WEDDINGS
05/04/2016 04:13 pm ET

21 Couples Who Decided To Elope And Are Damn Glad They Did

Bigger isn't always better -- just ask these couples.

There are those who dream of throwing a big blow-out wedding with tons of guests, a fairytale dress and fancy centerpieces. Others fantasize about eloping in a no-frills ceremony instead with only a few close family and friends present -- or perhaps no one at all.

One choice isn't inherently better than the other; it's an intensely personal decision that the couple must make together. We recently asked 21 couples why eloping was the right choice for them. Read on to see what they had to say: 

  • 1
    "When we started planning a wedding, we quickly realized that we weren’t planning the wedding for us. We were trying to
    "When we started planning a wedding, we quickly realized that we weren’t planning the wedding for us. We were trying to please everyone else. When we thought about our wedding, what we really wanted was to keep it simple and stress-free so that we could focus on what really mattered: our marriage and lifelong commitment. We knew that our family and friends would support us no matter what and that we would have opportunities to celebrate in the future." -- Becca and Reid
  • 2
    "Deciding to go for a spontaneous elopement, especially during the historic passing of marriage equality in the U.S., turned
    "Deciding to go for a spontaneous elopement, especially during the historic passing of marriage equality in the U.S., turned out to be the best wedding decision we've made. The wedding was intimate, relaxed and fun. We didn't feel the need to overthink anything and we didn't have to spend a fortune." --  Ira and MJ 
  • 3
    "To us it was about starting our lives together -- truly together -- just the two of us. And even though we would have&n
    "To us it was about starting our lives together -- truly together -- just the two of us. And even though we would have loved to celebrate with our family and friends, it made the start of our marriage about one another, ready to take on the years ahead." -- Sarah and Rob
  • 4
    "We eloped because we were getting too caught up in the planning details. Where should we go? What should we wear? Who should
    "We eloped because we were getting too caught up in the planning details. Where should we go? What should we wear? Who should we invite? How much time should we give them to save up for the trip? We realized we should get back to the simplicity and true purpose of a wedding -- namely, us as a couple. It was our special time to celebrate each other, our commitment and focus on what made us happy. Relaxed in our dress, with minimal decor and a very short guest list. In the end, we saved a ton, weren't in debt and have outlasted some couples with more elaborate celebrations." -- Corey and Teryn
  • 5
    "We got to enjoy all of the best parts of our own fairytale wedding exactly the way we wanted to. There was nothing to d
    "We got to enjoy all of the best parts of our own fairytale wedding exactly the way we wanted to. There was nothing to distract us from the real reason we were there in the first place: each other. The response we got from other like-minded people worldwide was overwhelming. So much encouragement and admiration from perfect strangers who said they wanted (or wished) to do the same thing." -- Rachelle and Jeremy 
  • 6
    "After attending many weddings of friends, we could see how couples become consumed trying to ensure that their guests have a
    "After attending many weddings of friends, we could see how couples become consumed trying to ensure that their guests have a great day – often to the detriment of the couple being able to enjoy the day themselves. We wanted our day to be about us, and eloping allowed us to focus on what made us happy." ---  Raymond and Geradine
  • 7
    "We wanted our ceremony to be about us and the promises we were making to each other. It was a wonderful day that allowed us
    "We wanted our ceremony to be about us and the promises we were making to each other. It was a wonderful day that allowed us to focus on one another and our love. Our photographers were so wonderful and even served as our witnesses so that it could truly be just the two of us. We celebrated later that evening with close family and had a reception about six months later, which were both wonderful. But saving our ceremony for just the two of us was perfect for us." -- Rachel and Tania
  • 8
    "It made more sense to us to have the money we might spend on even a small wedding to go towards traveling. The next year we
    "It made more sense to us to have the money we might spend on even a small wedding to go towards traveling. The next year we were actually able to live in Europe and travel all over because of the money we saved! Also, elopements are actually a tradition in our families -- both of our sets of parents eloped, so we felt like we were contributing to a non-traditional tradition." -- Emily and Adam
  • 9
    "We could not be happier about our decision to elope somewhere special in New York City. The wedding was small and intimate.
    "We could not be happier about our decision to elope somewhere special in New York City. The wedding was small and intimate. It allowed us to relax and really enjoy our special day, with only our closest friends and family present." -- Ramona and Kristian
  • 10
    "We decided against a big wedding, and instead opted to buy a house. The money that we would have used on a wedding and recep
    "We decided against a big wedding, and instead opted to buy a house. The money that we would have used on a wedding and reception is going toward our closing cost for the new home." -- Briana and Chris
  • 11
    "It made our wedding more intimate and just for us. It also took the pressure off having a big wedding day, which neithe
    "It made our wedding more intimate and just for us. It also took the pressure off having a big wedding day, which neither of us wanted as we don't like to be on show. Eloping worked perfectly for us as we could do exactly what we wanted and still have a party with friends and family when we got home to celebrate." -- Suzanne and Tafari 
  • 12
    "After being together for eight years as a couple, we'd already made a commitment to each other. Having a giant legal ceremon
    "After being together for eight years as a couple, we'd already made a commitment to each other. Having a giant legal ceremony to prove that we were committed to each other felt like it was about five years too late. Also, we're pretty casual, easygoing, spontaneous people. I'm a big fan of weddings matching the couple. Eloping matches our style WAY better than a big ceremony." -- Ryen And Nate
  • 13
    "Liz and I decided that a small, intimate wedding was the right thing for us. We had talked about inviting some or all of our
    "Liz and I decided that a small, intimate wedding was the right thing for us. We had talked about inviting some or all of our families, but at the time, marriage wasn't legal for same-sex couples in our state, and it became quite an expense to think of inviting our families to join us elsewhere. Every time we tried to limit the guest list, there was always someone important we would be leaving out. We wanted to get married quickly too, because we wanted the federal benefits that had become available to us at long last." -- Amanda and Liz
  • 14
    "We eloped, we escaped, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We felt so peaceful as we wandered in the middle of
    "We eloped, we escaped, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We felt so peaceful as we wandered in the middle of nowhere, just traveling hand-in-hand. We are one." -- Guru and Bangxi
  • 15
    "We picked a breathtaking location and still, a year later, love every moment of that magical day. Our vows were so intimate
    "We picked a breathtaking location and still, a year later, love every moment of that magical day. Our vows were so intimate and really meant for each other's ears only. In two weeks we have our wedding party in Belgium and although I'm excited to redo some parts of our wedding and celebrate with friends and family, those vows and that day were all I wished for. I even recommend an elopement to friends. It's a fabulous way to celebrate love." -- Tine and Pieter 
  • 16
    "We wanted the day to be about committing our lives to one another. We had observed how many weddings become about
    "We wanted the day to be about committing our lives to one another. We had observed how many weddings become about something other than that commitment and we wanted to keep the focus on what was important to us. We shared an intimate day and had a lot of fun." -- Michelle and Grahamme
  • 17
    "We wanted something intimate, beautiful and romantic. Something that represented who we are as individuals. We wanted someth
    "We wanted something intimate, beautiful and romantic. Something that represented who we are as individuals. We wanted something private with no controversies. We wanted to have that memory to cherish for the rest of our lives." -- JC and Jeffrey
  • 18
    "Our day was about only us. We didnt have to worry about entertaining guests and we didn't get nervous about anyone watching
    "Our day was about only us. We didnt have to worry about entertaining guests and we didn't get nervous about anyone watching us. Our wedding was magical and perfect and a special moment that only we share." -- Kayci and Tyler
  • 19
    "We were able to focus exclusively on each other and on the commitment we were making to one another.  The day could not
    "We were able to focus exclusively on each other and on the commitment we were making to one another.  The day could not have been better. " -- Christanna and Darius
  • 20
    "We not only got to get married in our favorite city in the world (New York!), but we did so without having to get stressed o
    "We not only got to get married in our favorite city in the world (New York!), but we did so without having to get stressed or worry about pleasing others on our big day. We got to spend every second of the day together rather than having to entertain loads of guests and that was really important to us!"  -- Carys and Gillan
  • 21
    "By eliminating the pomp and circumstance, we shared the most special moment of our lives without stress or pressure. It felt
    "By eliminating the pomp and circumstance, we shared the most special moment of our lives without stress or pressure. It felt like we were in our own world without any distraction." -- Jillian and Nick 

**Some responses have been edited and condensed for clarity. 

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