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Don’t be the couple that looks back on their big, expensive wedding wishing they would have eloped. Even a small wedding can set you back over $30,000, between the frilly details, venue and catering.

Skip the stress that comes with a traditional wedding and elope. Elopements are intimate, romantic and best of all, affordable! You won’t feel pressured to invite your third cousin once removed, and instead of spending your time entertaining guests, you can spend hours on an epic photo shoot with your s/o.

Still not convinced? Once you see these 8 stunning elopements (all under $2000!) you just might be slashing your guest list!

See what we mean about romantic? Jacob and Sara’s $1500 elopement was beyond dreamy. The couple tied the knot at Mitchell Courthouse, then spent the day roaming around Baltimore with their photographer, Elizabeth McConeghey.

Katherine and Michael’s mountaintop ceremony proves just how flexible elopements can be. Their original location, Craggy Pinnacle, was closed due to bad weather just days before their wedding date. Fortunately, their photographer Meghan Rolfe, came to the rescue and found the perfect ceremony spot at Black Balsam Knob mountain. We couldn’t be more impressed with the scenery!

Emily and James had their dream wedding all planned out; the venue was booked, the dress was ordered and the floral designer was set. Then the news arrived; James was getting deployed early, before the wedding date. Just two days after receiving the news, James and Emily regrouped and chose to elope. They were able to pull off this beautiful elopement last-minute for just $600! Horn Photography and Design was there to capture every moment. 

Ashley and Victor’s elopement, photographed by Caroline Ro, was something out of a fairy-tale. The couple exchanged vows on the picturesque Folly Beach in SC, while watching the sun rise over the ocean.

Elizabeth and Richard embraced the eccentric and tied the knot at the French Quarter Wedding Chapel in New Orleans. Anna Elizabeth Photo perfectly captured this unique wedding, with moody, artistic photos. 

How do you guarantee that you’ll have the best wedding ever? Have almost as many dogs as there are guests, of course! Danny and Debbie were laughing and smiling through nearly every minute of their woodland elopement, and Gina + Ryan Photography was there to capture every joyous moment.

The hills are alive with the… love of Holly and Josh! Their $1,500 Roan Mountain State Park elopement, photographed by Katy Sergent , will make you want to run away from it all!

Jessica and Karl’s elopement, photographed by Clara Rice, features a yellow dress handmade by the bride, a short but sweet ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, a photo shoot by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and an epic dip-kiss. Need we say more?

Photo One: Clara Rice

The post These Stunning Elopements Were All Under $2000! appeared first on Intimate Weddings - Small Wedding Blog - DIY Wedding Ideas for Small and Intimate Weddings - Real Small Weddings.

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Quentin and Huan’s Chicago wedding will inspire you to think small with your own wedding. The couple, along with six close friends, spent the day exploring downtown Chicago before tying the knot at the City Hall.

The couple’s wedding attire was fabulous! The bride wore a blush fabricator and a beautiful dress from Adrianna Papell. The groom wore a dapper wine colored suit, paired with a floral bow tie, pocket square and bout.

Thanks to Nicole Jansma Photography for capturing this unique and colorful wedding.

Huan & Quentin 

Location: Chicago, IL

Wedding Date: April 30, 2018

Number of Guests: 6

Wedding Ceremony Location: Chicago City Hall

Wedding Reception Location: Cochon Volant

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

For us it was both a desire and a practical consideration. We really liked the romanticism of eloping, and having this moment “just for us”, although I don’t think either of us had a really clear picture in our head. For me, it was like sharing a harmless secret: it’s something that brings us closer together, that only we can share. On a more practical note, we have family and friends in the US and Europe and bringing them all somewhere would have taken a lot of time and planning, and we didn’t want to wait a year or more before getting married! 

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

 Although there are many resources available for wedding planning, the fact is the vast majority of them are only concerned with very traditional styles of weddings: 200 people, the white dress, the flower girls… So for us it was quite complicated to find good advice for a more low-key event. I remember looking up a forum where someone was asking how to organize a small wedding, but when reading their message, their definition of “small” meant “about 120 people”! Including the bride and groom, our wedding was only 8 people. 
Figuring out the budget was also complicated: you can’t easily take a budget meant for 100 people and simply divide it for the number of people you expect. Venues, food, hotels, these things add up differently. So instead of determining a strict budget, we took things one at a time and just made sure that we could afford it. If you are planning an intimate wedding where you are planning to split costs with friends, especially friends from abroad with different currencies, we highly recommend using an app called Splitwise, which tallied what everyone owed each other and completed the international transactions with Transferwise, which has low international fees. 

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Not really. Instead of starting with a list of everyone and “whittling down”, we went the other way around: let’s imagine it’s just us, who would (or could) we *add*? It so happens that three close friends were visiting from the UK at a convenient time and we just thought “why not?”. We ended up adding three more close friends (one from the US, two from France) to “represent” our respective home countries.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

I had no major issues, as most of my friends and family have seen me traveling and moving countries for the past 6 years. The only friend who objected didn’t object to the small wedding but was hurt that I hadn’t told him earlier (I thought he was still being deployed, turns out he was back home). I’ve actually had friends who told me “don’t worry about us when you organize your wedding, it’s what you want that’s important”, which was very encouraging. Huan’s family was actually the ones who encouraged us to go with a small wedding since her parents also had a very intimate wedding in China.

What were the highlights of the day (since ceremony and reception weren’t traditional, they answered with what the highlights of the whole day were for them)?

For me it was definitely our first look – I didn’t know about this tradition and I’m very glad Huan insisted upon it. And then later, when we were taking pictures by the river, a construction worker saw Huan and starting singing for her! It was such a sweet and enchanting moment. Beyond that, I still can’t believe everything went without a hitch! We definitely have Nicole to thank for that, the schedule she prepared was perfect and played a big role in helping all these stars align.

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I think for me, it’s that due to the small scale, I wasn’t as stressed or preoccupied as I would have been with a large wedding. Thanks to that, I was able to really be “in the moment”, and enjoy it for the declaration of love that it is. I could admire my wife without having catering issues at the back of my mind! As I said above, I also really love having this ceremony as a sort of “secret” with my wife. Even if we organize a larger reception later and it’s a total disaster, we’ll still have these moments just the two of us (plus a couple friends!) and no one can take that away from us. Having a smaller wedding means that we can really take time and energy into making sure the small details are perfect. Every choice was very deliberate and represented parts of who we are individually and our story as a couple.

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Katherine and Michael weren’t originally going to say their vows atop Black Balsam Knob mountain. The original location, Craggy Pinnacle, was closed due to bad weather just days before their wedding date. Fortunately, their photographer, Meghan Rolfe, came to the rescue with this stunning location. The couple said their ‘I dos’ 6,000ft up, surrounded by miles of breathtaking mountain landscape.

Thanks to Meghan Rolfe for capturing this beautiful elopement!

Katherine, 35, & Michael, 39

Location: Black Balsam Knob, Asheville, NC

Wedding Date: November 2, 2017

Number of Guests: 6 (Bride’s parents, Groom’s parents, Mike’s twin boys—Katie’s new stepsons)

Wedding Cost: $17,000 (that included the elopement and the reception that was scheduled for a later date). Cost of elopement was just under $2,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Black Balsam Knob mountain top in Asheville, NC

Wedding Reception Location: Brookside Farms, Louisville, OH (took place at a later date)

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

I am one of six children and the last of four girls to get married.  I was very involved in helping my sisters’ plan their weddings, but I wanted the focus to stay on Mike and I.  I feel like sometimes that gets lost in all of the planning and details.  We wanted the day to just be about our love for one another.

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding? 

Our original location (Craggy Pinnacle) was closed down due to bad weather, so we had to find a new spot a couple of days before the wedding.  Luckily, our photographer, Meghan Rolfe, was amazing and helped us find the perfect spot to elope! It was absolutely beautiful. We live in OH so we expected it to be a bit of a challenge to plan from another state, but it was easier than I could have imagined.  

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

We originally thought it would just be the two of us at the ceremony, but Mike has children and we knew we wanted them to be a part of our special day.  Luke and Brady are 9-year old twin boys, and were the perfect helpers during the ceremony.  Mike and I are extremely close with our parents, so it was important to have them there with us too.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family?

If so, how did you address them? Katie comes from a big family with six siblings and Mike has two sisters, but luckily everyone was very accepting of the fact that we wanted to keep it very small. There were plenty of jokes thrown around from both sides of the family about “not being invited” but everyone was great and respectful about our decision to keep it intimate.  

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Emily and James had their dream wedding all planned out; the venue was booked, the dress was ordered and the floral designer was set. Then the news arrived; James was getting deployed early, before the wedding date. Just two days after receiving the news, James and Emily regrouped and chose to elope. Friends stepped in and did the bride’s hair and makeup, as well as the florals, and James and Emily were able to pull off this gorgeous elopement months before the original wedding date. 

Thanks to Horn Photography and Design for capturing this heartfelt elopement. 

Emily & James

Location: Atlanta, GA

Wedding Date: May 24, 2017

Number of Guests: 

Wedding Cost: $600

Wedding Ceremony Location: Parrish Restaurant on the Beltline

Wedding Reception Location: Same

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

We eloped due to military deployment. We got engaged in March, planned an April 2018 wedding, and shortly after learned about a deployment in October 2017. Then, the deployment date changed again and thus chose to elope.

 

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding? 

Limited challenges; because we chose to elope, we really only had to focus on ourselves and what we wanted. We did not have to worry about guests and just had the opportunity to most of what we wanted that worked for just us.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Nope! #Elopement

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them? 

It was less about a small guest list and more about it being an elopement. We did want some family present but because it was an elopement and a short timeframe, most people understood and we were able to have our special day. We did ensure videography so that we could share the ceremony with everyone afterwards. 

What were the highlights of the ceremony/reception? 

Our whole wedding (ceremony and reception) was a total of two hours.  Thus, the whole thing was kind of the highlight since every piece of a traditional wedding ceremony was condensed. I would say if I had to pick an overall highlight, it would be meeting my soon-to-be husband at the end of the staircase and walking down the aisle together.

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Sara and Matt had their sights on an elopement even before they were engaged. After two years of being engaged, the couple decided to elope while on vacation in Europe.  With two months to spare before they jetted off to Paris, the couple managed to plan this stunning elopement, complete with a classic photo shoot by the Eiffel Tower.

Thanks to Paris Photographer Pierre for capturing this dreamy elopement.

Sara & Matt 

Location: Paris, France

Wedding Date: August 31st, 2017

Number of Guests: 0

Wedding Ceremony Location: Medici Fountain in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France

Wedding Reception Location: None

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We always wanted to elope and would joke about it even before we were engaged. Once we were engaged, the pressure to have a traditional wedding was present and we even entertained the idea. After two years of being engaged and no wedding plans in our future, we decided to elope when we were on vacation in Europe. The vacation was already planned and with 2 months before take off we started to plan our elopement.

We decided for an elopement because, to be honest, I hate being the center of attention so having a traditional wedding didn’t seem appealing to me. Weddings can also become a day for everyone else…Eloping in Paris, meant the day was all about us!


What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

With our wedding being two months away, I knew I couldn’t be picky when it came to my wedding dress. I’m a plain Jane so I didn’t want anything extravagant. I liked the simple elegance of my gown. It has a little lace on the back with a small laced train which added a little something but nothing that was over the top.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

No guests.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them? 

No guests.

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Nothing beats the simplicity of a courthouse elopement. No guests, no stress! And just because a wedding is simple, doesn’t mean it can’t be gorgeous. Jacob and Sara’s elopement in Baltimore at the Mitchell Courthouse proves just that!

Kudos to photographer Elizabeth McConeghey for capturing this wedding so beautifully!

Sara, 27 & Jacob, 28

Wedding Date: December 27, 2017

Number of Guests: None

Wedding Cost: $1,500

Wedding Ceremony Location: Mitchell Courthouse, Baltimore MD

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We decided to have an intimate wedding to focus on sharing the experience and ceremony privately together. We both loved the idea of having this secret that we could embrace together while we wait to tell our family and friends. Having the intimate wedding kept the emphasis on why we wanted to get married and the relationship we shared.

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

We really did not face too many challenges. We kept most of it really simple which made planning simple.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

It was not difficult, we decided early on no one would be there.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

No.

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Our ceremony was very short, but the highlight was definitely just being able to say our vows and feel the commitment we were making to each other as we move forward in life.

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

The best thing was all of our attention was on each other. There was not any pressure to please anyone else on our wedding day, and although it may sound selfish it really made the day that much more special.

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

The best advice I could offer is no matter how small your wedding day is its still YOUR day and can still be just as special (or even more so). Having an intimate wedding does not mean you cannot have the same experience as brides or grooms having bigger more elaborate weddings.

Vendors:

Photographer: Elizabeth McConeghey

Florals: Love and Luster

Venue: Mitchell Courthouse, Baltimore MD

The post Jacob and Sara’s $1,500 Courthouse Elopement appeared first on Intimate Weddings - Small Wedding Blog - DIY Wedding Ideas for Small and Intimate Weddings - Real Small Weddings.

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With a beautiful suite overlooking the Eiffel Tower, Ellie and Robert’s intimate wedding was enchanting, luxurious and unforgettable.

“In traditional-style weddings, many people get busy entertaining their friends and family and are constantly worrying about little details throughout the day,” says the bride. “By keeping it small, we were able to relax, enjoy ourselves and create lasting memories.”

Kudos to photographer Brant Smith for capturing this wedding so beautifully. It makes us want to run away to Paris!

Ellie, 31 & Robert, 37

Location: Paris, France

Wedding Date: July 21, 2017

Number of Guests: 9

Wedding Ceremony Location: On the terrace of our suite at the Shangri-La, overlooking the Eiffel Tower

Wedding Reception Location: L’Abeille restaurant in the Shangri-La, “rehearsal” family dinner was at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower the previous evening

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We wanted to make the wedding about us. Instead of using our resources to plan a large ceremony, we were able to have a dream destination wedding without compromising details either of us wanted. Before we decided on the intimate wedding, we were both stressed about every aspect of wedding planning, between finding a venue, paring down the guest list and figuring out our budget. Neither of us are the “plan ahead type” and the idea of burdening ourselves with details such as floral arrangements, seating charts, lighting etc etc. gave us anxiety. After we finalized our decision to keep it to only our immediate families, everything seemed to fall into place for us.

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

It was pretty smooth sailing once we decided to keep the wedding small.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Once we decided to do an intimate wedding, we picked a tiny venue that could only accommodate our immediate families; so it was easy to stick to our plan.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

All of our friends and family were extremely supportive and excited for us once we told them about our intimate wedding and the reasons why we wanted to do it that way.

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

In the beginning, we were tempted to just elope; but then decided we couldn’t have the most important day of our lives without the most important people in our lives. The highlights for me were walking down the aisle on my proud father’s arm and catching glimpses of my mother shedding a happy tear or two throughout the ceremony. We decided to write our own vows and Robert and I loved hearing each other’s for the first time, in front of our families. But for both of us, the real highlight of our day was actually prior to the ceremony. We opted to do a “first look” photo shoot and hired a vintage car to drive us around Paris. Both our driver, Cedric and our photographer, Brant, were extremely knowledgeable about Paris and its landmarks, and it was the most fun and romantic way to tour the city, while capturing the most amazing photos to remember our special day.

What were the highlights of the reception?

We are both big foodies and love French cuisine, so naturally we picked the 2 Michelin star restaurant right in our own hotel to host our reception. The menu was absolutely amazing and we loved that everyone in the wedding party were all able to sit at the same table and to share speeches, stories and laughs.

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Who doesn’t love the idea of saying their vows in an enchanted forest?  From secluded ceremonies deep in the California Redwoods to otherworldly elopements, these 10 weddings will have you pining for a forest wedding!

With its stunning details and location in the legendary California Redwoods, Sarah and Alex’s li’l wedding has it all! From an incredible earth-toned bouquet to a one-of-a-kind spiritual ceremony, their wedding photos (photographed by the incredibly talented Paige Nelson Photography) will make you truly appreciate the profound beauty of a Redwood forest wedding.

Caroline and Jocelyn’s woodland wedding at Deetjen’s Big Sur Innn,  photographed by Rad + In Love ,was unique and heartfelt. Caroline could not say enough about the location: “The unparalleled natural beauty which surrounded us created the perfect environment for everyone to “get their heads right” about the commitment Jocelyn and I were making to each other and to the people around us.”

A couple of uninvited ceremony guests in the form of a bear cub and its mama bear, and one spontaneously chosen – not to mention stunning ceremony site are just a couple of the highlights from Julia and Jeff’s wedding in Sequoia National Park, photographed by Helena and Laurent Photography.

Cecilia and Craig’s California Redwood Forest Wedding, photographed by Viera Photographics, will make you truly appreciate the magnitude of the California Redwoods. This wedding proves that, when your wedding is in a beautiful forest, rain on your wedding day is a gift! The bride shares her view of getting married in this ancient forest: “The redwoods were truly magical. There is a profound silence that I have never heard before and the sheer size of the trees is completely humbling. There is also something symbolic about getting married underneath trees that are thousands of years old. It is basically Nature’s own version of a temple and the most spiritual place I can imagine, and, therefore, the perfect place for exchanging our eternal vows.”

Melissa and Dan’s Little Wedding in the Woods, captured by Leslie West Photography, was absolutely magical. Their big day was filled with highly personalized, meaningful details. They rented two charming  cottages for the weekend for their families to enjoy, and they spent their wedding weekend “lounging around in PJs sipping coffee and wine amongst a beautiful, lush landscape.” Sounds pretty utopic to us!

For Stephanie and Myles, an elopement in Washington at Olympic National Park was the perfect fit. Not only did it allow the couple to truly be present with one another – it saved them tens of thousands of dollars. Tyler Ray Photography captured this stunning elopement, and truly did justice to the incredible wedding.

From floral bow ties to a beautiful fairytale-esque swing to a twinkle-light filled reception, you won’t believe Emilee and Thomas’ 75-Guest Utah Park Wedding, which was captured by photographer Haley Nord, was only $7,000!

Limekiln State Park along the Big Sur California coast was the perfect location for Jessica and Paul to tie the knot with 18 of their dearest friends and family at their sides. Paige Nelson Photography captured their big day stunningly!

For Andrea and Gabriel, the 1/4 mile hike to get to their ceremony location was worth every step! “During the ceremony, the location felt almost surreal. Big Sur is absolutely gorgeous so we felt really lucky to be there together, and with our family,” explains the bride. Geoff Rivers Photography captured this little wedding perfectly!

With only four people at their side (including their amazing photographer, Ashley from Photography Anthology )– not to mention their dog, Kelsey and Ian exchanged vows amidst the picturesque fall splendor of Roy H. Park Preserve in Ithaca, NY.

The post Are You Pining for a Forest Wedding? You Will Love these 10 Weddings! appeared first on Intimate Weddings - Small Wedding Blog - DIY Wedding Ideas for Small and Intimate Weddings - Real Small Weddings.

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Philippa and Daniel were engaged in NYC, so choosing to elope there was a no-brainer. They spent part of their big day wandering the picturesque streets of Brooklyn, making for some epic wedding photos. They kept their elopement simple, and true to themselves, and couldn’t have been happier with the result.

“We made the best possible decision and we wouldn’t change a thing!” says Philippa.

A big thank you to Danila Mednikov for sharing this lovely wedding with us.

Philippa, 30 & Daniel, 31

Location: NYC

Wedding Date: June 20, 2017

Number of Guests: 5 and a baby

Wedding Cost: ~$10,000 (wedding and travel costs)

Wedding Ceremony Location: Cop Cot, Central Park

Wedding Reception Location: STK

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Because we felt the most important thing was us. And we wanted the wedding to be in a location we loved (we got engaged in NYC in 2014) whether our chosen guests could make it or not. It was the best decision we could have ever made!

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Probably choosing a reception venue as there were so few guests; 90% of venues catered for a larger group of people.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No, we wanted only close family and we understood if they were unable to attend. In the grand scheme of things, our guest list was the least of our priorities.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family?If so, how did you address them?

Yes, certain family members refused to come, but we knew that we could possibly encounter that problem when we made our decision to marry in NYC. At the end of the day, it’s our wedding day and we did what was right for us.

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The location! It was quiet, peaceful and romantic. And no one fluffed their lines.

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