san francisco elopement photographer

Top 10 Reasons to Elope

Have you considered having a small wedding and wondered the reasons to elope? Are you only having a large traditional wedding because you want to please the parents? What if I told you there’s a way you can satisfy both your needs and your parents’ needs by having two separate celebrations – one elopement and one party? This idea is becoming more and more popular as Couples learn what eloping is, and realizing that eloping speaks more to them than the big traditional wedding. In this article, I will take the time to help dispel some of the myths associated with eloping, and why it can be one of the most important decisions for your wedding day.

But first, what exactly is an elopement?

My definition of an elopement is a wedding with a guest count of less than 25. This could be held anywhere from a normal wedding venue to a National Park, and even in your backyard. Many of my Couples choose San Francisco City Hall. There is no specific setting needed (although my focus is on outdoor elopements), but the most important thing that separates an elopement from a larger more traditional wedding is the intentionality of the day. So read below for the top reasons to elope to help you figure out if this lines up with your beliefs.

“Just Us” Experience

Eloping is not selfish. It’s your wedding day, and you should do what you want to do. Couples choosing to elope instead of doing a large traditional wedding generally get to focus on the connection shared between them more intimately. There is a more intentional focus to do exactly what they want, how they want, and where they want it done because there is less concern for “not making it too far for people” or other related concerns. By having an experience just for you, you get to do whatever you want without having to worry about anyone else. This gives you an opportunity to be alone to share the experiences between yourselves. And what better way to celebrate the biggest moments of your lives by dedicating the day doing exactly what you want to do.


If being in the outdoors speak to you, why not do exactly that for your wedding? Why force yourself to sit down for a three-hour dinner, listen to speeches, and doing forced dances when that isn’t your personality? There is no right or wrong when it comes to celebrating your wedding day, so you should create a day that reflects your relationship and is authentic to you. There are no rules for what you should do on your wedding day as long as you honor each other.


If you are reading this, chances are you have attended a wedding and can understand how busy the wedding day can be and how fast it can go. In a typical traditional wedding, there are so many things going on that the newlyweds have only minutes to be alone with each other and to really take in their wedding day. There are normally hundreds of people who are “lining up” to congratulate them or take a selfie with them. The focus is lost with so many posed photos that guests want for their personal social posts nowadays. Oh, and don’t forget the 25 different family group photos! Having a more intimate elopement allows you to appreciate the moment more since you do not have so many distractions and specific timelines to follow.

Less Family Drama

One of the more underrated difficult things in wedding planning is the guest list. If you invite one family member, you have to invite the others, even if you do not get along with them. No one wants to start any trouble, but at the same time forcing yourself to invite someone you do not get along with (and paying for their presence) is often an inevitable part of large traditional weddings. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and sometimes these family riffs exist. Eloping allows your guest list to be very simple, whether it is just the two of you or with your immediate family. This way, there is less room for family drama.

Experiences Over Things

Couples who elope typically value experiences over things, understanding that at the end of the day, floral centerpieces really are not that important in the bigger picture of their relationship. No one I know has a print on the wall of their flowers or rings, but what they do have are printed photos of people and moments that they value, in places that they love. Some people prefer traveling countries and experiencing the local culture, while others love walking the shopping district looking for new finds. If you are the former, perhaps eloping is right for you?

elopement photos

Less Stress

Let’s face it – not everyone enjoys planning. The work and stress of deciding so many little details just to make the perfect wedding day can be very overwhelming for a lot of people. Personally, I planned my mom‘s 75th birthday with 150 guests and it had all the bells and whistles of a wedding. It was the most work and planning I had ever done and it was a headache emailing, calling, and dealing with so many different vendors – I don’t know how planners don’t it! Fortunately, with my experience in the wedding and event industry, I already had ideas and preferred vendors that made my life easier, but of course, most people do not have that luxury. Planning is a lot of work and added stress, especially because you want everything to be perfect. If you don’t even want to think of the work, planning a much smaller elopement might be your best bet.

Planning Costs

While the cost savings might be obvious, it is important to note that a couple looking to do a wedding in California will have to spend an average of over $31,000. A lot of it goes to the venue and food, and is somewhat wasted on things that are relatively trivial. Whether money is a big consideration or not (from my customer’s experience it is rather low on the scale of reasons), eloping simply put will save you money. Hopefully, the above reasons speak to you more when considering reasons to elope, but if cost is the main factor, investing the saved money into a future adventure, home, or preparing for a family is a smart choice.


Researchers say anywhere from 16% – 50% of people are introverts, and suddenly being thrust into the spotlight for the entire day may be a bit overwhelming for some. Not everyone enjoys the first dance in front of hundreds of people (with their phones inevitably catching every misstep), so getting away from the crowds is the perfect escape. There’s nothing like being outdoors, hearing the birds chirping in the air, and the wind blowing through the trees, to feel totally at ease. We all excel in different situations, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone for your wedding day.

Extended Honeymoon

Some Couples prefer to do destination elopements, choosing a location that they have never been to before and extending their wedding planning to include more travel and/or hiking. Too often, large traditional weddings are done on Saturdays and then we are back to work on Monday, hardly having enough time to recuperate from a wild weekend. Combining the wedding trip and honeymoon is a perfect way to take things at your own pace and relax for an extended period without rushing things.

Epic Photos

Choosing to elope doesn’t mean you don’t care about your wedding photos – in fact, it means the opposite. By choosing to elope, you overlook the tradition placed in having a large wedding and instead opt for an experience that is true to who you are. Typically, elopements are done outdoors in a gorgeous setting. By eloping outdoors and not forcing yourself to be stuck indoors in a dining hall, you increase your chances of some awesome photos! Trust me, it is NOT a photoshoot the entire day, but would you rather say your handwritten vows to your love with the mountains behind you or inside a dull hotel reception hall?

Whatever reason speaks to you the most, considering these reasons to elope hopefully help in your decision-making process. Regardless of what type of wedding you choose – large traditional or small elopement – take the time to enjoy the process and utilize this Wedding Planning Guide to help with planning. If you want to elope locally, check out this list for San Francisco Elopement Venues. There are endless ways to make your wedding day unique to you and I hope this all helps you decide! If you want to discuss your wedding day, let’s chat!

thomas fogarty wedding silhouetted bride and groom with a colorful sunset around them
Scroll to Top