Have the Big Wedding or Elope?

Now that weddings can cost way over $100,000, more couples are opting for destination weddings and small elopements. Who can blame them? Everyone is expecting a wedding with hors d’oeurves, 5 courses, champagne, open bar, thank you gifts and more. This can get very stressful, very quickly, especially if you are on a tight budget!

Here are the pros and cons of both an at home wedding and an elopement / destination.

At Home Weddings



The pros of having an at home wedding are: all or most of your family members will be there for your big day. This is a great idea especially if you or your future spouse have grandparents or great aunts and uncles or older family friends. The older people get the less they want to travel, in most cases. Therefore a wedding nearby will allow you to have all your close family members there. You will be able to make a decision on a photographer, bouquet choices, dj, etc. and see their work before the big day. This way you can see their work and make an informed decision.

Another pro is your choice of venue, wedding cake and décor. You can visit the venues before hand and see what really looks like a perfect place to get married.


The main con of the at home wedding is the cost of it. If you want a beautiful venue you’ll soon realize it will cost you a lot more than a pretty penny. You will really need to speak with your partner and decide on a budget and stick to it. That is the most important part, if you don’t want to be in debt for the rest of your life. Who wants to start a marriage in debt? I’m telling you stick to your budget! The first thing you should ask the venue is: capacity and price, that way, before you fall in love, you will know whether it will work or not.

Destination Weddings



The pros of having a destination wedding are the price, the “vacation” feel and the actual location. The price of having a destination wedding can be as little at $100 for the marriage certificate / officiating. Although some resorts can be super pricy, most are very reasonable.

You will usually have to have a minimum amount of guests staying at the resort for your wedding to be the price listed. For example: at least 20 guests staying at the resort for a wedding with 35 or more invitees. Normally this won’t be a problem considering all the guests will be need to be booked at a resort, so why not yours.

Another pro, or con, depending on how you look at it, is the fact that the wedding will be virtually planned for you. You may have to have some input on colours or food options, but in reality there is next to no planning compared to an at home venue. You get to spend the whole week with your closest friends and family. My fiancé’s cousin had a destination wedding and the week we spent with friends and family was nothing less than awesome. Everyone got to know each other before the wedding and it wasn’t awkward sitting with people you didn’t know, because you knew everyone!


Now, here are the cons: most resorts have a maximum of 50 guests or less, and if your family is anything like my fiancés, then that will not be enough. If you are someone who wants all your friends and family there, this may not be the best option for you. But, if you want to have a destination wedding with a big guest list, don’t worry, there are still plenty of resorts that can accommodate you! You will just need to take some time and speak with a travel agent.

Another con is the fact that any friends who are on a tight budget won’t be able to make it either, unless you give them ample notice to save up. Friends with children or pets may not be able to make it either. If your wedding will be at an adults only resort, they’ll have to stay at another resort nearby and won’t have the luxury of spending the whole week with the wedding guests (this may be a pro or a con to them). There are family resorts though, so keep them in mind when booking your venue.

Another issue may be friends or family who teach. Unless you have a summer wedding or a holiday wedding, these friends will not be able to make it because they can’t take the time off.

You may also have grandparents and aunts / uncles who will not want to go to a destination wedding and would rather look at the photos afterwards. This can be hard, if you are a close-knit family, so this is definitely something to think about.

Remember, if you are planning a destination wedding, give your guests ample time to save up, find baby-sitters, pet sitters and time to decide if they would like to or are able to come to your wedding or not.




Pros: absolutely no planning, other than booking a flight and hotel, if you are going somewhere far that is. No worrying about who you should and shouldn’t invite. Just take off alone and enjoy your wedding for what it really should be about: you and your future spouse. Remember, just because you are eloping, doesn’t mean you have to go to vegas, think romantic mountain top, or forest!


Cons: People will be upset you didn’t invite them, family especially. If you are going to elope and you are close with your family, please, please, please tell your parents and siblings at least. You don’t want family drama because you were thoughtless. If you really don’t want them there then take the time to explain to them why. Believe me, they will feel a lot less resentful if you at least include them in the decision and know you at least told them. There’s nothing worse then telling your parents after the fact and them giving you the eye for even a day!

Your wedding won’t be documented in photos. This may seem like no big deal – but in 20 years when your children are asking what your wedding looked like, it may be sad not being able to share that with them. At least if you have a friend with you, you could ask them to document it for you. I’m sure they’d be more than willing to. If you are having a planned elopement, there is no one to stop you from hiring a photographer either, just remember to do so in advance.


So now that you have everything in mind, be sure to set your wedding budget and figure out which option will be the best for you and your fiancé! Remember you can find all options for every budget. An at home wedding doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are many venues and food options including catering and even making your own food!

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