In those first flushes of your engagement, the excitement is real. You’re probably thinking about all the different ways you can get married. And we bet you’re looking at all the wedding inspiration online. These are exciting times! But one of the things you might be considering is whether to have the big wedding, with all your loved ones there, or whether to take the elopement photography route instead.
A lot of couples do at least consider the idea of an elopement at some stage in their wedding planning. Especially when they’re stressed about planning their big day. So, it’s worth considering whether eloping is right for you both before you get going with your planning. That’s why we’ve put this handy post together! Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of choosing elopement photography over the big wedding.
Let’s start by defining exactly what we mean by eloping. Because it’s true, the term has changed a lot since it was first used.
In its original form, eloping was something young lovers did when they wanted to get married but knew they wouldn’t have their parent’s approval. Very Romeo and Juliet (although with a far less tragic outcome!). So, they would run away and marry in secret. The word ‘elope’ actually means ‘to escape’. That may explain why so many couples consider an elopement when feeling the stress and pressure of planning a much larger wedding.
But elopement photography has changed a lot over the last few years. These days it’s not about running away to be married because your parents don’t approve. It’s much more about not wanting the fuss and grandeur of the big wedding. Instead, you’re placing the emphasis and focus on the marriage itself, not the party!
That isn’t to say you can’t have a party, of course. Lots of couples elope and then come back and do the big party afterwards. We think that’s because a party is a lot less stressful when you’re not having a wedding ceremony at the start of it.
We always like to start with the positives! Here are our top reasons why we think eloping is the absolute best thing ever.
It’s no secret that planning a wedding can be an expensive business. But the ceremony itself is actually pretty inexpensive. You can get a marriage license and a New York City Hall ceremony for under $100!
Of course, you’ll want to wear something nice, no doubt. You might want some flowers. And there are the rings to consider. But you can keep the costs of an elopement relatively low with some sensible budgeting.
But when you then factor in paying for a venue for 100 guests, catering for them, your bridal party and the costs for clothing them and giving them gifts, a wedding cake, decor, photography, videography and so on, you can see how the costs start to add up.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting the big wedding and spending that kind of money, if you’re able to. But many couples these days have bigger priorities for their money, like buying a house or renovating their home. Even wanting to spend money on your honeymoon can take precedence over a big wedding, and that’s totally okay.
The average cost of a wedding nowadays is a little over $33,000. Compare that to an average spend of $5000 for an elopement (including travel costs). It becomes easy to see how eloping can save you lots of money. And starting your marriage with fewer money stresses or debts is a great position to be in, don’t you think?
Yes, it’s fantastic to have the kind of wedding where all your loved ones, near and far, are in attendance. Being able to share that moment when you exchange your vows with family and friends is precious. We’re sure you wouldn’t regret it! But how many of you are wondering exactly why it is you need to invite your distant cousin, twice removed, that you haven’t seen since you were four?
Eloping is a much more intimate affair. So intimate, in fact, that it could just be the two of you, your photographer/s and your officiant!
The idea of spending a whole day with over a hundred people might be the kind of thing that fills you with dread. In which case, an intimate elopement might suit you better. But don’t think you can’t invite anyone. You absolutely could have your parents there, or a couple of your best friends, if you wanted. Like we said earlier, eloping doesn’t have to be a secret anymore.
This is definitely a serious reason to consider eloping if you’re the kind of couple who struggles with being the centre of attention.
Wedding photography is an integral part of your day, in our opinion. However you wish to celebrate it. But elopement photography looks a little different from your big wedding photography, and here’s why.
When you’re having the big wedding, there’s a whole lot of stuff to capture. There’s getting ready with both of you, your bridal party and your family. At the ceremony, we’re capturing you exchanging your vows. At the same time, we’re also working to capture the reactions and emotions of your friends and family witnessing the event. And then there are family group shots, lots of candid photos of people interacting, speeches and so on.
With an elopement, though, the focus is purely on the two of you (and your minimal guests if you choose to have them). It becomes more about capturing the relationship between you two and the significance of what you’re about to do and are doing.
It goes without saying that the more people involved in an event, the greater chance there is of there being some drama. The problem is, you’ll never be able to please everyone, which is exactly what most couples are trying to do when planning the big wedding!
If you’re eloping, the only people you really need to please are yourselves. So for a stress-free, drama-free alternative, eloping may be the best choice for you!
It’s true that, no matter what kind of wedding you have, where you choose to have it is pretty open, especially in NYC. But there are limits when you’re inviting more people.
Space can be an issue in some venues if you’ve got more significant numbers of guests. Some of the more intimate ceremony locations in Central Park, for example, won’t cater to more than a few guests.
The other thing to consider is getting a large number of guests to certain locations. For example, if you’re picturing getting married on a beach that you need to hike to, that could be a logistical nightmare with a large party of people. But for the adventurous eloping couple, it’s a much easier thing to do.
Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect option. Even eloping has its drawbacks.
If you’re the kind of couple who thrives on social interactions, has a ton of friends and loves being the centre of attention, then an elopement may not be the right choice for you.
If you want to party up a storm on the dance floor after saying your I dos, then a big wedding may well be a better choice for you!
Weddings are a milestone event in your life, and there are a ton of incredible memories to be made at them. So, if that’s important to you, go for the big wedding and enjoy every minute!
We know some couples love the idea of a big feast to enjoy with their friends and families. And, we have to admit, wedding food is some of the best around! So, if you don’t want to miss out on that, go big.
And if you want the kind of day where you get to have fun and games with your favorite people, we’d say a big wedding is the better option. This is especially important if you’ve got kids, as they definitely need entertaining on a wedding day!
It goes without saying that whatever you choose will be right for the two of you. There are no right or wrong answers here, only what feels best for you both. That being said, having a pair of awesome elopement photographers on board can help to reduce any stress or worries about planning your day. You can ask us anything!
So, with that in mind, get in touch and let’s chat about your elopement (or big wedding!) plans.
Hudson Valley, Westchester, and Catskills wedding photographers for non-traditional couples. Available in Ulster County, Orange County, Dutchess County, and beyond. Wedding photographers based in Beacon, NY serving all throughout the Greater New York Area including Tarrytown, Hudson, Kingston, and more. Proudly serving LGBTQ+ couples.
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