bride and groom holding faux floral wedding bouquet by Madison Quinn Florals

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I'm Danielle Aisling


Elopement photographer, biz coach, mom and coffee lover. 

To Elope or Have a Big Wedding?

weddings + elopements


for photograpahers

tips + resources


I know a lot of couples struggle with whether to elope or have a big wedding. It’s hard to separate your relationship from all of the people in your life who support it. If you’re not sure whether you should have that big, crazy celebration or just do something small, then keep reading!

bride and groom at intimate wedding

What’s the one thing you want to remember from your wedding day?

  • Celebrating with all of your family and friends?
  • Saying “I do” in front of your closest family members and your best friends?
  • Taking time away from the day to day hustle to just focus on each other and your relationship?

A lot of couples immediately say “no” to an elopement because they think it means running off together and getting married in secret. While you can definitely do that, there are other options if you want to elope.

Married couple at brewery micro wedding

What does it mean to elope?

As an elopement photographer, I’m going to give you an honest answer – to elope is to do whatever the heck you want.

intimate elopement table setting with stationery and candles
custom blue wedding invitation suite by Avi Scribbles

There’s no “right” way to elope.

You can run away in secret, or bring 20 of your closest friends and family to a lakeside escape for the weekend. I like to think of an elopement as a smaller, intentional celebration – whether it’s 2 people or 25 guests.

bridal makeup by Jacquie K
bride getting makeup touched up by Jacquie K

Some examples of an elopement:

  • Hosting a small group of family and friends at a cottage rental for a few days and getting married overlooking the lake
  • Hiking to an epic lookout for a private ceremony, and hosting your immediate family for a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant at the end of the day
  • Renting a helicopter to take you to the top of a mountain with your two closest friends
  • Having a private ceremony at a cool Airbnb in the woods and having a few friends join you for an intimate dinner
  • Having a small and intimate dinner and celebration at a brewery with family and friends
bride and groom hugging at intimate brewery elopement
bride and groom holding faux floral wedding bouquet by Madison Quinn Florals
Intimate indoor elopement set up with rattan chairs, hand painted sign and faux florals
custom wedding signage by Avi Scribbles

What’s the difference between an elopement and a big wedding?

By comparison – a big wedding can be anywhere from 50 to 350 guests.

It’s typically at a venue, hall, or outdoor ceremony location. It can have decor and linen rentals, catering, a mobile beverage service, DJ, event planner – basically, a giant party.

If having a larger guest list and a bigger party sounds more like you, then go for it!

There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to your wedding day. If you take a step back and think about what’s really important to you as a couple, then you’ll have an easier time deciding which option is for you.

bride wearing a gown from Sinders Bridal

If you need help planning your wedding or elopement, contact me and we can get started!


The amazing elopement vendor team:

VenueSignal Brewery Weddings

GownsSinders Bridal

Planning + DecorWeddings by Brittiny

Decor Rentals: Plate Occasions

Cake + DessertsKilla Cupcakes

Stationery + SignageAvi Scribbles

FloralsMadison Quinn Florals

MakeupJacquie K

HairThere She Glows Hair

Decor Rentals + SetupBlossom by Shannon

Couple –  Tatyana + Jesse

If you liked this post, you might also like How to Write Vows for Your Elopement or How to Elope in 7 Simple Steps!

  1. […] I realize how heartbreaking it is to have to cancel or move all of your original wedding day plans. But if having the (big) wedding of your dreams isn’t possible, maybe moving to an elopement is an option – at least until you can host a big event and celebrate with all of your family and friends. If you’re not sure whether to hold out for your big dream wedding or just elope, check out this post to get some more info. […]

  2. […] beauty of an elopement is that you can be open, authentic and vulnerable with your partner, without having to share your […]

  3. […] a larger, more traditional wedding, you don’t need to have all of the details figured out before you start planning an […]

  4. […] If you liked this post, you may also like How to Write Vows or To Elope or Have a Big Wedding? […]

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