Why You Should Elope (As Told by a Wedding Photographer)
It’s important for me to start off by saying that there is no right or wrong way to get married. There is no one true way to have a wedding. I will say this til I’m blue in the damn face: your wedding day is perfect no matter what, because it’s yours! And I mean that. Whether you go balls deep in the flower arrangements and have 300 guests, or you have a small celebration with only your closest loved ones, your wedding day is amazing because it’s exactly how you want it to be, and that’s all that f*cking matters.
why eloping is pretty rad
Sometimes, picturing how you’d like your wedding to be is a little more complicated than you might’ve imagined. Maybe you’ll realize that you want to invite significantly more guests than originally planned, or maybe you’ll see that thicccc quote for the reception venue, but something about the planning at some point might get ya a little stressed and have you wondering if it’s really worth all the trouble. But the only answer isn’t to just not have a wedding.
Why not elope?!
When you think of an elopement, you probably imagine the dingy courthouse lighting, some stranger who hates their job officiating the ceremony… and that’s it. (First things first, don’t hate on a courthouse wedding, I’ve been to some really sweet elopements at gorgeous courthouses. They aren’t what the stereotype leads them to be!) But you might be surprised to hear that there are other ways to elope.
When you cross off the idea of a “traditional” wedding, the world literally becomes your oyster. Imagine getting married, but ANYWHERE YOU WANT. Like… anywhere. If you consider yourself to be an adventurous, outdoorsy person, you can hop on a plane to somewhere beautiful and get hitched to your bae in the mountains, by the ocean or in the heart of the city. It’s your big day, why not do it big? Even if you’re a homebody, there’s somewhere perfect for you. Your local art museum, a nearby park, the comfort and privacy of your backyard… You call the shots when you’re eloping. And it’s awesome.
There are hella perks that come with an intimate wedding. Here’s my top three:
Budgeting made easy.
Narrowing down to one venue for a couple hours and cutting your guest list to 1/8 of the size (or less!) will save you a great deal of money. Not only does this make your wallet happy, but it also gives you the flexibility to invest more into the photographer, videographer, and venue––the most important vendors on your wedding day––which is super amazing. If you’re traveling, this leaves more wiggle room in your wallet for some super sweet accommodations. How about saying yes to room service and mimosas (or, if you’re like me, a shot of whiskey) on the plane?
Less guests = less stress!
You’ve probably got a lotta friends (or if you don’t, that makes this part even easier). It’s totally understandable that you might want them all present, but when you really think about it, it’s not that hard to narrow down your guest list. Once you think about who’s watched you blossom, who’s been by your side or your partner’s side, who’s made an impact on your life or has been a positive influence in your relationship––the ones who you wouldn’t wanna get married without them by your side––this is your guest list. Big receptions can be a lot. Everyone wants to talk, wants a picture, wants your time, and let me tell you… it adds up. Your wedding day flies by regardless of what you do, but when you’ve got a more intimate setting, your time doesn’t feel like it’s fleeting. It feels like it’s yours (as it should be).
*Pro-tip: if you still REALLLLY want the big party, host an after-party and invite everyone else who didn’t attend the ceremony, or plan a separate date for everyone to meet up and celebrate! Just because they weren’t present for the ceremony doesn’t mean they can’t still get down with you on the dance floor.
Most importantly: more time for YOU.
I’ve been to a lot of weddings. I’ve seen all kinds of ceremonies, receptions, traditions and the different ways people choose to celebrate their big day. I’ve seen couples be so stressed and pulled in so many directions to the point where they don’t get a chance to sit down and enjoy their meal or even step foot on the dance floor. A wedding day is about the couple and their love and their marriage, and so many times that gets lost in the haste of a timeline. When the newlyweds don’t get a chance to soak it all in and enjoy themselves, that shit breaks my dang HEART! An elopement provides the stress-free environment and warm intimacy that I wish every wedding couple could get the chance to experience.
do what’s best for you!
I’ll iterate this one last time for fear of sounding like an asshole––everyone’s situation is different and everyone has their own dream wedding. Some people dream their whole lives of having the big, traditional celebration, and there’s nothing wrong with that! I love every wedding I’ve ever shot, from the crazy parties to the soft celebrations. After almost seven years doing wedding photography, I truly feel that eloping is a great option for the lovers who seek a more in-the-moment, alternative experience to the traditional wedding day. I would recommend it to anyone! It’s up to you to decide what’s best; stay true to yo’ self. This day is meant to be all about you and your boo––it will be amazing no matter what!