At first glance, you might not be able to distinguish an elopement from a small wedding. Indeed, they share many of the same points, yet are fundamentally different.
So which one is right for you? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you know exactly how you want to tie the knot!
Intimate Weddings: Traditional and Cozy
A small wedding is just that: a traditional ceremony that’s a bit scaled down. Less guests, less decorations, smaller venue, less food, but more simplicity, coziness, and peace of mind.
When there’s less moving parts to worry about, it’s often far easier to plan a wedding and make sure it goes off without a hitch. This is one of the biggest reasons why smaller weddings are becoming so popular: couples are drawn to the simplicity.
However, a small wedding still includes the main components of a traditional wedding: formal invitations, a hard guest list, catering, the ceremony itself, as well as the reception. While there are fewer people to worry about, usually only about 20 or so, there’s still plenty that needs to be taken care of in terms of planning.
What’s important to remember about an intimate wedding is that it’s usually the answer for couples looking to have a traditional wedding that’s simply in a more scaled down form. Because it’s smaller, you might be able to hold the reception in a cozier location, such as a favorite lounge, or local eatery, rather than being forced to hold it someplace that caters to dozens of people.
It also means you will be saving a little money, however there are still many expectations that come with a small wedding: floral arrangements, formal catering, gift registries, photography packages, a fancy wedding dress, tux rentals, and more.
There are other advantages to a small wedding that might not be immediately apparent. For example, with a smaller group of people, you can better customize the menu to suit individual needs. This is especially important if your small wedding is going to be full of nothing but close friends and family.
Travel can also be more easily managed with a small wedding. The logistics of holding a large wedding halfway across the country is unfeasible for most people.
The biggest factor in holding a small wedding is that you are looking for a much simpler experience while deciding not to forgo typical wedding elements. Elopements on the other hand tend to be more focused on the couples, like a fusion between a wedding and a honeymoon, without many other people involved.
Elopements: Romantic Getaway and Wedding in One
For couples looking for something a bit more exotic and less like a traditional wedding, we have the elopement. There’s something magical about the idea of forgoing the rituals and burdens of the typical wedding and just getting married on your own terms, and this is one of the biggest reasons why elopements are taking off all over the country.
Essentially, an elopement is for couples who don’t really want to drop thousands of dollars just to hold an elaborate ceremony. Maybe they want to save the money as a down payment for a house, maybe they simply don’t have a lot of family and friends that can attend, or maybe they just want their special day to be an adventure.
Whatever the case may be, elopements provide an amazing alternative for couples who just don’t feel like an intimate wedding is “intimate” enough.
Often, an elopement will just include the couple getting married, and a small group of friends. Sometimes, couples get eloped on their own. This makes the logistics and planning stages much easier than in a typical wedding. What’s more, you have many more options when you go this route.
Instead of having to plan elaborate catering, you can simply have dinner at a local fancy restaurant you always wanted to go to, or if you are traveling someplace exotic, you can just have a night on the town. You have far more options when you don’t have to plan for and accommodate dozens of people.
Every stage of an elopement is typically easier to plan. You don’t really have to worry about putting together all the pieces, because even things like the wedding dress are only suggestions, not necessities. Many brides, for example, will just choose to buy any kind of pretty dress that suits the location and theme of the elopement, rather than purchasing a white wedding gown.
Another benefit of elopements is that a capable elopement planner can take care of just about all your needs. Here at IBAY we help couples do just that, by taking care of a lot of the “behind the scenes” stuff, so if you plan on having an elopement in New Orleans, all you need to worry about is having fun!
An elopement is meant to be more like a romantic getaway, in the sense that there is much less ceremony involved. You also typically fly out to a more exotic location to hold the marriage, as opposed to a wedding, which is usually followed by a honeymoon.
The elopement is the honeymoon!
That is one of the draws to eloping: it fuses the best parts of the wedding into the honeymoon, to create something altogether different and special.
Whichever route you choose, remember to choose what works best for you. Sometimes due to family and friend obligations, elopements just aren’t possible. But remember, you can always talk with your friends and family and see what they are comfortable with. You never know, a dozen of them might want to come with you on your trip across the country and share the magic with you!