Elopement has traditionally been viewed as a bad thing. The dictionary defines it as “to run off secretly to be married, usually without the consent or knowledge of one’s parents.” It’s come and gone from fashion: it was common enough in the 1920s and 1930s, though became distinctly out of style in the 1940s before going almost extinct in the 1950s. The 1950s was the dawn of the bridal era. Weddings were suddenly large affairs. The bride was as likely to have a new gown as she was to wear her mother’s. Weddings were more expensive than ever, and many of the traditions we now consider standard (such as brightly dressed – and large numbers of – bridesmaids) we first begun.

Though large weddings are still very much the trend, there has never been a better time to consider eloping. Here are the top reason to consider an elopment.

5) Funding, or lack thereof

Money troubles are a leading cause of stress in marriages. With the cost of living at record highs and the economy still struggling, couples of all ages find themselves staring at their budgets, wondering how on earth they can afford to have the wedding their families want.

Remember, it’s your wedding. You can save that money if you want; use it as a downpayment on a house, or pay off your loans. Tie the knot in a way that makes sense to you, maybe with a , a casual elopement in your home town, or jetting off to Vegas for a sense of occasion.

4) Less stress

No doubt about it; wedding planning is a stressful business. After the initial excitement has worn off, the realities of minutiae, entirely too many choices, hidden fees, and serious costs start to weigh even the most excited couple down.

Wedding planning stress is exactly what led to the creation of the wedding planner. And that industry is booming.

Eloping is far less stressful. With no one to worry about (or please) other than yourselves, you can do what you like, when you like and how you like. Want to get married on top of a mountain? No problem. Ask a guide to get his marriage license online and have him meet you at the top of your favorite peak.

3) Long engagement not required
Today’s engagements average about a year in length. In larger cities where reception space is at a premium, 2 years is also very likely. That’s a long time to wait to get married! Eloping doesn’t require getting on a waiting list for a spot that may open up in 18 months at your preferred venue. You can take your time, or not. The flexibility is a blessing for couples who just want to make it official, or who would like to start their married lives (and new families) as soon as possible.

2) Eloping is romantic

Once a popular feature of dime-novels, eloping was for the young, in love, and daring. It was the very essence of romance.

And it still can be. Have you always wanted to explore Tuscany, or Prague? How about travel to Bali and explore the Buddhist monasteries? Combine your wedding with your honeymoon and make it a destination elopement. Because you won’t be paying for anyone else’s airfare, hotel, welcome baskets or food, you can splurge on what feels wonderful and special to you. That $3000 gown you’ve been sighing over for months? Sure. That gorgeous suite in the famous hotel? Go for it. Just make sure someone gets some photos of your fabulous, intimate wedding ceremony – you’ll need something to turn that disappointment back at home into envy.

1) Focus on the marriage, not the party

Many couples dismiss the idea of an elopement because the word “wedding” has become synonymous with “attention,” and “gifts,” and “party.”

At the end of the day, after the party is over and the bridal gown is off to be cleaned and professionally preserved, the one thing you really get out of it is a spouse. Eloping lets you keep focus on that. If it’s the joining of two lives that matters most to you, an elopement can be a wonderful way to formalize the commitment you’ve made to each other, without the hustle and stress and traditions of a larger wedding.