top of page

Elopement Weddings: Why Less Can Be More

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

wedding rings

Whether you’ve dreamed of your special day since you were a child or you’re just now starting to envision what it might look like, a wedding is one of the most important and meaningful days of the human experience. You’ve found the one person with whom you want to share your life, and planning a day to make and celebrate that commitment is a rite of passage, one that deserves thoughtful consideration and personal touches.

In the aftermath of a global pandemic and with trends leading to more affordable and personalized ceremonies, small and intimate wedding celebrations are on the rise. COVID-19 made way for successful elopement weddings and the creation of the micro wedding: a happy medium between going it alone and inviting three generations of family and friends. Couples are increasingly being drawn to the flexibility, affordability and customizability of these intimate ceremonies.

Elopement Weddings

The term elopement may conjure cinematic images of couples abandoning stressful wedding planning or disapproving family members to tie the knot in secret and immediately, whether during a spur-of-the-moment trip to Vegas or a run to the County Courthouse. Or maybe you’re picturing an adventurous couple forgoing a traditional wedding to exchange vows through the air as they skydive. But the concept of elopement has, thankfully, evolved, and it can really be anything you want it to be. It can still carry elements of spontaneity, but a well-planned elopement can be just as thrilling. And you don’t have to scale a mountain for a ceremony at the summit or seal your commitment to one another in scuba gear at the bottom of the ocean (although if that’s your jam, you do you!). Elopement simply means that the couple and their interests are prioritized and they are the only ones (with few exceptions) involved in the wedding itself.

Micro Weddings

chairs set up at an outdoor wedding

Micro weddings are typically defined as wedding gatherings of less than 50 people (some even say less than 30). We can thank COVID-19 for this catchy addition to our vocabulary alongside minimony: a ceremony with ten guests or fewer. These small gatherings do not necessitate sacrificing beloved wedding traditions, but they are done on a smaller, more intimate scale, and they are the perfect compromise for those wanting traditional elements with fewer people and less expense. While they are no longer required for social distancing, these micro celebrations have become appealing for a host of other reasons.

Wedding Anxiety

Consider the elements of a traditional, large-scale wedding. While not everyone opts for ALL of these features, many are standard components that couples assume they will have to plan and pay for to bring their special day to life.

  • Marriage license

  • Wedding officiant

  • Invitations

  • Wedding Attire (dress, tux, etc.)

  • Venue

  • Cake

  • Photographer

  • Videographer

  • Flowers

  • Catering

  • Music/Entertainment

  • Tables, chairs, linens, dance floor, etc. rental

  • Decorations

  • Travel

  • Wedding Favors

  • Hair and Makeup

  • Wedding planner

  • Proposal

  • Engagement and wedding rings

  • Honeymoon

This list is daunting to say the least, especially when accommodating a large group. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and find yourselves so focused on executing the perfect day with the perfect people that the perfect moment with your love passes you by in a blur of anxiety, people pleasing and damage control.

someone planning a wedding

The Numbers

The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study reports the following statistics from last year:

  • the average wedding guest count: 117

  • the average wedding cost: $30,000

  • the average time spent wedding planning per week: 6 hours

  • the two biggest challenges facing couples: planning within a budget and deciding who to invite

The results of this study make it easy to see why more and more couples are choosing smaller weddings to celebrate their commitment. Many are simply not willing or not able to commit to the money, time and effort that go into planning traditional wedding ceremonies and receptions. And if two of the biggest challenges are budget and guest list, let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come from taking a less is more approach.

Control Over What and How You Spend

That $30,000 figure from above was the cost for the ceremony and the reception. That doesn’t include rings. Or an elaborate proposal. Or a honeymoon. Or a place to live when all the festivities are over. It’s no wonder that many couples consider these numbers and think of all of the alternative uses for those funds, whether it be paying off debt, buying a reliable vehicle, putting a down payment on a house, funding higher education, making a meaningful contribution or even just taking an unforgettable trip.

Aside from more practical uses of funds, many couples simply can’t afford to put on such an elaborate soiree. COVID-19 not only changed the way we gather, it changed the way we spend, and in this economy, many couples simply don’t have such a budget. Choosing to elope or plan a small ceremony can drastically cut costs, allowing couples to choose to spend money on the wedding features that are most important to them and let the rest go.

Your Day, Your Way

bride and groom wearing sneakers

Want your ceremony to take place during a full moon at the exact time the two of you first met? Maybe you hate the idea of dresses and tuxes and want to opt for blue jeans and sneakers and a celebration feast of chili dogs. Whether you want to sing your vows or go for a run in your formal wear after you say I do, the possibilities are endless when you’re not worrying about a crowd of people to please. Weddings are no more one-size-fits-all than people are, and that diversity should be celebrated and honored on the day you lovingly commit to one another, without fear of judgment or catering to the preferences of others. It is, after all, about you and your love—not the latest trend or the tastes of your grandmother.

Quieting the Noise

When planning a traditional wedding, family and friends are involved, sometimes many, and with all of those loved ones there are bound to be conflicting opinions and preferences, some of them louder and more insistent than others. Consider that an elopement or a micro wedding with only your nearest and dearest significantly reduces the inevitable conflicts of interest and allows you and your partner to proceed in celebration of your union without having to worry about an overbearing sister’s feelings, warring bridesmaids or seating charts that put your never-speaking-to-each-other-again aunt and uncle next to each other. Relationships are so important and so complicated, and when you’re in love and trying to celebrate that love, the last thing you should have to worry about is everyone else’s feelings.

Bride and bride's maids

If you do opt for a smaller or an elopement wedding and you are concerned about hurting feelings, consider having a heartfelt convo with your loved ones about your intentions and reasons. Knowing a minimal or unique approach is important to you as a couple can go a long way in calming the waters.

Wedding Venues

With fewer people to accommodate, elopement and micro weddings open up a whole new world of venue options. Especially when it comes to nature, the possibilities are endless. Backland Glamping Resort is one such exciting and unique possibility.

bride in a dress by a pond

Backland Luxury Camping: The Hidden Gem of Northern Arizona Wedding Venues

Quietly situated on 160 acres of private land in Williams, Arizona, Backland is a secluded natural paradise that may just be the perfect venue and experience for your personalized elopement or micro wedding. With forests, meadows and water features, there is a breathtaking backdrop for every preference and photo opportunity. Whether you’re planning a destination wedding or you’re an Arizona native hoping to celebrate somewhere exemplary of the Northern Arizona landscape, Backland has you covered.

beach at backland

Accommodations for All

Backland Luxury Tent

Our resort features 10 luxury eco tents, each sleeping 4-6 depending on the suite. Each custom-built, fully insulated tent will offer the ambience and experience of camping with all of the amenities of a resort, including electricity, king-size beds with luxury linens, ensuite bathroom and shower, panoramic windows, outdoor patios, housekeeping and more. Some even have Skyview windows over the beds for an even more authentic experience. Each suite is perfect for the wedding couple alone or for members of the wedding party. You could even book the whole resort and have the place to yourselves for a one-of-a-kind celebration and intimate gathering. Backland is also pet friendly, so if your furry companions will be playing a role in your nuptials, they’re welcome to join you.

Backland Luxury Tent

Activities for All

couple getting a massage

There are plenty of opportunities for private and relaxing moments together during your Backland experience as well as ample space for socializing, recreating and adventuring. Enjoy a couples massage in our forest tented spa, take a walk or bike ride on one of our onsite trails, relax together on our beach, kayak or fish on our beautiful pond, or enjoy a delicious meal from our farm-to-table restaurant. You can even do a scavenger hunt together to find hidden treasures throughout the property. Nighttime is perfect for cozy moments around the fire pit with complimentary s’mores and stargazing across breathtaking Northern Arizona dark skies.

Eco Celebration

Couples concerned about the environment and their wedding ceremony footprint will appreciate Backland for its commitment to sustainability. As an eco resort, we provide a unique, luxury experience while limiting our ecological footprint and implementing positive environmental impact initiatives. So you can enjoy your time with us knowing that you’ve engaged in sustainable travel.

Love Unplugged

Another rising trend reported by The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study was the request by couples for “unplugged” ceremonies, meaning guests are asked not to take video or pictures of the festivities to post to social media. At Backland, WI-FI is available at reception if needed, but not in the tent suites or other areas making it the perfect place to unplug and keep the celebration between the couple and those they choose.

Honeymoon: Hideaway and Gateway

Backland is also a perfect home base if you are hoping to honeymoon in the area. You might choose to extend your stay in our romantic hideaway or venture out to one of Northern Arizona’s many must-see attractions. With the Grand Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks, the red rocks of Sedona and numerous trails, canyons, national parks and recreational areas nearby, you could tour the region for months in celebration of your union.


happy couple walking at backland

Your wedding is about you as a couple and the unique vision you have for celebrating your commitment to one another. Whether you choose diamonds and caviar or donuts and dandelions, we are on board and would be honored to collaborate with you on your minimony, micro wedding, elopement or any other variation on the theme, and provide accommodations for any and all of your wedding party. We can work together to plan your day your way or you can decide to visit us spontaneously. Either way, we hope that you’ll consider Backland as an unforgettable venue for your unforgettable day.

Contact Backland today for more information on our wedding venue and how we can make your dream wedding a reality.


bottom of page