At the start of 2020, you rarely heard of couples eloping. Almost everywhere, but especially in the south, weddings and receptions are a big deal. Some couples plan for several years for their big day. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The way we looked at events in the past was no longer the present. Microweddings and elopements started popping up everywhere. Restrictions were placed on the size of events, where events could be held and more. Brides, grooms, vendors and venues had to start rethinking the traditional wedding to create new and fresh ideas for the current situation we are facing. Elopements are a great option for many reasons, but here are 5...
One thing most of us know is that weddings are expensive. Very expensive. Catering a meal and drinks for a large group alone is a hefty cost, but then you add in renting a space, flowers, lighting and more, and it all starts to add up. A 2019 survey showed that the average wedding in NC cost approximately $27,000 for 130 guests. Eloping gives you the opportunity to select every single thing you want, and it is much more budget friendly because you are selecting it solely for the couple only.
If you are choosing a destination elopement, things to add into the budget would be the wedding venue, officiant, florist, dress, suit or tuxedo, wedding meal, photographer, videographer, marriage license, honeymoon suite, hair, make-up and dessert. Since there will only be two of you, you can always take away or add to this list, but these are the vendors I felt were important for my special day.
I cannot tell you how many plates I throw away at weddings that are overflowing with food- including the plates of brides and grooms. At most weddings, it is a time to catch up with family and friends, so it is hard to remember to eat your food in between chatting with loved ones, old and new. With an elopement, you can select a meal that you want, and you can enjoy every bite of it without the distractions of a large crowd.
Two options I looked into when eloping were eating in a private room of a restaurant or having our meal catered to the honeymoon suite. Once we looked into pricing and what was offered at several places, we decided to move forward with a catered meal brought to our honeymoon suite. It was absolutely perfect! Our videographers and photographers finished up as our meal was being set up, so we changed into robes after they left to enjoy our meals like a king and queen. We also plan to have a reception next year, so we didn't want to get our wedding clothes dirty.
Our meal started with an appetizer of caprese, bacon wrapped chicken, and tortillas with guacamole and seared scallops. We were stuffed but had to save room for the main course
Our main course consisted of filet mignon, lobster, scalloped potatoes, risotto and roasted vegetables. This meal was similar to what we would have selected if we decided on a traditional wedding, but we got to enjoy every bit of it while it was piping hot. It was delicious!
We ended the night with a champagne toast thanks to the surprise bottle of champagne ordered for us by Rob's aunt, uncle and cousins, and it was just perfect.
If you are choosing to elope in a new destination, why not turn it into a vacation? If you are already traveling to the destination, you might as well enjoy some time in that location as well (if your budget allows). We decided to spend 5 days in our wedding destination, and it was worth every penny. We checked in on a Saturday to unpack, got married on Sunday, and then we spent the remainder of the week just enjoying the newlywed life. We called our vacation a "minimoon" because it was almost like a honeymoon for us!
The photo was taken when we woke up on the day after our wedding, and we had to return the electric car we rented for our send-off. We put on our Mr. and Mrs. hats, dropped off the car, and then walked around Key West with mimosas in hand.
Y'all - wedding planning is such a fun industry to be in, but it is STRESSFUL. Making sure the bride walks down the aisle as the song plays, ensuring that the bridal party is in the correct spot at the correct time, flipping a venue and more are just a few of the pieces that can create stress for the bride or groom on their wedding day. With an elopement, all of the extraneous stress factors are removed because the plans are up to your partner and you. And the best part...no one knows if the timing is off or something goes wrong because they aren't there- so why would you worry?
With technology these days, you can still include family and friends as much as you want to- even for an elopement. Rob got to call his groomsmen to talk with them before our first look, and I got to call my bridesmaids for a virtual look at my wedding dress. We had our videographer set-up a Facebook Live on his page, so our family and friends could join. At the end of our wedding, we had tons of photos and videos sent our way, like the one below, of people showing us what it looked like on their end while they watched us exchange vows and say yes to forever. It was so fun sitting down at the end of the night and watching the posts of all of our friends and loved ones gathering in small groups to watch our big day.
Looking back, we really would not have changed a thing. We enjoyed our day, and it was such an intimate experience for both of us. If you choose to elope, we wish you the joy and happiness that we experienced on this day, and please reach out to me if you want any tips or help with planning!
Sources: The Knot, Wedding Wire