Where to Start.  I’ll take you through step-by-step so your elopement is exactly what it should be: stress-free and beautiful.

Date.  Select what day you want to get married.  Weekdays are often much cheaper for various venues and vendors who focus on traditional weddings.  I highly suggest a long weekend and getting hitched on a Wednesday or Thursday.

Destination. Even if it’s a short day trip, make an experience of it and plan to stay in the area a few days.  Ask your hotel or bed&breakfast if they have a space that would be ideal for your small ceremony.  It will only be a few minutes, so even in a public place you won’t be interfering.

Staying Local.  You can choose anything from a traditional wedding venue, an outdoor garden, backyard, nearby field, hotel lobby, steps outside a pretty courthouse, a chapel, etc.  Whether you’re planning a destination elopement or staying in town, there are countless places perfect for your intimate ceremony.  Think about what you want in the pictures, what feel you want to capture by your surroundings and we’ll figure out the perfect location and time of day.

Photography.  This is the start of your family legacy.  How you will be remembered and shared with generations depends on your pictures.  By prioritizing your photography, you are prioritizing your family history -and, let’s be honest, every woman wants her wedding day (no matter how simple) to be gorgeous.  Having a seasoned professional who specializes in elopements and weddings ensures that this day will be unforgettable.

Time of Day.  If you want to marry outdoors, plan an early morning wedding (before 10am) or afternoon wedding (after 4pm.)  Your light is going to be best closer to sunrise and the hour before sunset.  If you are marrying indoors, the time of day doesn’t matter as long as you don’t have your heart set on natural light.  If you do, make sure there are ample windows and choose between 10am and 3pm so you don’t have sun blazing in and causing lots of shadows on faces.

Officiant.  This is the person who marries you.  If you google “wedding officiant (insert where you are getting married)” you’ll have a bundle to pick from.  But not all officiants are equal.  If you are marrying in the Austin, TX area (including north) I have at least three officiants I highly recommend.  Folks who will be lovely to work with, make it short and sweet and perfectly “you.”  I know it’s a short ceremony, but you don’t want a dud for an officiant.

Marriage License.  Each county is different, but make sure you file for your marriage license ASAP.

Bouquet.  You want one.  Splurge on your flowers and have a local florist make a small to medium bouquet of your favorite flowers with your favorite colors.  You’re keeping everything else pretty simple -you want to spend a little extra on your bouquet.  Expect to pay anywhere from $80-$200.  Boutonniere’s are usually $18- $30 depending on detailed you want to get.  He needs one, too, so plan on something for him, even if it’s small.

What to Wear. Something new, something special.  We’re going to get amazing pictures, so get a dress or outfit that you feel stunning in.  Many gals opt for traditional wedding attire for bride and groom, then change into something more comfortable but still dressier than usual for additional portraits afterward.  Wedding in winter?  Get a bridal coat to wear with your dress.  Wedding in summer?  Don’t make him suffer in a fancy suit with lots of layers and remember if you have a big dress you’ll be roasting in it.

Time for Photography.  You’ll want getting ready shots, the ceremony and time for a creative, relaxed portrait session (before or after) at a minimum.  Many couples opt to have  a special meal together -and you’ll definitely want detail shots of your scrumptious plated food and a few as you clink glasses together to celebrate.  2 hours will cover most of this, but it really depends on how detailed -or simple- you want to make it.  Go all out and really take advantage of this day -from a spa treatment to a day on the town to celebrate.  We’ll photograph it all -you’ll hardly know I’m there and you’ll have amazing pictures to show for it.

Getting Ready.  Getting ready shots are some of the prettiest candid images you’ll have.  Choose a room to get ready in that you love -even if it’s simulating touching up your make-up, fastening your dress, etc- because the room makes or breaks the shots.  We’ll get details of him buttoning his shirt, tying shoes, etc. to capture the anticipation and joy of this special day.

Couple Portrait Session.  Similar to those romantic shots in an engagement session and the pictures you would have done in that short window of time between the ceremony and reception, now is your chance to have a relaxed session featuring you in your newly married glory.  It will take 30 minutes – 2 hours, depending on how extensive you want to make this portion.  (And ignore your fiance’s eye-rolling.  All the guys say in the end that they had far more fun than expected -plus your pictures are going to be amazing.)


Extra Style & Details.  If you want a “feature”-worthy wedding, one that gets posted on top wedding blogs and other gals pin on their pinterest boards like crazy, my best advice is to hire a styling company to add in extra details or you can DIY.  Extra details may include a small decorated table with a cutting cake and champagne for a celebratory toast, handmade banners with “Mr.&Mrs.” or “Just Married,” extra florals in small arrangements, a custom designed wedding announcement to include in photos, a styled reception table for two, floral or styled arch for ceremony site, etc.  A design team will know how to make your day gorgeous and photograph really well, but be prepared to pay for it if it’s a priority for you.  Talk to me about who I’d recommend and your vision.  I know some amazing, talented people.

Videography: A great idea if you’re putting some extra planning and details into your elopement.  There are some terrific, creative videographers who will make your day look like a fairytale, and it’s a great way to share the experience with family and friends (who you won’t be paying hotels, food, airfare for to come to the wedding.)  If you’ve ever wanted to be the star of a music video -that girl with her hair blowing in the wind, romantic glances at the hero of the video- this is your chance.  You’ve got every reason to have a gorgeous video starring the two of you.

Music:  Even if it’s just the two of you, a single stringed instrument, classical guitar, vocalist, flute, etc. -or go for a quartet- will melt your heart and make your ceremony extra special.

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