A groom dip kisses his bride surrounded by desert views at sunset.

The Top Reasons to Elope from an elopement photographer + couples who have chosen to elope


Congratulations to you! If you’re reading this it means you are most likely engaged. If you are considering eloping, but not sure if it is the right choice for you, consider some of these reasons for eloping. If you have any questions, we are always happy to help answer them. Just drop your thoughts in the comments or feel free to reach out! If you did elope, we would love to hear some of the reasons you chose to elope in the comments as well!

In this blog you will find:

  1. Our definition for an elopement
  2. Our top 8 Reasons to Elope
  3. Reasons real couples have eloped from 10 of our past couples
  4. What to do if you are still unsure if this is for you.
  5. What to do next if you do want to elope!
A couple kiss in the morning light as their cat stands behind them with epic mountains views all around.

Hi! We are your adventure elopement photographers, that also eloped!

Bill and I eloped in 2021 in Mount Rainier National Park on a 74 mile backpacking trip. We then backpacked on a separate 6 mile trip with just our cat! To us eloping in this way meant we could start our marriage off without any distractions, working together through an experience reflective of what life will be like together.

Before we dive into the best reasons to elope, we need to define what an elopement is:

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of an elopement is to run away secretly in order to get married, especially without parental consent

The dictionary has noted that this word is changing how it is used and what it means, but hasn’t really been able to give it a for sure definition. Here at Adventure and Vow, we define an elopement as:

A wedding day designed to be authentic to the two people getting married, with a focus on connection and experience.

Further more, the type of elopements we photograph tend to be just the couple or the couple and a group of their closest loved ones celebrating their day somewhere outdoors, on an adventure.

The Top 8 Reasons to have an Elopement Wedding

These are the very top reasons to elope from the perspective of an elopement photographer and from gathering why couples have chosen an elopement wedding. These by no means are the only reasons to have an elopement wedding. We think it is also important to note that each elopement looks different from the next. Some elopements are super adventurous (which is what we specialize in), some elopements are just the couple and some elopements also include family! We hope that reading through this blog post will give you some clarity on if eloping is right for you and your love.

A couple jumps into a river wearing their wedding attire.

Eloping is Less Stress

First off, planning a wedding is stressful AF. There are way too many choices, so much money to put out, so many people wanting to put their input on your day. The day of, you are tending to timelines, vendors, friends and family and let’s face it, you might even be hungover from drinking with those folks the night before. While we love our friends and family, sometimes it is an extra stress on this special day. When I used to photograph larger weddings I can not tell you how many brides I saw so stressed out that they were not enjoying their day. Or by the time the wedding day comes, they are just ready to get it over with because the planning experience was so stressful. A lot of couples do not want to share their private vows in front of guests or feel anxious about being emotional in front of everyone they know. Choosing to elope allows you to avoid all of that stress. Eloping is a freeing and peaceful experience. Getting married with just the essentials is way more meaningful and easier to plan.

“The thought of planning a big wedding was overwhelming. Don and I have always loved traveling and there wasn’t anything that sounded better to start our married life than an adventure wedding. During the initial call, Traci made a connection with us and understood our vision. Simple, just the two of us…”

Trena on her elopement in Sedona

Eloping is Eco-Friendly

Mother nature matters a lot and it’s about time we start taking care of her!! The Green Bride Guide (a book you can purchase here) estimates that each wedding, lasting only one day, produces around 400 pounds of trash. If you think about it, there is waste from almost every single aspect of a wedding. In the process of making a wedding dress, food not eaten, friends and family travel, flowers, gift wrapping, invites/rsvps and more. While eloping does involve being on the trails and out in nature, if you practice Leave No Trace Behind Principals you will for sure be doing Mother Nature a good service by skipping the larger wedding. Key tips to keeping your elopement a zero waste wedding are as follows: do not leave flowers or corks behind, go paperless when announcing or saying thank you and keep it local. Traveling for your elopement is the thing to do, but try to tie it in to your honeymoon location, or a trip you have already planned together or elope somewhere super awesome close to home! Buy used clothing and sell your clothing after your elopement day.

A couple rock climbs together in their wedding attire on a sunny day in Joshua Tree.
A couple stands together inside of a colorful rock formation.

You will have a more emotive day.

Your wedding day is the first day of the rest of your lives together. It is the day you commit yourself to your partner forever. Too often at weddings, the couple hardly gets to spend any time together and most of the time they do get together is planned and spent with guests. Again, while we love our friends and family, marriage is between two people. You deserve to have the most connected day on your wedding day! Eloping allows you to spend as much time as you wish with your partner and that time is mostly spent just the two of you, private and meaningful. With less stress, people, small details to keep up, you will be able to be more present, reflecting on the reasons you’re together on this day or just hold each other while taking in the experience. You do not have to limit your vow reading to only a few minutes, you can have as much time as you want to share your love with each other. You do not have to wait to see each other until the end of the day, you can help each other get ready for this special day!

It’s Healthier to elope!

Okay, you may be thinking what the heck! In all seriousness though eloping in the great outdoors is healthier. Being outside in nature offers so many benefits to you as a person, but it can also bring benefits into your relationship. Being outside and experiencing nature can increase your short term memory, decrease stress, improve focus and much more. All of these benefits as an individual will benefit your relationship in general. Being outside with a partner though allows you the space to connect deeper and share experiences together. Some of the closest couples I have met are rock climbers and climb together. This requires a certain level of trust and communication with your partner. Check this out from Greater Good Magazine, “being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people.”

A bride laughs as she surprises her groom on trail with a second wedding dress.
A groom kisses his bride on the temple as they stand on a sand cliff outlook over the canyons in Moab.

It is more Cost Effective to Elope.

While I do not believe that money should be your determining factor in choosing to elope, it is for sure cheaper than your average wedding which is a huge benefit. According to Zola in 2024, the average wedding can cost more than $30,000. WOW! You can elope for half of the cost of a larger wedding or less, depending how you budget out your elopement plans. You’re elopement cost is essentially broken down into a photographer, travel, a dress, any required permits and any other vendors you may want to hire like a florist, musician, etc. You may be wondering what the average elopement costs. However an elopement could literally cost anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000. It is hard to pin point an average for elopements due to how different each elopement experience can be. The beauty of eloping is you control your costs way more. The exciting thing about this is that the money you spend on your elopement is directly spent on yourselves over all of your guests at a traditional wedding. You are investing more in a core experience than a venue to host a party.

“We got engaged in April 2021 and began looking up traditional venues, but all were so pricey and the thought of spending so much money for everyone else versus something just for us was weighing on me……We had a great experience and would recommend to anyone who wants something different than a traditional indoor wedding, loves the outdoors, wants to save money and make it an intimate occasion for you and your person.”

– Alexandra on her experience planning a wedding versus her elopement day

Art for your Walls

Now this is a big one for me. I meet a lot of couples and always make it a point to speak with them about their wedding day or elopement day to hear what experience they had. It breaks my heart completely when couples tell me they have no photos on the walls of their home from their wedding. Simply put, at a wedding you often do not have the time with your photographer to get those beautiful, creative shots that you want on your wall in large print. While a lot of venues are super beautiful, it may not be the look of what you want to decorate your home with. Eloping allows you to get married in some of the most beautiful places around the world. You can come home from your wedding and replace the meaningless factory art work with images from your special day. We love creating images for our couples that display the beautiful landscapes they got married in or super creative double exposures. Your home is your nest where your love grows forever and we think it’s so important to surround yourself with reminders of your love.

A couple stands within a red, orange and white rock in the desert.

“These photos will be blown up and spread throughout our home, cherished and loved for our lifetime. Traci captured photos I thought were only in fairytales.”

Troy + Samantha on the images from their Puerto Rico Elopement
A bride throws her hat at the camera as she smiles at their husband while standing on a log in the forest.

An Adventure together like no other!

If your favorite memories and things to do together involve adventuring, why not start your marriage off this way?! Getting to do your favorite things on your wedding day is one heck of a way to celebrate! Choosing an adventure elopement will allow you to have a wedding day in the most breathe-taking spaces, have a super intentional day and creates a bond to give you the most memorable day. Imagine spending your wedding night under the stars by a camp fire reminiscing back on the most magical day you had exploring a new or favorite trail. The day will be special to you and you can always go back on anniversaries to the exact spot you said “I do” for another chance to reconnect, express your love for each other and to be in nature. Where as getting married the traditional way does not offer that type of experience later on down the road.

“We instantly knew that when we wanted to get married, we wanted something low key, stress free, and just for us. City hall seemed like it was going to be the way our journey was going to go (yes I’ve had a lot of time to think about this in the last 10 years lol). When we got engaged we thought, why wait. And why can’t we do something extremely special for our big day? We haven’t traveled much together, even after being in a relationship for so long and we both work extremely hard. The idea popped into my head, let’s go to the west coast and elope! I can not be more grateful/thankful that this is what we decided to do.”

– Jackie on her experience eloping in the PNW.

…and the last top reason to elope is: A day that is completely you two!

Choosing to elope allows for a super special day that is down to every detail perfect for you two! It is a judgement free zone with nothing holding you back from having the day that you want to have with each other. When you want a deeper, more intimate connection that is just about the two of you, eloping really is the best option. This is the type of wedding where there is literally nothing to influence how you share your love. You can have any type of ceremony you want, anywhere in the world. You only have to think about you, your relationship and what you want. It’s the spirit of adventure, combined with the ability to make our own decisions, that calls us to forge our own path and go our own way…finding our own happiness. Your elopement day is bound to be filled with joy and happiness because it’s simple, pure, connected and intentional.

A bride and groom stand together on a rock formation in Sedona.

“Why we decided to elope!”

A couple walks across a rock wall together taking in the view of Yosemite National Park.

We ask every single one of our couples who elope with Adventure and Vow why they decided to have an adventure elopement wedding over the traditional wedding. We want to share some of those answers with you as you may find them relatable as you make the choice of what type of wedding to have!

  • “We wanted the day to be about us and the things we enjoy. We are laid back people and the stress of wedding planning and entertaining didn’t appeal to us. We feel like an elopement speaks to our adventurous side.”
  • “We wanted to have a more intimate ceremony with our parents, dog, and close friends. We also have traveled the world together and love the idea of being able to find another special place to return to thats far but close enough to home. We are excited to have our wedding outdoors as we are campers and kayakers.”
  • “We feel that traditional weddings are more performative and impersonal, and invite a lot of unnecessary stress into what should be a happy and calming event. We just want to enjoy our day together and intimately celebrate our promises to each other.”
  • “We chose to elope to get away from the social expectations associated with weddings. In our opinion, traditional weddings are more about making guest happy than the two getting married. Also we prefer to be outdoors!
  • “We chose to have an elopement/micro wedding because it affords us the freedom to get married in a place that is more meaningful to us than a traditional venue and allows us to spend the day in a much closer and more intimate setting with those we love the most. We also just love to take the road less traveled and have a more unique experience when it comes to pretty much everything!”
  • “I always heard that girls dream about their perfect wedding day but I never experienced that vision until I got into spending time outdoors. **** and I really bonded over our love of the outdoors and it’s where I was the happiest. When we found out elopements were a “thing,” we knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do. We both don’t love the thought of throwing a party for people we don’t talk to regularly. I just want to spend the day with him and also have our friends & family join for a bit. Basically I want it to feel like one of our hiking trips but in fancy clothes!
  • “We’ve always envisioned a smaller, more intimate wedding for ourselves. As avid hikers, when we learned about adventure elopements, it seemed like the perfect way to get married. We got engaged along a hike in Yosemite, so it only seemed fitting to hike to marriage!”
  • “Marriage should be about both of us celebrating our commitment to each other in front of our families. I did not want to take away from this experience. We both want to have a stress free day that is all about our love and commitment to one another.”
  • “We both love to travel and be outdoors. Our relationship began with hiking and we’ve always connected the best during our outdoor adventures. A small outdoor elopement is more representative of our personalities and relationship. We don’t like large crowds or tight spaces.”
  • “We met as coworkers at REI, and our first date was a hike. Immersing our wedding day in the beauty of the natural world feels like a natural and obvious choice. An adventure elopement best captures the way our mutual love and admiration for the outdoors brought us together. Our exploration of the outdoors together has strengthened and brought out the best parts of our relationship. Furthermore, an adventure elopement affords us the opportunity to celebrate our love with a small, intimate group of our choosing–relieving any pressures to strictly adhere to formalities and traditions that do not fit the goals and priorities we have for our lifelong partnership.”

Still undecided if eloping is right for you?

Still stuck on the, how do I know if eloping is right for me question? We can write a list of all the great reasons to elope and make calculated balances, but honestly, I think eloping comes from the heart. Eloping is something you connect to. Where as you may not connect to the traditional wedding values. If this blog didn’t help you in deciding I recommend reading our Reasons Not to Elope blog post for a different perspective. Here are some questions to ask yourself as well if you find yourself on the fence:

  • Why am I so unsure? What is leading me to question what I want?
  • What does my partner want for a wedding day?
  • What are the pros/cons of each option?
  • Why did elopements spark my interest in the start?

You only get to experience your wedding day once, so I highly recommend if you are not 100% sure then wait, the right thing will come to you, there is no need to rush your planning. Enjoy it!

Maybe, after reading this you’ve decided You Want to Elope! (woot woot!!), but now what?

After you have decided to elope you want to consider: where you want to elope, when you want to elope, who you want to be there or not be there and what is important to do on this day for you both! After you have made some of those general ideas and plans have come together, you want to book an elopement photographer to help you with the rest! Check out these other resources for helping you plan + conceptualize your very own elopement wedding day! By clicking on the image it will take you to the resource. Cheers to the adventure friends!

Five golden stars indicating a review.

“Is there a sixth star to award? The experience, the professionalism, the artistry, the kindness, the fun…Traci and Bill were exceptional from start to finish. They helped us plan an incredible day, recommending incredible trails near Mt. Rainier based on our wish list for an adventure photo setting and scouting them to make sure they were perfect and accessible. They gave gentle and respectful tips that made our day run smoothly and with less stress. On the trail and at the ceremony, they were patient, laid-back, helpful, and flexible in meeting our needs and working with the nuclear family who came to our microwedding. They even offered to help coordinate wedding vendors. And at the end of it all, we got photos and videos that blew us—and our family and friends—away. Seriously. We thought we knew from their blog how technically skilled Traci and Bill were, but we didn’t really understand until we saw just how perfectly they captured the magic of an unforgettable time. We’re talking jaw-dropping waterfall shots in wedding attire, and I’m no model! They earned our highest recommendation, our highest rating, and our sincere thanks for giving us unbelievable mementos of our wedding day.” – Lindsey, eloped in Mt Rainier