Hey there friend! I’m Alexandria, and I’ve found home in the mountains of WA. Like you, I personally thrive and feel so fulfilled in small groups, intentional moments, and love photos to remember days by.
You deserve a day that celebrates your love story. Check out my resources and reach out so I can photograph your day!
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Eloping as a concept has changed in meaning over time. Once a time when couples secretly ran away is no longer the only definition for eloping. So what does it mean to elope in 2023?
Eloping is an intentional small experience focused on the couple rather than the guests. It takes away the big production of getting married and allows you instead a wedding day full of excitement, joy and meaning towards the two of you.
This is why it’s so much more than just a courthouse ceremony. Your partnership means something to you right? Even if you aren’t having a big wedding, why not have a special day you can luxuriate in?
Elopements are more than a 20 min ceremony. You should celebrate all day because your choices are special.
Elopements put intentionality back into your choices. You get to think out of the box a little more and you get to choose activities that mean something to you and your partnership. You also get to invite only those you want to have there!
Since you’ll be saving the money you would have otherwise spent on a hundred guests (food alone is $40 * 100 = $4,000), you’ll get the opportunity to create an amazing and spend that money on yourselves instead. For example in the PNW, lots of people like to hike! You could go on a hike in your wedding attire and say your vows in nature. There are whale-watching cruises and set sailboat cruises here that allow you to book a private tour to get married on. Or if you like urban adventures, make a day date around visiting your favorite food places and recreating your favorite things to do together!
If you’re curious how much you can spend, check out my resource here on eloping vs big wedding costs!
If you’re trying to get away from the production of a big wedding, you might be wondering how you could celebrate all day and think 2 hours is plenty. Honestly its not. Most of my couples spend anywhere from 6-10 hours adventuring with me as their photographer. When you really think about what the two of you like doing together and then pair it with the elements of a wedding, it can take all day or even multiple days! It just depends on how you want to celebrate!
Check out my resource here on a different timeline of examples of how you can fill your day!
When you stop and think about big weddings for a second, what is the biggest part of planning? It’s finding a venue, picking a theme, choosing food & drink, creating a rocking dance floor, and creating activities for GUESTS. The original focus of wedding planning isn’t on the couple, but on all the other things to keep guests occupied while the couple exchanges vows and takes pictures. It’s truly a production to show off the couple, rather than letting them enjoy it. Check out this wedding planning guide from Brides.com to show you just how many steps it takes to plan a wedding! Some people love it, but it isn’t for everyone.
As a former bride I can tell you, I thought I planned a stress-free wedding for myself. But I realize looking back, that we wanted to throw a fun party for our guests – which we did accomplish! I focused on elements that looked beautiful in photos as you’re “supposed to do.” As much as I thought I planned for everything, the day was still stressful for this introverted extrovert, however, our guests did have a great time.
Check out my resource here on how to know if a big wedding or an elopement is right for you!
Start by thinking of the two of you and what you love doing together, the general location, and the general time of year. Keep some flexibility in mind because as a photographer, I may ask if your date is flexible to help you get a great experience. From there, hire a specialized adventure elopement photographer to help you plan further!
Plan a hiking elopement in Washington State
10 Steps to Plan Your Mount Rainier National Park Elopement!
How to plan an elopement on the San Juan Islands
How to plan an elopement at Olympic National Park
In my opinion, good photography is something everyone should value for their wedding days. It’s one of the only tangible things you can take away from your day to remember it. You’re hand-selecting all these beautiful, important things to incorporate into your day, so why would you only book a photographer for the ceremony? And why only remember portions of your day…why not remember ALL of it?
You should 100% hire a specialized elopement photographer for anything you do. I have nothing against big wedding photographers, but after being one myself and refocusing on smaller events in the outdoors, the flow and intention are different. Couples usually come to me with a vague plan in place and I give them tools to solidify that plan and make it something unique and special, something a larger wedding photographer might not do. I also help my couples pick locations in nature if they are inclined and hike with them if that’s what their day brings! In addition, I strive to take nature into consideration and will be upfront and honest with Leave No Trace Principles, weather, accessibility, permit knowledge etc. We know that small weddings are open to SO MANY possibilities and want to help you dream it up and help you figure it out in addition to photographing it!
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So informative!!! Thanks for sharing!
This is such a valuable resource about eloping in 2022. I love the inspirational ideas you provide for couples, as well as those beautiful images!
Totally agreeeee. Couples need to do what truly speaks to them!
Eloping is definitely not what it used to be and I love that!! Great info!
Love the way you defined elopement, it truly is about the unique experience! Such a great informative post for couples!
I absolutely love this post. Eloping can be whatever you want to make it, and really make it about you and your partner.
I totally agree that eloping focuses on the couple and we love to see it being embraced nowadays!
Big weddings are for some, but not all. It’s so easy to fill a day with fun ideas!
It means to do YOU…fill your day with dreams and experiences….beautiful!