Should You Be Eloping? How to Know If an Intimate Wedding or Adventure Elopement is Right For You.
Now more than ever it seems like the wedding industry is at odds with itself. We're seeing a rise in the number of couples who are choosing to forgo tradition to run off to the mountains and get married without anyone but their photographer and officiant as witnesses. On the other end, we're also seeing large weddings, planned out to the tiniest detail, gracing the pages of wedding blogs across the country. Two completely opposing ways to plan your special day, yet brides are left without much direction in figuring out which type of wedding is best for them.
Wedding tradition tells us that there are certain rules we must follow when planning, from the type of cake you're expected have to the bouquet toss. And for the longest time, most brides didn't think they had much of a choice other than following these traditions. But elopements and intimate weddings are finally being recognized as a legitimate option and not just a quick, spur-of-the-moment trip to Vegas.
So without further ado, read on below for our top 5 reasons why an elopement or intimate wedding might be the perfect fit. If you find yourself agreeing with most of the points below, chances are an elopement could be perfect for you.
You want to savor every moment of your special day without it feeling like a rushed blur.
Yup, you heard that right. I can't even count the number of times I've heard people say that their wedding went by in such a blur because of all of the madness going on. From visiting every table at dinner to say hi to all of your guests to making the rounds during cocktail hour, the time flies by faster than you might imagine. Which is why intimate weddings and elopements are so beautiful. With such a small guest list (or no guest list at all!) you have time to really immerse yourself in the moment and take in the sights of that day.
The idea of planning a large event makes you want to crawl into a hole.
Some ladies and gents dream of planning a massive gathering. They are giddy at the idea of coordinating which types of blooms go best with the tablescapes they had in mind, and they jump at the chance to write up a seating chart. But if that's not your style, there's no shame in that. It wasn't ours either. For us personally, extensive wedding planning wasn't really something that spoke to us, and frankly we knew in our heart of hearts that it wasn't genuine to who we were either. So if you want your only worry to be picking out the perfect dress and locating the right spot to tie the knot, elopements might just be your thing. Sure, you could hire a wedding planner. But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself if all of the decorative details of the wedding are truly important to you or not. If they are, a larger traditional wedding may be more your style (and there's absolutely no shame in that either!).
You want to be really intentional with how you use your wedding budget.
Let's face it. Weddings can get pricey. But at the same time, this also isn't the kind of moment you want to go cheap on. Of course you want to have the best for your wedding. But the key to successfully doing this is looking into what your priorities are. We personally have what we call the "Bridal 3." What's the Bridal 3, you ask? When we meet with our couples, we always tell them to pick the top 3 things they value the most in the wedding planning process, and that's where they should really be investing their money. For our wedding, for example, our priorities were the wedding photography, the dress, and a drop-dead gorgeous location. Immediately we knew things like a multi-course meal, a DJ, and a cocktail hour weren't important to us. Ultimately we wanted to have an epic, well-documented ceremony that we'd never forget, and we've accomplished that by really investing our money into high quality vendors who can deliver on what we value.
You live for a good adventure and are always itching for the next great view.
Want to get married in the middle of the mountains? Have dreams about adventuring through the Bonneville Salt Flats as your gorgeous wedding dress trails behind you? If you ask us, this is what wedding dreams are made of. That's the thing about elopements: you can make these epic locations your wedding venue without going through the hassle that a larger wedding party would have to experience. If you're the adventurous type or love the idea of saying your vows in some of nature's most incredible wonders, eloping is probably for you.
You're a more introverted and private couple and can't imagine saying your vows while a large audience listens in.
Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of extroverts who love to elope, but for the introvert an elopement is something extra special. When you elope, no one besides your officiant and photographer hears your words to each other. It is a private moment without the pressure of an audience, and you can speak from the heart knowing that your second cousin Jimmy isn't hearing every word of love you share.
Whether you decide to elope or not, there's one thing to always remember. This day is a celebration of your love, and ultimately it should be a representation of who you both are as a couple. Other people will always voice their opinion on what they think your wedding should look like (we received plenty of unsolicited advice about ours before officially deciding to plan an elopement instead), but that doesn't make their opinion correct.
P.S. Adventure elopements and small weddings are our specialty. We pride ourselves on taking killer photos of killer couples in killer places. But more than that, we love helping our couples plan out all the little details of their adventure weddings, like finding the perfect national park elopement location that really speaks to them and who they are. Think we'd be the right adventure elopement photographers for you? Give us a holler. We love traveling, so even if you're not planning to elope here in Colorado, we would still love to be a part of your special day.
Sheena Shahangian is an adventure elopement and intimate, small wedding photographer based in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We primarily serve couples looking to elope or marry in the western United States (Colorado, Utah, Washington, Oregon, California, Wyoming, Montana, and beyond), as well as a select few eastern states (North Carolina and Georgia). We love serving couples who’ve chosen to do their own thing on their wedding day, whether that’s eloping in a National Park or having an intimate backyard ceremony in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We’re here to make your adventure wedding photography dreams come true.