For obvious reasons, the idea of canceling your wedding plans has negative connotations. Even when this solely means a cancellation of the plans and not the marriage itself, there can still be ramifications both financially and emotionally. Often, this cancellation happens due to the wedding planning becoming too stressful or financially overwhelming. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to ditch your wedding and plan an elopement instead!

couple walks through field during sunset elopement

Shifting Your Wedding Mindset to Plan an Elopement

Wedding planning can be overwhelming and expensive. If you feel like your wedding doesn’t resemble your relationship at all then it’s time to consider other options. Planning to elope can help relieve this stress as I step in as both your elopement photographer and planner!

It’s completely understandable to feel emotional about canceling your traditional wedding plans. You may have originally entered that process due to pressure from friends and family or from feeling unsure about what was most important to you. No matter the reasons, it can be tough to make this decision without some sort of emotional or logistical mess to untangle.

I’m happy to enter into the mess at any stage of your wedding planning process and help move you forward! Taking steps to plan an elopement, though time-consuming, doesn’t need to be stressful! I am ready to serve as your right-hand throughout the entire process and make your experience seamless and fun!

bride approaches groom during wedding first look

Steps to Cancel Your Wedding and Plan an Elopement Instead

The toughest part is knowing where to begin. Most of the transition from wedding plans to planning an elopement depends upon two main factors: how much you have booked so far and how far out you are from the date. This is an overview of the right order to take next steps in your wedding plan cancellations with links throughout to additional resources.

Step #1 Check Your Contracts & Insurance (if you have it)

couple walks through woods at sunset elopement

If you opted for wedding insurance, start by looking at what your policy includes and how this affects your bookings. Next, go over your contracts for the venue and vendors you’ve already booked. See if your deposit is non-refundable and if so, ask about options for changing the date or location of the event.

couple holds hands at sunrise Arizona elopement

Once you have all of this information, you’ll know how to better proceed with cancellations or adjustments to your current reservations. This will go according to how much of your investment you want to save as you plan an elopement. If you are looking to lose the least amount of the financial investment that you’ve already put in your wedding, then it’s time to get creative!

Most wedding vendors require deposits that are non-refundable if you cancel. But, there are so many options for repurposing existing purchases and booked vendors as an alternative to losing your deposits!

Step #2 Get Creative with What’s Already Reserved

couple sits in field at sunset outdoor elopement
  1. Keep the date, but change the event. You can maintain your reserved date at your selected wedding venue keeping your booked vendors by switching it to a wedding reception instead. Plan an elopement beforehand and then celebrate with friends and family showcasing your elopement photography!
  2. Alter the dress to fit your new elopement plans or be OK with getting it a little dirty in your new elopement location. You can also keep the dress in its current condition to wear at your reception and select a different wedding dress that better fits your elopement environment.
  3. If you can’t get a full refund for vendors but the location is flexible, then take them with you to your elopement destination instead! Enjoy live music during your ceremony or have your florist make your elopement bouquet.
  4. Turn your honeymoon location into your new combined elopement and honeymoon destination!
couple chooses to plan an elopement in field under mountains

Step #3: Share the Update With Guests

couple chooses to plan an elopement with immediate family

If save-the-dates or full invitations have already been sent, then share the updated information either virtually or in print with your guest list. You can also take advantage of this update to share a new invitation to your reception if you go that route.

When opting for a zero-guest or limited-guest elopement option, I would highly recommend telling the uninvited personally. Here’s a really great resource on how to break the news to family and friends when you plan an elopement!

bride writes vows on elopement day while getting ready

Step #4: Don’t Feel Like You Have to Give Anything Up

couple cheers with champagne glasses during picnic

You don’t have to give up everything that made your original day a wedding instead of an elopement. We can still find a balance between the two!

  • Narrow down your guest list to immediate family or zero guests, and then invite everyone to a follow-up wedding reception later instead.
  • Don’t skip any wedding traditions that are still meaningful to you: the first look, your mom zipping up your dress, making a toast, cutting a cake, or including an officiant. None of these traditional wedding components have to be skipped just because you switched to an elopement.

Whether you start with an elopement plan or land there after changing plans–you have to start somewhere. If you’re ready to ditch the traditional wedding and plan an elopement instead, then turn to How to Elope in 10 Easy Steps and we can get started!

More Resources for Changing Your Wedding Plans

couple chooses to plan an elopement  beside river in forest
  1. Should You Cancel Your Wedding and Elope Instead?
  2. How to Cancel Your Wedding and Elope
  3. How to Cancel a Wedding
  4. How to Postpone or Cancel a Wedding

Hey, I’m Kelcee!

I would love to be your ADVENTURE elopement photographer

I’ve been capturing elopements since 2021, and it’s my passion to help adventurous couples like you create the perfect wedding day.

Your elopement is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you deserve the support to make it uniquely yours. Together, we’ll create quality memories that beautifully tell your love story, lasting a lifetime.