We Cancelled Our Big Wedding For A $13K Elopement On The Sea

The best choice was to be on a boat

laura, Marketing professional & Kevin, green energy strategist

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A little spontaneity leads to a seaworthy alternative to a traditional wedding.

Planned budget: $45,000 for a New England Wedding
Actual budget: $13,000 for Key West Wedding + Somerville, Massachusetts reception combined
Number of guests: 8 on the boat / 60 at the cider house party a few months later
LOCATION: Key West, Florida

Where we allocated the most funds:

Photography. We worked with Nadiya Nacorda from Imani Photo Co.. She was the first vendor we reached out to; we were in awe of her work. Photos last forever, and she captured moments of the wedding that we don’t even quite recall as it all happened so fast. Laura does not remember feeding Kevin cake on the boat at all, but Nadiya captured it on film.

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Where we allocated the least funds:

Venues. For both our wedding and the reception we kept our venue costs low. We were lucky enough to find great venues for relatively inexpensive costs.

What was totally worth it:

Eloping. We had planned a large, traditional wedding in New England. Planning was getting out of hand, and one day we decided in two weeks we would fly to Key West and elope. This last-minute change was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Typically, we are not very spontaneous people, but throwing caution to the wind and getting eloped resulted in the wedding of our dreams. Later, we hosted all of our friends and some family at local cider house on the original planned date of the wedding. It was great to share this moment at one of our favorite places.

What was totally not worth it:

Not being true to ourselves. We spent over a year feeling that we “had to” do certain things, like have a big wedding with a sailcloth tent and string lights. The stress and planning that went into something that was ultimately not really “us” in the long run could have been avoided if we had been more introspective in the beginning. It’s always better to be yourself!

A few things that helped us along the way:

Friends and Family. We could not have pulled this off without the flexibility of our family. Both our families were incredibly supportive of our decision, and they all agreed to come down to Key West on only a few weeks’ notice.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Be yourself and do what makes you happy, whatever that may be. Go out and live your best life!

Favorite thing about the wedding:

We loved every minute of it. After the wedding, we went out in Key West and got taco hot dogs, which we highly recommend if you’re ever on Duval Street at 2:00 a.m. in your wedding clothes.

Similarly, after the reception we headed with the group to one of our favorite bars, Trina’s Starlite Lounge in Somerville, Massachusetts, where they had written congratulatory messages on the bathroom mirrors. Both the cider house and Trina’s are places that we go regularly—now we have new memories there with all of our friends.

Something else we’d like to share:

Looking back on the wedding planning, as simple as it would have been to just get eloped from the start, we don’t regret any moment of this crazy process. The cancellation of the New England wedding added a level of spontaneity that makes life a little more special. Just do you (and your spouse).


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