Planning a large, formal wedding can take a huge bite out of a busy life, not to mention a budget. As couples are living together for longer before marriage and postponing marriage until they have more developed careers, many are choosing to marry in simple, private ceremonies or elope on a romantic getaway. Eloping may seem like a romantic notion, though there may be legal reasons to reconsider.


Once a couple has a marriage license, there is no legal barrier to tying the knot. In California a marriage can be performed by anyone who is vested with the power to perform a marriage, including clergy of all denominations and justices of the peace. A marriage must be witnessed and be entered into willingly by both parties. Aside from those requirements, couples can choose to be married in a variety of scenarios. Some couples choose to marry in a private, often spontaneous ceremony for these reasons:

  • Finances - some couples choose to spend their money on a home or a vacation rather than an elaborate wedding and expensive dress;
  • Incompatible relatives - family members who disapprove of the bride, groom or other family members are not invited;
  • Religious issues - rather than dealing with two or more religions, couples have a private, civil ceremony;
  • Busy schedules - planning a wedding can be time-consuming; the couple might decide that the end is more important than the means; or
  • Intimacy - the exchange of vows between two people can be a private and romantic affair.
  • Not all spontaneous, secretive marriages are motivated by romance. In some cases one partner might be pushing to elope with a hidden agenda beneath the enthusiasm.


    If your fiancé is pressuring you to elope, you may want to stop and ask why. There are many cases of unsuspecting partners consenting to a quick marriage only to later discover their new spouse to be after their assets, already married or a professional con artist. If a potential marriage partner refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement or is pressuring you to sign a prenuptial agreement followed by a quick and secret wedding - get some legal advice.

    It might not seem romantic at the time, but having a matrimonial law attorney prepare or examine a prenuptial agreement before you sign is one way you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud. While it might be disappointing to cancel a wedding, it is always better to prevent a mistake than to undo it all after the fact.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for response

Contact Us Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Discuss Your Case With An Experienced Family Law Specialist

Map Location

The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop, Attorney at Law, A California Corporation
591 Camino De La Reina Suite 700
San Diego, CA 92108

Phone: 619-535-0678
Fax: 619-299-0316
Map & Directions