<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1950904595195898&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> Wedding Advice - Should you elope or have a smaller wedding? - Lydia

Wedding Advice – Should you elope or have a smaller wedding?

“Maybe we should just elope!” This phrase is thrown around at the best of times and especially in the thick of wedding-planning overwhelm. More so in this time of social-distancing, it’s becoming more than just a throwaway remark for many couples. Going forward, for the next wee while at least, weddings may look different and require a new approach. While a big wedding can be amazing and the only option for some, I have to say I am a big fan of smaller, more intimate weddings or elopements. There are so many reasons why having a smaller celebration can be a great idea. As a photographer, I have been lucky enough to witness a few of these, and they have been some of the most memorable days ever. Today we’re chatting about a few reasons why smaller may be better for you…


Consider your guest list carefully

We talked about this a little in my Wedding Budget blogpost but I want you to think about it carefully here. Will it absolutely break your heart to not invite everyone you know? Will it cause a lot of tension? Can you plan an alternative celebration to include all your nearest and dearest in another way? Maybe an intimate celebration looks like 50 guests instead of 100 for you. Maybe, you, your partner, a celebrant and a photographer is all the guest list you need. If people on your invite list are going to make you feel guilty and ashamed for not being able to invite everyone then maybe those people are not fully supportive of you or worth inviting. You may exclude children, plus-ones or work colleagues to keep things really intimate. I love how recently-married-bride Chloe put it when asked about offending people who aren’t invited. As a couple they worked out who they wanted to include by asking these questions:

– Have we spent time with them one-on-one in the last year?
– Would both of us feel comfortable calling them for help if we were in a jam?
– Have we had them over for dinner before?
– Would we be hurt if they didn’t invite us to their wedding, or would we understand?

These may be simple and helpful questions to consider when refining your guest list. I might also add:

– In 5-10 years from now, do you picture them as a part of your life?
– Are we only inviting them because someone else told us to?
– Do I want them in my wedding photos? (This might sound a little superficial, but pictures really do last forever. This goes hand-in-hand with planning to keep in touch with someone. You don’t want to look at your wedding album in 30 years and wonder, “Who is that?”)

Now I get it, this may seem like a ruthless, cut-throat approach. Especially if you are the people-pleasing, non-confrontational type and you want to avoid upsetting anyone. Just know that keeping numbers small does not mean you are a bad person, that you want to exclude anyone or keep your loved ones from celebrating with you. You can still honour them for supporting your relationship. There are other ways to do this. You may have to educate some guests on your decision but if they really are your people, they will understand and support you. Trust your gut and if it is telling you to have a smaller celebration, then do it.


Plan a different kind of celebration

Following on from above, we’re going to talk about a couple of different ways you can elope or have a smaller wedding and still include everyone you love.

– Consider your location/venue. An easy way to keep numbers down may be planning to elope to an overseas destination and only inviting your very closest people, or even just the two of you. This automatically trims down the guest list as not everyone can travel, and there is no pressure from either side to be there.
– Plan a family holiday with a destination wedding on the side. I recently watched a Sarah’s Day vlog (one of my fave Youtube gals – check her out) where they attended a family wedding. The couple planned a family holiday where everyone went away for about 5 days to a remote part of Tasmania. While there, they just decided what day was going to be the best weather to get married on. A simple ceremony with just their family in a super relaxed setting. I thought that was a great idea and allowed for a lot more quality time together + no pressure!
– Have an intimate elopement and a bigger celebration later. This would be a great option as we’re easing out of lockdown or down the track when you want a destination elopement. Keep it intimate and then plan to have a separate reception party or go out for dinner with friends later. You still get to include people in your own way.
– Have a larger ceremony and a smaller reception. This has been done a lot in the past and is not as common now, but still a great option! If your ceremony location allows it, go big on the invites for that part of the day. People still get to be a part of the “important bits” and you can build into you timeline to allow for a bit of cocktail-hour time with everyone straight after the ceremony or maybe do a little cake-cutting/afternoon tea then. Later in the day you can have a reception just for a small group, super special and more quality time for a meal and party together with just those people.
– Break tradition! You don’t have to wear a white dress, say traditional vows, cut a cake, throw a bouquet, wear a veil or have a bridal party. Make the day uniquely yours and don’t feel pressured to do what your friends/family have done.


Smaller = cheaper

This isn’t always the case, but often times, cutting the $100 per head dinner for 150 guests is going to keep savings in your pocket for sure. This can give you a lot more flexibility to invest to what is important to you. Whether that’s taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain for photos, getting your dream dress, or spending a bit more on your dream honeymoon. Or just keep things simple, and save that “wedding money” for your first home or other savings goals to kick off your marriage. Less guests can always make it easier to have a sustainable wedding too, you can read a more about that in this blogpost.


Smaller is special

Not to say that larger weddings are less meaningful at all. But there is something really special about an intimate celebration. I have been lucky enough to capture a few celebrations like these, with less than 10 guests, and they are some of the most memorable days. Not being constricted by time, location or schedules, they are relaxed, fully present in the moment and really soaking in the words and moments exchanged. Fully themselves, fully authentic and in love.

I love this excerpt from Together Journal Editor Greta’s recent piece encouraging us to think of a new kind of landscape when it comes to weddings so I wanted to put it in here:

“…what about an ‘in-lopement’ or a smaller local destination wedding with your nearest and dearest? New Zealand is full of remote, unique and mind-blowingly beautiful spots, venues and gorgeous places to stay (as is Australia and beyond). And it’s full of innovative, creative and talented vendors who will follow you to the ends of this beautiful country to create something incredible just for you. Document the wedding well with the many incredible filmmakers and photographers we have. Buy the dress, the shoes, the rings, order the food, have the cake baked, book the flowers, take the bridal party, your family, a smaller group of your loved ones and have the wedding. Then when the storm dies down throw the big party to celebrate, show the film, project the photos on the marquee wall, book the band and go crazy celebrating. Or not, maybe the smaller one was all you needed?”


I am not pushing you either way on this. I also absolutely love big weddings, and they can be so meaningful and fun in their own way. I just want you to consider both options and what that would look like, or maybe you land somewhere in-between? It’s a timely thing to think about right now, but also when things go back to “normal”, maybe your wedding day looks and little different and that is perfect x

Watch my IGTV on this topic here.

PIN IT FOR LATER

“Maybe we should just elope!” This phrase is thrown around at the best of times and especially in the thick of wedding-planning overwhelm. More so in this time of social-distancing, it’s becoming more than just a throwaway remark for many couples. Going forward, for the next wee while at least, weddings may look different and require a new approach. While a big wedding can be amazing and the only option for some, I have to say I am a big fan of smaller, more intimate weddings or elopements. There are so many reasons why having a smaller celebration can be a great idea. As a photographer, I have been lucky enough to witness a few of these, and they have been some of the most memorable days ever. Today we’re chatting about a few reasons why smaller may be better for you…


Consider your guest list carefully

We talked about this a little in my Wedding Budget blogpost but I want you to think about it carefully here. Will it absolutely break your heart to not invite everyone you know? Will it cause a lot of tension? Can you plan an alternative celebration to include all your nearest and dearest in another way? Maybe an intimate celebration looks like 50 guests instead of 100 for you. Maybe, you, your partner, a celebrant and a photographer is all the guest list you need. If people on your invite list are going to make you feel guilty and ashamed for not being able to invite everyone then maybe those people are not fully supportive of you or worth inviting. You may exclude children, plus-ones or work colleagues to keep things really intimate. I love how recently-married-bride Chloe put it when asked about offending people who aren’t invited. As a couple they worked out who they wanted to include by asking these questions:

– Have we spent time with them one-on-one in the last year?
– Would both of us feel comfortable calling them for help if we were in a jam?
– Have we had them over for dinner before?
– Would we be hurt if they didn’t invite us to their wedding, or would we understand?

These may be simple and helpful questions to consider when refining your guest list. I might also add:

– In 5-10 years from now, do you picture them as a part of your life?
– Are we only inviting them because someone else told us to?
– Do I want them in my wedding photos? (This might sound a little superficial, but pictures really do last forever. This goes hand-in-hand with planning to keep in touch with someone. You don’t want to look at your wedding album in 30 years and wonder, “Who is that?”)

Now I get it, this may seem like a ruthless, cut-throat approach. Especially if you are the people-pleasing, non-confrontational type and you want to avoid upsetting anyone. Just know that keeping numbers small does not mean you are a bad person, that you want to exclude anyone or keep your loved ones from celebrating with you. You can still honour them for supporting your relationship. There are other ways to do this. You may have to educate some guests on your decision but if they really are your people, they will understand and support you. Trust your gut and if it is telling you to have a smaller celebration, then do it.


Plan a different kind of celebration

Following on from above, we’re going to talk about a couple of different ways you can elope or have a smaller wedding and still include everyone you love.

– Consider your location/venue. An easy way to keep numbers down may be planning to elope to an overseas destination and only inviting your very closest people, or even just the two of you. This automatically trims down the guest list as not everyone can travel, and there is no pressure from either side to be there.
– Plan a family holiday with a destination wedding on the side. I recently watched a Sarah’s Day vlog (one of my fave Youtube gals – check her out) where they attended a family wedding. The couple planned a family holiday where everyone went away for about 5 days to a remote part of Tasmania. While there, they just decided what day was going to be the best weather to get married on. A simple ceremony with just their family in a super relaxed setting. I thought that was a great idea and allowed for a lot more quality time together + no pressure!
– Have an intimate elopement and a bigger celebration later. This would be a great option as we’re easing out of lockdown or down the track when you want a destination elopement. Keep it intimate and then plan to have a separate reception party or go out for dinner with friends later. You still get to include people in your own way.
– Have a larger ceremony and a smaller reception. This has been done a lot in the past and is not as common now, but still a great option! If your ceremony location allows it, go big on the invites for that part of the day. People still get to be a part of the “important bits” and you can build into you timeline to allow for a bit of cocktail-hour time with everyone straight after the ceremony or maybe do a little cake-cutting/afternoon tea then. Later in the day you can have a reception just for a small group, super special and more quality time for a meal and party together with just those people.
– Break tradition! You don’t have to wear a white dress, say traditional vows, cut a cake, throw a bouquet, wear a veil or have a bridal party. Make the day uniquely yours and don’t feel pressured to do what your friends/family have done.


Smaller = cheaper

This isn’t always the case, but often times, cutting the $100 per head dinner for 150 guests is going to keep savings in your pocket for sure. This can give you a lot more flexibility to invest to what is important to you. Whether that’s taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain for photos, getting your dream dress, or spending a bit more on your dream honeymoon. Or just keep things simple, and save that “wedding money” for your first home or other savings goals to kick off your marriage. Less guests can always make it easier to have a sustainable wedding too, you can read a more about that in this blogpost.


Smaller is special

Not to say that larger weddings are less meaningful at all. But there is something really special about an intimate celebration. I have been lucky enough to capture a few celebrations like these, with less than 10 guests, and they are some of the most memorable days. Not being constricted by time, location or schedules, they are relaxed, fully present in the moment and really soaking in the words and moments exchanged. Fully themselves, fully authentic and in love.

I love this excerpt from Together Journal Editor Greta’s recent piece encouraging us to think of a new kind of landscape when it comes to weddings so I wanted to put it in here:

“…what about an ‘in-lopement’ or a smaller local destination wedding with your nearest and dearest? New Zealand is full of remote, unique and mind-blowingly beautiful spots, venues and gorgeous places to stay (as is Australia and beyond). And it’s full of innovative, creative and talented vendors who will follow you to the ends of this beautiful country to create something incredible just for you. Document the wedding well with the many incredible filmmakers and photographers we have. Buy the dress, the shoes, the rings, order the food, have the cake baked, book the flowers, take the bridal party, your family, a smaller group of your loved ones and have the wedding. Then when the storm dies down throw the big party to celebrate, show the film, project the photos on the marquee wall, book the band and go crazy celebrating. Or not, maybe the smaller one was all you needed?”


I am not pushing you either way on this. I also absolutely love big weddings, and they can be so meaningful and fun in their own way. I just want you to consider both options and what that would look like, or maybe you land somewhere in-between? It’s a timely thing to think about right now, but also when things go back to “normal”, maybe your wedding day looks and little different and that is perfect x

Watch my IGTV on this topic here.

PIN IT FOR LATER

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