How To Decide Between Elopement VS Wedding

As someone who specialized in adventure elopement for years while also photographed many MASSIVE weddings in Chicago metro area, a lot of people ask whether they should have an elopement or a big wedding? So here’s the biggest take away… Instead of asking whether you want to elope or host a wedding, ask yourself this question…

“How do you want to celebrate your love?” More on this later

If you want a 1-on-1 consultation to figure out what’s best for you… elopement vs wedding, reach out here!

Elopement vs Wedding Cost

bride and groom dancing at wedding in phoenix arizona

Generally speaking, it is more affordable to elope since you’re not just investing into your experience but also your guests as well. Since you’re not paying for a big venue to host your guests and feed them. Elopement allow you to have extra room on your budget to splurge on something else… like an awesome photographer named Sam 😉 or a honeymoon right after the wedding in the tropical paradise of Hawaii…

However, there’s something magical about seeing all your friends and family come together in one place to celebrate your love. The moment when you get to see all their faces at the altar, or the moment when everyone is on the dance floor with you, singing at the top of their lungs… It’s really hard to put a price on that experience. Yes it’s more expensive to have a bigger wedding because of the nature of the event, but you have to ask yourself this question

“What kind of experience do I want more of? The one with all my friends and family or your partner?”


first dance between bride and groom in phoenix wedding

The main different between elopement and wedding Intimacy is the VIBES . Intimacy is going to be more prominence while you’re eloping. There’s gonna be a lot of down time for you and your partner to just be together. Thus you’re more likely to have deeper connection between you two since there won’t be too much distractions. More peaceful moments, more time to look at each other in the eyes (Seriously there’s so much going on in a traditional wedding that you might not even have the moment to stop)

Wedding give you a different variety of emotions that you could have with your friends and family. There are some cute little moments here and there happening through out the whole wedding but mostly, it’s high energy, lots of cool things going on, with tons of people to talk to. It’s a fun vibe! It’s a party! you’ll be busy talking, laughing, and smiling the whole day. It’s like a big hangout but with fancy clothes. It’s like prom but you’re the king & queen and everyone is there for you. So if you like hosting, socializing, partying, and a big extrovert, big wedding is definitely a vibe for you!

Not sure what it’s like to elope? Fill out the contact form here and let’s chat!

Wedding Planning

Photo of Bride and Groom hugging a cute dog on a wooden pathway

Elopement require more planning because it’s harder to figure out what steps to take, when, and how… There aren’t many resources out there to help you. You probably don’t know a lot of couples in your personal life that eloped. But once you have a good idea of what your day might look, you just have to make a few decisions and you’re off to the race! If you need someone to show you the simple & easy elopement planning process reach out here!

Weddings have way more steps to plan out but most it is layout for you. There’s a lot of online resources out there to help you plan a big wedding, you can asked most of your married friends about their wedding experience. So you won’t be doing many “planning” rather you will be doing a lot of “decision making”. What’s the seating chart? What should we serve our guests? What’s the color of our decors? How many bridal parties and who? So if you’re not the decisive type, this can be overwhelming.

Traditions & Friends & Family

wedding in phoenix arizona

This is where traditional wedding gets the brownie point. One of the thing that some people really looking forward to in life are some of the traditions of weddings. The ceremony where the bride walk down the aisle and the groom see the bride in the wedding attire for the first time. The moment when they said “I DO” in front of all their friends and family. Maybe it’s the first dance at reception or father-daughter dance. The speeches… These events that involve other people won’t be possible when you elope (Unless you decide to invite small group of people)

So if you have a strong family value, I say have a normal wedding, but if you don’t… then elopement can be a great way to celebrate your love!

If you’re a little lost of what goes into a wedding, I can help you design a custom wedding timeline specifically for your wedding. Click the button to reach out!


couple getting married in hawaii

This is where elopement shine! It can be challenging to bring your entire friends and family back home to a beach in Cancun to have a wedding. But when you elope with just you two or just a few people, having a ceremony on top of the mountain or on the beach somewhere is very possible. The world open up for you. You can invest more into travel instead of a venue. With that being said, you don’t need to travel to have an elopement. You can elope in your hometown if you want to. But you’re the fearless type like me, we travel whenever possible! So if you’re looking for an excuse to go explore new locations or even country, this is a prime opportunity!

SO what should you pick? Elopement or Wedding?

Out of the topics I point out, if your answer lean more toward the elopement then I’d recommend that you elope. But if you have a lot of point toward traditional wedding, I’d say that you should have a big wedding. One outlier is money. I believe that you should save up for your dream wedding mainly because it’s not like a vacation, there’s no re-do…

How to have the best of ELOPEMENT & WEDDING (Secret sauce)

elopement and wedding ceremony

Remember the question above? “How do you want to celebrate your love?” For some people, the answer is clear, whether they either are going to elopement vs wedding. But for some of you that are in the between… here’s an idea that will allow you to…

  • Spend a few days in a destination that you always wanted to go
  • Get epic landscape photos
  • Have enough intimate time with your partner
  • Have enough time with friends and family but not just for a few hours, but for a few days!
  • Keeping it stress-free
  • Save some money

Ready? Here’s the secret sauce…

Pick a destination that you’re dying to go but instead of getting that big venue or venture out only just the two of you… rent one of those super big and nice AirBnb, invite some of your closest family and friends to fill that place up (you can split the cost to save money). Pick one of the day that you’re gonna be there as your wedding date. This is where all the wedding thingys happen. You can design a day where half the time you can be with your partner and the other half with your family… OR! Have an entire day with just your partner and the next day with your friends and family!! Like a mini reception dinner!!

I found this to be one of the best way to celebrate for the people who can’t decided between adventure elopement or traditional wedding.

I’d love to guide you toward your dream wedding like I did for Robert & Jacqueline here!


He helped us create an experience far better than our wildest dreams. Everything about Sam’s approach was outstanding. From his meticulous planning and attention to every detail, to his dedication on the photoshooting days in helping us create the memories we dream about. That is why the photos he took on those days are more than just that. They have become happy memories that we look back and get all smiles.
Robert & Jacqline
Destination wedding

If you want more info about the secret sauce, reach out and chat!

couple bride and groom standing on top of the mountain

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