About Kate
Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.  And, with my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you. SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision. I changed course so that you can too.  Ready to explore eloping?!  Let's Chat!
How-to planning tips
Location inspiration
Activity inspiration
Elopements - Us 2
Elopements - Us 2 & Crew
Back to blog home

Weddings Should Start With Zero Guests (Hear Me Out.)

How-To & Tips

What I’m saying here may feel slightly eyebrow-raising. Perhaps a bit impossible to imagine as you think about how many people to invite to a wedding.  I get it! But, suspend disbelief for just a moment and try this on for size:

When you’re planning your wedding, the default number of guests should be zero.  

Not because it has to stay at zero!  We love your people. 🙃  

But because any other method of building a guest list immediately turns your planning into a game of subtraction. This is the case whether you’re planning a traditional wedding, or an elopement:

Does Sarah really need to come?

If we invite Ari, won’t Isaac feel left out?

Wait, why do all of your cousins get to come, and not mine?

Starting with a number, be it 15 or 150, and trying to shoehorn family and friends into it, is a recipe for financial stress, friction, and weighing the closeness of people in your life in a way that never feels good.

Starting with family or friend groups (“our immediate family plus best friends”) is no easier. The math and real relationship dynamics can intertwine in a way that pulls you far from what you want in your wedding experience.

In fact, starting with anything other than zero tends to take the focus off of what is happening:  You and your partner are making life-altering vows together. 

This day isn’t about Isaac or Aunt Mildred’s feelings, even though you love both of them. Your wedding is about the way you and your partner feel about each other.  

How many people to invite to a wedding can be one spot where we accidentally default to traditions we don’t believe in.  In the past, weddings were often about everything except the couple – displaying power, transferring property, and affirming status.  Because the wedding served to influence others, the guest list mattered as much as (if not more than!) the people actually getting married.

It’s long past time to flip that around. 

You are getting married to this person because you love them.  So, ask yourself… When you close your eyes when the freshness of it has faded, what is that emotion or memory you want to shine brightly from your wedding experience? How do you want the day to feel?   

When you know that answer, you can add in guests as it feels safe and right for you: 

  • Who would add to that feeling with their presence? 
  • Is it best to have a two-day elopement with one day for loved ones and one day just the two of you? 

The answers will be unique to you.  

So, what is the right answer for how many people to invite to a wedding?

The only people who have to be present are you and your beloved. 

Shocking, I know! (and in fact, I think I heard a gasp from the 3rd cousin twice removed looking forward to seeing you “all grown up” 😜)  

In case you needed to hear someone say it again louder for the people in the back waiting for the open bar:  Nobody has the ‘right’ to be at your wedding.  

Whether you are planning for 2 guests or 200, if they don’t bring selfless support, or if they don’t believe in what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, it’s 100% okay to not have their energy around.  You can (and should!!!) have the courage to say, “No, we are going another way.”  I wholeheartedly support all of my elopement couples on this front and want you to find someone for yourself who gives you that courage, too.  Nobody gets to decide who is there but you.

If you started at ‘zero’, and the idea of keeping your guest list scaled down feels pretty dang good, know that more and more couples are choosing nontraditional paths for their ceremonies because they serve their needs better.  You can do it too.

However you choose to do yours, I’ll leave you with this thought:  I recently spoke to some people who got married a second time, and their advice was this:  As you plan your wedding, take time to mentally strip away all of the things you might be tempted to hide behind.  When you take away the big guest list, and the DJ, the flowers, the arches, and who is sitting with whom at the tables – what is left to focus on?  It’s the two of you, and whatever you are feeling.  

The wedding you want to have is one where you don’t need to hide behind anything; you’re ready to embrace this chapter that feels right to you.  

From that core feeling, you can add back in whatever, and whoever will add to those positive feelings as you you step into that chapter.  You have full permission to leave off those that may take from your energy and joy in these moments.  

Are you ready to try something that might surprise you?  Here is a simple, honest way to decide what your guest list should be.

Feeling in control of your guest list, and stoked to start to build the rest of your adventure wedding plan?!  Or maybe you need an extra personal shot of courage to take back control?  Grab a time here to share your thoughts with me or message me on Instagram–I’m stoked to help you make your vision come to life!

About Kate...

I put  my photography, obsessive planning, and all I’ve learned in my life + business + travels to work as an accomplice & adventure concierge for elopements of all kinds. 
Freeing couples just like you to have an adventurous wedding unlike any other!



How-To Planning Tips

Location Inspiration

Elopements-Us Two

Elopements-Us 2 + Crew

Activity Inspiration

Hi! I’m Kate, 

and I’m in your corner.

Lifelong “sporto.” Traveler. Organized optimist. Adventure accomplice.

With my whole soul, I believe that you and your partner should marry in a way that feels like you.   SO... Four years ago, I completely reworked my photography business to honor that vision.  To create a safe space for couples to create a wedding experience that feels right.

I changed course so that you can too.

Freeing couples to get married exactly how they want to, with no limits on what that looks like.   Is that bold?!?  Maybe, but you're ready!

Let's build your elopement adventure!



Free Quiz

What's YOUR Wedding Type?!?

Still working to figure out what type of wedding best suits your personal vibe & lifestyle? 
Take the free quiz here to find out!
Super fast with only 7 questions, but spot on results 🥳