The Pros and Cons of Eloping: Is Eloping Right For You?

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We are an Elopement Photography / Videography duo based in Fort Colins, Colorado. 

We love all things adventure and want to help you plan + document the best adventure elopement possible.

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Bailee & Jake



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Planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful. Figuring out exactly what you want your wedding to look like can be a complicated process. Not only are there the feelings of each spouse to consider, but oftentimes couples feel pressure from friends and family to incorporate their wants as well. And while certain people are willing to do whatever it takes to make their fairytale wedding dreams come true, big weddings are not for everyone.  

Because of this and other reasons, many couples are moving away from big traditional weddings and toward more intimate settings like micro weddings or adventure elopements. The question each couple now needs to ask is which of these two paths will be the best fit: Big Traditional Wedding? Or Intimate Colorado Elopement?

In order to help you find the answer to this question, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of traditional weddings, as well as the pros and cons of eloping. After that, we will explore an exciting third option that we have been seeing more and more in recent years: Hybrid Weddings.

Couple gets married at YMCA of the Rockies in Coloradi

The Grandeur of Traditional Weddings

Traditional weddings carry a legacy of cultural significance and opulent celebration. For some, a big traditional wedding is what they’ve always wanted, and don’t get us wrong, if that’s you, we say, go for it! But if you are on the fence, here are some aspects to consider:

Traditional Wedding Pros:

  • Familiarity and Tradition: Traditional weddings offer a sense of cultural resonance and familiarity, providing couples with a time-honored framework for their ceremony.
  • Opulent Settings: From historic churches to luxurious ballrooms, traditional weddings often unfold in stunning venues that exude opulence and grandeur.
  • Extended Guest List: Traditional weddings allow for a larger guest list, enabling couples to share their wedding day with a wider circle of people.

Traditional Wedding Cons:

  • Cost: Traditional weddings can be very expensive affairs, with costs associated with venue rental, catering, and décor quickly adding up: the average wedding in America is now around $35,000
  • Logistical Challenges: Coordinating guest lists, managing vendors, and adhering to strict timelines can create logistical challenges and stress for couples before, during, and after their wedding day.
  • Limited Flexibility: The rigid structure of traditional weddings may limit couples’ ability to personalize their ceremony and express their unique personalities.
  • High Expectations: Traditional weddings often come with a set of societal expectations, which can lead to pressure to conform to certain norms and traditions.
  • Outside influence – Oftentimes, when couples plan a traditional wedding, a lot of unwanted outside influence can creep its way into wedding planning. This shifts the focus away from the couple and can center it on the guests’ experience rather than the couples experience.

Couple exchanges vows during their Colorado elopement at the shore of an alpine lake

Embracing Adventure: The Allure of Elopements in the Wild

Adventure elopements offer a departure from tradition. This allows couples to immerse themselves in intimate ceremonies amidst nature’s splendor. If planning a traditional wedding sounds stressful, or if you and your partner shudder at being the center of attention at a big gathering, then perhaps a Colorado Elopement is more on brand for you. Consider the following:

Elopement Pros:

  • Intimacy and Authenticity: Adventure elopements offer couples the opportunity to exchange vows in intimate settings that hold personal significance, fostering a sense of authenticity and connection.
  • Intention – When couples take a step back from traditional wedding planning and start looking at planning an elopement, they will often fill their wedding day with intention, focusing on themselves and what they want to do for their wedding day.
  • Focused on the couple – Oftentimes, during big weddings, the focus can tend to shift away from the couple and center on the guests’ experience. Choosing to elope means that all of the focus remains on the couple and what they want their wedding day to look and feel like. There is no pressure to do anything that isn’t focused on the couple.
  • Not constrained to one location – When a couple opts for a traditional wedding, this usually means that the couple chooses a wedding venue, constraining the couple to that one location. Choosing to elope opens up so many possibilities! The couple can choose to visit multiple locations during their elopement day, offering a variety of scenery and endless possibilities.
  • Can visit elopement ceremony location over and over again – One of our favorite things about elopements is that it offers a unique opportunity to revisit the elopement location over and over again without an appointment and without a heads up to anyone. The couple can have an opportunity to relive the wedding day, share the elopement location with friends and/or family, and have a lifelong spot to visit again and again.
  • Breathtaking Backdrops: Against the backdrop of Colorado’s stunning landscapes, adventure elopements unfold amidst natural beauty, providing couples with breathtaking settings for their ceremony.
  • Freedom and Flexibility: Elopements afford couples the freedom to design a ceremony that reflects their unique connection and shared passions, without the constraints of tradition or expectation.
  • Less Stress: With fewer guests and a more relaxed atmosphere, elopements tend to be less stressful and more focused on the couple’s relationship rather than external expectations.
  • Lower Costs: In general, choosing to elope instead of having a big wedding can save couples thousands of dollars.

Elopement Cons: 

  • Limited Guest Involvement: Elopements typically involve a smaller guest list or no guests at all, which may disappoint friends and family who wish to celebrate the occasion. However, we do have ideas on how to include your family in your elopement. It is important to note that, at the end of the day, your wedding day should be completely centered on the couple and their love story and all other opinions should fall to the wayside.
  • Logistical Considerations: Planning an elopement in the wilderness requires careful consideration of logistics, including permits, vendors, and travel accommodations. That’s why hiring a Colorado Elopement Photographer is essential.
  • Weather Complications: Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable which means having your ceremony outside could mean saying your vows under an umbrella or in the middle of a snow storm (which both make for stunning photos, btw). 
Couple has a completely private elopement at the foot of an alpine lake in Colorado

A Third Option: Mixing Tradition with Adventure

In recent years, a trend has emerged that combines the best of both worlds—the grandeur of a traditional wedding reception with the intimacy of an adventurous elopement ceremony in the mountains. By having a private ceremony in the mountains and then a small reception at a nearby mountain venue, couples can celebrate their love in a way that is both intentional and intimate, as well as inclusive of family and tradition.

The best thing about this option is that there’s no rules on how you decide to do it! Here’s a few hypothetical ways you could plan your day if you 

Couple gets married on the shore of a mountain lake surrounded by their family in Colorado

The Power of Choice: Finding Your Own Path to Forever

In the debate between traditional weddings and adventure elopements, there is no right or wrong choice—only the path that resonates most deeply with the couple’s hearts. For some, the allure of tradition and the grandeur of a lavish ceremony hold undeniable appeal. For others, the call of adventure and the intimacy of an elopement amidst nature’s splendor are irresistible. In Colorado, where the mountains stand as silent witnesses to countless love stories, couples are afforded the freedom to forge their own path to forever. 

As we navigate the landscape of love, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Whether you choose tradition or adventure, what matters most is the love that binds you together. So, embrace the extraordinary, follow your heart, and embark on a journey that is uniquely yours. Here is a list of our favorite small wedding venues that you can reserve for your elopement!

Couple walks together in the mountains after their elopement ceremony in Colorado

The Importance of Hiring a Colorado Elopement Photographer

Choosing the right photographer for your elopement can be a daunting task. Unlike traditional weddings, where photographers navigate crowded venues and orchestrated poses, elopement photographers become storytellers, capturing the unscripted moments that unfold in the wilderness.

Through their lens, they immortalize the love shared between two souls against the backdrop of Colorado’s awe-inspiring landscapes. Every photograph becomes a testament to the couple’s journey—a visual narrative of courage, vulnerability, and unbridled passion. In the hands of a skilled elopement photographer, each image transcends mere documentation, becoming a work of art that evokes emotion and ignites the imagination.

On top of that, a good elopement photographer will also help you navigate the logistical challenges of getting married outside of a traditional venue, as well as help you find the perfect location for your ceremony to take place.

In the Colorado elopement photography industry, capturing the essence of love in its purest form is both a privilege and a responsibility. We have the power to immortalize the moments that define a couple’s journey, preserving them for generations to come, and that is never lost on us.
We’d love to be a part of your wedding journey and tell your unique story. Let’s get in touch to start planning your elopement!

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We're a husband and wife Colorado elopement photographer and videographer. We're two easy-going humans who love the outdoors and are passionate about Colorado adventure elopements. We wholeheartedly believe that saying your vows in the great outdoors is the best way to get married! Not only will we document your elopement, but we'll help you throughout the entire process to make sure that you have the most incredible wedding experience! 

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your Colorado elopement photographer and videographer