One question we get quite often here is the difference between an elopement and an intimate wedding. Many couples will use the terms interchangeably and understanding the difference makes the planning process easier for everyone. Both types of ceremonies are simplistic yet romantic in nature and involve few, or even no guests.



While downsizing weddings is a growing trend that saves money, there are some services you just can’t skip, like hiring a professional wedding photographer for your ceremony. Capturing images from your special day is our specialty. As you consider the type of ceremony you want, understanding the difference between elopement and an intimate wedding leads to a better understanding of the difference regarding pricing and availability.


In the strictest definition, an elopement is when a couple marry in secret. Traditionally, it is just the couple (i.e. no family or friends present), tends to be a spur-of-the-moment decision, and more ceremony-focused rather than incorporating the other details of a larger wedding like seating arrangements at the reception or a cocktail hour. A couple can elope in their home town or to a dream destination, have a spiritual or legal ceremony, and can be as fancy or casual as they like!

Here are additional reasons an elopement is an attractive choice for many couples:

  • The guest list is small—usually under 10 people. In fact, some elopement ceremonies have no guests except for the officiant and witnesses.
  • The ceremony can take place anywhere—From your backyard or the county courthouse, where (and even when) you elope is somewhat flexible.
  • There is no reception—once the ceremony is over, it’s over. There’s no food served, first dances, or cutting of the cake. The lack of a reception is where the primary savings are found as catering, music, and a reception location often add up to a great expense.

Intimate Weddings

An intimate wedding differs from an elopement in many ways. For one, there is no secrecy like that of an elopement. Secondly, the key difference from a standard wedding is the size of the guest list. There is often some type of reception after the ceremony. However, it does not contain all the bells and whistles of a large reception. The focus is on keeping the reception simple yet enjoyable for your guests.

Speaking of guests, the challenge of who to invite and who not to invite is always an issue with weddings. An intimate wedding involves more guests than an elopement yet fewer guests than the standard wedding. Narrowing your guest list to specific people without causing hurt feelings is hard. Think about the reason you wanted an intimate wedding in the first place. Once you complete your list, do spend time going over the details. Smaller weddings still require planning and guests are more likely to notice mistakes. You can also create a larger guests list for the reception while keeping the ceremony limited to close friends and family.


“Intimate weddings make for great destination weddings”

When it comes to locations for a destination wedding in Florida, the options are endless.

The Importance of a Photographer

When couples elope, they choose to forego a lot of the traditional wedding features. Such as the aforementioned reception and a large guest list. What eloping couples mustn’t forego is the services of a professional wedding photographer. Your elopement is still one of the most special days of your life. An elopement usually involves more portrait style photography that captures the memory of your spontaneous yet special day.

So, Elopement or Intimate Wedding?

The good news is that when it comes to celebrating your love, there are a variety of options. Once you choose either to elope or to have a smaller, intimate wedding, planning for your ceremony photography is important. As wedding photographers based in Orlando, Florida, we are honored to capture your special day. Here are three key and helpful factors to keep in mind when it comes to our services and your ceremony:

Pricing — Elopements involve less time to photograph and due to the nature of the ceremony, most of our elopements are based off 3 hours of photography for $1000.

Availability — Our availability for elopements is limited to Monday-Thursday. If you decide that sealing your love just can’t wait, chances are the day of the week won’t matter. Just give us a heads-up as to your plans.

Guest List — If there are more guests, the ceremony is usually longer, and there is often some type of reception. Our pricing is based on these factors, all of which include the size, scope, of the type of ceremony. Our elopements require a 10 person maximum guest limit. 

Your wedding day is a lifetime event. Whether you choose elopement in the courthouse or you plan a small, intimate wedding, capturing your day with professional photography is a must.