June 20, 2024

Why Do People Elope? : 10 Profound Mental Health Benefits

Two people in wedding clothes share vows standing on a rock with a mountain view in the background. They elope in nature while smiling and laughing together.

The Impact of Eloping On Your Wellbeing

In recent years, elopements have blossomed into a beloved alternative to the traditional wedding. Far from its old-fashioned image of running away to Vegas, modern elopements are a celebration of intimacy and personal connection. They are offering couples a unique way to say “I do” without the stress and expense of a grand affair. And though there are many blogs that now address the question “why do people elope?”, nobody is talking about the genuine impact on your body. While some may choose to elope for financial or logistical reasons, I’m particularly inspired by the profound mental health benefits that come with this impactful and important choice of celebration.

Prioritizing mental health is essential, as it directly impacts your overall happiness and the strength of your relationship. As someone deeply passionate about helping you create meaningful, stress-free wedding experiences, I’ve seen firsthand how elopements can transform your journey to committed partnership.

My goal is to guide you through this exciting option with warmth and expertise. You deserve to feel confident, comfortable and inspired every step of the way. Let’s explore the magic of elopements together and discover the power it has to impact your life far after your wedding experience has ended.

A couple is eloping in nature. They are on a trail and the groom is hugging the bride from behind as they smile and laugh together with the sun beaming down on them.

Table of Contents

What Does “Elope” Mean?

Why People Elope For Mental Health
1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
2. Enhanced Emotional Connection
3. Authenticity and Personalization
4. Freedom and Autonomy
5. Family Dynamics & Relaxation
6. Post-Elopement Reflection and Growth
7. Connection with Nature and Environment
8. Focus on The Ceremony Itself
9. Flexibility in Location and Timing
10. Reduced Environmental Impact

Additional Reasons People Elope

How To Plan An Elopement

How Long Should Your Elopement Be?

Why Do People Elope Summary

An elopement ceremony is happening on the rocky cliffs near the ocean. The couple is surrounded by a few family members and nature.

What Does “Elope” Mean?

If you’re not quite sure what this term means, that’s understandable! This concept has changed over time. While the term “elopement” once evoked scenes of secretive marriages spurred by familial or societal pressures, today’s elopements are embraced as deliberate, thoughtful decisions. Eloping now, in its contemporary form, simply involves couples choosing to wed in a more intimate and personal manner. You can sidestep the extensive planning and costs associated with traditional weddings and focus on what matters to you. They are typically smaller celebrations and highlight simplicity, connection, and authenticity.

One of the most appealing aspects of modern elopements are the freedom they offer. You can choose stunning, unconventional locations that hold special meaning or adventure somewhere new! This freedom even extends to the ceremony itself, allowing couples to craft a deeply personal commemoration that reflects their unique story. By eloping, you can focus on what truly matters: your commitment to each other.

A couple is running on the beach in their wedding clothes and smiling and laughing together while they elope for mental health benefits.

Why People Elope For Mental Health

I don’t think anyone has put it this way, but in my professional opinion, many couples choose to elope for significant mental health benefits. Beyond the allure of simplicity and intimacy, eloping can profoundly reduce the emotional strain often associated with planning a traditional wedding. At the base level, prioritizing a smaller, more personal ceremony, alleviates a lot of stress and anxiety. This allows couples to fully immerse themselves in the joy of celebrating a shared life! Having a small, intentional wedding also promotes deeper emotional connections and authentic celebrations. This fosters a sense of freedom and empowerment for creating a wedding day that truly reflects everyones unique values and desires.

An article in the Atlantic titled “What the Longest Study on Human Happiness Found is the Key To A Good Life” states: “You don’t have to examine scientific findings to recognize that relationships affect you physically…In this sense, having healthy, fulfilling relationships is its own kind of fitness—social fitness—and like physical fitness, it takes work to maintain.” It goes on to explain that deep relationships are imperative for a happy life. Something we all generally know, but can be difficult to put into practice. As someone who has captured big weddings and elopements for years, I can tell you first hand how big, traditional weddings don’t typically lead to deep relationship-building moments. The couple is usually stressed, rushing around with barely enough time to spend with each other, nevertheless all the guests they have invited.

Choosing to elope instead can be a purposeful and powerful choice for your mental health. It can be a building block for your happy, good life as a couple that you are building.

Here are 10 ways eloping can help make that happen:

Two people are laying in a hammock while they elope, relaxing and cuddling and looking up into the forest. They are in wedding clothes and barefoot.

1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Less Pressure:

Eloping offers a liberating escape from the pressures often associated with planning a large wedding. Without the need to conform to traditional expectations or cater to numerous guests, couples can craft a wedding day that feels authentic and meaningful to them alone. Don’t want to do a garter toss? You don’t have to! Not feeling the idea of a first dance with everyone watching? Enjoy it privately instead! This reduction in external pressure allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. The focus remains squarely on the bond between partners. By choosing simplicity over extravagance, you can savor every moment of the celebration without the stress of meeting societal or familial expectations.

Anxiety Relief:

One of the profound mental health benefits of eloping is its ability to alleviate anxiety. By sidestepping the complexities and uncertainties of a traditional wedding, couples can significantly reduce feelings of overwhelm and stress. Planning a wedding is known to be one of the most difficult things for couples. It can also cause a lot of tension. I might be crazy, but I don’t think the “greatest day of your life” should coincide with the most anxious experience of your life. Eloping offers The freedom to create a wedding day tailored to your preferences. You can let go of all the rest that overwhelms you. This approach fosters a sense of calm and emotional well-being, allowing couples to fully immerse themselves in the celebration of their love and partnership.

A couple is standing on a rocky ledge with evergreens and the sunrise is lighting up the landscape of a gorge behind them with purple and blue and pink hues. They elope  in an adventurous way on a windy day, blowing the brides dress.

2. Enhanced Emotional Connection

Intimacy Focus:

Having a small celebration with just you, or with your closest loved ones makes a big difference. Couples have a chance to prioritize their relationship and nurture emotional bonds with a more intimate setting. You have more time to focus on one another rather than stick to the timeline like you would in a big, traditional wedding. This cherished focus naturally fosters a sense of closeness and connection. You’re also able to celebrate your love in a deeply personal and meaningful way – whatever that means to you! Enjoy these personalized moments, like private vows, a small dinner party, or swimming at a waterfall. The result is a wedding day that truly reflects the unique essence of their partnership and strengthens their emotional connection.

Shared Experience:

One of the most cherished aspects of elopement is the opportunity for couples to share deeply personal moments together. Without the formalities, external pressures, and onlookers of a traditional wedding, couples can create a shared experience that is deeper than most. This shared decision making that elopements encourage enhances emotional fulfillment. Couples can fully immerse themselves in the significance of their commitment because both partners have put a lot of energy and time into thinking about what they would truly enjoy. Whether exchanging vows on a secluded beach or beneath a starlit sky, eloping creates a memorable and emotionally resonant experience that reinforces the bonds of love and partnership.

Two people elope in wedding clothes and then jump in the water of a waterfall and kiss. One is in a dress and one is in a suit.

3. Authenticity and Personalization

True to Self:

A big traditional wedding follows the same typical timeline for everyone. It isn’t very inclusive to many people who don’t fit typical stereotypes. Eloping empowers couples to design a wedding ceremony that authentically reflects their unique values, beliefs, and personalities. This freedom allows for meaningful choices, from the location and vows to the attire and overall ambiance. Every detail of a wedding can resonate with a couples needs and desires in a smaller celebration. By staying true to themselves, couples can experience an even more profound sense of fulfillment and joy as they embark on this new chapter of their lives together.

Personal Touches:

One of the most rewarding aspects of eloping is the ability to infuse meaningful touches into everything. Why? Because there is SO MUCH LESS you have to do this for. It’s not so much that it becomes daunting like in big weddings. Instead, it’s a fun activity you can do together as a couple during your engagement! When you exclude things you don’t value that traditional weddings require, you have more time to add personalization to the things that you do value. Whether it’s writing personalized vows, choosing a meaningful location, or incorporating cherished traditions, eloping allows couples to tailor their wedding experience to their specific preferences and desires. This personalization not only enhances the emotional connection between partners but also contributes to overall emotional well-being. By embracing authenticity and personalization, couples can create a wedding day that feels deeply meaningful and enhances a sense of belonging.

A couple is walking over driftwood toward the ocean holding hands. They are adventuring while they elope and are in wedding clothes and one carries a backpack. There are sea stacks in teh ocean and pink light with low foggy clouds.

4. Freedom and Autonomy

Choice and Control:

Imagine feeling a profound sense of choice and control over your wedding day. Unlike traditional weddings that often involve navigating family expectations and societal norms, elopements allow couples to prioritize their OWN desires and values. Thankfully this is becoming less taboo as time goes on, because to me it seems pretty rational! Every decision is made with intention and authenticity with an elopement. This autonomy fosters a deeper connection between partners as they collaboratively create a wedding day that reflects their unique relationship. The empowerment felt through this experience lies in the freedom to celebrate love on your own terms, unencumbered by external pressures.


One of the defining features of eloping is its inherent flexibility. Because it’s non-traditional in nature, couples have the freedom to choose everything from scratch. You can decide when and how to exchange vows, whether it’s a meticulously planned event or a spontaneous decision to marry. This flexibility allows couples to align their elopement with their personal timeline and preferences, creating whatever feels best! Whether opting for a destination elopement or a ceremony close to home, the ability to tailor every aspect of the day contributes to a sense of fulfillment and happiness. By embracing flexibility, couples can savor the spontaneity of eloping while cherishing the meaningful moments shared together.

It is sunrise over a mountain view and a couple is sharing vows in their wedding clothes while they elope. The color is bright orange and pink and blue with some green on the trees around them. The groom is laughing at his brides vows.

5. Family Dynamics & Relaxation

Avoiding Family Conflict:

Eloping can be a strategic choice for couples aiming to minimize potential conflicts with family members. Traditional weddings can sometimes amplify tensions or disagreements due to differing expectations or preferences among relatives. Instead, eloping couples can sidestep these potential conflicts, allowing them to focus solely on their relationship and the joy of their commitment. This decision not only reduces stress and emotional strain but also promotes a harmonious atmosphere. The couple’s love and happiness take center stage without external distractions in an elopement. You deserve to prioritize your own well-being and celebrate your union in a way that feels most authentic to you.

Peaceful Environment:

One of the often-overlooked benefits of elopements are the serene and tranquil environment they foster. You can exchange vows in a secluded natural setting, a quiet chapel, or a family members backyard. More locations are available to you because of the smaller guest list, providing more options for a peaceful atmosphere conducive to meaningful connections and emotional well-being. If you aren’t one who enjoys crowds, eloping is the perfect solution. The calmness of an elopement ceremony and celebration contributes to a sense of relaxation and contentment. You will have the chance to be present in each moment, rather than being distracted by the wildness of a large party traditional weddings create.

Two people sit in Adirondack chairs on a ponds dock after they elope. They have martinis and kayaks beside them and they are looking out into the horizon chatting.

6. Post-Elopement Reflection and Growth

Reflection Time:

Eloping provides couples with a valuable opportunity for reflection in a serene and intimate setting. After the ceremony, couples can take time to pause and reflect on their journey together, surrounded by the beauty of their chosen location. This reflective moment allows them to cherish the significance of their commitment and envision their future as a married couple. Away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, eloping encourages couples to deepen their bond through heartfelt conversations and shared experiences. This fosters a sense of unity and clarity as you embark on this new chapter together.

Growth and Commitment:

Beyond the wedding day itself, elopements can lead to profound growth and strengthened commitment between partners. By choosing a more intimate ceremony, couples prioritize the essence of their relationship and the promises they make to each other. This intentional decision to elope underscores their dedication to nurturing a strong and enduring partnership. The shared experience of elopement creates lasting memories that deepen their emotional connection and reinforce their mutual commitment. Through this journey, couples often discover new facets of their relationship and reaffirm their love in a way that is both meaningful and transformative.

A couple stands on a rock beside a massive waterfall surrounded by rhododendrons. They elope in nature wearing linen wedding clothes.

7. Connection with Nature and Environment

Natural Settings:

Have you ever heard of forest bathing? If you haven’t it’s proof that being in nature impacts our general well-being. Thankfully, Eloping offers couples the opportunity to exchange vows in picturesque outdoor locations just like forest bathing does. These practices forge a deep connection with nature and creating unforgettable memories in serene environments. You can choose any environment that feels enjoyable to both of you. Maybe that is a secluded beach, a majestic forest, or a tranquil mountain peak. Any of these natural settings provide a breathtaking location for celebrating love and commitment. Even more so, this intimate connection with the outdoors not only enhances the romantic ambiance but also creates a sense of tranquility and peace that enriches your experience overall.

Environmental Consciousness:

In addition to the personal benefits, elopements often align with values of environmental consciousness and sustainability. It’s one of the top reasons I chose to specialize in helping people elope. Unlike traditional weddings that can have a MASSIVE carbon footprint due to transportation, venue size, and waste generation, elopements typically have a lower environmental impact. Couples opting for elopement can choose eco-friendly practices such as minimalistic decor, locally sourced cuisine, and choosing to celebrate in natural settings. By reducing their ecological footprint, couples can feel a sense of pride in aligning their wedding day with their environmental values. This creates a meaningful celebration that respects and honors the natural world.

A couple is standing facing each other. They are both in long wedding dresses while they elope on a mountain at sunset. There is a tree behind them back lit by the sun and one of them is reading vows.

8. Focus on the Ceremony Itself

Meaningful Rituals:

Eloping enables couples to center their attention wholly on the ceremony and its symbolic significance, free from the distractions and logistics of a larger event. You have the freedom to craft a ceremony that is deeply meaningful and reflective of your shared values and needs. That means incorporating personal vows, cultural traditions, or anything else that relates to who you are. You get to decide instead of traditional or societal norms deciding for you. By focusing on the essence of an intimate ceremony, you can create a profoundly touching and memorable experience that genuinely feels comfortable for everyone involved.

Spiritual or Personal Significance:

One of the unique aspects of elopement ceremonies is their potential for deep spiritual or personal significance. In contrast to traditional weddings, which may involve managing the expectations of a large audience, elopements allow couples to prioritize the elements that hold spiritual or personal meaning to them. This may include choosing a date that honors a holiday you celebrate or incorporating rituals that honor your beliefs. Maybe you want to get married on Summer Solstice, have a non-religious ceremony, or plant a tree in your backyard. You have so many options at your fingertips with the flexibility elopements allow. Even more simply, sharing intimate moments together with the ability to stay present. Elopement ceremonies are crafted to resonate with the couple’s journey and relationship. This intimate focus cultivates a sense of spiritual connection and emotional fulfillment, creating a ceremony that is deeply resonant.

Two people who are eloping stand hugging and facing the blue ridge mountains. They are in their wedding clothes and it is winter. The mountain peaks are lighting up pink and orange as the sun rises.

9. Flexibility in Location and Timing

Destination Freedom:

Eloping grants couples the freedom to exchange vows in any location their hearts desire. This could be a cherished local spot or a dream destination across the globe. The point is, this flexibility allows you to celebrate love amidst stunning natural landscapes, historic landmarks, or culturally rich settings that hold personal significance. You might envision a beachfront ceremony at sunset, a mountaintop exchange with panoramic views, or an intimate cityscape backdrop. No matter what you chose, elopements empower you to create a wedding day that perfectly reflects your unique story and life aspirations.

Timing Control:

One of the appealing aspects of elopements is the flexibility in timing. Couples can marry at a moment that holds personal meaning and significance. Unlike traditional weddings that may be bound by venue availability, seasonal constraints, or guests needs, elopements allow couples to choose a date that resonates with their desires. Maybe you want to commemorate a meaningful anniversary. Perhaps celebrating around a full moon sounds nice. Alternatively, simply embracing a spontaneous decision to wed, elopements cater to the couple’s timeline and preferences. This freedom in timing ensures that the ceremony unfolds in a way that feels authentic and memorable for the couple, enhancing the overall joy and sentiment of their union.

A couple is walking through water and over rocks in front of a waterfall surrounded by greenery while they wear wedding clothes since they eloped in nature.

10. Reduced Environmental Impact

Minimalist Approach:

We touched on this a bit above, but I want to elaborate even more deeply on the importance of this piece. Eloping typically involves a minimalist approach with fewer guests, decor, food, travel, and more. This inherently reduces the waste and consumption associated with larger weddings. Embracing simplicity in elopements not only aligns with environmental stewardship but also helps you to feel good about how you’ve chosen to celebrate at the end of it all. A lot of couples have big weddings and regret the amount of stress and money spent on a day that wasn’t even really what they wanted. I find that so sad, when it’s also incredibly bad for the planet… But with eloping you can create a celebration of your dreams and not regret it a single choice.

Eco-Friendly Choices:

Another key advantage of elopements is the opportunity for couples to make eco-friendly choices throughout the planning process. Selecting sustainable vendors who prioritize ethical practices is a great place to start. Also by choosing venues that promote environmental conservation, elopements allow couples to align their wedding day with their environmental values. This might include opting for organic and locally sourced cuisine, using biodegradable or recyclable materials for decor, or even hosting the ceremony in a natural setting that requires minimal alteration. By making these eco-conscious decisions, couples can celebrate their love in a way that minimizes their impact on the planet while creating lasting memories that reflect their commitment to sustainability. You will feel proud and inspired to take these practices into your marriage together as well!

A couple is holding hands spread out wide at sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway while they elope. The two people are smiling and in their wedding clothes.

Additional Reasons People Elope

People Elope To Save Money

Reduced Costs on Venue and Catering:

Why else do people elope? Eloping significantly reduces costs associated with venue rentals and catering expenses. Unlike traditional weddings that often require booking large venues to accommodate guests, elopements can take place in smaller, more affordable settings. Some options include public parks, beaches, or even National Parks. This choice not only minimizes venue rental fees but also allows couples to opt for simpler catering options. Less people to feed equals less money to spend on feeding them! By focusing on intimate settings and fewer guests, couples can allocate their budget more effectively towards other meaningful aspects of their elopement or future plans.

Lower Costs on Attire and Decor:

Another area where elopements save money is in attire and decor expenses. With fewer guests and a more intimate atmosphere, couples often choose more casual or simplified attire. This can be significantly less expensive than traditional wedding attire. Similarly, elopements typically involve minimalist decor arrangements. They focus on natural beauty or personal touches rather than elaborate floral arrangements or venue decorations. This approach not only reduces the initial costs but also minimizes the need for additional setup and teardown fees associated with larger weddings. You can embrace creativity and personalization without the financial strain. Every aspect of your elopement can still reflect your style and preferences without breaking the budget.

Travel and Accommodation Savings:

Eloping often allows couples to save money on travel and accommodation expenses, especially when compared to hosting a destination wedding or inviting numerous out-of-town guests. Couples can choose to elope in a nearby location that doesn’t require extensive travel arrangements. Another option is to opt for a destination that offers budget-friendly accommodation options. By focusing on a smaller guest list or even traveling alone, you can streamline travel expenses, avoid additional costs associated with guest accommodations, and allocate those savings towards enhancing their elopement experience or planning future adventures together. This flexibility in travel planning ensures that the financial benefits of eloping extend beyond the ceremony itself. Embrace setting the stage for a more financially secure start to married life!

Elopements Inspire Others

Break the traditional mold

I’ve heard firsthand from couples who decided to forge their own path that they have inspired other people to do the same. When people witness others living their truth and expressing themselves vulnerably, it pushes them to be honest and vulnerable, too. What’s even better is that being honest and vulnerable makes us happier! It’s science, people! (https://www.heysigmund.com/vulnerability-the-key-to-close-relationships/)

The genuine nature of elopements can even inspire people far outside of their wedding days. Witnessing your authenticity with your partner might inspire other couples to be more honest in their relationship, to skip traditions and choose experiences they connect with, or to try new things together. Your elopement might even positively impact the way guests interact in all of their relationships.

Row of Dominos

One elopement leads to another, leads to another, and another. Attending or even hearing about elopements has inspired thousands of couples to create a wedding day of their own, too.

The way you live & the choices you make are powerful

Elopements are such a special way to celebrate your love. They are incredibly authentic and help you interact with your partner, friends and family, and even the earth. But, being able to be yourself is the most important reason of all, don’t you think?

Two people are cheersing their camping mugs while they sit on a blanket on a mountain. They are smiling while they are in their wedding clothes because they chose to elope.

How To Plan An Elopement For Your Mental Health

Planning an elopement offers couples the freedom to create a deeply personal and intimate wedding experience. Start by choosing a location that holds special meaning to you both. It can be a breathtaking natural landscape or a favorite travel destination. Decide on a date that resonates with your relationship, and consider how you want to structure the ceremony. You can incorporate meaningful rituals or simply exchange vows in a private setting. Embrace the opportunity to personalize every detail, from attire and decor to selecting eco-friendly vendors and accommodations. For more detailed guidance on planning your elopement, dive into my comprehensive blog where I explore each step in depth, ensuring your celebration is as memorable and meaningful as your love story.

A couple of people are hugging in the sunlight during sunrise while they elope in their wedding clothes on a mountain.

How Long Should Your Elopement Be?

I’m a strong believer that an elopement should be more than just a brief, one- or two-hour ceremony; it deserves to be a memorable and immersive experience.

Ideally, an elopement can range from a minimum of four hours to a full two-day celebration, allowing couples ample time to settle into the moment and savor every aspect of their special day. This extended timeframe ensures that the day is not rushed, giving you the freedom to enjoy a variety of experiences, from intimate ceremonies and personalized rituals to breathtaking views and meaningful adventures.

Additionally, the relaxed pace and focused intimacy of a longer elopement provide significant mental health benefits by reducing stress and allowing couples to fully engage with their emotions and each other.

By choosing a longer elopement, couples can create a wedding day that is as magnificent and significant as any traditional wedding, if not more so, ensuring that their commitment and love are celebrated in the most heartfelt and memorable way possible.

A couple is standing in the woods while they elope and it's raining. The groom is holding an umbrella while the bride smiles up at him reading her vows and crying. There are gnarly trees and ferns behind them.

Why Do People Elope – Summary

Elopements offer couples more than just a cost-effective and logistically simpler wedding option; they provide profound mental health benefits that foster deeper emotional connections. By prioritizing your relationship in serene, picturesque settings, you can celebrate your marriage in a stress-free and meaningful way.

Elopements empower couples with complete autonomy over their wedding decisions, from selecting a dream location and perfect timing to customizing every detail of their ceremony. This personalized approach ensures that the celebration authentically reflects their unique values and personalities.

Moreover, elopements often align with sustainability goals, embracing eco-friendly practices and minimalist approaches that reduce the environmental impact typically associated with larger weddings. This conscious choice not only benefits the planet but also adds a layer of intentionality and care to the wedding day.

Overall, planning an elopement allows couples to craft a deeply personal and memorable wedding experience, setting a joyful and heartfelt foundation for their married life together. For those considering their wedding options, elopement presents a beautiful, intimate alternative that honors both their love and their commitment to each other.




I believe everyone deserves a wedding experience that feels genuine to them.
That’s why I help those who value intimate, unique, & adventurous memories
have a celebration they cherish for a lifetime.
If you’re dreaming of an elopement immersed in the natural beauty of Western NC,
get in touch and I’ll help you bring everything to life!




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