HI friend! If you’ve made it to this page, I can only imagine how you and your partner are feeling right now as you contemplate how to cancel a wedding and elope!
Or maybe you’re here, feeling excited because you’re considering switching to an elopement? The bigger wedding experience isn’t one you want anymore for your wedding day. You’d rather do something smaller, to celebrate yourselves, rather than your guests.
Please know that you’re not alone (check out some of these stories!) and that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
But if you are ready to make a switch, here are all the things you should think about!
What have you spent so far? Is it possible to cancel or change at this point?
Small businesses usually have stricter canceling policies – why? By booking a date on our calendars, you’re entering into an agreement that says the photographer can’t book anything else. Dates are our inventory or product, so by taking this date “off the shelf” you’re turning away other possible business this company could receive. Depending on the contract terms and how close you are to your wedding day, you may lose out on the non-refundable retainers or you may need to fulfill the contract monetarily. Some businesses also allow a refund if they are able to book the day in time to recoup their loss from your cancellation. This is not something everyone does, but it is a possibility.
If you need to cancel, look at the cancellation clauses in all of your vendor contracts. Figure out what the terms are and how much money you’d lose from vendors if you decide to cancel.
If you love your vendors, who can you reuse? Reach out to them to check if they are available on your new date (If you’re changing dates) and cancel the ones you won’t be using anymore.
Take into consideration the money you’ve spent, the money you might lose out on, or money that could transfer over to your new event.
You might be starting to feel overwhelmed again – change is hard, especially when you’re going in a completely new direction. Even though numbers are realistic markers of what you can afford to do, something we forget about is our feelings and our experience which you can’t put a price tag on. What would ultimately make you happier? Suffering through something you’re not excited for that you just want to be done and over with? OR choosing something that ignites your soul, allows you to be intentional, and makes you REALLY excited for your wedding day?
I personally LOVE Washington state and its diverse nature. Check out my resource here on how to plan a hiking elopement in WA State!
If you elope you can still invite a few family members! Deciding who you want to invite (if any) is an important step in creating an intentional experience. Check out my blog post here on how to involve family and friends in your small wedding and another one on how to narrow your guest list!
Elopements are incredibly special because they are a reflection of the intentional, personal choices you and your partner make for your day. You get to hand-select everything you do and create something truly unique to just the two of you. Take your time, relax, enjoy every moment, and celebrate all day.
Not sure how to fill an entire day? Check out my resource on timeline examples for Washington elopements!
If your closest family and friends will be impacted by the changes you’re making, let them know what’s happening. You have several options here!
If you’ve already sent save the dates, you can remedy this! If your save the dates were digital, you can send an email to all invited telling them you’ve decided to elope instead. Or if you’ve sent paper save the dates, you can send another postcard mailer out to tell them you’ve decided to elope instead.
OR if you decide to elope well before any invitation would go out to guests, your postcard could be a “we decided to elope, we’re canceling the wedding” or “we decided to elope, we’re just having a potluck party instead!”
Hopefully, the people in your life will support your decisions when you decide to cancel a wedding and elope, but if you do run across a few people who have unsolicited opinions about what you should and should not do, check out my resource here on how to manage those opinions!
A specialized elopement photographer should be able to help you plan and photograph your unique experience more than a larger wedding photographer. I personally have a guide exclusive planning guide I give to my couples so couples. This helps with brainstorming and planning so couples can choose the things that mean the most to them to celebrate their day. If for cost reasons you need to keep your original photographer, that’s fine too!
With a little planning and a little open-mindedness, you can make sure you pivot your day to something you won’t regret 🙂
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