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Should You Have an Elopement or a Small Wedding?

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Elopements, Wedding Tips, Weddings

If you spend any amount of time on social media, especially in Facebook Groups, you’ve probably seen the ‘elopement vs wedding’ debate quite a lot, and understandably, because more and more people are discovering elopements and the beauty of intimacy and personal touches. 

But, one thing that you may be wondering is: should you have an elopement or a small wedding? And, what is the difference? They are pretty different and I am going to tell you!

What Elopement Means

Weddings are large gatherings that include agonizing over seating charts, meetings with vendors, and everything in between. Elopements are more intimate affairs with few to no guests and no set rules.

The beauty of elopements is the idea of creating a day that is all about you and what you want to do, from the location to the activities to the timeline! 

Elopements are often associated with running away without informing friends or family, but this definition has evolved over time. Now, elopement means marrying and celebrating with just yourself or a small group in a simple, more casual setting.

What is a Small Wedding? 

Usually, small weddings consist of no more than 50 guests and include all of the elements of a traditional wedding but on a smaller scale.

It usually consists of a ceremony, a meal, and entertainment spread out over several hours. 

Small weddings aren’t new, but they’re becoming more popular as couples prioritize the experience of their guests. A small wedding does not necessarily imply a small budget because it requires all the same vendors and planning as a larger wedding.

6 Reasons Why You Should Opt for an Elopement Over a Small Wedding

Save you a lot of money and help you stay on track with your finances

In 2024, the average wedding in the United States costs around $30,000, and that number is rising quickly due to the Weddings can be expensive after you pay for all of your vendors, such as catering, flowers, entertainment, and the venue!

Elopements, on the other hand, are typically significantly less expensive than the average wedding. While the cost can vary, you can hold an entire ceremony for under $300 (including permits and licenses).

Couples who choose to elope love the idea of allocating their budget to the things that truly matter such as their elopement photographer who will capture all of their memories, as their day unfolds.

Or, allocating their budget to an epic activity they want to tick off their bucket list!

More savings on the wedding means more money for the honeymoon

Typically, couples combine their wedding with a lengthy honeymoon– so instead of being one expense, it is two.

However, when it comes to eloping, many people, prioritise honeymoons over the ceremony itself. Many couples are combining their elopements and honeymoons into one destination, making it easier and significantly less expensive.

So if you’re wondering, should you have an elopement then the answer is yes if you want your adventure to be an all-in-one experience!

You are able to avoid family drama

Weddings are typically family affairs and couples frequently invite extended family members and people they haven’t seen in years.

Traditionally, weddings are about the family, but now more and more couples are choosing to steer away from this and do something they truly want to do — instead of pleasing others.

Many families, particularly those from older generations, don’t understand elopements and are quite opinionated on traditional weddings. They have their own expectations for everything, from the food and flowers to the aesthetics, even when they’re not paying for any of it. You can avoid their opinion altogether and elope!

Just because you are eloping doesn’t mean your loved ones can’t be a part of things!

An intimate and personal experience 

Couples can concentrate on the ceremony and adventure itself without having to deal with family drama or large groups of people. With fewer or no guests present, couples can exchange more meaningful and private vows.

For some, this private moment is so important that they choose to elope and then have a bigger celebration with their family and friends later!

You can combine traditions 

It can be challenging to combine wedding traditions if you marry someone from a different religious background, particularly if you’re marrying in a religious institution.

However, because of elopements, couples can get creative and combine their traditions in a unique way during an elopement ceremony.

Check out my Guide to Writing Heartfelt Wedding Vows for tips and writing prompts to express your love and commitment to your partner.

There is less stress surrounding the big day overall

It is overwhelming planning a wedding day – especially when there is so much to think about and so many people to please – it can all become a bit too much.

That’s just another one of the many reasons why you should have an elopement: less stress involved and you only have to please yourselves.

Eloping removes guests and unnecessary vendors, making the day smoother.

a couple embraces on a dock overlooking a lake after their elopement

Will you be planning an elopement or a small wedding?

Should you have an elopement or a small wedding? Well, now you can make your decision. 

As an elopement photographer, you know which one I would pick, and I absolutely love capturing these unique adventures with couples. You can get in touch here

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