A few years ago, if you would have told your parents you were going to elope someday, they probably would have lost their mind. No family, no dress (or tux) shopping, no tradition… just some stranger declaring you married and that’s it? Here’s the thing… mom and dad probably have an outdated outlook on eloping. These days, lots of people are doing it and the modern elopement wedding looks nothing like a cheesy Vegas “Chapel of Love” situation.
Big blowout weddings aren’t for everyone. Just because it’s what pretty much everyone thinks of when they hear the word “wedding” it does not mean you have to do it that way. If you’re someone that doesn’t want to have a big to-do, you’re probably already starting to think about what an elopement might look like for you and your partner. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing several elopements and I’m going to give you some tips when it comes to planning a modern version you’re going to remember for the rest of your lives!
My Top Five Modern Elopement Wedding Tips
1. It Doesn’t Have to Mean Hopping a Plane to Vegas or Mexico
Yes, these are the quintessential destinations for people to elope, but you can go anywhere you want, or just stay close to home! Think about destinations that are driveable from where you live that you either love to visit or have always wanted to visit. This is the perfect solution since you don’t have to go far, but you’ll still feel like you’re leaving home and having an experience.
2. You CAN Invite People… Just Probably Not As Many
In a modern elopement wedding, couples often still have a photographer, officiant, a florist, and guests! Yep, guests. There are some couples that elope and don’t tell anyone beforehand, but for the most part, elopements have a small, very carefully selected guest list. Most of the time, the list is less than 20-30 people, but even having the people closest to you there to witness your marriage can make it feel extra special. Even if you’re planning to have a bigger party later on, you may still want to have the people closest to you by your side during your vows.
3. Do Something Special With the Extra Money
If you decide to elope, chances are you’re going to be saving a lot of money versus having a more traditional wedding. There’s a lot fewer people to feed, and it’s probably going to be a lot more laid back, with less bells and whistles and fewer vendors. Do something fun with the money you save! This is still an important occasion and something to celebrate. Maybe you spend a few extra days on your honeymoon or a super luxurious bottle of champagne for your post “I do” toast. If not now, when?
4. Don’t Let Anyone Talk You Out Of It
There are going to be people in your life that are going to try to talk you out of eloping. They might say they’re worried you’ll regret it later, but these are really their feelings, not yours. Be gracious and thank them for their concern, but if this is what you really want, push forward and don’t apologize for anything. If someone has a problem with it, well, they’ll get over it. At the end of the day, the ONLY people that matter are you and your partner. End of story.
5. Photography Really Matters
Okay, I know. It’s a little on the nose that one of the tips I’m sharing is going to be about photography, but hear me out. Not everyone you love and care about is going to be able to be there in person. Having great photos to show off is going to be more important than ever. You might want to send a little postcard to everyone announcing your marriage with photos so they can feel like they’re included. Even if you just end up posting some of your favorite photos on social media, it’s still important that you choose someone whose work you really love.
I am so excited that you’re planning your modern elopement wedding! If you need any more tips or want to see more of my photography, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I wish you all the best throughout the wedding planning process.
I adore Cape Cod, so when Kara asked to do her engagement photos there I was so excited! Kara spent her childhood walking to this beach down the little path in the photos at the end and swimming in the sea. I love how special this place is for her! During the session, they decided to dip their toes into the water…which ended up splashing them up to their knees. Those are some of my favorite images, and I love their reactions! I can’t wait for their wedding next year!
Packing can be stressful. When you’re packing for your wedding day, you can go ahead and double that stress! However, there are a few key things you can do to greatly reduce your panic and make sure you have everything you need on your big day. Organization is key in order for everything to go smoothly. Planning a wedding can feel chaotic since there are so many moving parts, but everything should come together and it should be smooth sailing the day of if you’ve done a little bit of planning beforehand!
Lots of retailers sell last-minute wedding day kits, but in my opinion, you can put together a few essentials without winding up with a bunch of things you won’t need or use. I’ve put together a list of your wedding day must-haves. With these items in your bag, you’ll be prepared for any last minute issues that might come up!
#1 – Hairspray and/or Bobby Pins
Your hair and makeup team just cleared out and you’re about to make your way to the chapel when you notice a couple wispy hairs that escaped your updo. Don’t worry, it’s nothing that can’t be tamed with a few bobby pins or some good hairspray!
Pro tip: spray the bobby pins with hairspray and they’ll stay in your hair during even the most energetic dance numbers!
#2 – Tide To Go Stick and White chalk
Here’s another dynamic duo that might just save the day. Tide To Go can work out most stains. In the event you encounter something a little more stubborn, rub over the spot with white chalk. It’ll help lift the stain and also mask any remnants, especially if it’s a grease or oil-based stain.
#3 – Earring Backs
Like socks in the dryer, you’ll be hard-pressed to find your earring back once it becomes lost. Having extras on hand will help both you and your bridesmaids in the event that one goes missing. No one wants to lose jewelry, especially if it’s your “something borrowed.”
#4 – Double Stick Tape
You’ve tried on your dress dozens of times and roleplayed many scenarios like dancing and greeting guests. Now all of a sudden, you notice a gaping neckline when you lean a certain way or a loose hem. Double sided tape helps when you need a quick fix. It holds material together and also helps it adhere to your skin when necessary.
#5 – Lint Roller
Whether your dog is your ring bearer or the wind is a little breezy, the elements often find their way onto your perfect white dress. Lint rollers can remove debris quickly and safely and help remove static cling, too!
#6 – Blotting Papers
These are great to keep on hand during day-of preparations but also throughout the reception. Humidity, dancing, and changes in temperature can take your makeup from glowing to oily quickly. Blotting papers are meant to absorb the oil but not the makeup, giving you a fresh look without having to reapply.
#7 – Straws
You’ll likely be having drinks as you get ready as well as throughout the evening. Straws are less likely to lead to spills and they also help keep your makeup looking flawless. No more smudged lipstick!
#8 – Heel Stoppers or Anti Slip Pads
If you have outdoor activities planned at the wedding, whether it’s crossing the grass to get to the limo or standing in the grass for photos, you’re going to want heel stoppers. They’ll prevent you from sinking into the grass and dirtying your shoes or possibly injuring yourself.
When it comes to the indoor portion of your wedding, anti slip pads are going to keep you from sliding around on the dance floor. Wedding shoes, and high heels in general, aren’t known for their traction. These pads will give you that extra grip you need to dance the night away… safely!
#9 – Mints
You’re going to need a breath refresh between the champagne toasts and snacks. Keep a small pack of mints close by. Not only are you about to have your first kiss as a married couple (which you’ll want to be minty fresh!) but you’ll also be talking with guests throughout the day and night. Keeping these on hand ensures you’ll stay fresh and they’re much more appropriate than chewing gum.
#10 – Tissues
Speaking of champagne toasts and guests, you’re likely to get a little emotional. Keep a pack of tissues on hand to prevent makeup running and to dry all those happy tears!
Like the rest of your wedding planning journey, don’t forget to sit back from time to time to really just enjoy everything that’s happening. You can’t anticipate each possible scenario, nor would you want to! Your wedding day is made up of all the little stories and personal details that happen in the in-between moments, the things that you can’t plan or control. And remember, you have the help of your family and bridal party, so if you need something, don’t be afraid to ask!
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We’ve all heard that rain on your wedding day is good luck, but deep down, no one wants it. You make all of your plans based on the belief that it’s going to be a great day with perfect weather, but things happen… especially in New England!
Rain on your wedding day isn’t ideal but it doesn’t have to be a total nightmare. Spend a little time preparing for the worst case scenario before your big day and you’ll be more than ready for whatever mother nature decides to throw your way… as long as it isn’t anything too serious. We won’t even go there.
Planning for Rain, Hoping for Blue Skies
You might worry that having a plan for rain is like inviting it to your wedding. You aren’t going to jinx yourself by having a backup plan! I guarantee you’ll be so happy you prepared in advance and you’ll be totally unfazed and the coolest person in the room if it does happen to drizzle (or worse) on your big day.
Here’s a few things to do to survive rain on your wedding day:
Rent a Tent
If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you must have a backup plan. You can’t expect your guests to sit outside in the middle of a rain storm! Many venues have tents that they will put up in the morning if it looks like rain (there may be an additional cost for this). If your venue doesn’t have tents, consider renting one. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Most party rental services have basic canopy tents that are easy to set up and don’t cost a fortune. You want to make sure you plan in advance a little bit, though. If the forecast is calling for a high probability of rain the week before, you’ll want to make sure you grab one or you may risk not being able to find one last-minute.
Hair and Makeup
You’re probably going to be wearing waterproof mascara anyway (hello, happy tears!) but rain will definitely take a toll on the rest of your makeup and your hair. Hopefully your bridesmaids can help if this happens, but you may want to consider a braid or messy bun if your hair freaks out when it gets rainy or humid. Always have your makeup on hand for touch-ups. This is a good idea even if it doesn’t rain!
Umbrellas in Bulk
You probably weren’t planning on a bunch of umbrellas being in your wedding photos, but if it rains, that’s what’s going to happen. Why not stock up on a bunch of pretty umbrellas in your wedding colors? Guests can stay dry and your pictures will still look cute. People will probably think you actually wanted it to rain!
Chances are, your wedding photographer has dealt with a little rain before. Talk to them about their back-up plan for last-minute weather changes. You might have had your heart set on sunny, bright photography, but try your best to go with the flow. Moody photography can be just as pretty, and if it looks like rain will happen on your wedding day, plan to incorporate some fun photo props like rain boots or an umbrella. It might not be what you had planned, but you might actually love your photos more when you embrace the elements.
You’re definitely going to need a covered spot to protect your food, beverages, and your cake from the rain. Even if the day starts out sunny and perfect, you will want to talk to your caterer or venue about what will happen to your food if the weather turns. If you’re hosting the wedding yourself (like in a backyard or at a park) make sure you have a backup plan, too. Maybe there’s a shelter where you can put the food or a tent you can set up if it looks like rain is on the way.
A Gracious Attitude
Of course, a rain shower or storm wasn’t part of your plan, but your guests are going to look to you to determine how to act. If you laugh it off like it’s no big deal, they probably will too. If you run around like it’s the worst thing that could have happened, they’re going to have a negative response as well. You never know, you may end up inspiring all of your guests to kick off their shoes and dance in the rain. Wouldn’t that be a fun wedding memory!
Rain on your wedding day doesn’t have to equal disaster. The best thing you can do to survive bad weather is to have a backup plan ahead of time, and keep an eye on the weather on the days leading up to the wedding. Even though there might be additional costs involved in renting a tent or buying umbrellas, you’ll probably feel a lot better knowing that you’re prepared.
Justin and Heather exude happiness, you can’t be around the two of them and not smile! We had such a great time walking around Look Park for their engagement sessions, and I got to meet their three fur babies! How stinking cute are those little face, I have gotten to snuggle so many puppies lately! I can’t wait for their wedding next month in Mystic, CT.