How To Turn Your Traditional Wedding Into an Elopement

How To Turn Your Traditional Wedding Into an Elopement

Getting married is one of the most special days of your life. Planning your wedding takes a lot of time, maybe a few tears, and a ton of dreaming and making decisions. I always tell my couples to give themselves enough time to change their minds. You never want to feel the pressure of having to immediately decide on the first thing you see. Making an informed decision is always better in the long run!

More couples than you might think have found themselves planning a traditional wedding immediately after getting engaged. Maybe it’s because they felt like that’s what they had to do or what was expected of them. But after a few months, they realize a traditional wedding isn’t what they want at all!

If you’ve started planning your wedding and find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. It’s so easy to feel distant from traditional wedding planning or unenthused to keep making mundane decisions about dessert platters, seating arrangements, or linen colors. None of these things actually relate to who you are. They’re all appearance, which is probably not what you want to be focusing on during your big union!

I know eloping is still a newer idea, and you might be scared to make the change, but choosing to elope means you can focus on the things that really matter to you. Eloping is about investing in your experience rather than your guests’.

After all, this is your wedding and nobody else’s.

So, what do you do if you want to switch from planning a traditional wedding to an elopement?

I recommend that you and your partner sit down and have an honest discussion about what you’re not enjoying about your wedding currently. Write down your answers if it helps, and make a pro/con list.

Once you’ve got your list, figure out what you really need to change and which three aspects of your wedding mean the most to you. For example, maybe you and your partner really want to incorporate an adventure into your day. This could be anything from hiking to exploring a new city. Another idea could involve eating really great food on your elopement day. Or maybe you both just want to be able to spend time with each other, soak in the good times, and not feel rushed.

These are three very common reasons my couples tell me they want to elope. Luckily, it’s very easy to plan your entire day around those feelings! I’ve helped so many couples rediscover their true meaning behind getting married!

Three Most Common Concerns About Switching to an Elopement

  1. Deposits
  2. Invites
  3. Reception

The hardest part of choosing to switch to an elopement after you’ve already started planning your traditional wedding is that you’ll probably lose your deposits. Depending on when you decide to make the change, it could be difficult for your vendors to book another client for that same date, and they will likely keep your deposit. If you’re able to get your deposits back, that is amazing! However, it’s much more likely that you’ll have to swallow those fees for a few vendors, which sucks. But it will be so worth it in the end—trust me!

If you’ve already sent out 300 invites, it might feel weird to try and cancel with every person. I agree that this will likely be a tedious process, but hopefully, you have some trusted pals who will help you out. I recommend posting on your social media account if you’re connected with a lot of your invited friends. This is an easy way to ensure everyone is aware of the change. If you want, you can still keep the same date for a different kind of party or your reception. But remember, you don’t owe anybody an explanation for doing what feels right to you!

Depending on where your reception is located, you might not have to make many decisions when changing the venue. Many couples try to justify their elopement (which is what they really want) by saying they will just host their reception later. I think this is an amazing idea if that’s what you really want! But more often than not, the couples don’t end up having their reception. Planning the party and dealing with the drama feels much less important once you’ve already eloped with your favorite person.

The most important thing to keep in mind throughout this process is to make sure you are being completely honest with yourself. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do! You can create the wedding day of your dreams without having it be traditional, I promise!

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Destiny is an elopement photographer and planner based out of Portland, Oregon. She specializes in helping couples have an authentic wedding day doing what they love and enjoying themselves to the fullest. By creating a safe space for you to express your love, you can enjoy your day without any fear of judgment. She focuses on the real emotions of the day and capturing your entire love story from start to finish so you can relive it year after year. Helping couples feel comfortable in their weirdness and say YES to the best day they can imagine. Website:, Instagram: @blacksaltphotos, Facebook: Black Salt Photography, Pinterest: Black Salt Photography
March 25, 2022

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