Being engaged and planning a wedding are two of the most exciting, stressful things in life. As a full-time elopement and intimate wedding photographer (and a current BRIDE), I know firsthand just how many things get thrown your way as you try to just enjoy this season. From the dress, to the guest list (or lack of one), and every detail in-between, it’s a lot. Over these past couple of years, it seems like elopements have taken couples by storm. And as much as I am “team elopement”, I know it’s not for everyone! I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “should I elope or have a traditional wedding?” at least a couple of times. No worries, friend, I’ve gotchu! Let’s dive in and help take this piece of the puzzle off your plate.
Before you can decide if an elopement or traditional wedding is right for you, defining both is a good place to start. In the past, an elopement was referred to as running away secretly and without the consent of parents. Let’s just say, that is an outdated definition. My definition of an elopement is an intimate event with less than 30 guests (or just the two of you) that focuses on your love story. You and your person get to do exactly what you want to do – whether it’s an activity, an adventure, or traveling to a new place.
When picturing a traditional wedding and defining it, they typically involve the same basics. A lot of planning, many guests, the whole shebang! So when comparing an elopement to a traditional wedding, it really comes down to the number of guests. Having less guests (or opting for none at all) creates an incredibly intimate atmosphere. The more intimate the atmosphere, the more intention and emotion each moment holds. Think of an elopement as less hustle and bustle, and more intimacy.
BUT, I promise this blog is not going to be about persuading you to have an elopement over a traditional wedding (even though I might be biased!). This blog is full of questions to ask yourself to help you understand the main differences, important aspects of your ‘wedding day’, and how to decipher the best option for you as a couple.
When looking at eloping, I’m sure you’ve come across many of the same “pros” or “positives”. While there’s definitely a reason so many wedding gurus hype up elopements, I want to remind you that any wedding can make you feel full of love, peace, and joy. I also want to encourage you to make the best decision for you two – because you’re the ones who will be planning it. Okay, enough of that. 😅
Most 5 year olds probably don’t dream of running away to lands far away to marry their Prince or Princess. What most of us dream of when growing up is a traditional wedding with all the bells and whistles. But it seems like when we grow up, our values shift and we realize what we really want. Some of us suddenly dream of running far far away to get married on a cliffside, while others still dream of a ballgown, 5 course meal, and tossing the bouquet. And that is incredible. If you still dream of feeling like a traditional bride or groom, DO IT! At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you get to marry the love of your life.
If you still haven’t had a clear sign that tells you one way or another, don’t sweat it! Here are some questions to help you decide once and for all.
I hope you know that whatever you are picturing, whether it be an intimate day or a huge party, sit down and DREAM. Write down every single dream you have for your special day. Whatever is on that paper, can happen. There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to weddings. The only “wrong” is doing what others expect of you, rather than doing exactly what you want to do.
If you still are struggling to narrow down the choice, compromise! It doesn’t need to be a black and white decision. It can be a little big gray. Open your guest list to 50-60 guests maybe. Invite your favorite people and make it as unique as your love story. Or, choose a wedding weekend and invite as many guests as you want to bring everyone together!
Looking for additional wedding and elopement planning tips? Check out the additional resources down below. And as always, I’d love to be friends over on Instagram (@sydneybreannphoto). Are you ready to wander?