The Benefits of Intimate Weddings & Elopements

time well spent with your partner

When it comes down to it, your wedding day is about the love between you and your partner. There’s a misconception that weddings need to be more like family reunions. When you plan your wedding around your guests, things very quickly turn from your celebration of love to the stress of keeping everyone else happy. When you have an intimate wedding you can save the time of making the rounds of interacting with every guest and spend that time with your love. That might look like, having an early morning wedding, spending the day exploring the city you’re in, and then coming back for an evening reception. You can even choose that time to have wedding portraits done without the stress of having to rush back to your reception or having guests nearby potentially interrupting that private time.

potential savings

The beauty of intimate weddings or elopements is that your budget can be utilized in really unique ways. There are plenty of areas where you can save money. Can you still spend as much as 100+ guest weddings? Absolutely. But the true question is, did you invest the money in your wedding that makes the most sense to you? Maybe spending $350 on wedding gifts for 100 people doesn’t make sense to you, but investing in a quality wedding album that you’re going to keep forever does. Savings can come in the form of skipping a venue altogether by getting married in a National Park. While you will still need to check and pay for permits, those typically cost about $300 versus the thousands spent at an official wedding venue.

less stress

Sometimes with bigger weddings, comes bigger worries. There are more people, vendors, opinions, and things we can’t control. The beauty of having an intimate wedding or elopement is experiencing joy with your true community. Deciding who is a part of that can be super challenging, and that’s not something I want to glaze over. However, when you’ve got the right people in your corner, the rest of the wedding will fall into place. Not only will there be fewer moving parts with an intimate wedding/elopement, but your small crowd will also naturally follow the flow of the day.

unique relaxed wedding photography/videography

It’s no secret that wedding photography/videography can be an investment. Choosing the right photographer can greatly impact how you will remember your day. When you have a smaller wedding you can allocate more of your wedding funds to a quality photographer. These days it really takes more than someone that can just take a pretty photograph. You need to connect with your photographer because your photographer will be your greatest ally and resource for the entire wedding process. Allow your photographer to do what they do best; be creative. While I do suggest having a list of shots you do want from your big day, allow your photographer to push the bar a little bit.

you have more room to be unique

When there’s less opinion on what your wedding should look like, you have the ability to truly create something brand new. This might allow your design choices to have a bigger budget or forgo design completely and focus on experience. You can accommodate more for your guests because you have encompassed your tight circle of people to witness your celebration. This is really your opportunity to take things to a level where you might not be able to otherwise.

true connection with your guests

If we are being brutally honest, small talk is the worst. When planning a small wedding the intent behind who gets to attend is really focused on. When that happens you no longer have to worry about making “the rounds” to your guests. You just exist, you just celebrate, and you just love. It’s the best thing to experience and witness.

less reliance on a schedule

This can really come down to how you plan your day. But let’s say you rent a cabin for your wedding and use the adjacent outdoors for your ceremony location and reception area. You are pretty much free to do whatever you want at that point. If you’re running late getting ready, it’s ok! There’s a bit of freedom in both having a schedule, and then not having to follow it by the minute.

you can incorporate it with your honeymoon

Who says they have to be separate? While this tends to be more popular with elopements, incorporating your wedding with your honeymoon is still possible with intimate weddings. A lot of how this goes can depend on who you invite and how far you are traveling. This can be used as a way to treat your guests in a special way, or a way to really make your wedding about exploration.

more venue/location options

When you have a smaller guest list, you can really open up so many doors to various unique locations to get married at. As mentioned before, national parks are very popular now. You can, of course, use your local courthouse, a family member’s backyard, or even find an incredible Airbnb at your dream location. You can not only get married there but use that as your lodging for the remainder of your time. You can view a beautiful example here shot by photographer @rileyjeanphoto.

It’s more sustainable

Sizing down on your guest list can actually be quite surprising in how much waste you are cutting down on. You won’t need as many invites (or any at all if you go digital), less food waste, less impact on your venue (i.e. sparklers, confetti, etc.), and fewer guests mean fewer people traveling. While making this point isn’t meant to point fingers at those who have larger weddings, it is a factor to consider for those who want to keep this in priority during their planning.