Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View our photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope

Small Weddings - How to Budget and Save

March 21, 2020
Renan Radici, of Rio Grande do Sul, is a wedding photographer for City - Porto Alegre, State - Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil

Photo by: Renan Radici, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Traditionally speaking, often times it is the couple’s families who help pay for their wedding. However, unfortunately that’s just not possible for everyone, especially these days when the cost of weddings can quickly and easily get out of control. Some couples find themselves in the position of paying for all of their own wedding expenses, which can be quite the financial burden to take on, and about 40% of Millennials end up in this boat. So, how can you stick to your allotted wedding budget?

DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO SPEND SO MUCH ON A WEDDING?

The money you end up having to dish out for a traditionally large or even moderate wedding adds up pretty quickly. You don’t just have to worry about the wedding gown and the venue, but all of the decorations and sometimes the accommodations for your guests as well. Things like catering, flowers, centerpieces, alcohol, music, transportation, hair, makeup, invitations, and even the officiator’s fees must be taken into consideration.

 Candice C. Cusic of Illinois photographed this bride and groom enjoy a quiet moment after their civil wedding ceremony

Photo by: Candice C. Cusic, Illinois, United States

It is not uncommon for couples to have to dig into their precious savings, but is all the flare and spectacle really worth the economic stress? Surely you don’t want to start out your marriage in the midst of self-inflicted financial difficulties, adding strain on the relationship when you’ve just entered a brand new phase of your life together. It can be risky to charge up things on the credit card for an extravagant wedding and enter into your marriage in debt.

Maybe you’re fantastic at budgeting and feel you can manage a big wedding just fine on a set amount of money. However, it’s not uncommon in the excitement for couples to compromise their original budget and upgrade to higher bar tabs, a larger guest list, or even just see things as they plan that they feel they “have to have”. Many couples end up spending 45% more than they originally planned to! It’s for these reasons that many couples have chosen to elope, either reserving the intimate wedding ceremony for themselves alone or only a couple of their closest family members. In this way, couples are able to significantly alleviate many of the financial burdens of a large wedding ceremony.

David Clumpner, of Montana, is a wedding photographer for Glacier Park, Montana

Photo by: David Clumpner, Montana, United States

Some people still hesitate when they hear the word “elopements”, but the concept of wedding elopement ceremony has evolved from the original stigma it once carried. Elopement is no longer reserved for couples fleeing their families and marrying in secret, but rather is a small, intimate wedding ceremony that can be made up of either just the bride and groom or a few dear guests as well. What’s more, being limited to a much smaller wedding will enable you to stay within your budget and spend your money on the things that are truly important, such as the location of your choice, an officiant, and a talented photographer who can document your day so that you can remember it forever.

Over the years, elopement has come to mean different things to different people, and it’s up to you how big or small you want your audience to be. Elopements are completely customizable and, what’s more, as affordable as you’d like it to be, with many couples opting for simple courthouse marriages or even weddings in the great outdoors. Elopement, rather than being scandalous, can offer couples a way to share their special day together without worrying about financial distress.

Wedding Photographer Allison Williams of Illinois, United States

Photo by: Allison Williams, Illinois, United States

THINK ABOUT WHAT ELSE YOU COULD BE SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON

For those who are fortunate enough to have financial assistance, perhaps elopement is not a necessary or preferable option for you, and that’s fine. However, for many couples, the prospect of dropping so much money on one day alone is either not realistic or not even what they’d really like to spend their money on.

As a newlywed couple, maybe you are considering purchasing a home, buying furniture, or even purchasing household necessities for your life as a married couple, particularly if you’re considering having children in the near future. If you’re not looking toward the future just yet, many of us will not be strangers to the desire to finally pay off lingering student loans.

Brett Butterstein, of California, is a wedding photographer for Mammoth Lakes, California

Photo by: Brett Butterstein, California, United States

Whatever your financial goals are, your wedding day does not have to completely sap your bank account, nor should it. Eloping is the perfect option for those who want to save up for their life together while still having the wedding ceremony of their dreams. When you choose to elope, you can plan to go anywhere you’d like, whether that takes you into the woods, a mountain top, a sunny beach or a cozy backyard barbeque. You can take with you the people who matter most, whether that is just you and your fiancé commemorating the day with your wedding photographer, or a few close family members as well. With so many options for your wedding elopement ceremony, you are sure to enjoy the day with your fiancé while relaxing in the knowledge that you didn’t have to break the bank to do so.