Weddings are a HUGE deal. I know this. Some girls spend their entire lives dreaming and scheming of their perfect big day. They have their dream dress on their wish list and can just imagine toasting cocktails with their best gals and dancing the night away with their closest friends. Other girls … well they just don’t. If there is anything a bride can tell you (me included), it is that planning a wedding is no joke: There are dresses to buy, desserts to taste, colors to coordinate, and people to please. Does your high school friend get a plus one? How are you to accommodate aunt Susie’s dietary restrictions? Should you risk sending RSVP’s by mail, or just pay extra to do it through a website? Do I really have to address 282 invitations? Guys, its a lot. I know from first hand experience because I have been there. I get it. You just want something SIMPLE, something so low key + relaxing, yet still have amazing photographs of you and your better half.
Now, I am not here to sway or change your mind if you are 1000% gung-ho for a big traditional wedding. If that is what your heart and soul wants, YOU DO YOU, BOO! Seriously. Eloping is not for everyone - It has its pro’s and con’s. However, if you are engaged and are deciding which route best fits you, I am here to share with you why you should consider an intimate elopement.
As I have grown my photography business, I have had the pleasure to photograph both traditional weddings and intimate elopements. In doing so, I have found that my heart just takes off with the untraditional, intimate + adventurous weddings, verses the traditional classic ones. Elopements in my book are turning into quite the obsession - and I ain’t mad about it! Here are 10 reasons why I am obsessed with elopements, and why an intimate wedding just might be the right route for you!
1: The day now really becomes all about YOU and nothing else.
Ladies, lets face it. The moment you get engaged you turn into full force wedding planning natzi. Your mind starts to race with all the possibilities. You pull up that secret Pinterest board that you have had since you were 16 - you know, the one you have been working on since before you even had a boyfriend -but who is judging ;) Wedding planning is BEAST. Suddenly instead of focusing on becoming… oh I don’t know.. a WIFE, we find ourselves trying to fill the shoes of a wedding coordinator, a vendor scouter, the sole decision maker, the cake taster, and plan all the things WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT before that shiny diamond was ever on our finger. With an elopement you get to cut out all the nonsense and messy moving parts that honestly won’t matter at the end of the day, and focus solely on what does: The love you share and the commitment you’re making to your best friend. Did I just hear a sigh of relief? And this is only tip 1! (;
2: You love to travel + explore
GUYS. You can get married anywhere your heart desires. For real. (Hire a photog who knows what they are doing, ahem, Hi! ) and let the magic happen. There are a few factors to look at if traveling internationally like how long do you have to be there to obtain a marriage license, or if needing witnesses is required- but that is when hiring the right photographer comes into play because if were being honest, your photographer is your day of coordinator and them some. But for real, a perk to eloping is that you can choose almost anywhere in the world. If you love to travel, you can even combine your wedding with your honeymoon! SAY WHUT?! Whether you choose to say your vows at the top of a mountain, in the rainforest, on a sandy beach, or 400 feet above the Grand Canyon, the possibilities are truly endless. If traveling is a priority for you and your fiancé, you can make your elopement the once in a lifetime adventure you have always dreamed about!
3. You are not a traditional bride + groom
You and your better half are not your average Joe. You two don’t care about social norms nor impressing anyone with the latest and greatest place settings or centerpieces. You two march to the beat of your own drum and always like to take the path less traveled. You do things others may say is ‘edgy’ or ‘different’. You could care less about how many people dance to the cha-cha slide at your reception, and don’t even remember inviting uncle Rob (or is he even your uncle?) Elopements give you the chance to tweak and cater your day to FIT you and your personalities the best. If you truly are a gypsy soul and want to do something different, pick an elopement destination as unique and adventurous as you are. With an elopement, you’re suddenly not forced to choose the town that most of your friends and family live, but a place that makes you feel the most alive. Maybe it is a place on your bucket list, or maybe it is a special place where you shared your first kiss. Elopements allow you the freedom to choose any wild, adventurous, special destination your heart desires.
4. The anything goes attire
Want to wear a tie-dye wedding dress that may or may not have given grandma Ruthie a heart attack? Or you don’t want to wear a dress at all? How about you really want to walk down the ‘aisle’ to a song by the Backstreet Boys (I SO WOULD DO THIS), or not walk down an ‘aisle’ at all. Want to opt out of wearing a veil and say forget the suit and tie altogether too? You have all the freedom to do it. With an elopement, you’re 100% in control of the things that matter to you. No stressing over a dress code or other people’s expectations. That also means there is no need to force your BFF’S into matching bridesmaids dresses either. Just saying. You truly get to do you, boo- boo.
5. No compromises
Ask anyone, when planning a wedding, EVERYONE has an opinion. Whether they mean to or not, feelings get hurt and great ideas get over looked (usually the bride’s feelings are low on the totem pole). “You can’t have a rock band because Granddad thinks its satan’s music”. “We can’t do a peanut butter and chocolate cake because cousin Pete has a peanut allergy.” Or “You can’t ride in on a miniature horse because Aunt Sarah is an animal activist.” There is always someone who isn’t going to agree with everything you do. It is like no one wins, so why not cut your losses early, skip the nonsense, and do what you want to really do? Sounds like a no brainer to me!
6. No pressure with vows
I can speak from personal experience on this one. When I asked Spencer (was fiancé, now husbabe) if reading and writing our own vows was something he wanted to do, he answered with a fast, firm, NO. Not because he didn’t want to express how he felt to me, or put our love and commitment into words, he simply couldn’t shake the anxiety of saying it all in front of our 250+ guests - And after I thought about it, ME TOO. With an elopement, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT with your vows. You can choose to write letters and read each others words in pure silence, exchange them before the ceremony, or choose to express them in a totally creative way. It doesn’t matter if you stumble over your words because, plot twist: no-one is there to hear it! Tell a joke, make your partner laugh, talk for 2 minutes or for 20. There is no pressure or eyes on you, and odds are you will actually remember what each other have to say.
7. You can have your cake and eat it too
If you have read this far you probably are thinking “Ok, this all sounds great, but it is a priority to celebrate and include my family in the biggest day of my life”. I get that. I do feel the same. Here is a couple of solutions to wanting to elope somewhere adventurous, but also wanting your family to be present.
Option 1: Choose a location that is still special to you, but also is close enough so that your intimate family and friends can still come if they want. Make it more of an intimate wedding without the costs of a traditional wedding AND still have family present.
Option 2: (MY FAV) Elope somewhere that sets your soul on fire and makes you feel the most alive. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT. Bring family or don’t. Then when you get back home and after a few weeks of being married, throw a reception party for all your friends and extended family to come celebrate with you. When you throw a more causal, post elopement party, there is not the same pressure to make it look perfect or fancy. I promise you, your stress level will probably go down by 300%. You don’t need glamorous tablecloths or wedding favors, the live band isn’t even necessary at this point - Granted, if all those things are top on your list, GO FOR IT! But the point is, when you get home from eloping, throw a more casual, laid back reception that makes everyone feel included. It is totally possible to have your dream elopement AND still smile and giggle with grandma about your newly married status. ALSO! It is another excuse to wear your wedding dress! (WIN WIN?) If you go with either of these options, you really do get to have your cake and eat it too.
8. INVEST IN A PHOTOGRAPHER + VIDEOGRAPHER!
Don’t invest in just one of these, I am saying invest in BOTH. Photography is incredible, but so is video footage. There is something so special about flipping through a photo album that will be able to be passed down to generations, but my stomach also turns flips when I see a wedding video expressing real, raw, footage. To actually HEAR vows being exchanged… or to hear the genuine chuckle when she couldn’t get the ring on his finger… I am telling you, you need both vendors. However, choosing a photographer + videographer is a HUGE decision. You have to choose someone you trust, who has a passion and talent for their job, someone who is genuine and will go above and beyond to make sure your experience is second to none. But, you have to do your research. Don’t just call and book first photog you speak with, or who is the cheapest (WHUT?! Let me say it louder for the people in the back!) You get what you pay for people!!!! Don’t skimp out on video or photo footage because cousin Sally wants to be a photographer and wants to photograph your perfect day with NO prior experience. No, If you are cutting costs by eloping, splurge on your photos - because at the end of the day, it is all you will have for the rest of your life. AND ALSO: It isn’t a sin to shop around and choose a vendor who will best showcase your big day.
9. Budget friendly
Wedding budgets are some kinda real. Don’t we all wish we had a money tree growing in the back yard? And when planning a traditional wedding, costs add up FAST. There are invitations, catering, flatware, party favors, desserts, DJ, wedding dress, suit, hair, makeup, shoes, venue, getaway car, decorations, florists, photographer, videographer, honey moon, reception, rehearsal dinner, etc etc. etc. The list goes on and on and on, but I think you get it. Weddings are expensive. Plain and simple. When you have a limited budget, it is hard to have your dream wedding when your funds are having to be spread between all of these vendors. Because elopements are short, simple and to the point, your expenses go WAY down. You don’t need a DJ, you don’t need catering, you don’t need an expensive venue, or a ton of decorations. You are able to put your money where it matters MOST to you. Maybe it is splurging on your dream wedding dress with the drop back and lace sleeves, or spending more money on your photographer + videographer to get epic photos that you will show your kids one day. When you don’t have to spend money on silly things that won’t matter years from now, your money can go farther in prioritizing things that matter to you the most.
10. You still can have your dream wedding
An incredible handmade cake that took a week to make, a dreamy flower bouquet full of the best of the best florals that are only in bloom a certain time of year, a photo booth you have always said you wanted, or the playlist you have been curating since you were 16? None of these things need to be nixed just because you are celebrating on a smaller scale. In fact, because there are fewer guests, you can actually splurge on things you actually really care about without going bankrupt. Space may be limited, but when it comes to your wedding fantasies, the sky is the limit.
WHEW! Okay, how we doing?! If after reading this you are nodding your head yes to these 10 tips, an elopement could be totally for you! If these points left you feeling like “HECK NO, KRISTEN!” Then it is probably safe to say that an elopement may not be the best fit for you. And that is 101% okay. Every bride and groom deserves to have a wedding or elopement that represents their relationship, their love and priorities. Now, I would love to hear your thoughts! What would you pick: traditional wedding or adventurous elopement? Or something totally different?! Drop a comment below and tell me why! If you are a fan of elopements like me, I definitely want to hear why you think they are the bomb.com (double click!)
HUGE SHOUT OUT TO THE CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND THIS!
This styled elopement would not have been possible without: