TO CONSIDER BEFORE ELOPING
by Jake + Genessa, Wedding + Elopement Photographers
Aug 10, 2019
Eloping is Kinda new
it’s trendy, and it seems like more and more people are choosing it over the classic big wedding. It’s more personal. Intimate. The idea seems so magical and adventurous, and if I wasn’t in the elopement industry, I would seriously have no idea where to start! “Where should we elope?”, “Are there laws for this kind of thing?”, “How do we make it official?”
SO many questions. Being a wedding and elopement photographer, I’ve picked up a few handy-dandy tips that should begin the process of eloping a bit less scary, and a bit more exciting! Here are 6 things you can consider that will hopefully make your decision easier!
Do EXACTLY what you want.
Really. What do you guys want? It honestly comes down to your guys’ vision for your day. Do you envision a remote, serene setting, with those you love with ALL your heart standing beside you, holding each others rings in your hands and speaking those vows with a sacred, chosen audience? If this describes you 100%, I say skip to #2 because you for SURE should elope! *Insert Shia Labeouf’s “Just DO IT”*
That didn’t so much resonate with you? Let’s say you’d rather all your friends and family (aunts, uncles, second cousins twice removed) attend, everyone you know cheering you on, ending the day with party games and dancing till the morning. If so, maybe eloping isn’t for you. And that’s not uncool. That’s awesome too. The most important thing to do at your wedding is exactly what you want. If you’re doing it for anyone else (‘cause it’s trendy, ‘cause so-and-so did it this way, etc etc) then you’re going to be disappointed and wish you did something different in the long run.
2. How do we find the right Location?
Your location should be one that’s meaningful to both of you. Somewhere you guys met, somewhere you both love, somewhere that is your happy place. The place where you said “I Love You”. If you’re thinking to start planning your elopement, I would say the first thing you need to look for is your location, because after you’ve got that pegged, everything else falls into place really nicely.
Do you both LOVE to travel? Destination elopements are becoming more and more popular, and I don’t blame whoever makes things popular on this one. Because honestly, I think it’s one of the best things you can do. Imagine having your elopement and honeymoon in one place? Or your elopement in a destination location like Spain, or Greece, Iceland, or New Zealand (GOALS)? If you’re both super adventurous, I highly suggest taking your elopement to a mountaintop or somewhere you can hike to. The views NEVER DISAPPOINT. Be sure to calculate the time it takes to drive and/or hike to your location so things don’t run late.
3. Who Should we Invite?
Being an elopement, the point is kinda to have things low-key, intimate, and deeply personal. The souls you have standing beside you at your elopement are your rocks. Your I-wouldn’t-be-here-without-yous. Consider who in your life have stood by you no matter what— those are the people who should be standing beside you here.
I’ve seen elopements with 10-15 people. And I’ve also seen elopements with 3 people (bride, groom, and the minister). It’s up to you. There are no rules telling you how many people you can invite— it’s about you and who YOU want to be there! One thing to consider while planning is your photographer. Some photographers charge on how many guests are present. Getting that info from them is something I strongly suggest, to make sure you are in budget.
Often, elopements require there to be at least a witness. if you’re thinking of doing a 3 person elopement with just you guys and the minister, we (as the photographer/videographer) can act as a witness! So then, you have everything you need!
4. How do we make this Official?
Now… to the legal stuff. ‘Cause it matters too. Your wedding day not only deserves to be photographed, but officially documented and filed.
First things first— RESEARCH! If you have a location in mind, try googling “Marriage License” followed by that location. That will give you all the info you need! Some factors you can also look into are: Do you need an officiant? And how many witnesses? Is there a wait time between applying for the license and actually getting married?
For eloping in Spain, here are some marriage requirements you’ll need to look into.
Sometimes, if a couple is doing an international elopement, you can skip all the fuss of paperwork and legally get married in your hometown at a courthouse. Then, travel to the desired location and do the actual EVENT (exchanging vows, ceremony) on the official date, which makes the pre-planning easier for you guys.
5. How much $$ Are we actually Saving?
I’m going to go ahead and say it— if you’re eloping because you think it’ll be cheaper, you might be a bit disappointed. While overall, you might spend less because of the guest list, but eloping doesn’t mean you’ll spend less on your vendors. Things like your dress, veil, and rings don’t come at lesser value for an elopement.
In the same way, your planner, photographer, florist, etc. won’t charge less because it’s an elopement. They are all putting just as much effort into their job as they would have for a wedding. I know for us, when we photograph elopements, we book off the entire day. That day is yours. We’re not going to bail halfway through and be like, “I think we got some decent photos”. And the rest of your vendors won’t do that either. In ten years from now, you’re going to be glad that the people helping document you wedding day were 100% there for you and working their butt off to make it worthwhile.
6. How do we find the right photographer?
Since we’re elopement photographers, you’re getting all the insider points. You’re getting the honest and brutal advice, not “hire me!”. Because really, I don’t want you to hire us just because I said that. I keep telling people that they’re not trying to find the best photographer, they’re trying to find the right photographer. There are so many thousands of talented and kind artists out there who do amazing work. But just because they take nice photos, or they’re the cheapest photographer in the area shouldn’t be the reason you hire them.
If you’re currently looking for an elopement photographer, the first place to look is the location of your elopement. Make sure if you’re eloping to a destination (i.e. Spain), to check out “Spain Elopement Photographers” on Instagram, or just google it. That way you’ll find photographers in the area and who are familiar with it.
If you can confidently answer these questions with “YES!!” then whoever your photographer is, they are a good fit for you!
Are you in LOVE with their work? Check their Blogs, Instagram, etc. This includes their editing style— if you’re not sold on how they edit their photos, I say find someone else! Find someone whose photos blow you away every time they post to Instagram.
Do you get along really well? Get on the phone with them and actually talk to them. Do you feel like you have a shared vision? It’s more about relationship than it is about business, it’s your wedding day, not a transaction! It’s super important to know who they are and what they stand for.
Do you trust them? This is probably going to be the best day of your life (or one of them). Do you trust your photographer to OWN the day; to do their job effectively and professionally? If you feel like you need to give out pointers, it’s a sign that you don’t fully trust them, and that means you guys aren’t the best fit.
And if you love a photographer’s work, but they’re based out of a different country? Honestly, it’s way more worth it to fly them out for your elopement than for you to end up settling for a photographer that is “decent”.
For reading this! I truly hope it’s been helpful for you as you plan your wedding day. I’m so happy you stopped by! If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.