditional places with epic scenery. Think National Parks, State Parks, Mountain Locations, luxury hotels that double as a honeymoon, urban locations etc. 

elopement at loveland pass


An average cost for a wedding in the U.S. can be up to $30,000 in some states like Colorado. The cost of a traditional wedding venue along with the catering to feed a higher guest count is one contrasting difference for bigger weddings and elopements. It is a no-brainer that weddings cost way more than elopements based solely on guest count and location which is something that is significantly lower when you choose to elope.  


Our last key difference and in our opinion the most important one is values. What is most important to you? There is no right or wrong answer here. Couples who value community, who value celebrating with a lot of people and like to be the life of the party tend to gravitate towards a bigger wedding.

Couples that don’t like to be the center of attention who value being authentic to themselves  and prefer to spend their time and finances experiencing things intentionally may gravitate towards eloping instead. They may value intimacy and intentionality differently than couples who want to have a bigger wedding. 

If you want to go out and celebrate an important day of your life in the most epic way you know then that’s what you need to do! Whether it is eloping on the coolest place on the planet and creating the most unforgettable day ever or having a wedding celebrated in the most epic way you can celebrate. The key is following what is going to make you happy and reflect the people that you truly are.

Struggling on deciding whether you want a wedding or elopement? 

Choosing how to celebrate your marriage is not an easy task and if you are having trouble choosing because of outside pressure and including people we would love to start by saying some words: Whether you choose to elope or have a wedding, people will always have something to say. If you elope, you might hear that you are selfish because you aren’t inviting anyone and if you have a wedding you might hear that you are selfish because you aren’t inviting everyone. If you elope you might cause family drama because you chose to have a wedding day about you and if you have a wedding you’ll cause family drama because you tried to have a wedding about you and not them. Either way you cannot satisfy everyone so why not just do what makes you happy and choose what you truly want?

If you ask us we can give you a lot of reasons why you should elope instead but it all comes down to what you value. A few of Together We Roam couples decided that they wanted to elope and still include their nearest and dearest! The best “in the middle” for them was sharing their first half of the day together then meeting up with family and friends after. There are so many ways to celebrate with loved ones but still elope. Here you can find ideas on how to include family and friends on your elopement. Check out a couple elopements with family:

Looking for an elopement photographer?

Let your search end here! We are Laura and Hugo your elopement photographers and planning assistants but most importantly you friends! We help couples like you find an awesome place to elope in Colorado and help you document your epic adventure! Our favorite thing about elopements is that you can imagine your most epic date yet from start to finish and it will be personalized just for you. Want to elope? Contact us and lets start planning!


  1. This is such a great reference guide for the difference between an elopement and a wedding! Totally agree that elopements are less stressful! So many of my friends had told me after their big weddings that they wished they had eloped.

  2. You pose really interesting questions regarding guests attending. Couples should really be intentional with this. Thank you so much for putting this together!!

  3. Excellent blog explaining the differences. It’ll help someone when they’re torn between the two. I had a traditional wedding, but it never felt right to us.

  4. You’ve done such a beautiful job explaining elopements and all the possibilities they give you! I definitely wished I would’ve eloped years ago! Your work is absolutely stunning!!

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