I’ve been a wedding photographer for almost 3 years now and during that time I have photographed all different types of weddings. I’ve seen everything from the big traditional weddings to the small city hall elopements and a whole lot of in between. There really is no “right way” to do things because the right way is YOUR WAY. For couples this is true, but some wedding vendors definitely have their lane that they like to stick to.
I’m talking about niche photography. Everybody has that thing that they do best. For some it’s family photos, for other’s it’s seniors and for me it’s weddings. Weddings and couples are my jam! Some photographers like to go even more specific and stick to a category like luxury weddings, big weddings, small weddings, or adventurous elopements, just to name a few. There are a lot of benefits to having a niche. You’re able to develop your skills and excel in that area. You’re able to speak to a very specific audience. You can create the most amazing experience for everybody that you are serving! There are a lot of reasons why you should do it; but this also leads to the false idea that you can only do one or the other.
I’ve been told by a lot of people that I have to pick one: big weddings or intimate elopements. Come on Abby, which will it be?? People have said that I can’t be photographing and booking big weddings while also posting about an adventurous elopement because my audience might be confused. I understand the point, but that just doesn’t feel true to me. Because my reality is that I love both! I can’t choose just one. I’ve had amazing experiences in both types of environments and have been able to give my couples meaningful memories of their day. And because I feel so passionately about this, get ready to hear all the things I love (and maybe some things I hate) about both big weddings and intimate elopements, and why I feel very passionate about doing both.
Alright, let’s start with the big, traditional weddings. There’s a lot of things to love about these babies. While I am a big supporter of doing something that is right for you, there is something about wedding traditions that is fun and likeable. For most people in my generation, we grew up watching movies like 27 Dresses, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and The Wedding Planner, etc. And since that’s what we saw, we also dreamed that would be us one day. The moment you see your dad right after you put your wedding dress on, seeing your person while walking down the aisle, dancing with your best friends at the reception; these are all a
part of what you had in mind for your wedding day. At least, I know that is what I had in mind. On my end, being able to see people’s dreams fulfilled and helping them have that magical wedding day they’ve thought about since they were a kid is something I will never get tired of experiencing and doing for my couples.
Big weddings are also an extrovert’s paradise. I mean, I THRIVED on my wedding day. For anyone who loves to have a good time, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Big weddings can be a lot of fun and filled with a lot of great energy. (Anyone who knows me knows I am a crazy ball of energy) There’s so many people to talk to, give big hugs, and catch up with and there is NOTHING better than a KILLER dance party. 💃🏼 Even if you’re not going for the big, crazy party, a more traditional wedding still gives you an opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest days of your life with all of your favorite people. Everybody is there to celebrate you and shower you with so much love. It’s amazing for me to see my couples having the time of their lives with their best friends, talking with their grandparents, drinking with their aunts and uncles and so much more. You know how people say the best way to get to know someone is to get to know the people they are close to?? Well that’s how I feel watching my couples at their wedding and that is why I will always be on board for a big wedding party.
Now I’m not going to lie to you, there are cons to big weddings, and as a wedding vendor I have seen a lot of things go wrong. Weddings can be exhausting and stressful for sure. No matter how much you focus on eliminating all stress there is almost always something that dares to challenge that. For me, my dad told me after the ceremony (which was at a different venue than my reception) that he had locked the keys in the car and he would miss the rest of the evening. It’s okay… we got past it😅. Sometimes it’s a relative that likes to stick their nose into everything, and sometimes it’s just that you’re on a tight schedule. There can be a lot that will try to ruin the day but I am always so dedicated to seeing a problem before it happens and doing everything I can to be the barricade between you and that problem.
Only a handful of years ago people still thought of Las Vegas when they heard the word “elopement”. Even since I started my business 3 years ago the idea of an elopement has changed so much. It is no longer about running away from your family and spontaneously tying the knot. (it definitely can be, but most of the time it’s not). Eloping now is more about having a small and intimate wedding experience in a place that allows you to feel most free. My favorite part is that there really is no one way to do it. Some elopements are in your city’s courtroom, some are out in a remote mountain or desert location. Some elopements are just the two of you and some include your closest group of family and friends. You have the freedom to do exactly what is right for you! There’s really not much that can beat that.
I always like to say that elopements are where the chill couples thrive. There is so much flexibility and you can really cater your experience to be totally unique and fulfill all your adventurous dreams without any
stress that comes with a big wedding. You have the freedom to make the day personalized to you and your relationship. You can do anything like ride a hot air balloon at sunset, visit your favorite bar and meet up with your best friends, hike one of your favorite trails, go swimming in the ocean, literally WHATEVER YOU CAN THINK OF. And if you are having a hard time letting go of your 10 year old fantasy of a big wedding you can absolutely incorporate things like a first dance, cake cutting, toasts, and a lot more, but with so much added flexibility.
Quite frequently for elopements your photographer is the only vendor there from beginning to end making your wedding day happen. That means that I will help you find the location that’s right for you, help you decide on an activity to celebrate if you choose, help you get ready, and a lot more. For a lot of people that can feel like too much pressure but for me I get really excited about helping people have an amazing experience. Doing all that hard work for a great outcome is extremely rewarding on my end which also means that your final gallery will be even better than expected.
As with big weddings, there are some downsides when it comes to elopements. Mostly, it can be hard for some people to spend their wedding day without their loved ones. If you choose to keep it just the two of you, for some that can definitely feel a little lonely. Sometimes, people find that having all the extra freedom can be a little overwhelming. Rather than having to stick to traditions they get indecisive about what’s possible. But that’s where I come in! I can help you figure out the experience that is right for you and point out pros and cons of certain activities to help you find the right one.
In the end, there really is no right or wrong way to do your wedding day, there’s only the way that you want to do it. I love to make people’s wedding dreams come true and help them remember one of the best days of their lives. If that means we’re dancing through the night then that’s what we’ll do! And if that means that we’re rafting down a river then I’m along for the ride! I love making people’s wedding days an incredibly special day and that is something that is universal. You can’t say that one is better than the other because they are both special in their own ways, and I will always appreciate their differences. That is why I choose to not be tied down to one way or the other and instead I just go where my couples take me. (at least that’s how I feel for now… 😅)