film + digital photography

How to choose to Elope or have large wedding

Engaged!? Yes! It is such an exciting time when you decide this is my human, and we are meant to be.

There are so many ways to celebrate, whether you want a large wedding or considering eloping.

What is a large wedding?

What is an elopement?


I gotchuu, don’t worry.

Large Wedding VS Small Wedding

We’re not exactly traditional..
No two love stories should be told the same, because no two love stories are the same.

We believe in doing what you want, not what society tells you is normal.

I would call our day a small wedding because there will be more than 20 people in attendance, but less than 60. Our guests are our closest family / friends, and we didn’t want to throw a big party.

Whatever you decide to do, just know it’s your choice.

Be proud of whatever choice you make, and “NO RAGRETS”

Just because we’re not exactly traditional does not mean we hate the idea of a big wedding either! We know who the party people are in our life and it would be SO WEIRD if they didn’t have the big party!!

I try to place “black and white” options in front of our couples to help them decide what is best for them. Let me list a few…

1: What is your budget?

-This is huge because certain things add up quickly!
-A big cost people don’t expect would be catering (because food is life)
-Big weddings can cost as much as $30-45,000
-Average elopements can range from $5-10,000

(I say average because I’m still including professional photo / video / dress / location / air fare or travel / makeup / licenses / permits / food)

2: Is anyone else fronting the bill?

-Is your mom inviting all these people that you’ve never met?
-It is always great if you have a tribe of people helping put on the celebrations, but have a meeting to explain it is still your day, and appreciate the expense help then set boundaries for what other people can decide.
-On the plus side, yes awesome, that means you can have all the people everyone wants!!

3: How do you describe you two, Party people or Intimate?

-If you think you might faint saying your vows in front of 300 people, chances are you probably shouldn’t invite that many.
-If you have imagined walking in like, HELLO, I have arrived – chances are you will regret not having a big wedding!

4: Does the idea of stark white make you excited or nauseated?

-Mostly just because you should know we wont judge you for wanting to wear red, black, or ivory!

Are you nodding your head like, yes you are in my mind?
It’s part of my job to ask the awkward / uncomfortable questions!

I never mean to offend, I always mean to just say what needs to be said because the elephant is in the room and he is sitting on my coat.

I love weddings, small or big!
I love elopements, destination or local!

When you’re planning, just take a moment to reflect on what speaks to you, on what you imagine, and how you see yourself in the next five years with your spouse!

As always, we are here to help!

Love, Jamie + Mark


we're jamie and mark!

We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of loveā€¦ and all the little candid ones in between.


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IOWA ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | Iowa Microwedding photographer