A couple looks out at the sunrise in Alabama Hlls.

Will you regret eloping?

25 Couples that Eloped tell you if they regret it or not.

If you are deciding if you want to elope or not you may be asking if yourself if this is a choice you will regret. Or you may have heard the stories from past couples who have got married regretting their big wedding which has you wondering, would you feel the same if you did not have one?

We decided the best way to help you answer this question for yourself is to share the stories of 25 couples who have eloped in the past – do they regret it? Would they have changed anything about their elopement? We will of course also share some of our planning tips + advice on how to plan a wedding day you won’t regret, but instead will want to live over again + again. So let’s get started!!!

Eloping couples survey results

Every couple is different and therefore every elopement is uniquely different. To give you some context into the type of elopements the 25 couples we surveyed had we want to share some background data. This was a completely anonymous survey so couples had no incentive to skew their answers in any form. The answers were gathered from couples who eloped with us (Adventure and Vow) as well as those who eloped with other photographers.

What type of elopement did the couples have?

  • 92% of these couples celebrated their elopement out in nature
  • 6% eloped at home or an Airbnb
  • 2% chose “other” (We’re curious on this one too!)

How long do couples book their elopement photographer for?

  • 38% of these couples booked a photographer for 8-12 hours
  • 25% booked for 4 hours or less
  • 23% booked 12+ hours/full day
  • 14% booked between 4-8 hours

Do couples elope with guests?

  • 45% of these couples eloped just them two, no guests.
  • 25% had between 5-10 guests
  • 14% had between 10-20 guests
  • 11% had family only, but no more than 5 people
  • 5% had 20+ guests

How much did the average couple spend on their elopement day?

Couples surveyed here spent between $5,000 to $30,000 dollars on their elopement. The average a couple spent on their elopement was between 10-17k.

A bride tosses her dress in the sunlight.

Do Couples Regret Eloping?

Out of the 25 couples who responded to the survey – none of them regretted eloping. Every single one of them happily stood by their choice to elope! We think it’s best that you hear it directly from them and their own experience.

Here are a few things they shared about why they do not regret eloping:

“I have no regrets eloping and over 2.5 years later know it was the right choice for us. It allowed me to focus on the person I was committing the rest of my life to instead of being distracted by a large event and other people.”

“The day was still perfect overall in terms of quality photography, weather, and vibes. We loved having a day to celebrate us and not having any drama from guests.”

“We felt so intimately connected with each other and the nature around us. The ability to spend every moment of our day spent intentionally with us and our love at the center of it all was so special. We had been together for 10 years prior to our elopement and we still felt that our love grew so much through the elopement process and experience. The intimacy that we had created by eloping left such a profound impact on us and our relationship. We are forever grateful!”

“We were able to spend so much quality time with each other, focusing on US instead of being hosts at a party. There’s no better way to begin a marriage!”

“Absolutely not! We highly encourage other newly engaged couples to elope. There’s so much more flexibility than booking a wedding venue and with the right photographer & wedding pros (Traci and Bill we’re looking at you❤️) they will give the BEST ideas and direction!”

We spent money on what mattered most to us. We paid for photography, jeep rentals, catering, and an AirBnb. We kept it simple yet fun. We had an absolutely amazing experience with breathtaking views and some of the best wedding pictures I have ever seen. Not that I’m biased. But I am. Not only did I feel like I got to spend time with everyone who joined us, it meant so much that everyone I considered a close friend and treasured family chose to be a part of our elopement day.”

“No regrets. I wish I could live the day 100 times over.”

“It was perfect for what my partner and I wanted. A day that was intimate and memorable.”

“I do eventually want a big family and friend party but eloping was 1000% the right choice and having Traci and Bill help to plan our morning made everything so easy, it felt like a custom-tailored event just for us. It was so intimate and peaceful and special!”

A bride hugs her groom after becoming married.

Choosing to Elope for the Right Reason

Part of being happy with your choice to elope or even having a traditional wedding means you have to plan from the heart. Staying true to yourself and really thinking about what you’re doing will set you up for success in being happy with your choice.

Here are some of the reasons the couples we surveyed chose to have an elopement wedding and more insight on why they don’t regret eloping:

“We almost planned a big wedding (seemed like the next normal step right), but with my family that’s out of the country + his small foreign family here we decided eloping was just perfect for us. Our relationship was also always very private and just us, it just seemed like not having the stress and expectations from a big wedding sounded so much more us! We also always loved travel! And honestly the pictures of couples committing their lives to each other surrounded by breathtaking scenery just always looked so out of this world magical to us! It still does haha.”

“Not a huge fan of planning parties or being the center of attention.”

“More intimate, celebrating our day just us, being in nature adventuring doing things we love.”

“We had both been in and attended A LOT of weddings, and we saw how stressful (and expensive) those weddings and everything leading up to them had been for the couple AND their loved ones. We decided the stress of it all wasn’t worth it, and we also loved that we got to spend the entire day together.”

“We wanted to spend the day doing things that felt authentically us. We spent part of the day just us and part with friends and family, this balance was extremely special to us. When we realized we could plan a day doing our favorite things together while also trying some new and have some family and friends being involved in a part of it, we were sold!”

“Our love of the outdoors and doing what makes us happiest on our marriage day.”

“Simplicity and intimacy, and getting to elope somewhere new to us that we can continue to visit in the future.”

“a love of hiking/nature and wanting to be outside for our ceremony, and not wanting the time/expense/stress of planning a traditional wedding (including difficult family dynamics for one of us that would create a lot of stress on a day we wanted to feel happy)”

A note from us:

As you start to think about how you want to get married, really listen to how you feel. We can tell you from photographing and assisting in planning hundreds of elopements, wanting to elope for beautiful photos is not a good reason to elope. If that is all that is drawing you to this type of wedding, then you might regret eloping. Having a big traditional wedding because that is what is expected of you is not a reason to do so. Take the time to have a date night and ask yourselves these questions to help you decide what is right for you:

  • How do you want your wedding to feel?
  • What is most important for you to experience on this day?
  • Do you want guests? If so, who must be there?
  • Will I regret not being true to myself?
A photo of Aimee + Robs first look in Glenorchy.

How to make your Elopement Special

Another way to make sure you will not regret your experience eloping, we highly recommend planning it authentically. We see the best days when couples plan with intention and include elements of who they are as people, a couple, and from their story so far.

Here are a few things the couples we surveyed did to make their own day feel special to them:

Beautiful personal vows, completely written by us from scratch <3 Lots of time just us, taking in the scenery. Video calling with my mom while I was getting ready. We did a first look and my dress was a complete surprise to him which he loved. Little things like our rings, my details (jewelry) my moms wreath from when she married my dad, I gave my partner a gift, and there was a letter to him printed on his socks… My dress getting the red dusty dirt on it!”

“My twin sister got ordained and legally married us. We also only has our parents and siblings in attendance, and they were the only ones who knew we were getting married. Everyone else just thought we were going on vacation.”

“Camping, off roading with our dogs, hiking in the middle of the night to capture the Milky Way & stars”

“I don’t think we can pinpoint what made our elopement special. Starting the day in a quiet way, with the two of us. A champagne toast with immediate family and besties. Then ending the day with our vows!”

“The morning session was a DREAM. Watching the sun rise together something we would NEVER wake up to but it was an experience we will never forget.”

“First look, gift exchanges, had our closest family and friends with us. We all stayed in an airbnb together and got to spend a lot of time together.”

“The view, personal sermon by Bill, family and friends enjoying one of our favorite places in the world.”

Traci and Bill! Y’all were awesome not just with the photography but as guides for the day and area as well. Y’all are badasses.”

“Being in a new place, sharing vows under the sunrise, tea dates, down time and privacy, outdoor beauty, letters from our favorites, sunset and stars, and holding space for each other for the entire day!”

Eloping Regrets

Though all of the couples we asked said no to regretting the choice to have an elopement wedding, we wanted to know maybe what was something they would change.

So we asked them – What was something you would change about your elopement day? Was there any detail that you regret about eloping?

We hope there answers can help you plan a flawless day where you look back and wouldn’t change a thing!

Here were their answers:

“We eloped before it was cool haha (2018), I did feel like there was some limitations to eloping since I did not know enough… there’s a couple things I would’ve done just to make it even better! Hire a videographer and a private chef. (We had no other vendors besides the photog) I also would’ve loved to have my mom there at least, my partner had some of his close fam. (5 people total) I did do a video call with her while I was getting ready. One more thing, I would’ve planned more activities! Maybe SUP or a nice boating on the lake (we eloped at the horseshoe bend) and he LOVES boats. So if I had to change anything it would be to add more fun things!”

“Maybe two days. One day just us and one day with family and friends.”

“Probably to wear more layers! But if it would’ve been more of a possibility I would’ve liked to experience a more private experience where we got to backpack or go deeper into nature.”

“To have our dog with us more of the day!”

“I would invite less people and go harder on the adventure portion! We don’t regret our family being there however we could have extended the personal time with Bill and Traci and added some more of their incredible photos to our album.”

Maybe a bit warmer in the late afternoon/evening 🙂 But maybe not b/c it made for some special moments. Honestly I don’t think I’d change a thing.”

“I would arrive in our elopement town 2 days prior to the big day instead of 1. We felt a little rushed with errands, packing, and settling in before our 3:30am wake up.”

Six of the couples said they would not change anything about their day!

Five of the couples said they would have just added more time!

A couple shares their first dance in front of their jeep headlights.

How to Plan an Elopement you will Not Regret

As elopement photographers who have captured + helped plan elopements in a large array of places + types of elopements. We know there are some key things you can do during planning to help you have the best elopement experience.

Be intentional with planning

What exactly does this mean? If you’re intentional with your planning you really can’t end up regretting eloping. You and your partner have to dive into why you want an elopement and what you want out of it. You should think about ways to infuse this experience with who you are and what your relationship’s foundations are. Being able to finish this sentence”I want my elopement day to feel like ……” is crucial to setting the tone for planning + the elopement day itself.

Staying true to yourselves and what you want is crucial. It is easy to start inviting guests that want to come, but if that is not what you want, do not do it. Eloping is an intimate experience, you do not want anything to bring stress or negativity into the environment.

Remember, you can have it all

Eloping is not one size fits all. As seen in the stats at the start of this blog you can have no guests, you can have some guests. You can have your elopement be one day or a few days! Most importantly, how you design your day/experience has no limitations or must dos/don’ts. You can 100% have an elopement experience and combine that with the more traditional sense of a wedding. We’ve seen couples do this in these ways:

  • private vows and sharing an adventure in the morning, ceremony with guests in the evening followed by dinner
  • one day adventuring, just you two full elopement. Day two full-on traditional small wedding
  • elopement experience to get married and then months or even a year later through a reception or an intimate backyard bonfire gathering!

The limit doesn’t exist, because it’s simply a mindset. You won’t regret eloping if you stay true to who you are.

When it comes to wedding planning we often seem to find ourselves in a box. The shoulds, the traditions, and what the others want… None of that matters, none of that has a direct connection to your marriage.

Your wedding day can be whatever YOU want it to be. You can do what you want on this day, wear what you want, and the cherry on top? You will have a freaking good time, it will be stress-free, and it will be filled with deeply cherished memories for a lifetime.

You can have more than one dress, you can celebrate for more than one day, you can stop at a brewery mid-day, you can get dirty or not even get made up. When you look back, what’s going to matter the most to you?

The only thing that matters on your wedding day is the time you share together – setting intention within your marriage, celebrating the relationship you’ve built and will continue to grow, that you feel present, and the promises you’ll exchange during your vows.

Don’t be afraid to carve your own path. Don’t be afraid to dream big.

Don’t be afraid to just be you and live life to the complete fullest. You don’t get time back, so spend it how you want. 

You’ll regret eloping if you pick a location just from Instagram

Instagram is a great place for inspiration or a place to search for elopement vendors – hey, follow us!!

However, it is not the place to pick your elopement location. You will find beautiful elopement locations as you see images on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and TikTok. Picking the right elopement location though is one of the biggest factors that goes into planning your day alongside picking your elopement photographer.

Here are the main reasons selecting a location off of IG is a bad way to go:

  • The location is likely a busy location if you are seeing it a lot on social media.
  • You have no information on the location other than how it looks in this photo – can you legally elope there? How challenging is it to get there? What is the experience like?
  • Instagram could be lying to you – you know Instagram vs Reality? Often people post photos on different dates than when they took them so you can not gauge snow levels, wildflowers, weather, sunrise or sunset lighting based on a post. You also never know what has been photoshopped or excluded from the image.

Better ways to select an elopement location:

You might regret eloping if you don’t work with a photographer that specializes in elopements

I truly can not emphasize this enough. You do not want a photographer that is willing to photograph an elopement, you want a photographer that specializes in elopements. Photographing an elopement is a lot different than photographing and being prepared to photograph a traditional wedding day.

These are the questions we highly recommend knowing the answer to before booking your photographer for an elopement:

  • Has the photographer ever photographed something like the adventure you want to share?
  • Does the photographer have back up gear and systems in place? Elopements are rough on camera gear and you want to know that if something goes wrong during your elopement, it won’t affect your images or day in any way.
  • Do your photographers have outdoor experience? Having knowledge about the outdoors, wilderness first aid credentials, knowledge and proficiency with adventure gear, understanding weather patterns and all the little details is crucial to delivering a flawless experience.
Two elopement photographers smile for a portrait in Sedona.

We are a husband and wife adventure elopement team and we ourselves eloped backpacking the Wonderland Trail which goes 94 miles around the base of Mt Rainier. Bill and I know how it feels to be in the early stages of planning and are here to answer all of your questions! We are your team to help each step of the way!

We absolutely LIVE for what we do and love helping couples co-create their dream elopement day capturing the adventure along side of them. We would love to connect with you to chat more about your day and what you are envisioning!

We’d Love To Chat and Be The Team To Bring Your Dream Wedding Day To Life!

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A couple walks under the moonlight.

Check out some more Elopement Planning Resources: