Why Elopements And Small Weddings Are The New Normal

Chances are, you’ve been thinking about your wedding for a long time. In fact, you’ve probably been thinking about it long before you met your partner. The white dress, the flowers, the cake — when we imaged our weddings as children, we had a tendency to focus on the key details and the fun stuff. But when it’s actually time to plan your wedding, most of us realize one thing in a hurry — the reality of wedding planning is far more complicated. That’s why having a small wedding — or eloping to have an intimate wedding ceremony — is becoming more popular than ever.

Eloping used to be associated with a last-minute, spur of the moment decision — or a way to escape difficult families. It seemed like something that wasn't as thought through as a traditional wedding, but things have definitely changed. Now, elopements and small weddings are becoming the new normal. The best part? You can still bring your nearest and dearest with you even if you choose to have a tiny wedding or book an elopement package — and you’ll save yourself a huge amount of money in the process.

Why is choosing to elope or to have a small wedding becoming so popular? Well, there are a lot of good reasons to elope or to just focus on the people closest to you. From the peace of mind to it being better for your wallet, here are why small weddings are becoming the way forward.

Having A Small Wedding Means Focusing On The People Who Matter Most

Maybe your cousin hasn’t talked to your uncle in months. Maybe your mom really wants you to invite her friend from high school who you’ve never even met. Maybe there’s no combination of people or table plans that isn’t destined to end in disaster. The point is, weddings often get out of control. What’s meant to be a medium-sized wedding can quickly spiral into a huge, unwieldy thing, with a guest list designed out of duty rather than people you actually want. And let's be honest, pretty much every family has their tricky people or difficult combinations, not to mention what happens when you and your partner's families meet. But this is your wedding — your one and only day — and it should focus on the people who matter most.

More and more people are waking up to the fact that a small wedding or choosing an elopement is not only a great way to plan a wedding, but it’s also a perfect excuse not to have dozens of guests who you don’t really know, don’t really like, or are just inviting out of obligation. If your wedding is full of dozens or hundreds of guests, you’ll spend the whole day doing the rounds and making polite conversation with your second cousin or weird uncle.

Small weddings and elopements can still accommodate guests — some people bring 20 people or more with them — but it means you can spend time with the people who you really, really want to be with. If you feel like other people need to be included, throw a big engagement party or have drinks to celebrate when you get back after the wedding. But your wedding is about you — you don't need to make it about everyone else.

Smaller Weddings Are Better For Your Wallet

There’s no denying that weddings are expensive. The average cost of a wedding is over $35,000, but that’s the average across all weddings — big weddings are often much higher. It’s not unusual to see over $50,000 or even up into the six figures spent on a wedding day. But does an $80,000 wedding really bring you more joy than a $10,000 one? Most people are realizing that it doesn't. In fact, people who spend more on weddings are more likely to get divorced — so maybe there's some wisdom in keeping things small.

The truth is, even if it's the most important day of your life, even if it’s something you’ve always dreamed off, it’s hard to justify spending more than a year’s salary on a single day. In the middle of a housing crisis, when a lot of young people are juggling student loan debt with a mortgage or saving for a deposit, it just doesn’t make sense. When you look back on your photos and think about how much fun you had, nobody remembers that they went with $50 napkin rings or feels grateful that they went with the most expensive wines. Modern weddings focus on the experience, rather than just the expensive things that can pile up in a traditional wedding.  

But even if you have the best wedding budget and the smartest wedding DIY tips, weddings are always going to be expensive. There’s always going to be a per-head cost that will add up. The only way to really keep the cost of your wedding down is to plan a small wedding or elope with family and friends. That way, you can have everything you want for you and your guests — without breaking the bank. Starting your life out as a married couple in a lot of debt is putting yourself behind the eight ball right from the get-go, especially when that money could go to building your life together instead. Do you really want to spend your first months of marriage drowning in credit card debt or repaying family and friends? Instead, you can spend it remembering an amazing (and not extortionate) day that celebrated the two of you.

A Big Wedding Brings Big Stress

There’s no way to make wedding planning totally stress-free, but investing in an elopement package or hosting a smaller wedding makes things so much easier. Big weddings are hard to keep track of, with so many different elements to maintain and so many little things that can go wrong on the day. Instead, a small, straightforward wedding or the right elopement plan can mean that you don’t have to focus on anything other than being with your partner and the people who matter the most to you.

A good elopement service will take care of every detail, from the venue to the transport to the ceremony and any other personalized twists or special requests you might have. Because you’re going through a single person — one touch point — you don’t have to feel like you’re running around herding cats. If you're unsure, if you have any questions or worries, you know who to ask the questions to and you know that they’ll have the answers. It lets you get on with enjoying the best day of your life, rather than panicking on the phone to caterers and florists. Leave that to the professionals.

A Modern Elopement Offers Everything You Need

There’s a reason that elopements are the new wedding. Whereas elopements used to be thought of as a way to run away from it all or as a last-minute decision, the modern elopement allows you to personalize your experience with every romantic wedding detail you could want — from the perfect makeup stylist to a photographer who captures every moment to rose petals as you walk down the aisle. They can cater to your friends and family and even help you plan a lavish reception if that’s what you want.  

The important thing to remember is that having a small wedding doesn’t mean it isn’t special. Not only do small weddings have all of the joy, love, and celebration of a big wedding, they often have even more — because your time, money, and energy can be focused where you really want it. Whether that’s a dazzling rooftop ceremony and expensive cocktails or a laid-back afternoon in the park with just you and your partner, a small wedding and an elopement can have all the range of a traditional wedding.

Elopements Offer Truly Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

Couples today are more and more focused on the experience of the wedding day, for both them and their guests. There’s a reason that destination weddings and elopements are on the rise — because nothing says one-of-a-kind experience like getting married somewhere truly stunning. A wedding in Central Park or getting married on top of Rockefeller Center is so unique. Of course, there are more traditional options for elopement and plenty of elopement packages are available for weddings in a church or another place of worship. Really, the choice is yours — and it’s easy to see why people would want to seek out an iconic destination for their big day. For more and more couples who want their wedding to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment, elopements offer them a truly unmatchable experience.

Choosing what kind of wedding to have is such a big decision and, ultimately, one that has to be down by the two of you. But there are a lot of good reasons that more and more people are choosing to elope or plan a small wedding. Your wedding is one day, so focusing on the things that matter the most to you — the setting, the people, and the experience — lets you pack in as much joy and love and happiness as possible. Your wedding may never be stress-free, but keeping your wedding small means you can focus on enjoying the day with your partner — and that’s what weddings are all about.