elopement ceremony on top of a mountain

Should you have a big Wedding or an Elopement?

If you've arrived here you're more than likely engaged and starting the process of planning your wedding. Maybe you're just freshly engaged and considering your options, or maybe you've been planning a big wedding and are now reconsidering. No matter how you got here, welcome! As a team of elopement photographers serving New England and beyond, we love elopements. We also have a lot of experience with traditional weddings and love to talk about the pros and cons of each. In this blog, we'll be going over if eloping is a bad idea, as well as the pros and cons of having an elopement.

So what is an elopement nowadays?

I go into this in detail in my blog on the Definition of an Elopement, but here's a quick rundown.

My definition of an elopement is this: An elopement is a meaningful, personal and intimate experience created specifically for you and your partner to celebrate your journey together.

An elopement purposefully ignores the hubbub of a traditional wedding. It takes a lot of courage for a couple to go outside of the norm and choose to elope. There's a lot of pressure when it comes to planning a wedding, and sometimes you can lose track of what the day is about. An elopement can truly remove some if not all of that stress and allow you to focus on the excitement of marrying one another. To me, it's really up to YOU to make your own definition of an elopement - if that's the route you're choosing! The main thing to remember is; this is your day to make all the decisions - whether that be to go the traditional route or not!

What are the benefits of eloping?

There's no doubt that there are several benefits to eloping. The wedding industry has created a standard of spending time, money and resources for one day. However, there are just so many people who want no part in that. If that sounds like you, then there are so many benefits to eloping and creating the day of your dreams.

  1. You can create a day centered around you
  2. Spend the money on experiences
  3. You don't need to choose just one experience
  4. It can be as simple as you want it
  5. You have more freedom

You can create a day centered around you: With an elopement, you can create a day that is completely unique to you and your partner. You don't have to worry about pleasing anyone else or conforming to traditional expectations. Every detail of the day can be designed to suit your needs and desires.

Spend the money on experiences: Traditional weddings can be expensive, but with an elopement, you can spend your money on experiences like travel, adventure, or other things that you and your partner enjoy. If you're wondering How much does it cost to elope - that is totally up to you and your priorities.

You don't need to choose just one experience: With an elopement, you can have the best of both worlds. You can have an intimate ceremony and then host a party or celebration afterwards to include more friends and family. Whether it be in the same day or weeks later, its up to you!

It can be as simple as you want it: You don't have to worry about the logistics of a big wedding with an elopement. You can keep it simple and just focus on what is important to you.

You have more freedom: More time and flexibility to spend the day how you want to without feeling rushed. There's no need to strictly adhere to anyone's timeline, but rather fill the day with opportunities to make memories. You can make a schedule of things to do, and then if you want to be spontaneous: you can! You are in charge of the day.

What are the disadvantages of eloping?

As I mentioned, eloping isn't for everyone. And the beauty of the time we live in, is that you don't need to choose one or the other. Elopements do have their disadvantages, depending on what you value. Below are just a few things that can be a deterrent for some couples.

  1. There are no rules, which can be overwhelming
  2. Limited amount of guests
  3. You may need to be flexible
  4. Fewer gifts
  5. Having to deal with telling everyone, or do you!?

There are no rules, which can be overwhelming: With no set rules for elopements, it can be overwhelming to plan everything from scratch. You have to decide on everything from the location to the ceremony to the reception, which can be daunting. Luckily with experienced vendors (like photographers or elopement planners), you can get hands-on help with designing your elopement!

Limited amount of guests: With an elopement, the guest list is usually limited to just a few people. This can be difficult if you have a large family or group of friends that you want to celebrate with. While you can bring guests if you want, it does add extra layers of logistical planning and an increase in cost. Ask your photographer how many guests you can bring for your wedding to still be considered an "elopement". Some venues or areas have a limit for the number of people you can bring with/without a permit.

You may need to be flexible: Elopements often require flexibility in terms of location and timing. You may have to be willing to compromise on certain aspects in order to make the elopement work. If you're eloping on public land, you don't have a guarantee of total privacy, or perfect weather.

Less gifts: With a smaller guest list, you may receive fewer gifts. This may not be a concern for everyone, but it is something to consider. While you could still have a registry and host a bridal shower or reception later, you may not get as much as if you had a big wedding.

Having to deal with telling everyone, or do you!?: Some couples choose to keep their elopement a secret, while others want to share the news with friends and family. Either way, there may be some difficult conversations to have. Head to my guide for tips on How to Tell your Friends and Family you're Eloping.

So...should you elope?

couple dancing at mountain top elopement

While I believe that anyone can elope if they want to, elopements aren't meant to be for everyone. Whether it be family dynamics, traditions, or the fact that you really do want a big party with lots of guests celebrating your marriage. There is no shame in doing exactly what you want to do for YOUR wedding. Don't let anyone talk you out of your dream day, big or small. The most important thing is that you have the day that makes you feel most at peace and simultaneously most energized and alive.

Kelsey Converse Photography adventure elopement photographer

Hey, I'm Kelsey!

A New Hampshire based adventure elopement photographer and educator helping others create a business (and life) they love. I love community and connecting with others, so never hesitate to come say hi!


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