DESTINATION WEDDING/ELOPEMENT VS. TRADITIONAL WEDDINGS
Are you thinking about eloping or having a destination wedding? If you are reading this, you are wondering what is BEST for you. And if you are even thinking of having a destination wedding or an elopement, you are in the right place.
After photographing over 150 weddings in almost every state and in over 10 different countries I want to give you some things to consider as you plan your wedding.
THE AVERAGE COST OF A WEDDING IN THE UNITED STATES IS ABOUT $33,931 (ACCORDING TO THE KNOT’S DATA FROM 2019).
I get it, having gotten married 10 years ago with a $10,000 budget to plan, we did everything we could to save money, and we made some big mistakes. With the cost of having to feed 150+ people and a venue to fit them all, we had to cut corners on things like photography and video, and that was a HUGE mistake. We didn't even hire a videographer! It's something I regret to this day. With the average price of a guest being $300 when you consider food, linens, chairs, venue space, etc.. we wish we would have invited a lot fewer people and spent more on photography and things we cared about.
Contrast that to one of our clients who spent less than $20,000 (we were over $5,000 of their budget), invited less than 30 people to a GORGEOUS all inclusive hotel in Mexico. They got married in one of the most amazing places on earth and then stayed for their honeymoon after.
Can you imagine spending $15,000 on STUFF that just goes away once the day is over? Why not invest that into the experience with you two, your closest family and friends in an amazing place!
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people that have been dreaming of planning a big wedding all of their lives and that is amazing if that is you, we know some AMAZING venues you will love!
When my husband and I got married, I remember venting to my mother-in-law about the stress my family was putting on me to do things a certain way. I'll never forget what she told me. She said "It's their wedding, and your marriage."
I was dumbfounded. Granted, my parents were paying for the wedding, so I did a LOT of things according to their wishes, but was it worth it? Was it truly a reflection of what I wanted my wedding to be?
Planning a wedding can very quickly turn into one of the most stressful situations you've ever had to encounter (we recommend hiring an experienced wedding planner). Seriously.. I can’t tell you how many times the wedding becomes more about a bride’s mom or family and reputation and perceptions rather than about you two and the marriage.
A let’s be honest, sometimes families are messy. Maybe you have a weird relationship with your mom or dad, or they divorced, and that could cause some stress and friction on your big day. Or maybe you just don’t want to deal with any of those family complications, and that is OK!
With everything going on in the world, I have had a ton of couples turn their traditional wedding plans into an elopement. And honestly, I wish I would have eloped with my husband. It's so much more intimate, and I feel like the couples really have time to focus on themselves rather than worry about their guests or if everything is going perfectly, the way they planned.
Now, if you have an amazing relationship with your families and don’t perceive this being an issue, that is amazing, and by all means, enjoy the planning process with them because it can turn into such memorable moments!
At the end of the day, when it's all said and done, this is YOUR day! Regardless of what anyone else tries to convince you of, this is a day to celebrate your love for each other.
3. JUST YOU TWO VS JUST 200...
A lot of people get overwhelmed about having to stand up in front of hundreds of people and sharing your vows, intimate promises written to your significant other. Heck, a lot of people want to actually enjoy their wedding rather than sending the whole reception thanking 200 people they barely even know.
Did you also know that above death, public speaking is people’s #1 Fear? People hate being the center of attention and big weddings make you that. If you are a person that LOVES being the center of attention, then a big wedding is for you. With an intimate elopement and destination wedding, it’s a collection of the most important people in your life celebrating together. All of the attention is focused on celebrating your marriage, not on you being the center-point of the wedding.
4. NO REGRETS!
As you can probably tell, out of the 100+ weddings I have photographed, I HIGHLY recommend destination weddings and elopements. I can honestly say that I have NEVER heard anyone say that they regret eloping or having an intimate destination wedding. In contrast, the bigger the wedding is, the more complaints and regrets I hear people have. Most brides don't even remember half the day because their mind is focused on everything else that's going on. There’s something about spending a lot of money on something that seems to be more about the other people there then you about you two.
The demand that society has to showcase a perfect wedding is mind blowing. I swear most gigantic weddings are geared to what's going to look amazing on instagram vs. what the couple actually wants. You need to ask yourself, "Is this celebration a true reflection of us as a couple and as individuals?"
Now, to make myself clear, I'm not at all deterring anyone from having a big traditional wedding. By all means, I'm all for it! I love elaborate venues and the imagery that comes from it. There's nothing wrong with big, traditional weddings! If you are like some of my family members, and have 300+ friends/family that you can't fathom not being there for your wedding, then go for it! I'll be more than happy to document all the love and memories for that too! In a nut shell, I want my couples to feel comfortable with what they decide to do. How they feel on their day, will directly reflect in their images. So be sure to pick what's best for both of you!
5. STRESS AND PLANNING
There are two parts to this. Not only is planning the wedding stressful, but the actual wedding day can be as well. In fact, MOST of the larger weddings we have photographed has had multiple stressful elements to it. This is to be expected when it comes to bringing together a bunch of moving parts and coordinating it all to make for an amazing day.
This is why I always suggest, if you aren’t a planner, HIRE A PLANNER! If not, be prepared for a lot coming your way, and it can be really overwhelming. I can’t tell you how many times I heard someone say, “I can’t wait for this to just be over.”
That being said, elopements aren’t something that you can just put together and expect to be perfect, it takes planning. But the amount of planning, stress, and anxiety is minimal compared to that of a larger traditional wedding. It’s a lot more laid-back and relaxed, and a lot of times, the bride and groom will get ready together in the same house, eliminating stresses of transportation and coordinating unnecessary things.
One of the biggest differences between traditional wedding photos and elopement/destination wedding photography is the opportunity to tell your amazing story honestly. I have heard people say that elopements and destination weddings really get to capture the true YOU and that traditional weddings can seem too posed and fake and really not true to who they are. Some people were also really concerned that their parents would have too much of a say on how their memories would be captured and ended up not liking the photos.
When you have a larger, traditional wedding, the budget has to be taken into consideration a lot more than if you had a smaller destination wedding where you can devote that budget to exactly where you want it.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you don’t need as many hours of coverage because its an elopement, but we believe the opposite. We think this is just as important and more-so even more of an authentic wedding that deserves to have the whole captured from start to finish. Most of our elopements are still 8+ hours because those moments still happen as they do during a traditional wedding; they are just more authentic and relaxed now.
You have the opportunity to really be who you are and have incredible, stress-free photos captured in a gorgeous location rather than pictures of you walking around a venue hall chatting with people you don’t really know.
Feeling like this could be you? Let's set up a time to chat about it! We have a good amount of knowledge in this area and have a lot of ideas in helping you make this dream come true!