Elopement vs. Destination vs. Pop Up Weddings

So with all these different type of wedding titles being thrown around we were getting a little confused about the difference between Elopement (which is becoming increasingly popular), Destination Weddings (which are sometimes used interchangeably with Elopement), + the new Pop-Up Weddings we are hearing so much about.  So we went straight to the expert to shed some light on these wedding buzzwords. 

Meet Maggie Heely, the amazing boss lady behind Weekend Wedding Warriors + Elope Louisville. This lady knows her stuff + agreed to help us, help you!  


Can you tell us the difference between Destination Weddings, Elopements, + Pop Up Weddings?

The traditional definitions + the modern definitions of these can be very different.  

Destination Wedding: A wedding ceremony + reception where travel is required + guests need accommodations to attend.

Elopement, TRADITIONAL: A wedding ceremony done in secret with just the couple present, typically without parental consent.

Elopement, MODERN: A wedding ceremony done to escape the norm, typically with a very small guest count or no guests at all.

Pop Up Weddings: (1) A wedding that surprises the guests. Either the guests don’t know they are attending a wedding until they get there OR it is only announced a few days in advance so the guests have little time to prepare. (2) I have also heard this term used for “mass” or “group” weddings, where multiple couples get married at a temporary venue at the same time. 

Give us a rundown on what exactly this new trend of Pop Up Weddings is all about?

I’m going to go with definition #1 to answer this. If you are wanting a pop up wedding you’ll need to plan a ceremony with a little reception afterwards. You’ll need an officiant, photographer, maybe some flowers, music, + food. Then invite your guests to an engagement or birthday party…basically lie ;) Then when they all get there, show up in a wedding gown and/or tux + get married! Some people will miss it because they didn’t realize it was going to be a wedding, but it is supposed to be laid back + casual.

Why would you want to consider a Pop Up Wedding?

If you are wanting to do something totally different from all your other friends. If you don’t care about all the traditions. If your family + friends are driving you nuts with wedding planning requests + demands. If you want to make the statement, “this is about what we want, not what you want.” If you are spontaneous + adventurous. Then a pop up wedding could be for you!

CC Bride Julia | Dress Designer  Blush by Hayley Paige  | Photographer  Claire + Barrett

CC Bride Julia | Dress Designer Blush by Hayley Paige | Photographer Claire + Barrett

How can someone decide which one of these three are right for them?

The question you have to ask your self is, “Who do I want around me on my wedding day?” If the answer is, “No one but my fiancé”, then a traditional elopement is right for you. If the answer is, “Just a couple of VIP family members + friends”, then the modern definition of an elopement works for you (also known as a “Micro Wedding”). If the answer is, “Whoever can make it to my favorite city/island” then a destination wedding is right for you.

CC Bride Sue | Dress Designer  Lillian West  | Photography by Bella Portwe

CC Bride Sue | Dress Designer Lillian West | Photography by Bella Portwe

A few years ago the term "Destination Wedding" was usually directly linked to a tropical location, now a Destination Wedding means anywhere that isn't your hometown.  What are some trends you are seeing in Destination Weddings recently?

Destination weddings can be anywhere. If you need a hotel room then you are having a destination wedding. One of the trends we are seeing is destination weddings in Louisville, which we love! We worked with a couple who lived in Seattle, she was from Miami, + he was from Michigan. They were bourbon lovers who wanted to find a location in the middle so that no one was traveling too far…Louisville was perfect. 

Photography by  Love Hunters  | Flowers by  Rose + Honey  | Coordination by  Elope Louisville

Photography by Love Hunters | Flowers by Rose + Honey | Coordination by Elope Louisville

Why do you think more + more couples are considering Elopements? Are you noticing that they are still pulling out a lot of the stops such as amazing floral arrangements, a full on wedding dress, hair + makeup, + a really good photographer?

I think finances have a lot to do with why people are considering elopements. Our families and society are changing. Not every Bride has parents who have saved money for her big dream wedding. Maybe because they paid for college, maybe because they just don’t have the funds, maybe because that just isn’t how they want to spend their money. That means that more + more couples are paying for their own weddings + they are getting smart. They don’t want to spend $30,000 if they don’t need to. They want to buy a house, travel, buy cars, pay off student loans. An elopement can be just as beautiful, it’s just on a much smaller scale. I have had a few elopements still pull out all the stops, but they only need 1 bouquet, and 3 centerpieces, and 3 hours of photography vs. 5 bouquets, 3 corsages, 25 centerpieces, and 8 hours of photography. It’s just math! The less people + the less time, the less money. You can have a gorgeous elopement for $5,000-$15,000 depending on the location. That’s a big difference from the national average wedding cost at $32,000.

CC Bride Erin | Dress Designer  Ti Adora  | Photography  Erin + Geoffrey

CC Bride Erin | Dress Designer Ti Adora | Photography Erin + Geoffrey

Why would someone consider an Elopement?

You should consider an elopement if you truly want your wedding day to be completely focused on you + who you are marrying. Your time, your people, your money, your way.

CC Bride Allyson | Dress Designer  Jasmine Collection  | Photography  Anna May

CC Bride Allyson | Dress Designer Jasmine Collection | Photography Anna May

How can hiring a wedding coordinator help with all three types of these weddings?

Hiring a wedding coordinator is always going to be helpful + we are consistently told after all types of weddings that, “You were the best money we spent.” This is because a wedding coordinator becomes the point person to handle all the logistics which allows you, your family, and your friends to be able to be present + enjoy your wedding day. For a destination wedding, I would highly recommend hiring a wedding coordinator that lives in the area that you are getting married in. It takes a long time to understand the secrets, tips, + vendor culture in any city/location. Someone who lives there + has been doing weddings there for awhile will be able to guide you to the things that you want more quickly + easily then bringing in someone from out of town. For an elopement, micro wedding, or pop up, though on a much smaller scale, they typically have multiple vendors that need to have a point person to help manage it all. Your wedding coordinator is that professional person. At Weekend Wedding Warrior we have a service called Elope Louisville. Elope Louisville are curated packages in Louisville that have everything you need + it is directed by your taste. Want traditional Kentucky Bluegrass? We have a partnership with Hermitage Farms. Are you more into art? We have partnerships with Speed Art Museum and 21C Museum Hotel. Included in all of our packages is the venue, getting ready location, personal flowers (e.g. bouquet and boutonniere) ceremony officiant, photography, + coordination. We also have fantastic add-ons like hair/makeup, transportation, videography, design. etc. We deliberately made sophisticated options with seasoned, fantastic vendors, so that any couple can quickly, easily, + affordably have a dream wedding day + focus on what we think is the most important thing…getting married. Packages start at $2400 and are classier and way prettier then Vegas! 

CC Bride Brittany | Dress Designer  Lillian West  | Photography  My Tiny Wedding

CC Bride Brittany | Dress Designer Lillian West | Photography My Tiny Wedding

Anything else to add?

Elope Louisville all started because a girl I grew up with in New York contacted me after a whirlwind romance. Her fiance was stationed in Japan and home in NY on leave + they decided they wanted to get married before he had to return to Japan. The problem was that in New York you need to have your birth certificates to get married. His was with his personal files in Japan. They wanted to elope in a location that had lenient guidelines for getting a marriage license…but they didn’t want the atmosphere of Las Vegas. Did you know that in Kentucky you can get a marriage license with only 1 form of identification? Meaning all you need is your drivers license and you can walk into a County Clerk’s office + apply for a marriage license. There is also no waiting period, so you can apply for your license at 9am and get married at 10am if you want to! This is very unique, since many states need certain types and multiple forms of identification + they have a waiting period. That means that if you were flying in you need to be there at least 24 hours earlier so that your application is approved…+ that is if you can get there when the Clerk’s office is open (Mon-Fri business hours).  We want Louisville to be the sophisticated alternative to eloping in Las Vegas {but there is nothing wrong with Vegas y'all!}

Maggie, Thank you soooooo much for shedding some light on these alternatives to the traditional wedding!  We agree that Louisville needs to become the Elopement destination of the South East!  How awesome would that be!? 

Whatever way you decide to get married just know that we think it is awesome no matter what!  From a Micro-Pop-Up-Destination-Elopement to a traditional wedding in a church with a ballroom reception you are going to MARRIED in the end + that's what matters most!

xoxo, The Couture Closet Gals