Look to any major wedding publication, blog, or podcast right now and everyone is talking about eloping. Most people are focused on why eloping during the current state of things can still work if you want to get married, but I wanted to put a slight spin on why you want to elope. We will definitely touch on why eloping is a great option for couples who want to get married during the shut down/phase reopening, but in all honesty there were already other great reasons that you may want to consider an elopement vs a traditional wedding! Speaking from a photographer stand point and someone whose been shooting weddings and elopements in the Asheville area for close to 5 years, I think it’s safe to say that elopements were already all the rage before COVID19 made its presence known. Many of the photographer’s in this area specifically brand themselves to be “elopement”, “adventure elopement”, or “intimate wedding” photographers. Many all inclusive elopement companies like engaged and married Asheville exist here as well and all for good reason, we live in one of the most beautiful and popular areas for couples’ wanting to elope! For those staying on top of industry trends, the last 2-3 years have definitely seen a shift towards smaller weddings and elopements with publications consistently having the same message that couples are opting for smaller more intimate celebrations instead of larger traditional weddings, all long before any pandemics or shut downs. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular reasons why!
Now, for the sake understanding, the following terms are all used interchangeably with slight differences in our industry. Elopements, intimate weddings, micro weddings, and small weddings. There’s no Webster’s section going over the minute differences between all of these. Only how the wedding industry as a whole is generally defining them, with slight variations from person to person as to what they maybe consider an elopement vs a micro wedding. In a lot of people’s mind’s, an elopement is when two people run off and get married unbeknownst to anyone. This definition has very much evolved over the years and most of the differences between all the types of weddings we mentioned above are overlapping shades of gray. In our minds the term elopement is going to refer to a gathering of 2-10 people. Intimate weddings in the neighborhood of 11-20, micro weddings being 21-30, and small weddings been 31-50. The purpose of us adding this extra bit of detail is not to confuse you but to educate you that different companies may define an “elopement” differently.
One of the main reasons a lot of the couple’s we’ve worked with have been attracted to the idea of an elopement is less stress! If you’ve started the wedding planning process then you already know or are soon to find out that there are a lot of moving parts and things to consider. Who do we invite? Who do we not invite? Who will sit together? What’s our menu going to be? If we get married downtown where is everyone going to park? Are we going to need a shuttle? Do we need to do a hotel block? How do I keep my mom in check? Trust me when I say, this list could take up a few paragraphs but I’ll spare you that much (lol). The point is when it comes to weddings, there are already a lot of factors to consider for planning your big day. The more people you add to this mix generally the more time and attention that is going to be required in order to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Less Expenses Now don’t get me wrong, you can definitely have a destination elopement across the globe and have to pay for travel, lodging, etc. and it can add up quickly but all things being even, an elopement is usually going to lead to less expenses than a large traditional wedding. With the trend in our industry that more and more couples are opting to pay for the wedding themselves in order to have it exactly the way they want it without outside influence, expenses have become a more important factor. Even just considering something like food costs. A very reputable catering company can easily be $35 per head and up depending on the type of menu and time of the year. If you’re looking at $35 a head for 200 guests, your catering bill could be upwards of $7,000. Now certain companies are going to have certain minimums but if you’re going from 200 to 20, it’s easy to see how your savings could be significant. The savings you can accrue on some of these types of items like catering, lodging for guests, florals, etc, can add up and allow you to be more savvy with your funds. You can now use those savings to put towards a down payment on a home, a more elaborate honeymoon, or maybe even hiring some of the key vendors you want vs the ones you can afford. A perfect example we love to share about how elopements can allow you to be more financially savvy than traditional weddings was Bryan and Sally’s destination elopement in Bermuda! After researching and starting to plan a hometown wedding, they soon realized with venue prices and the amount of people they would have to invite, the costs would be much higher to get married traditionally where they lived. For the costs they were looking at, they decided on a whim to look at destination beach wedding options, after all, if you’re going to spend ‘that much’ you might as well go all in right? They were pleasantly surprised to find they were going to save more than half of their budget by cutting their guest list down and moving things to an exotic location.
Focus on what matters (to you) ! If you’re were dreaming of that perfect backdrop for your wedding ceremony but couldn’t find a place that could accommodate all of your guests and your budget, an elopement allows you that flexibility for more locations, especially if it’s only two of you. If you had your heart set on that one special venue but the dates, and pricing just wouldn’t work out, often times a weekday elopement can be much more affordable than a prime Saturday with hundreds of guests. If you value that personal connection with each of your guests, getting to spend that quality time with them and enjoying all aspects of your wedding day can be a lot easier when you have 50 or less guests, vs 150+. If you’re a detail oriented person and want to make every aspect of your wedding personable, and thoughtful, you’ll likely find more time for this kind of planning when you’re not having to coordinate logistics a lot of people. If epic wedding photos and a lot of them are something you value, you’ll find it’s easier to devote more time to this with an elopement vs a traditional wedding with a traditional timeline.
The reason elopements are great during the days of COVID19 & government shut downs is because you can still get married and keep your guest count low. If your date was sentimental to you and not just based off venue availability, an elopement/intimate wedding allows you the option to still say I do and celebrate your love on your original date. We’ve had several couples opt for this during the last couple months. We have been so moved to see them focus on the positive and make the most of the situation. What we’re seeing is a lot of couples opt to have an elopement or intimate ceremony while moving their large celebration to a new date! While this may not be ideal for everybody, it is still an option for couples who don’t want to wait.
Whether you’re planning an elopement because you want the unique experience of saying I do on top of a mountain, or you’re adapting to your situation. Elopements, intimate weddings, micro weddings, and small weddings allow all couples a lot more flexibility when it comes to their big day! We by no means think the current state of things signals the death of the big wedding, but if you are at all on the fence about what kind of celebration to have, you may find that small is the way to go!