Over the last few years, more and more couples have chosen to elope, have intimate ceremonies or get legally married before their big weddings. And we all know why that’s been the case (thanks, COVID!).

Here at Young Hip & Married, we love an elopement! But we know they’re not for everyone (find out if an elopement is right for you!). But what if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could get legally married in an elopement now and have your big wedding celebration later?

Of course, this option isn’t going to be right for everyone. If you really want to wait to legally tie the knot until you can have your big party, that’s awesome. But before you make that decision, here are 8 reasons why you may want to get legally married before your big wedding.

Vancouver elopement wedding
by Erica Miller Photography

You’re having a destination wedding

A great reason to get legally married before your big wedding is if your big wedding is happening overseas. Often, it’s difficult to get legally married abroad as there are a lot of hoops you need to jump through: paperwork, translations, waiting periods and even blood tests! In some countries, only residents are able to get legally married. So keep things simple and take care of the legally ceremony at home.

It takes the pressure off your big day

As you can imagine, a wedding day is often a high-pressure, high-stress event. So why not take some of the burden off your shoulders by doing the legal ceremony ahead of time? That way, you can rest easy during your party knowing the serious stuff has already been taken care of.

You don’t have to wait

Of course, the big reason why we’ve been seeing more elopements, intimate and legal weddings lately is because couples don’t want to wait. Many couples have watched as their big wedding day gets postponed time and time again. So if you’re tired of waiting, why not elope now and party later? You can always have your legal ceremony now and save the reception for a safer time.

elope now and party later when you get legally married before your big wedding
by Erica Miller Photography

You can enjoy the benefits of marriage

Sometimes it’s the logistics of life that encourage couples to get married on paper while they wait to have a bigger celebration. You may need to be legally married in order to share insurance policies or benefits, before a big move or big purchase, if work is taking one of you out of the country, or to be aligned with your beliefs about cohabitation or starting a family.

You get to celebrate twice!

This world could always use more joy, so let’s make the most of celebrating your love! With two weddings you can have two anniversaries, two parties, two awesome outfits, and two excuses to enjoy wedding cake. A smaller legal wedding also gives you something to be excited about as you continue planning your big reception.

Vancouver elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

You can include people who can’t attend your big wedding

A great reason to get legally married ahead of time is the people you can include. For example, if you have older relatives who may not be able to travel to your big wedding, you could include them in a local elopement. Or, if your big wedding is going to be adults-only, you could invite the special kids in your life to your legal wedding beforehand.

You can focus on the ceremony

We truly believe your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding (of course, as officiants, we’re a little biased). Without a ceremony, you don’t have a reason for the rest of your party! By getting legally married first, you can put all of your focus on this important part of your wedding. Take your time writing your own vows and choosing readings without getting hung up on any of the reception details.

Time isn’t guaranteed

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that time is not guaranteed. No one knows how long they have on this earth and the last few years have shown us we need to take advantage of every second we get. Love is the most important thing and being able to marry your person while you can shouldn’t be taken for granted.

beach elopement in Vancouver
by Erica Miller Photography

PS: Your legal wedding doesn’t have to be dry and boring!

Just because you’re choosing to get legally married before your big wedding celebration doesn’t mean your legal wedding needs to be impersonal or less important than your big party. You can still have a sweet and sentimental moment that perfectly reflects the two of you: whether that’s in a ballgown at the top of a mountain or in jeans and a t-shirt at city hall!

Your legal ceremony is likely going to be shorter and have less frills than your large wedding reception. But you can still dress up, invite a few guests, have your wedding in a cool space, and hire a photographer to document your day. Check out our Awesome Elopement + Photography package for the perfect legal ceremony celebration!

Back in the day, a couple only got legally married before their big wedding if they had something to hide. But it’s 2022, so go ahead and celebrate! Your loved ones will be so happy you got married and still down to party whenever you decide to hold your larger reception.

So, have our 10 reasons above convinced you? Are you planning to get legally married before your big wedding day? 

written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Erica Miller Photography