There are a million reasons why people elope, but over my years of photographing them, I’ve noticed one main theme; it’s because they want an intentional celebration that aligns with their values and relationship.
Gone are the days when elopements were thought of as couples being selfish, cheap, or running away from disapproving parents. People who choose elopement want a wedding day that feels right to them and is an experience that is personal to them.
The experience of their marriage is the point, rather than making choices to please family or guests.
Some other reasons people choose elopements:
• They feel the wedding industry has turned marriages into parties rather than a solemn commitment.
• They dislike being the center of attention.
• The idea of a traditional wedding causes them to feel stressed.
• They have strong feelings about their carbon footprint, preferring to keep their celebration small and respectful to Mother Earth.
• They can choose a place that matters to them and one that they could return to for anniversary celebrations.
• You don’t have to be “of a certain age.”
• They want to put their money into an experience of a lifetime instead of a party.
When you hire me, you get a photographer, a guide, a timeline slayer, and, I hope, a confidant. I see my role as so much more than showing up and taking photos of you on your wedding day.
The level of planning differs for every client, and it’s tailored exactly to the experience you want. It’s never paint-by-numbers, even if you get married in a location I have photographed in before.
Since elopements have increased in the last few years, every photographer has a different definition of what they mean, and many promote themselves as “adventure photographers.”
You’ll see lots of amazing photographs of wedding couples on breathtaking vistas, photographers hiking up steep slopes, and lots of hiking boots! Then you’ll also find photographers who specialize in more urban or city elopements, sometimes called “pop-up ceremonies.”
I really don’t define myself as either because an adventure means different things to different people. It could mean hiking to a waterfall, or it could mean climbing a tree in your parent’s backyard to get married.
I love a good vista and a jaw-dropping backdrop, but it’s the connection of the people the photos that make them come to life and will provide you with lasting memories of your day.
Whatever you define as adventure is where we start!
and live in awe of them
You’ve decided an elopement is right for you, and it’s all systems go! Now comes the part I hope you have so much fun with; building your big dream.
My best advice? Lay it all out there. You don’t get many days in your life that you can totally design, so why not see where your imagination can take you?! I can’t think of a more epic date night than talking about that over a glass of wine.
Elopements can definitely be planned in less time than traditional weddings. Some people plan for many months out, depending on things like favorite time of year or travel needed.
The answer to how soon is as soon as you decide that an elopement is right for you! Some of my clients have a clear vision of where and when; others want guidance. No matter where you are, I can help you kick-start or refine your plans.
• What areas you are thinking about and why
• If you’ve been to the area before, what you like about it
• The scenery you imagine in your photos
• Activities you want to do on your day (Hiking? Picnics? Horseback riding?)
• The guest experience you want (if you are having guests)
• Anything else you need advice and guidance on!
For some people, having “no rules” is amazing; it’s a bit overwhelming for others.
If you’re stuck, start here; what aligns perfectly with what you both love?
Having your dog at your wedding?
Getting married on the beach?
Getting married at sunset?
Having your BFFs at the wedding?
Once you’ve gotten your ideas down on paper/tablet/whathaveyou, then it’s time for us to do some deep dives into the “how can we make this happen” part of the wedding planning process.
I start with questionnaires with my clients to help them uncover what it is they are looking for. From there, I’m happy to help with any other ideas, vendor recommendations, or with any other part of the planning process you need help with.
The culmination of a lot of dreams gets blended in with the planning we do in this customized guide I make for you. It’s seriously chock-full of information from places to consider staying in the area, places to eat, fun things to do, and of course, all the details of your day.
Timelines, how to get where, directions, plan B’s, it’s all here at your fingertips so that all you have to do on the day is get married!
When all the planning is done in advance, it’s all about the good stuff on your day. That’s at the heart of what I want for you, for this day to be magical and sacred for you.
Your day will be filled with authentic moments, never rushed, and never manufactured for the camera. While I will give you light direction and posing, the day is dictated by the emotions that are there to be captured.
I’ll be with you every step of the way, and yes, I will probably cry.
The legal and binding part of the elopement is totally up to you. Some of my clients are already married when we do their elopements, having taken care of the paperwork and perhaps a civil ceremony to make it legal.
However, if you plan on getting actual married-married on the day of your elopement, that takes a little planning, and that’s where I come in to help. Every state and municipality has different laws, waiting periods, rules on how many witnesses you may need, and rules about who can legally marry you.
Don’t be overwhelmed by this! I can help you untangle it all. Because you’ve hired an elopement photographer, you’ve hired an expert in logistics!
Permits, timelines, what-ifs, we talk about ALL the things, all the ins and outs, and I promise you, things you would never have thought of.
What if we want to elope somewhere we’ve never been?
Ooh, you’re adventurous ones; I like your style! With Google, all things are possible, and we can plan an adventure elopement anywhere. I’m game if you are, and all we need is a willing spirit and a GPS.
Your website says you’re based in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona. Can you travel for our small wedding or elopement if it’s not in those areas?
Of course! Arizona is home to me, and I live in the PNW, but I travel all over doing elopement photography. I’m happy to follow you anywhere for a good adventure!
We have no idea where to elope! Can you give us some suggestions?
Yes, yes, yes!! I have many places that I love that I can suggest and lots more on my bucket list. Let’s talk about what you love, and I can make suggestions based on what kind of adventure you are looking for.
Is eloping legal where we want to get married?
Eloping is legal in every state in the US. If you’re thinking about getting married out of the country, we’ll have to do a little sleuthing to find out local laws and if there are any restrictions.
Will this be a legal marriage?
Elopements do make for legal marriages! Some clients do the legal part another day, so they don’t have to worry about following rules on the day with officiants and such, but if you want to actually get married on the day, that can happen too. We just have to check and see what the requirements are in your state.
Do we need witnesses?
Sometimes. This varies from state to state, so we’ll check out what we need to do with yours. Sometimes I am the witness!
How many people can I invite to our elopement?
Elopements are often just the two of you and me, but some people want more people. Generally, no more than 15 guests are considered an elopement.
Do we need an officiant?
There are a handful of states where you don’t need one; Colorado, California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all allow for self solemnizing (marrying yourself). You still have to make sure that you meet all the state’s requirements and file the paperwork. If you don’t love the idea of having an officiant, then consider doing a legal ceremony at the courthouse and then having your elopement without worrying about paperwork!
Can we bring our dog?
As far as I am concerned, a dog makes everything better. However, we need to check and make sure that it’s allowed where you are getting married. Also, having a “helper” to hold the dog is a great idea.
Can we write our vows?
You absolutely can! Even if you have an officiant who does the legal stuff, writing your vows makes this so special. I promise you will not regret it.
What kinds of things can we include in our ceremony?
Your day, your way, no rules. This is the beauty of an elopement, my friends! Ring exchanges, handfasting, sand ceremony, your dog as best man; the sky is the limit.
What about permits and things?
If you don’t have a planner, I’m happy to help you navigate this part and help with what needs to be done. Some places don’t require permits; other places are sticklers about it. We can figure it out together!
Can we give you a list of must-have photos?
You really won’t need to because, before your wedding, we do a TON of planning, vision boarding, talking, and bonding. By the time your wedding day comes, I probably know what you take in your coffee as well as I know what kind of photos you like.
We’re so awkward in front of the camera, can you help?
I haven’t had a couple yet who have told me that they are 100% comfortable in front of the camera; most of us feel really awkward at first when being photographed. But that’s one of the beautiful things about adventure elopements; it’s a no-pressure-be-yourself kind of day. I’ll guide you when needed, but mostly? I want you to be yourself and be totally immersed in your day. That produces must-have photos!
What if the weather is bad?
I know this is a big concern for a lot of people. But, because I’ve photographed so many elopements, I build in a plan B for every scenario. We talk through this in detail before the day, so you’ll never be taken by surprise. Also, because elopements tend not to be as rigid, sometimes we can shift the timeline a bit if we see poor weather is predicted.
There’s a ton of small wedding and elopement photographers out there. Why should we hire you?
There sure are a lot, and I’m so glad you asked this question. The rise of small weddings has been going on for a few years now, and I’m very aware that you have many choices out there.
The clients who book me often tell me that they hired me because my photos spoke to their hearts. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me because I honestly put a little piece of my heart in every photo.
They also like that I specialize in small weddings and elopements and that I’m very involved in the planning process. They don’t just want anyone with a camera; they want a guide, a partner, and someone who genuinely cares about their day.
If you find yourself connecting with my photos, and these words ring true to what you want for your wedding day, then we should talk more.
Every wedding I photograph is so personal to me, and there are many times that I think, “Is this really my job?!”
I accept only a limited number of weddings per year because I really do put my heart and soul into every moment we spend together. I hope you can see that in my photos that I share in my portfolio.
I believe in love, and it’s my joy and my honor to be present at a wedding and to take photos of this new adventure in your life.
Let’s plan your adventure elopement together.