So, as a wedding photographer, I have obviously seen so many couples this year be crushed by this pandemic and the restrictions that have been put in place. We are in a time unlike any other, and my couples just want to get married DANG IT!
So I thought to come up with a little guide, for couples that have either been affected by this pandemic and have had to reschedule their wedding, downsize to fit regulations OR couples who just love the idea of an intimate wedding and want to know how to get it!
So lets start off with, HEY! I’m Kate, the cool as heck photographer that wants to make your wedding day as special as possible and capture some frickin awesome memories!
Who are you?! I would literally love to find out….. but that can all happen later, after you get some awesome info from this blog and then we can plan the most amazing intimate wedding of all time! WOO!
Intimate weddings or elopements are all about YOU. You have made the choice to have a tiny wedding and you are owning it. They are so full of emotion, so full of love and life that I usually cry at every single one, just sayin’, that wet faced blonde behind the camera…. yep, thats me!
But that is because your decision to profess your love to one another is truly amazing in itself, but the fact that you are so in love that you want to cherish that moment so much and live in it, that you are choosing to have minimal amounts of people at the wedding. And that is pretty amazing. Dont let anyone tell you differently.
So how are you going to say “I do” ? I suppose that is why you are here right? To plan that amazing day. But I am sure you have some idea so far…on a mountain in the Rockies? On a beach? At your cottage? At the courthouse? Heck, jumping out of a plane?! We can make it happen, read on young padawan …..
Okay so this is the really fun part! The deep dive. You are about to literally saturate yourself in intimate weddings and elopements. Pick up that phone every chance you get and dive deeper and deeper into Pinterest and Instagram until you can’t feel your thumbs.
BUT FIRST, before you jump into that, think to yourself (and with your partner of course) what your actual DREAM VISION for your day is. What pops into your mind? Nothing is too crazy, nothing is off limits. What do you see?!
Once you have that starting point, thats when the searching and deep diving begins!
I guess my point is, this wedding is about the two of YOU. In todays day and age it is easy to be influenced by the Internet and the rest of the worlds elopements and weddings. You need to find a starting place that is all your own, and then build from there!
Dont forget to stay true to YOU, thats all that matters!
Make a vision board, make a Pinterest board (or 5), save and tag photos on Instagram that inspire you.
Find the perfect place, the perfect vision for YOU. And then move on to step 2 !!!
Although intimate weddings and elopements are significantly cheaper than large weddings, you still have a budget in mind, I know you do. And that is good! You should have one! And these are some things you should think about budgeting for to make that dream we talked about previous come true!
1. Travel/ Accommodation
4. Marriage License
5. Photographer/ Videographer
9. Permits and Fees
This day is all about youuuuuu, so make it as lavish or simple as you want!
Once you kind of have an idea of what you want to spend, you can start putting together a good idea of what your day will look like!
And remember, you are already saving thousands of dollars by choosing this type of wedding! The average wedding in Canada costs $42,500. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. You can fly your whole family and a few friends to Bali and back for that price. I mean, this isn’t to say that you can’t spend $42,000 on your intimate wedding either…. But I think it would be pretty hard.
Keep in mind, your largest expenses are going to come from Travel and Photography/Videography.
And after saying that, I don’t want to sound like the money hungry photographer. Your photos and video from your wedding day are going to be the one thing, besides your actual memories, that are going to document that day for you, and for the rest of the people you love. This is not an area to cheap out on.
Same goes for travel, the last thing you want is to book your flight to Scotland on “Cheap-o-Air” and the flight gets cancelled or moved and you are all squished like sardines in a can on the way over. Treat yourselves WELL. Its your WEDDING!
This is by far my favourite part about any wedding, location location location!
(Of course if you are planning a quick intimate wedding and you can’t travel due to the dang virus, your options may be limited, but listen to me when I say, EVERY WEDDING IN BEAUTIFUL, even if it is in your own backyard!!)
The world is literally your oyster and you can make this decision based on what feels most authentically you. Whether that is running through the water on a black sand beach in Iceland, standing under a waterfall, walking with the elephants in Tanzania, overlooking the Scottish Highlands… there are literally too many options to list.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with a whole world of options (literally), that is why I am here!!! HEY, remember me, that awesome photographer we were talking about earlier? Ya, so I specialize in making your day exactly what you envisioned and I have a tonne of recommendations for places all over the world and right here in Canada that will fit most any vibe or feeling that you want on your wedding day.
Now don’t take this as a requirement to have your wedding anywhere other than your hometown. You can find beauty literally anywhere!
But what I like to tell people to get a good idea of where they would love to get married, is to picture their perfect HONEYMOON, and then plan from there. Maybe you have always dreamed of Hawaii on your honeymoon, well heck, why not make it a wedding and honeymoon combined?! BOOM, did I blow your mind?
NEXT, in the same category as choosing your LOCATION, then you need to choose your DATE.
This is more important in intimate weddings and elopements I think, because you have to make sure that the date is good for you AND for the location. Meaning, in June in Canada it is hot and perfect for weddings, in June in Australia it is winter. As well you should take into account if the place that you decide on is a tourist attraction as well, maybe you want to hold your ceremony on a Wednesday to avoid foot traffic, etc.
Whatever you decide, it will be the most beautiful day, just because you are there together and that is truly all that matters.
The first vendor that you need to think about (not to toot my own horn) is your photographer. They are the vendors, along with venues that book years in advance, and especially if there is travel involved, they need to know in advance!!
And speaking of photographers, they are going to be your go to when it comes to all the other vendors as well.
All of the couples that book with me have access to a full list of vendors. And photographers have a great network to connect with people and vendors all over the world to help you find exactly what you need and in your budget as well!
This is completely a personal decision, try not to think about what your family or friends want and think about what the two of you really want. If that is 20 of your closest family and friends, or just your parents, or one of each of your best friends.
Do not compromise, ITS YOUR DAY.
Of course if you choose to get married in your home area, it will be easy enough to get a marriage licence. Although if you choose a different country, they may have different rules for marriage and you should be prepared to meet that countries requirements.
There are also ways to get around this, of course you can always get married in your town (sign the paperwork for legality) before or after you return from the elopement.
Of course the legal side of it matters, but truly, if you want to say your vows and profess yourselves to each other on a mountain top in Patagonia, you don’t need paperwork for that!
Once you have all of that decided and figured out, the next step is to find out if the location that you are swooning over requires a permit for weddings, gatherings or photography. Think State, Provincial, or National Parks, protected land, privately owned land, etc. I would be more than happy to walk you through this part of the planning, it can be tricky sometimes!
If you are travelling (that means any type of travelling, even if you are driving there and staying in and Airbnb, you have to worry about booking!! Now is the time to do that, once everything else is all set and ready to go!!
If you are making large deposits for vendors AND you are travelling and booking flights, hotels etc, get yourself a credit card that gives you extra travel points or cash back !!!
My husband and I paid for ALL of our flights on our 17 day honeymoon with travel points we had accumulated through out the year before the wedding!!
Always book your accommodations before your flights! Make sure you have a place to stay!
Travelling in low tourist seasons will get you a more affordable price!
The best, most fun and easiest part of the whole thing, GET MARRIED, run together into your life as partners and don’t look back!!
All of the planning and explaining to people who just don’t understand and stress of travel is OVER and now you get to ENJOY!!!
Thats how you do it folks….. NOW LETS GET YOU MARRIED!!