The "Selfish" Argument | Seeking Venture Photo

The “Selfish” Argument

Comparing traditional weddings to elopements

Awhile back we talked about the Misconceptions of Elopements. Something we didn’t touch on is ‘The Selfish Argument’, because we thought it deserved its own post. We often see on photography groups and wedding pages where family members and friends are upset that their loved ones decided to elope instead of having a standard wedding.

Aunt Karen is pissed you decided to go the non-traditional route and do things your own way. Of course it wasn’t your intention to sting her feelings, you just want to do your own thing and elope for various reasons.

She says you’re selfish.

How could you not want your family there when you say your vows?

How could you not want your loved ones be present on the most important day of your life?

Unfortunately, not everyone has a loving family they can spend their wedding day with. Even if they did, shouldn’t Aunt Karen just be happy for the couple if eloping is what they truly wanted? You can absolutely choose to have a select group of friends & family when you elope, just not your entire tribe. Some couples however chose to be completely alone, and it’s needed to be known that it’s okay.

What if we turned the table around and said that doing ‘the traditional thing’ is actually the more selfish thing to do? Or the fact that Aunt Karen saying this, is actually incredibly selfish on her part?

The majority of weddings an average person has attended in their lives have most likely been at some sort of venue. Hiking & adventure elopements are something couple’s have been doing for years now, but is still quite unknown and obviously not the more popular option when it comes down to a wedding celebration.

Let’s discuss what goes into traditional wedding celebrations. As a guest, you’re excited for the happy couple! If you’re asked to be a member of the bridal party, you don’t want to disappoint the couple, so you accept the role. But what does it require to attend a large wedding, or, more extensively, take an active part in one?

Time

Every couple is different, but most traditionally you have an engagement party to attend. Then there’s the bridal shower and, of course, the wedding itself. If you are honored with being in the bridal party it also means attending bachelor/bachelorette parties, and possibly other random days where you help out the bride with picking the gown, or fittings for your dress/suit.

You might even have other miscellaneous days where you help out with chores for the wedding, which of course takes time away from your own work and life.

Money

The wedding business is a $72 billion industry. That would leave Jeff Bezos broke in just two years, and that doesn’t factor in what guests spend. It costs money to attend parties, fittings, and the ceremony, especially if it’s not close to home. Flights, hotels, rental cars, child care if the little ones aren’t coming – it adds up. Are you taking time off of work to be there for your friends on their special day? That’s lost income.

Oh, and don’t forget about the gift – a toaster from Williams-Sonoma isn’t cheap.

Isn’t it sort of selfish to expect hundreds of people from all over the place to spend time and money, sitting in an uncomfortable suit on a hard pew, sweating in the middle of July because the couple just had to have a summer wedding?

If you are gifted as the best man or maid of honor, a huge responsibility is presented. Not only do your bridal party members have to spend hundreds on their own attire, there will be more money spent on the several parties being thrown in your honor.

Isn’t it sort of selfish to put pressure on friends to carry out a range of tasks? Sure it’s flattering to be asked to be a best man or a maid of honor, but you’re presenting those people with a huge responsibility. It’s a job. Planning parties, coordinating events, spending time and money to make it all happen.

Pressure

What about speeches? Sure, some people may love the idea of being in the spotlight at a wedding to say a few nice words… but I think it’s safe to say the majority do not. Being the best man or maid of honor may mean you are obligated to do something you are extremely uncomfortable with.

I’ve been to many weddings where I overheard the best man or maid of honor feeling anxious before the whole day even started. That person carried that feeling throughout the entire day. Could making your best bud feel possibly anxious and downright scared to speak to your crowd during the reception be considered selfish?

Sure, some people love the idea of being in the spotlight at a wedding to say a few nice words, but look at the statistics as presented by Jerry Seinfeld:

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. That means to the average person, if you go to a funeral you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

You could potentially be asking your closest friend to do something that they would literally rather die than do. Not everyone is a public speaker.

The fact is: Traditional weddings can be a huge burden on others.

Of course your friends and family want you to be happy and celebrate with you. But at what literal cost are you putting your guests?

We would never call you a selfish person for having a more traditional wedding if that’s what you really wanted for yourself. Some groups of friends look forward to that for decades. They’re more than happy to take part, and that’s amazing! But it’s not for everyone.

Anyone saying elopements are selfish most likely doesn’t understand them. It couldn’t be further from the truth. A traditional wedding day, although most likely wonderful, can also be incredibly stressful and expensive, not just for you but for your guests. In comparison, elopements are intimate celebrations of love between two people who aren’t asking for anything at all.

Another option to consider: If you are set on eloping but feel sort of bad not including your whole family, why not have your elopement and then a party later on to include them? It’s your wedding afterall, you can literally do whatever you want!

Final thoughts:

If your loved ones truly care, they should be happy for you no matter what way you decide to get married. If they have a serious problem with it, that’s what’s selfish. Your friends and family should never expect you to compromise what you want for your wedding day. By choosing to elope, you are not asking for anything other than support in your decision.

And maybe a Williams-Sonoma toaster.

Tell Aunt Karen that you love her but she needs to get over herself.

Need help planning your own elopement?

  1. This is such an important topic and you wrote so great about it! I think it is important to spend your wedding day exactly how you want it! And if your family and friends care about you they should be happy that you do what you love anyway! How can it be selfish to do what you want at the „best day of your life“?

  2. Andrew Zuber says:

    So true! I was a best man and while I was happy to do it for my friend, it did cost me over a grand to do it. Plus it’s fun to be unique and do something different!

  3. Sienna says:

    Yes! You totally nailed it. It’s all about what the couple wants to do at the end of the day.

  4. Halie West says:

    This is so dang true and we don’t talk about it enough! tradition weddings are not for everyone and that is ok. everyone should be able to have that choice and they are not selfish for eloping

  5. Julie says:

    I love that her name is Karen first haha but what I really wanted to say was I really like all the points you mentioned and ways to see that maybe it’s selfish of others to ask these things of you. I personally agree because I want to elope one day and if my family supports me, then they support me otherwise, it’s my day…I guess that makes me selfish?!

  6. Adriana says:

    “And maybe a Williams-Sonoma toaster.” that made me laugh out loud! Awesome article, amazing for those who have been thinking about eloping, but haven’t made the decision yet!

  7. Afton Flynn says:

    Agree to all of this! Elopements are definitely misunderstood, but I love a compromise of having a big party later with all the extended family and friends to celebrate.

  8. Henry Tieu says:

    “If your loved ones truly care, they should be happy for you no matter what way you decide to get married” this right here is what every single couple needs to keep in mind whole planning their wedding

  9. Josie Brooks says:

    It is so smart going over the ropes for these two differences. Great education for clients.

  10. Nicole says:

    I think this is such an incredible resource for couples that may be on the fence about elopements or large weddings based on feelings and what others have said to them! Every couple should read this!

  11. Liv Hettinga says:

    You have so many good points that I’ve never even really thought about. Puts everything into a whole new perspective. And I totally agree, eloping is NOT selfish at alllll! If ya wanna spend your wedding day at the top of a mountain, just do it!! Your family will get over it, haha.

  12. Such a great article – you gave some great perspective + things for couples to think about!

  13. Hans Rivadeneira says:

    What a great post! you are saying many true things and something that brides should consider for their own wedding. Elopement are going to be more popular in the next months

  14. Elopements are the way of the future. We would elope if we could go back and change it around—would have definitely saved us time and money!

  15. Meg says:

    I loved reading this post! The wedding industry in general is a tradition. It’s difficult to break away from something that has been done a certain way for such a long time. It’s an easy thing to point a finger at someone else doing something different. It takes real courage to be the one starting a different trend. Keep doing your thing girl!

  16. Taylor says:

    This is so important to share! And if any day of your life is going to be selfish, isn’t your wedding day the one?! I know for my elopement I had to really focus on what I wanted and not everyone else.

  17. Adriana says:

    These are great tips, and it’s what any couple that’s considering eloping needs to hear!

  18. Nicole Alex says:

    This is such an important topic to be discussed and I think you addressed it really well!

  19. I couldn’t agree more with that statement. A wedding day should be about a couple, and not about anything else. Elopements are about love and personal connection. It’s a very intimate day and it is nice to celebrate it that way too. There can be a time to party with everyone else, but I think elopements are the most intimate (and best) way to celebrate that amazing connection. Great post, guys!

  20. Totally agree with everything here!

  21. Natalie says:

    Definitely great insight! It can be difficult to plan a day that makes everyone happy and I just don’t understand why more people can’t be supportive of what the couple wants to do — it’s their wedding day!

  22. Jessika says:

    Oh yes I love this!!! Karen needs to go away. I totally went through this when I got married and the pressure from family is horrible

  23. Lynn says:

    This is a super interesting read! I think it’s definitely important to see both sides to it. At the end of the day, each couple deserves a day that fully encompasses what matters to them, whether they have 10 guests or 100 guests!

  24. YES! This is spot on! It should be about the couple and what is best for them. The wedding shouldn’t all be about the guests and what you “should” have.

  25. mikalynn says:

    I loooove this! It’s one thing to say elopements aren’t selfish but this totally turns the argument around!

  26. Hans says:

    Great comparing between big wedding vs elopement!

  27. Julia says:

    This is so true! I’ve seen soo much pressure on the couples to do the “traditions” and “this is how its done” and I feel so bad for them to include events that doesn’t mean anything to them! Love elopements because the couple can craft their own unique day that is all about them!

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