Recently engaged? Congrats—let the wedding planning begin! While the decision to elope or have a traditional wedding is easy for some, it can be difficult to choose for others. There are quite a few key differences and if you’re on the fence, it might be a good idea really figure out which option is better for you.
From the cost to the values, elopements and weddings couldn’t be more different. The most obvious similarity is that in both options the couple is getting married. There are endless reasons couples choose to get married a certain way and these are entirely personal to you and your partner. While there is absolutely no wrong choice, here are a few of the most common differences between elopements and weddings.
The first difference and probably most significant when it comes to your decision is the cost. Typically, traditional weddings can be pricey. From your vendors to your dress, there are the obvious costs and then there are the hidden ones you didn’t expect. Elopements often cost a lot less for a few reasons, but these are the two main factors.
First, most elopements have under 20 guests, meaning you won’t be spending thousands of dollars on catering. Even if you do choose to feed the guests you might have, it will likely be significantly cheaper. Second, most elopements aren’t held at a wedding venue, but rather outside in nature. When you don’t have to book a venue that costs more than a used car, you can save quite a bit of money.
Speaking of venues, this one deserves its own section. One of the biggest differences between weddings and elopements is the location. Couples often choose to elope out in nature, in a place that may be special to them. When you elope just the two of you, or with a very small guest list, there are more options available to you. From the mountain tops of Colorado to the deserts of Utah, there are endless incredibly breathtaking spots to choose as your background for one of the most important days of your life. You can choose to elope in a location that has meaning to you and your partner or use it as an excuse to elope somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.
The guest list is a quintessential difference between eloping and having a traditional wedding. Traditional weddings often include guest lists of well over 150 people. While for some it might be important to include as many of their friends and family as possible, others want to get married just the two of them. Of course, elopements are all about the freedom to do what you want. If you still want to elope and invite a few guests, you absolutely can. Are there a certain number of guests that determines whether your wedding is an elopement? The truth is no, however, most often the guest list is under 20.
However, beyond the number of guests you choose to invite, eloping allows you to be intentional with who you invite. This means, only inviting the people who make you feel the happiest and most like yourselves. Your wedding day is all about spending time with the person and people you love the most (not every co-worker or the third cousin you haven’t met)—even if that “person” is just your pup.
Truthfully, traditional weddings and elopements inherently have different values. When couples value authenticity and intimacy on the wedding day, they tend to gravitate more toward eloping. And if a couple values throwing a big party, having all of their friends and family, and being in the spotlight, a traditional wedding might be more up their alley. Neither is the wrong choice. It all comes down to what you and your partner value most for your wedding day.
Elopements are all about freedom. You have the freedom to choose exactly how you want your wedding day to go. Freedom to invite only those who make you feel happiest. Freedom to get married in the most intentional, authentic way possible and in a place that is special to you. When you elope, you get to intentionally choose every detail, from your location to your guest list and beyond. Traditional weddings tend to follow the same type of formula, but when you elope, you get to go beyond what the typical wedding looks like and make it feel entirely authentic to you.
At the end of the day, the decision is for you and your partner to make—no one can decide for you. It all comes down to whether or not your values align with one or the other, there is no wrong choice. If you are leaning toward eloping, I’d love to help you plan your perfect elopement adventure, from the location to the activities. Contact me today and let’s get started!