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Elopement vs. Wedding: What's the Difference?

Are you and your partner debating between eloping or having a traditional wedding? It's a tough decision, and there are many factors to consider. In this article, we'll compare elopements and traditional weddings so that you can make an informed decision that feels right for both of you.

Photos by @chelseageephotography

The Meaning Behind Eloping

Eloping is a term that has evolved over the years. At one point, it referred to couples running away to get married without the consent of their families. Now, eloping is more of an intentional and romantic decision that couples make to celebrate their love in a unique and intimate way. Eloping allows couples to focus solely on their love for each other without the added stress of planning a large wedding. Modern elopements focus heavily on adventure, experiences, and aesthetics.

Photos by @chelseageephotography

The Meaning Behind Traditional Weddings

Traditional weddings are often seen as a more formal and elaborate way of celebrating a couple's love. They typically involve a larger guest list, a ceremony in a religious or secular venue, a reception with food and drinks, and various traditions like cake cutting and first dances. Traditional weddings can be beautiful and fun, but they also come with a significant amount of planning and stress.

Photos by @chelseageephotography

The Benefits of Eloping

One of the main benefits of eloping is the freedom to get married wherever and whenever you want. You can choose a location that is meaningful to you and your partner, whether it's a secluded beach or a mountaintop. Eloping can also be a more affordable option than a traditional wedding, as you won't have to pay for a venue, catering, or a large guest list. Most importantly, eloping allows couples to focus on each other and their love without worrying about entertaining guests. It allows creative expression and adventure to flourish.

Photos by @chelseageephotography

The Benefits of Traditional Weddings

Traditional weddings offer couples the opportunity to celebrate their love with friends and family in a more formal setting. They allow for a larger guest list and can be an excellent way for couples to show appreciation to their loved ones for their support throughout their relationship. If you have large families and friend groups, traditional weddings might be the best option for you if you want to include all your loved ones in your day.

Photos by @chelseageephotography

Which is Right for You?

Deciding whether to elope or have a traditional wedding ultimately comes down to what feels right for you and your partner. Consider your personalities, preferences, and budget when making your decision. If you value intimacy and freedom, eloping may be the perfect option for you. If you want to celebrate your love with a larger group and are willing to take on the planning and stress, a traditional wedding may be the way to go. There is no right and wrong or better or worse decision. It truly depends on what serves your highest goals for your big day. Focus on what is most important to you and choose a wedding format that supports your vision.

Photo by @chelseageephotography


Eloping and traditional weddings both have their benefits and drawbacks. It's up to you and your partner to decide which option is the best fit for your relationship and your vision for your wedding day. No matter which option you choose, remember that the most important thing is your love for each other and the commitment you're making. If you make that the priority, you can't go wrong.

Need more inspiration and guidance? Browse our untraditional weddings blog and chic bridal boutique for all the planning resources and inspiration you need to plan the perfect day.

Wishing you peace and joy on your journey.

With love,



All photos featured in this article are by Chelsea Gee Photography. Chelsea specializes in wedding and editorial photography with an emphasis on art and romance. She is located in Northern California and serves clients worldwide.

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