Our $4K Glamorous and Laid-Back Elopement in Maine

With those that matter most to us

Katie, Conference Planner + Ben, Data Steward
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A sparkling celebration of our love, with those that matter most.
Planned Budget: $3000
Actual Budget: $4000
Number of Guests: 6
Location: Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine
Photographer: Lensy Michelle

Where we allocated the most funds: It was really important to us to hire a photographer we trusted to document the day in a way that honored our vision and the spirit of the event, so we planned the budget around our photography expense. Since we were eloping, we wanted our photos to tell the story of our day as authentically as possible to share with our loved ones who couldn’t be there.

After that, food and wine were second most important! Katie taught Ben to cook when they first started dating, so cooking and exploring new cuisines have become a pillar of their relationship. It was only fitting to have an amazing Mediterranean chef cater the dinner, have a cake made by our favorite French bakery in Portland, ME, and plenty of local wine paired with the meal.

Finally, it was very important to us to make the event as care-free as possible for all of our guests during a very stressful year. So, we used a portion of our budget to pay for flights, car rentals, and hotel rooms for each of our six guests – who all came from out-of-state.

Where we allocated the least funds: We took a hard look at which pieces of a wedding or event would matter least to us and our guests and found ways to either eliminate cost or make them budget-friendly. We eliminated invitation expenses altogether. Katie used Canva to design a digital invitation which was shared with our guests via email.

Flowers were kept minimal and we relied on the natural beauty of our venues for decor. Katie simply ordered a dried bouquet from Ireland through Etsy, which came with a coordinating boutonniere. We also opted out of hiring a band or DJ, and used Spotify and a Bluetooth speaker for music during the ceremony and after-party.

Katie also has a working relationship with the Samoset Resort, so we were very fortunate to receive a price break on overnight rooms, and no fee for the ceremony site.

What was totally worth it: Keeping the event small and luxurious. By having only six guests (one of which doubled as our officiant!), we were able to create a very intimate but extravagant experience for our closest friends. We saw our wedding as a chance to spoil the people who helped build and support our relationship over the years, so that’s exactly what we did. Because our budget went so much further for a small group it never felt like we had to compromise on a single element of the day.

What was totally not worth it: Nothing. We have reflected on the wedding many times and always agree that we would do it the exact same way – pandemic or not!

A few things that helped us along the way: We were very selective not only with our guest list but with our vendors as well. Having such an intimate event, we knew that each person would have an impact on the day’s vibe. As we chose who would be a part of the day with us, we thought critically about how their energy would fit with the group. We passed on several chefs and photographers who just weren’t right for our event’s mood!

My best practical advice for my planning self: Early on, a friend gave us the advice, “set three goals for the day, and as long as those three things are accomplished, the day is a success.”

We kept our three things very simple:

  1. Get legally married
  2. Maintain all of our family relationships (Also known as “Don’t get written out of The Will – ha!)
  3. Make it home safely

If we ever started to get caught up in the details or stress, we reminded ourselves of these three goals – and that what truly mattered was becoming husband & wife.

Favorite thing about the wedding: Because we viewed the wedding as a celebration of our relationship and the community that built it, we held space for others’ to be a part of the event in meaningful ways. Katie’s mom recorded a video message that was played during the ceremony. Ben’s parents wrote a letter and sent a photo from their own wedding day. We also used the champagne flutes from Ben’s parents’ wedding. We passed our wedding bands around to each of our six guests for a “ring warming” ceremony asking each of them to put their love, wishes, prayers, and good intentions into the bands for us to always carry with us. And finally, we designated times over the weekend for each guest to have a chance to share a toast or speech. We have saved copies of each speech to frame with a polaroid of the coordinating guest.

Anything else: On the note of goal #1—Get legally married: We actually forgot to sign our marriage certificate before all of our guests flew back home! We spent the week after the wedding overnighting the certificate from Maine to Delaware to New Jersey and back to make sure we had all of the officiant and witness signatures before the deadline to return it to Town Hall.


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