Elopements and micro weddings are becoming more popular among couples who are excited to declare their love and tie the knot in a more intimate way. While eloping certainly requires less planning than a 200-person wedding, there are some key things you won’t want to miss as you begin to map out your small exchange of vows. To get you started, dive into the Essential Elopement Checklist that covers all the must-knows of eloping legally and how to work with me if you’re planning an upcoming elopement and still have questions.
1. Reach out to vendors who specialize in elopements:
You can usually tell which vendors focus on elopements by softly stalking their websites, Insta accounts, and Pinterest profiles. But don’t limit yourself to only elopement photographers! I recommend looking for a photographer whose work you truly connect with and reach out to them to see if elopements are their jam. Oftentimes, photographers are looking to expand into elopements but their full portfolio may not yet reflect that. Bottom line: explore all options and don’t rule someone out because they aren’t only an elopement photographer! With that being said, if you’re looking to elope in a very specific location that is geographically challenging, like Iceland or the Rocky mountains, in this case do find an local photographer who specializes in those regions for your safety and their knowledge of the land!
2. Pick a date or season you would like to elope:
Having a loose time frame in mind for your elopement will help you narrow down on vendors and ensure you snag the ones you love for your special day. Bonus tip: lots of folks who elope love to seal the deal on a weekday to make the experience feel fully unplugged and intimate. Given that a lot of vendors work mostly weekend weddings, unless specialized in elopements, it’s best to reach out in advance to ensure they can serve you on your date.
3. Choose your location:
Brainstorm what kind of vibe you’re looking to show in your intimate elopement! Are you a mountain couple or is the desert more your thing? Once you settle on a vibe, the location can flow easily based on where you both live and how far you’re willing to travel.
After you pick your epic location, start doing research online to see what kind of rentals are available in that region. There are a TON of cute Airbnbs that would make great spots to do “getting ready” images at and then head out to explore the area for those dramatic, scenic photos of you and your boo. Be sure to message Airbnbs or cabin owners to see if they do any sort of packages for elopements. Many of those cute A-frames in the mountains will work with you on a package if you let them know you’re eloping and what you’re looking for!
4. Let’s get legal with it:
If you take anything away from this article, I hope it’s to get legal with all the things. If you’re getting married in the US, be sure to check out the specific rules for your state. Each state is a bit different and some require a witness during the marriage ceremony. If you’re planning on getting married in a state or national park, you’ll need a permit. Some folks even get married beforehand and do a ceremonial elopement with just the two of them to read their vows and celebrate in a special location. The possibilities are endless, but be sure get all the necessary paperwork to be legit!
1. Do you do elopements?
Heck yes I do elopements and I’m so excited to do more of them as my business continues to grow! I love how special and couple-centric elopements can be. They really allow the couple to focus on one another and truly be “in the moment”. With all of my couples, it’s so important to me to create a special experience for them that’s true to who they are. Especially with many wedding plan alterations due to Covid, I’m 100% here for my couples doing what they want and I’m ready to capture those intimate moments.
2. Could you marry us?
Yes again! I have an officiant license and I am legally allowed to photograph as well as marry my couples if they want to keep their marriage a complete secret. You may want to hire a set officiant depending on the amount of witnesses you want or need, which can vary from state.
3. What about the weather?
My advice is to just go with it! Unless you’re dealing with crazy storms or wild weather, a sunny vs. rainy day doesn’t make or break your elopement or the photography. The stunning natural backdrop for your love exchange will look incredible whether the sun is shining through or there are some raindrops and clouds.
4. Different elopement packages?
Most definitely, but no elopement is the same. For that reason I offer custom proposals for all of my couples — both traditional weddings and elopements. Some of the factors that work into my pricing are: amount of travel required for the day, where you’re getting married, how much photography coverage you’re looking for, if you’ll have family there as well and maybe do a small gathering after the ceremony. For elopement clients I love to hop on a short call with them and go over the breakdown of services and piece together their intimate wedding.
5. Elopement in Atlanta or in the mountains?
Ask yourself if you and your partner relate to more of a city or natural style! Getting married in Atlanta offers couples a lot of latitude in terms of where they can get married. Few places require permits, including most parks in Atlanta, and these green spaces offer amazing views of the city as the backdrop for your wedding. The mountains are also stunning and very close to the city. My opinion is you can’t go wrong with either, and I’m down to photograph you wherever you’re most excited to celebrate your love.
Whether you’re just in the beginning stages of exploring eloping or have questions on the process, I’m always here to chat with you. It can feel overwhelming and I always aim to be a source of clarity for my clients in their wedding process. For some elopement inspiration, check out this beautiful intimate elopement in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.