There is a distinction to be made between an elopement and an intimate wedding, and knowing the difference lets the planning process go more smoothly for everyone. Both sorts of ceremonies are simple yet romantic in nature, with few, if any, attendees. While downsizing weddings are becoming more popular as a way to save money, some services, such as hiring a professional wedding photographer for your ceremony, are unavoidable. It is both a privilege and a specialty of mine to capture photographs from your special day. Understanding the difference between an elopement and an intimate wedding as you explore the sort of ceremony you desire will help you comprehend the budget and availability differences.

Let's take a closer look at Elopement

The term "elopement" The mere definition of an elopement—an act of running off secretly, as to be married—evokes images of romance and adventure. Eloping not only saves money, but it also relieves the stress that comes with arranging a large wedding. Here are some more reasons why elopement is a popular decision among many couples: 

  1. The number of people on the guest list is usually under ten. In fact, some elopement ceremonies have only the officiant and witnesses as guests. 
  2. The ceremony can take place almost anywhere—from your backyard to the county courthouse, the location (and even the time) of your elopement is up to you.
  3. There is no post-ceremony celebration; once the ceremony is completed, it is over. There will be no food served, no first dances, and no cake cutting. The lack of a reception is where the majority of the savings are made.

Courthouse Wedding at Annapolis, MD

What Defines an Intimate Wedding

In many ways, an intimate wedding differs from an elopement. For one, there is no secrecy like that of an elopement. Second, the size of the guest list is a significant difference from a traditional wedding.  After the ceremony, there is usually some sort of reception. It does not, however, have all of the bells and whistles of a major reception. The goal is to make the reception simple while still making it enjoyable for your guests. When it comes to guests, deciding who to invite and who not to invite is always a dilemma at weddings. A small wedding has more guests than an elopement but fewer than a traditional wedding. It's difficult to limit your invitation list to select people without fostering resentment.

Consider why you desired a small wedding in the first place. After you've finished your list, spend some time going through the details. Smaller weddings still require planning, and mistakes are more likely to be noticed by guests. You can also invite a bigger number of people to the reception while confining the ceremony to close relatives and friends. 

Smaller weddings are ideal for destination weddings. The possibilities for a destination wedding are virtually unlimited. You're sure to find a beautiful setting that gives the perfect mood for your private wedding and encourage guests to stay longer to take advantage of everything the area has to offer.

The Importance of a Photographer

When couples decide to elope, they forsake many of the typical wedding elements. The mentioned reception, as well as a large guest list, are examples. The services of a professional wedding photographer should not be overlooked by eloping couples. Your elopement remains one of the most memorable events in your life. An elopement usually entails more portrait-style pictures to preserve the memories of your spontaneous but memorable day.

Intimate Wedding vs Elopement Photography

The good news is that there are numerous ways to commemorate your love. It's crucial to arrange your ceremony photography once you've decided whether to elope or have a smaller, more private wedding. As a wedding photographer based in Rockville, MD, I’m honored to capture your special day. When it comes to my services and your ceremony, there are three important factors that should be considered: 

Pricing — Elopements take less time to photograph and result in more portrait-style pictures due to the nature of the ceremony. For elopements, our rate is $400 per hour and we recommend at least two-hour photography service. 

Availability — I am only available for elopements Monday through Thursday. If you decide that sealing your love can't wait, the day of the week probably won't make a difference. Just let me know what your plans are. I believe myself to be a free spirit! However, giving me as much notice as possible allows me to pack my best gear and plan my schedule. 

Guest list - The ceremony is considerably longer and there is usually some form of reception if there are more guests. My fees are determined by these parameters, which include the ceremony's size, scope, and type. The maximum number of guests for our elopements is ten. 

Your wedding day is an once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Whether you opt for an elopement in a courtroom or among the trees of a national park, or a small, intimate wedding, professional photography is essential for capturing your special day.