Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Wedding Style: Elopement, Destination, Large, or Small?

Congratulations on your engagement! Now that the sparkle of the ring has settled in, it’s time to dive into the wonderful world of wedding planning. We get it; it can be a little overwhelming – the endless options, themes, and decisions. But just remember that it’s your wedding, and we’re here to help you navigate all of the possibilities. One of the first and most exciting decisions you’ll make is choosing your wedding style and the type of day you envision. Is it an intimate elopement or a timeless traditional ceremony? In this guide, we’ll break down a range of considerations that extend beyond personal preferences to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your timeline, budget, and shared dreams.

Reflect on Your Relationship

Before you start making any big decisions, take a moment to reflect on the distinctive elements that make your love story special. Consider the shared interests, values, and the experiences that have deepened your connection. This introspective process will serve as the foundation for choosing a wedding style that authentically represents you—not just what your family or friends may have in mind for you. Deciding on the most important elements of your big day will also be really helpful when you start crafting your wedding budget! 

Consider your Budget & Savings Goals

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of wedding planning, start with a solid budget using Our 1-Page Wedding Plan™. Unlike other wedding budgeting tools which start with your desired wedding guest list count, this plan first starts with your goal for AFTER your wedding day. What do you want to have in the bank the day after your wedding, what are your savings goals, such as a down payment on a house, and what is your current financial situation and expected contributions from family members. This tool will help you start wedding planning with a realistic budget and an eye on the future and starting your married life on the right foot.. 

Of course, elopements and small gatherings are usually more budget-friendly. But that’s not to say you can’t plan a local or destination wedding that’s within your means as well!  Once you’ve sat down with your partner and discussed the elements that mean the most to both of you, start allocating budget towards these things. Consider saving money on your big day by DIYing decor, renting flowers, or getting creative with your venue. If you’re eyeing a destination wedding, don’t forget to factor in travel costs and adjust your budget accordingly. Getting creative with your budget ensures you can enjoy your special day while making progress towards long-term financial goals.

For your wedding registry, think about creating a Honeyfund instead of a traditional housewares registry. It lets your guests contribute to your dream honeymoon, wedding expenses, or any other savings goal, helping you make strides towards significant financial aspirations. This practical approach sets the stage for a secure and promising future together.

Assess Your Guest List

The number of guests you invite is a big deal, impacting not just the vibe but also your budget. If you’re into a small, cozy setup, eloping or a destination wedding with a select crew of close friends and family could be a good choice. Traditional weddings are a better option for couples who want to celebrate with a large group of friends and family. If you know you’ll have a hard time cutting down your guest list, an elopement might not work for you. Consider the vibe you’re after and how many people you genuinely want to share your celebration with. Tackle the guest list after you’ve set your budget—Our 1-Page Wedding Plan™ helps you calculate your maximum number of guests based on the budget you’ve already set. 


Your wedding timeline plays a crucial role in shaping your celebration. If you’re eager to say “I do” quickly and avoid extensive planning, consider an elopement. It’s an intimate and spontaneous option for couples seeking a quick union. Opting for a destination wedding introduces a bit more planning into the mix, but it still can offer a faster turnaround compared to traditional weddings. Many resorts, for instance, only need a few weeks or months heads up to book, a sigh of relief compared to traditional venues that might be booked out months or even years ahead. Traditional weddings, planned months in advance, give couples more time to secure dream venues and vendors. So, if you have a wedding venue in mind, or a day of the year you’d love to tie the knot on, you’ll probably need some time to plan your day so it’s exactly how you envision it! 

Season and Weather

Planning a wedding allows you the flexibility to pick the time of year that suits your weather preferences. Just  keep in mind that popular months like September and October might make finding a venue a bit trickier due to the wedding season rush. If you’re eyeing a destination wedding, choose a spot that aligns with your dream climate. For instance, if you’re dreaming of saying “I do” in Hawaii, be cautious of the fall and winter months, which are the island’s rainy season

Guest Travel Considerations

After finalizing your guest list, consider the attendees and their travel flexibility, especially for folks like grandparents. Elopements keep things simple with minimal travel, providing a convenient and intimate option. Destination weddings, on the other hand, require guests to factor in travel expenses and time off. Traditional weddings, while they might involve some travel, come with the convenience of local venues, making the journey more straightforward for your loved ones.

Stress Levels and Planning

Stress and planning involvement significantly impact your experience. Elopements, with smaller guest lists and fewer details, typically offer a minimally stressful experience. Destination weddings, though requiring more planning, can be less stressful with a local or on-site planner from your resort. Traditional weddings may lead to higher stress, so consider hiring a planner for smooth execution, using the extended planning period to curate a celebration reflecting your vision and style. Need a stress-buster? Think about your honeymoon!! Planning the post-wedding getaway is a fun distraction from wedding details and tends to be an easier task to get your partner involved with.


As you navigate the planning process, remember that you can have a wedding that fits all of your preferences and your budget. Whether you’re contemplating an intimate elopement, a destination celebration, or a classic traditional ceremony, the decision is yours to make. Take the time to weigh your options, have open discussions with your partner, and make choices that align with your interests, while staying within your budget.


Leave a Reply