So, what’s the difference between an elopement and a wedding, you ask?
Of all the major events you go through in your life, it’s common knowledge that planning your wedding is one of the most stressful. After you’ve had some time to soak in the excitement of being engaged and finally peel your eyes off that rock now occupying your finger, the panic of planning the wedding usually starts to set in. What type of wedding you want shouldn’t be a hard choice (after all, it’s a reflection of you!), but the wedding industry does a really good job at making engaged couples feel like there’s only one way to get married, and that’s with a traditional wedding at a traditional venue.
But what if that’s just not your style? With all of the unsolicited advice that comes from friends and family (despite how much we love them), it’s so easy to fall into the trap of having a big wedding day just to keep everyone else happy. If you’ve found yourself on this blog post, it probably means you are open to some information on eloping and having a private ceremony in a beautiful, remote location. So let’s take a look at some of the main differences between traditional weddings and elopements to help you narrow down what’s best for you and your fiancé. This blog is all about eloping vs weddings, and the main differences between the two.
Common Reasons for Eloping
For some couples, traditional weddings just make sense- and that’s great! For others, eloping is the better choice. This is also great! Despite what the wedding industry may try to tell you, there’s no right or wrong way to get married. And we’re not in the business of telling couples what kind of wedding they should have. But we can show you some options to help choose the best option for you!
If you’ve said any of the following things in conversation about your upcoming nuptials, you might be a good fit for an elopement:
As you can see, there are some common themes of wanting an intimate/special experience, something small, an adventure, and wanting it to be stress free. Eloping is also common for couples who don’t have a lot of family, who aren’t physically or emotionally close to their family members, etc.
The Main Differences of Elopements vs. Weddings
When choosing between eloping and having a traditional wedding, there are some main differences that you and your fiancé should think about.
- The people. Most couples know pretty much right away if they want to invite a few people to their wedding or everyone they know. We like to define an elopement as a way for two people to get married by escaping the traditional wedding day and planning an intentionally intimate wedding experience where the sole focus is on the couple committing their lives to one another. That means that your elopement could be just you and your partner or it could include a handful of close friends and family.
Anything more than a handful though, and you leave the elopement/intimate wedding category and enter into the more traditional wedding category. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the more guests you have at your wedding, the harder it’ll be to escape the traditions of a traditional wedding day. This is something to consider if you’re a less traditional couple. Some couples can find the many, many formal wedding traditions to be a bit overwhelming, and rightly so. We’re talking about traditions like the bride being given away, a 60+ minute formal ceremony, having a dinner reception with music and dancing, cutting a cake, first dances, multiple toasts — the list goes on and on.
Fun fact: we found these traditions to be like opening a can of worms, which is why we decided to elope for our own wedding!
Speaking of the amount of people you want at your wedding, if you choose to elope in Colorado, you’re not even required to have an officiant. You can legally marry with zero witnesses. One less thing on your wedding to-do list? Say less!
- The location. Our favorite part! Traditional weddings often happen at run-of-the-mill wedding venues that pump out multiple weddings each weekend, and sometimes each day. Elopements on the other hand, can happen absolutely anywhere you want and lead to some pretty unique photographs and memories. Basically, you’re choosing between getting married with hundreds of people in a building that someone you know probably already got married in or having a small group of family and friends watch you and your partner say your vows under a remote waterfall.
- Intimacy. If you’re a couple looking for a certain level of intimacy on your big day, a traditional wedding probably isn’t the right choice for you. Most couples choose to elope because they’re looking for a private experience shared with just their partner. When you elope, it’s completely private. That means no one else is hearing your vows or watching you ugly cry.
- Stress and Drama. It’s no secret that with most traditional weddings comes stress and drama. There’s just no way to make that many moving parts seamless, which is exactly why most couples who are having a traditional wedding end up hiring a wedding planner. And don’t forget the drama (remember those family members offering unsolicited advice that we mentioned earlier?). More people = more challenges to keep everyone happy.
- Choices. When you elope, the entire day is yours! There are no guests to entertain or traditions to follow. In a traditional wedding, you’re going to spend the whole time greeting guests. This can take away from their time spent soaking up the magic of their day and really focusing on your partner. If the thought of doing this causes you to break out in hives, that’s a telltale sign that eloping might be for you.
If having a traditional wedding fits your style, that’s great! But should you decide to elope, we’d love to help you work through your options for what your day could look like and capture the moments that you’ll remember forever. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form below to get started!