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Is an Elopement Right for You?

Updated: 3 days ago

Picture this: You're engaged without the stress of wedding planning looming over your head. 

You spend your engagement season relaxed and preparing for the marriage that's to come.

Instead of crunching budget numbers and touring venues, spending precious date nights sampling cake and stressing over who sits where at the dinner tables, you go on walks and dream up your futures together. You set aside some funds for a dress and a plane ticket. 


Then, you and your love take off on the trip of a lifetime.✈️


You bring your three best friends and a small group of family (bc why not??) out to a destination you've always wanted to visit. 


And on your wedding morning, it's magic.

There's no rush, no timelines, and no reason to do anything that feels unnatural.

You wake up on your wedding day to a cozy coffee and breakfast in a cabin with the view of a lifetime—you get ready all together, playing games and sneaking in romantic moments throughout the whole day. Then you hike up to the summit to exchange vows right before lunch. The afternoon is spent hiking, swimming in the cool mountain water, and enjoy each other's company. 


Then you put on a dress you love and dance the night under the full moon as husband and wife. 

Ummmmmm okay are you crying yet??! Because I sure am. 


I've been a wedding photographer for over 11 YEARS and seen a little bit of everything—including intimate wedding days that couple's look back on and go “wow, I'm so glad we did our wedding our way.”


 And that's how it should be, right?! 


Because at the end of the day you're not just throwing an obligatory party or going on some vacation, you're starting your marriage together. 


So how do you know if an elopement is right for you? I have some questions to ask yourself and chat over with your fiancé—let's dive in!

 1. Is an elopement right for us? What what feels like us?

Some of my elopement clients are introverted, or just prefer the more private settings. Others are extraverted and just want to ditch the family drama that surrounds their situation. And others would rather combine their honeymoon adventure and wedding festivities into one! Ask yourselves if the big wedding is really what feels right to you and you'll start to navigate how you feel about it vs. an elopement.

2. What do we have the time for? Dow we have time for elopement planning?

The real reason people have long engagements? Wedding planning takes time, 'yall! The average engagement period for couple's in the U.S. is between 12-18months these days, and for good reason. Traditional wedding vendors have their own timelines; for example, dress boutiques ask four about 10-12months in advance for orders and alterations, venues book about 1-2 years in advance, and most photographers have their books open a year or more in advance. Eloping cuts down the time involved in planning a larger event and can mean an adventurous start to your marriage as soon as... well, tomorrow.

3. Where would we prefer to spend our money?

Now before I get your hopes up, eloping can be just as expensive as a traditional wedding. But, it would take a lot to make it so. Expenses like decor rentals, a large venue, and catering for hundreds of guests would be slashed nearly down to zero. Instead, you'd focus on booking a few key things: a place to get married, something to wear, and someone to capture it all.

That could mean a luxurious cabin in the Dolomites with 12 of your fave people, a silk white dress and hunter green suite, and a photographer to travel with you and capture the whole thing. Or, it could mean brunch and a courthouse elopement on a sunny Saturday in your hometown. The whole point is that it is up to YOU.

4. Are there people that we care deeply about that would be hurt by this choice?

Now I am all about doing what makes sense for you and your marriage. However, I also get the nuance in family and friend dynamics (my fellow empaths, you are not alone!). Discussing this question can be a tough one but keep in mind eloping doesn't mean leaving your loved one's behind. We can always chat on creative ways to explore guest count, virtual attendance, and follow up receptions to ensure you and your crew feel ready to celebrate.

5. How many people do we want there?

If the answer is 100, maybe you're not wanting to elope, many you want a destination wedding! And if the answer is 5, maybe you're on the right track :)

6. What makes sense for us in this season?

Sometimes the popular choice is the better choice—maybe finding a wedding planner in your city and hosting a traditional wedding is simply the easier of the two options. But if you find yourself yearning to hop on a plane and just be married already, I'd say that's a good indicator that you are ready to get married and prioritizing that makes sense in your season of life.

7. Where do we want to get married?

The mountains? NYC? Italy? Disneyworld? Your parent's backyard?

8. Will we regret eloping?

Now I can't answer this question for you. But I will say I've never heard of someone regretting their elopement decision. I have heard of folks regretting the amount they spent on their own weddings, who they invitied, who was in their bridal party, and the drama and friendships ended over the festivities. While I hope that is never the case for you, it is worth considering. There's no way to predict the future or know how you will feel down the road, but evaluate what works in your relationship now and move forward knowing full wedding or micro ceremony, the best is yet to come.

Close your eyes and dream of your wedding day. What's it feel like to stand there? Who's around? Are you present? Are you excited? Confidnet in your decision to marry the person in front of you?

Because when the day is done and the trip or wedding day is over, all that you have left is the marriage you started. And that is more than enough to build a beautiful future on.

Was this helpful for your decision making? Do you have any questions you'd add? DM me on instagram to let me know or plan your own elopement with me capturing the whole thing.

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