How to transition from a Big Wedding to an Elopement

honour your connection...

No one could have predicted the absolute sh*t show that 2020 was going to be, or the toll that Covid-19 would have on couples trying to plan their special day (and the Wedding Industry as a whole). With restrictions on gatherings changing every other day, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the ever-changing landscape around weddings and events will be affecting us well in to the New Year!

With that said, it’s no secret that I’ve been over here waving the flag for intimate/micro weddings and elopements for a few years now – so I really wanted to write an article for couples who may be transitioning from a big wedding to a smaller gathering, and to give you a little comfort and guidance.

An elopement, or a small(er) celebration doesn’t have to be the alternative or lesser option. I get it, though! When it’s not what your original plans had entailed, it is a LOT to think about throwing any more time/money/or emotional energy in to planning something else! But you can still create a day that gets you excited and gives you back those butterflies at the thought of marrying your person!

It’s completely devastating when you’ve had a vision in mind of what your day would look like for so long – only to have that vision completely ripped away through no fault of your own. Perhaps even the thought of planning a wedding in the current climate is enough to make you want to retreat to your bedroom to hide underneath a blanket with a bottle of wine and your favourite Netflix series to try and escape the world and your thoughts.

If you find yourself having to transition from a Big Wedding or are thinking about planning an Elopement or Intimate Wedding, here are a few things to think about:

Go back to the drawing board 💡

Completely surrender to the fact that this is no longer going to look like the original day you have had swirling in your mind for so long. Feel free to mourn it, if you like. Have the tears. Punch the cake. Feel the emotions. Your feelings are valid!

THEN plan a time to sit together, just the two of you (free from ANY distractions), and go back to the drawing board. Perhaps even plan a nice date night at home, or go out for dinner to an ambient restaurant and start planning over a bottle of wine.

This is an opportunity for the two of you to think about what you really want out of your wedding day. Perhaps there were some things about your big wedding that weren’t quite feeling right, but you felt pressure from friends and family to do something a particular way. Completely drop all of the expectations and pressure from outside sources, and think about what a dream day looks like FOR THE TWO OF YOU! And start building from there.

Embrace Flexibility 🧘🏼‍♀️

I get it, you’ve been trying to navigate your way through Covid-19 wedding planning – how much more flexible can you actually get? With ever changing venue rules, and restrictions on dance floor antics, it’s all getting a bit tiresome. No one wants to keep having to revisit Plan B, C, D and E. So embrace flexibility in your planning. Talk to your Wedding Planner or Vendors on what your options are if more restrictions are in place. Don’t have your heart set on absolute specifics, and make sure you have the conversation with each other about “okay, if restrictions come back down to 10pax or 5pax, what will our final guest list look like?” Or “who can we not get married without?”

Here is a great read from One Fab Day on how to downsize your guest list

Ask each other what is important ⚠️

I encourage you to gently ask each other, what are the really important elements to each of you when it comes to your special day? And truly listen and hear what your partner is saying. Then try to accomodate each of those points in to your new day. Remember this day is about the two of you, but it is not uncommon for us to get so caught up in the planning and pleasing other members of our family that we can forget to check in on each other to make sure you’re still creating a day that you’re both excited about. You may even find out that there is a really special element to your relationship that you’d forgotten to incorporate, or perhaps one of you actually didn’t want a big wedding in the first place? When we each feel seen and heard in a conversation, it can be a really empowering tool to bring you together in your relationship, and will help you both build a Plan B, C, D or E that you can both feel really excited about!

Prepare for push-back 🎻

If you had originally planned a 150 guest list but now have to cut it down to 20 (or no one, because you’ve decided to elope), it’s natural that people are going to feel disappointed they’ve been cut from the list. At first, you might cop a bit of push back from your close family or friends for your decision – but also understand, that it is all coming from a place of love. Of course you’d still love to have every single person there, but unfortunately those decisions have been taken completely out of your hands. 

When the guilt starts to creep in, remind yourselves that this day is about the two of you and no one else. And if you’ve decided that being married is more important than waiting to navigate through another year of uncertain wedding plans – then that is something that your loved ones should respect and empathise with. At the end of the day, the ones who truly love you unreservedly, will be so thrilled for you on your wedding day regardless of what that looks like.

Not being able to share your day with your family and friends does NOT mean that you love them any less, or that they don’t still mean a lot to you! There are plenty of ways you can still have them involved in your special day, even if that means that they can’t physically be there with you.

Check out this blog post for ideas on how to incorporate your family and friends in to your elopement.

Elope now, party later 💃🏽

Don’t forget: although you may not be able to celebrate together at the moment (depending on your local social gathering restrictions), it won’t always be like this! Sure, we don’t know when the world will return to normal, or what normal will even look like – but there will be a time when you can still come together with ALL of your friends and family to celebrate at a later date. Perhaps you can even keep your original reception venue, but concentrate on more of a dancefloor/cocktail vibe to really get that party going, rather than a seated reception dinner?

When my husband and I eloped back in 2017, we combined our “we got hitched” party with our 30th birthday celebrations months after our actual wedding day – but we still had an absolute blast sharing our milestone with all of our friends and family, and even had a slideshow of our special day playing on the big screen for everyone to enjoy!

At the end of the day: all that really matters is the two of you choosing each other for the rest of your lives. So don’t let love wait! If anything, we need it more than ever right now.

So let’s get married!

*cue Jagged Edge – Let’s get Married outro*

dare to dream

empowering you to create the day of your dreams…

Are you having trouble finding ideas that really resonate and represents you and your relationship? Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed with the opinions from well-intentioned friends and family on how they think you should plan your day?

Allow me to help you break away from the mould, and let’s start planning something that makes you feel good in your soul bones with a customised elopement experience that truly honours the two of you, and this special moment in your lives.