Elopement vs. Wedding

February 20, 2024

Whether you are just engaged or in the thick of wedding planning, you may be wondering what the differences is between and elopement vs a wedding. They’re distinct, but how so? You crave the presence of friends and family, but is that a fit for an elopement? What about the venue and flowers? Let’s break it down.

Differences Between Elopements and Weddings

There are five key differences between a traditional wedding vs elopement.

  1. Venue
  2. Guests
  3. Personalization
  4. Price
  5. Stress
Tennessee Mountain Wedding Experience


Elopements offer freedom – mountains, City Hall, or even the Lincoln Memorial. The sky is the limit! When it comes to elopements, the locations often have a personal significance, often tying back to where your journey as a couple began. Elopements tend to be outdoors or in a smaller more intimate setting, and traditional weddings tend to be at venues with structured planning.


Elopements keep things intimate. Typically at an elopement there are no more than 20 guests. Elopements do not mean you have to exclude your loved ones. Small weddings, with 20-50 guests, strike a balance. Traditional weddings? Well, they surpass 50 guests. The catch? It’s about why you invite guests. Elopements focus on the meaningful, while weddings broaden the connections.

A great median when debating elopements vs weddings is having a micro wedding.


Big weddings mean restrictions – specific days, preferred vendors, and time constraints. If you love tradition, big weddings might be your thing. Seeking flexibility? Elopements allow you to decide when and where you say your vows.


Eloping isn’t just about saving money – it’s a misconception. Couples value their elopement experience, intentionally choosing intimacy, but there can be a significant price difference. In the United States, the average wedding cost in 2023 was $29,000. Elopements on average can max out at around $15,000, but are often less. Why? No worries about venue, catering, or decor – the focus is on a specialized elopement photographer, lodging, and activities.


Elopements aren’t stress-free, nor do big weddings inherently cause stress. However, big weddings have more stressful scenarios – seating charts, food decisions, and venue constraints. Many factors are stripped away with elopements, offering the freedom to make choices without external pressures.

When it comes to wedding planning, elopements have become more popular. They offer a way to escape the stress and cost of a traditional wedding while still celebrating the joy of your special day. 

How to make your elopement memorable

If you’re considering an elopement, there are a few options to make your day memorable. One option is to invite your circle of friends and family to join you, making it a group celebration. You can also choose to have a two-day celebration, with an intimate adventure with your partner on one day followed by a more traditional celebration with family on the next. 

Another option is to have an elopement with just the two of you and celebrate with friends and family later. This allows you to have a private and intimate ceremony while still being able to celebrate with loved ones at a later date. 

You can if you still want to incorporate some traditional wedding details into your elopement day! You can have a first dance, cut the cake, or even walk down the aisle. It’s your day, so make it feel like a wedding in your own way.

Ultimately, the choice between an elopement and a traditional wedding comes down to what experience resonates the most with you. Whether you choose to elope or have a traditional wedding, make sure it’s authentic, intimate, and reflects who you are as a couple. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help planning your elopement. Many resources are available to make your special day everything you want it to be.

This post was written by Olea & Co. LLC


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