I'll start out by saying that I have been engaged for 2 years and started planning 7 months ago (we're both students)
We began planning for a big - ish wedding of about 130 guests and have a venue, photographer, dj, dress, etc., most of the fixings are set up or at least chosen. I personally never really wanted a big wedding, I'm more of a "let's get out there and do it!" type, so I wanted to elope. My FI however, is pretty traditional and didn't want to upset his family by eloping, so now we're about 6 months away from the wedding date and now he too is open to eloping. We just sent out save the dates a couple of weeks ago and as I said most things have been booked or picked. Now here is the problem: We can cut our losses and elope, probably losing out on about 1k (not including the photographer, ill get to that in a bit) or go through with the wedding and end up spending about 15k. So as you might imagine, us being broke college students has lead us to seriously consider eloping, however 2 out of the 3 installments for the photographer have been paid. We considered bringing her along, but then we'd have to pay for her airfare, lodging, and all her meals. That could easily cost us an additional 1.5k on top of the 1k we still owe her for the original contract. BUT if we don't bring her along, we lose out completely on what we've paid thus far since she has a no refund policy. Which totals about 2k.
Any savvy brides out there have any suggestions?