Eloping vs weddings: what are the differences?

What are the differences between an elopement and a wedding?

So you got engaged! Congratulations, you found your other half. You’ve done the hard part 😉

Now; should you elope or do you want a full fledge wedding? For some people it’s an easy decision, for others it’s a tough choice. There are lots of things to think about when deciding what to do. The overall experience, costs, family and social expectations and of course, your very own wishes and dreams.

Then there are so many different ways of doing your elopement or wedding. You can elope to your dream destination with just your partner and have the most intimate experience or you can do it with your close family and friends its all up to you in the end. You can choose an adventurous elopement which is what we specialize in as Vantastic where you hike to an incredible location and have your ceremony there. Followed by a cool activity like a helicopter ride or watching the sunset behind the mountains. This is an intimate and unforgettable experience.

On the other hand, a wedding has guests. You can do a small intimate wedding with like 30 guests or you can go all out and have 300 guests. There are more differences between eloping and a wedding but the main difference is the guests.

The differences


This is probably the difference between most traditional weddings & eloping, which has the most contrast. Most weddings have a guest list of 50 to 200+ guests, while an elopement is pretty much 20 guests or less.

With a wedding, you need to arrange more things for your day.  It requires more of a schedule to keep things going smoothly and obviously, you need a venue that can cater to the number of invited people. Then there is transport and something to entertain your guests. Oh, and don’t forget to feed them and give them some drinks, haha!

An elopement is a lot less of a hassle. Usually, you have a lot fewer guests at an elopement or even none at all. Just you and your loved one. Obviously, this gives you a lot more freedom to do whatever you want! You could get married at the top of a mountain peak if you’d like. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

There are pros and cons to both sides, in the end, a big part of your decision will come down to how many guests you will invite as this will impact your other decisions on how you gonna shape your day.

Planning time

Traditional weddings tend to cost more planning time. There is just so much you need to think of. The number of guests you’ll invite will have a big impact on your planning time. You will have to think about seating charts and schedules, and you need to arrange dinner for a big group of people. Oh and don’t forget to choose the right entertainment for you and your guests. These are things couples typically have to take care of for their wedding. Most of these things are on a much smaller scale for your elopement or are not even needed!

An elopement can be planned in a couple of days. It could be done in a few hours if needed!  Depending on your chosen date, location and guest count it could be planned in 24 hours. But you can also go all out on an epic adventure elopement and be busy planning for it all year! That’s the beauty of eloping; it’s all up to you!


Eloping is something you can do pretty much anywhere you would like. It can be an epic mountain peak in the Dolomites, an incredible waterfall in Iceland or a beautiful white sand beach and many many more locations. You can really choose a place that is special for you. You can also choose a brand new destination going for more of a discovery during your elopement day. It doesn’t matter if you want to say your vows with the New York City skyline behind you or on a Hawaiian beach. Because there are few to no guests, you will have loads more options available!

Traditional weddings need venues that are well-suited to handle the chosen amount of guests. You need chairs, tables, décor and food & drinks. There needs to be a place to hold the ceremony as well as dinner and a party. So all of this limits your options quite a bit. Obviously, a mountain peak is free and a cool venue charges you a lot of money so this is something to consider as well 😉

The cost of an elopement

Talking of lots of money: traditional weddings are usually a lot more expensive than your average elopement. Did you know that the average price in the U.S. is over $33.000 for a wedding? Imagine how many cool adventures you can have for this amount of money!

In the Netherlands, the price average is between 12 to 20K EURO! This is excluding the honeymoon of course! If you always dreamed of a big party with all your friends and family to celebrate your and your partner’s love then you might be a better fit for the traditional wedding.

On the other hand, you have elopements. Elopement ceremonies tend to be less expensive. The average elopement ceremony costs around $900. It’s easy to understand why there are fewer people involved and less structure to deal with. That doesn’t mean that you will have less of a celebration! But it is usually a lot more intimate. It’s WAY more personal and incredibly beautiful.

Ps.: you can always throw a big party afterwards with all your friends and family. This way you’ll have the best of both worlds!


Wedding venues usually come with their own set of rules.  Sometimes this is also true with the vendors. These rules can be a limiting factor for your plans. For example; until what time can you play music at your wedding? What day can you use the venue, do certain events HAVE to take place at certain times? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to consider. If you are someone who doesn’t want to be limited in what you can do with your day then eloping might just be the better choice for you.

When you chose to elope you can pretty much do whatever you want. As long as you aren’t damaging any natural area or your trespassing on private property you can wherever you would like to go. This gives you a chance to make things much more personal. You can go to that special place for you and your partner or say your vows from an epic viewpoint in the mountains. It’s all up to you!

The similarities between weddings and elopements

Planning ahead

For both traditional weddings and elopements, it is advised to do some basic and essential planning. For example, you will need an officiant to legally marry you. You need to prepare all necessary legal documents to make it official. Of course, you also need a photographer to document your day (hi! That’s us! 😉 ).

Most elopements take a few weeks to a few months to plan, depending on how epic you want to make it. Most traditional weddings need months if not years of planning ahead!

Family and Friends

It doesn’t matter if you chose to elope or to have a traditional wedding. The people closest to you will want to be a part of your special day. You can have them physically be part of your day or you can choose to let them join you more remotely. Depending on your preferences.

Whether you go big or small, there is always a way to find a place in both types of ceremonies for your loved ones. While traditional weddings are easier to include everyone from your friends and families, You can always host a party afterwards or share a video stream or FaceTime session with the ones closest to you while you say yes!


And finally, the biggest and most important thing that is similar between weddings and elopements. The love you share with your partner. In the end, your wedding day is about celebrating your love and no matter what choice you make, it’s gonna be the choice that is right for you two!

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