Thinking about a last minute, small-scale wedding? Whether you’re looking to elope or planning an intimate celebration, here are the pros and cons that come with celebrating your big day your way.
Gaz and I had been engaged for 4 years and were quite happy to keep it that way. With his family and life-long friends living in Scotland, my family and friends in both Australia and Bosnia, planning a wedding was a logistical nightmare. We had settled into life as an engaged couple, we’d bought an apartment and more often than not we were planning our next adventure. We had put the wedding on the back burner.
It wasn’t until we were half way through planning our European summer getaway around May/June 2017 that we both independently started thinking about eloping. We tossed the idea around and both decided that it would break our parents’ hearts to not be included, so we ruled out eloping “traditionally” – whatever that means! It was about 3 weeks before we left for our trip that my mum voiced her “FOMO” at my sister and I planning our respective holidays and the time we were going to spend together in Croatia. Jokingly egging mum on to join us in Croatia, I replied to a family group text saying “maybe there’ll be a wedding”. That’s all it took and before I knew it (i.e. 2 days later) my mum, my sister and I were walking around gorgeous Paddington boutiques in Sydney trying on dresses for an elopement that was to take place in 3 weeks time!
Needless to say, the next few weeks were a blur. Gaz and I still reminisce on how it was the most stressful, yet thrilling time in our life. We somehow managed to lock down a venue, book flights and accommodation for Gaz’s closest family and convince both our best friends to fly to Dubrovnik (my best mate Chelsea changed her European summer plans and flew from LA to Croatia at the last minute to be there – it wouldn’t have been the same without her and I am forever grateful). We pulled it all together and managed to have the most fabulous day of our lives. This was followed by a lush honeymoon in Croatia, Italy – Almafi Coast and Rome, and the Greek Islands. So, why did we decide on a last minute wedding?
Admitting”the dream” may not be your dream
We had done some initial planning to tie the knot in Scotland, with distant dreams of a lavish wedding in a Scottish castle in the summer. Think kilts, bagpipes and the Scottish countryside. We then thought about a location wedding in Australia – Byron Bay or Coffs Harbour. We relish our time on the coast! But whichever way we looked at it, some of our family and friends would miss out. So we put it off for a little while… This came to the dismay of our closest friends who had already started thinking about our respective bachelor/bachelorette parties in various locations around Europe. But at the end of it all, no option sat quite right with us, and we knew we wanted to keep it personal, with the people who mattered most.
You can still celebrate with friends and family before or after
Instead of one big wedding with tons of stress, we had one small wedding and two fabulous engagement parties. We had a Sydney harbour cruise with about 80 of our family and friends. We cruised around the harbour at sunset and enjoyed the unrestricted view of fireworks at Darling Harbour. It was a night to remember. A couple of months later, we had a fabulous cocktail party in Scotland with Gaz’s family and friends. It was great to celebrate with both sides of our families and friends.
You save on time and money
There were other reasons that complemented the logistical issues. We had one reoccurring thought: why spend literally tens of thousands of dollars for one day, when we could spend far less on months of holiday? And it wasn’t just a financial consideration, our spare time was limited. We were both working long hours in highly stressful jobs, the last thing we both wanted to do was come home and plan ahead for a day that would be more about others’ enjoyment than the celebration of our love. It didn’t feel fun to look tirelessly through various venues, decorations and flower arrangements. It just wasn’t us…
Plus, the money you save can go towards a longer honeymoon, your new home, or your savings!
Considering a last minute wedding?
The advice I have for couples thinking about eloping is just to make sure it is truly what you want. You only get one shot at your special day and you want to make it count. There are going to be plenty of people hurt and disappointed that they weren’t included but you need to look past that and know you were true to yourselves and that you celebrated your love in a way that felt true to you. Can you keep your list to under 15 people? Do you even want to? Whatever size, whatever scale, just make sure you’re enjoying the time with loved ones.
Hats off to anyone who goes for the traditional wedding day, we’ve always had a blast at weddings and can only imagine just how much careful planning and effort goes into it. We’ve been to plenty of fabulous celebrations with hundreds of people and can definitely see why people go for the big day, as it really can be such a heartwarming event. But at the end of the it all, it’s most important to recognise what style of celebration you’re drawn to, and what will make you and your partner happiest. When you lead with that, you’ll always make the right decision.