1. You don’t have to worry about guest list stress.
Guest lists are the basis of so much stress. Where do you house them? Will your dream venue be big enough? How do you feed them all? Should you provide alcohol? Do you have to invite your annoying cousins if you invite your aunts? All of these questions can be remedied by cutting your guest list. As the wedding couple, you won’t hear the true thoughts of, “Well, a wedding a reception is for free cake, food, and booze”, but let me tell you more people have that opinion than you’d think. The more people that are involved, the more opinions there will be, too. Believe me. I’ve seen too many weddings and had a traditional wedding myself. EVERYONE has an opinion when it comes to weddings. And they will voice them. With elopements or more intimate weddings, you are free of so much of that drama and stress. Your venue options have opened up. Want to elope to a mountaintop? You can do that way more easily with less guests. You’ll spend less money on feeding people, and your venues will most likely be cheaper. And guess what? You can still have a big party later on!
2. You can pick and choose what wedding aspects to keep.
Elopements buck traditions of what you should and shouldn’t do/say/involve. Want to wear an epic dress or have a gorgeous bouquet you can keep in a vase later? You can do that! Want to wear a dress that isn’t white? Who’s going to stop you? Elopements give you more permission to make your day totally unique and reflective of you.
3. It will be way more intimate and relaxed.
Small weddings and elopements typically lend themselves to being more intentional and genuine because of the lack of trying to please everyone. With elopements (even when a few people are invited), the precedent has already been set: the day is all about you and all about experiencing the unique moments of the day. You’re already choosing a unique way of getting married, so you have the freedom to design your wedding day how you want. That means that you’ll be less inclined to incorporate things that are more traditional but may not necessarily reflect you (i.e. bouquet toss, first dance, etc.). Without guests and that intense pressure to make everyone happy, you’re more focused on having fun and enjoying the company of your spouse.
4. It’s less expensive than a traditional wedding.
Not saying it’ll be cheap, but you’ll have to try harder to get back up to the cost it would have been if you went the traditional wedding route. There are loads of benefits to this. With less guests, your catering cost will be almost nonexistent. Wedding favors? Forget ’em. Big venue to house your guests can be switched out for a $200 permit at a national park, or beach. Side note, if you’ve got limited guests, it’s free (no permit required) to elope on the Oregon Coast (read more here)! Instead of trying to spread your budget over 50 list items, you can invest more into 5 or 10 aspects (and still not spend as much).
5. You have more (and prettier) location options.
Trying to find a place that is up to capacity for your guest list can be daunting. Will it fit everyone? Is it accessible to everyone? Is their room for a dance floor? Will the venue allow outside catering? There’s also this to consider: Space, Attractiveness, and Cost – you can only choose two of those. You can have space to house everyone in a gorgeous venue, but it’ll cost you. Likewise, if you have a space large enough at a decent price, it probably won’t be very picturesque. With less guests, you can nix a lot of logistics from venues to dancing to catering, which opens up your venue options considerably. A good alternative for food is taking your few guests out to dinner, after eloping to an epic location like the coast, or the Redwoods, or a mountaintop.
6. It’s more liberating.
Like I mentioned before, the more people involved, the more opinions will be flying around. Everyone and their aunt has an opinion when it comes to wedding stuff. Also it feels better knowing that by not inviting anyone (except maybe a few people), you aren’t singling anyone out like you would be inviting a bunch of people but leaving out your second cousins whom you haven’t seen in years and years but they still feel entitled to attend your day. All of this means you can do what you want on your wedding day. And you don’t realize how liberating that is, until you actually experience it.
7. You’ve got a world of resources and recs at your fingertips.
The best adventure elopement photogs partially take on the role of planner. They know the best florals, officiants, lodging, and permitting info. They can also direct you to planners and coordinators who specialize in adventure elopements. Instead of taking recommendations from people who have only experienced one MUA or florist, you’ve got recs from a photographer who has worked with potentially dozens, and has a great sample size to choose the best from.
8. Elopements take less time to plan.
Makes sense, right? Less things to coordinate means less time spent in front of the computer screen researching stuff. I know so many couples who chose to wait a year or more to get married because of the sheer amount of things to pay for and organize. When you’re eloping, you may still have things to plan, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to organizing tables, chairs, venues, guests, wedding parties, etc.
9. Big weddings are like funerals.
I’m not saying big weddings are sad – I’m just saying that, like funerals, they’re more for the people invited than who the wedding or funeral is about. If you’re fine with having your day being more important for the guests, then go ahead and plan that big shindig! But if you’re more like me, and want the people at your wedding to actually be there for YOU, then consider cutting that guest list.
10. You can choose to incorporate activities and aspects that reflect you and your fiance’s personality.
Want to take a helicopter ride? Hike a few miles to a waterfall? The more people you invite, the more prohibitive incorporating something cool like that will be. Even if 50-100 people could fit near a waterfall to watch the ceremony, here’s the likely scenario: you choose a waterfall location, and invite everyone. Aunt Carol (she gets used as an example a lot) complains because she can’t hike that far and feels like you’re singling her out because of her inability to walk/hike that far. I have seen this happen. And statistically, the more people you invite, the more likely it is that someone (or someones) will have this problem.
The Bottom Line About Elopements
Small weddings and elopements may not be for everyone, but big weddings aren’t either. Don’t feel pressured to have a huge party if that simply isn’t your jam. With an intimate wedding or elopement, you can incorporate personal touches, activities, and really make your day unique. Not many people can say they took a helicopter ride or walked on a glacier on their wedding day. Why conform to the typical white cake and garter toss when your day can be so much more epic and personal?