If you’ve been with me for a while, you know how much I love elopements! I think they’re so romantic and absolutely love being a Washington DC elopement photographer!
As a Washington DC elopement photographer, I feel like the word ‘elopement’ often gets a bad rap. When I say that word, people usually imagine a couple running off to Vegas to tie the knot in secrecy! That’s not at all what I mean; it’s simply the term us folks in the wedding industry use when referring to an intimate wedding ceremony. It’s our way of differentiating between an intimate, shorter wedding and a longer, traditional wedding.
I know a lot of couples are having to postpone or cancel their original wedding plans due to the pandemic. I imagine that process has been stressful, painful, upsetting, and time consuming. There is so much love, energy, work, discussion, deciding, excitement, anticipation, coordinating, etc. that goes into planning a wedding. It must be disheartening to have to put those plans on hold, re-do them, or in some cases, scrap those plans altogether. My heart goes out to any couple who has been going through this.
Some couples are turning to elopements as a way to honor their original wedding date or so they can be legally married in the timeframe they had planned. I’m here to tell you that if you have made the decision to elope, it can be a wonderful and romantic event in and of itself. It’s not the same as having the traditional wedding you have been planning – of course not. As a Washington DC elopement photographer who has seen lots of sweet elopements, my hope is that you can still allow this version to be a loving, heartwarming day of connection all on its own.
Here are four reasons why elopements can be an ideal way to say ‘I do’:
Your Ceremony Can Be (Almost) Wherever You Want
When you elope, you’re only going to be at your ceremony location for like fifteen minutes or so. That means you can really choose any location for your ceremony. Some locations do require a permit, but most outdoor spots do not. As long as you’re a small party, you’re being fairly quiet, and your ceremony is quick, you can make it work almost anywhere.
You can choose a spot that has special meaning to you as a couple, or you can choose somewhere super picturesque. I photographed a couple who chose to do their wedding ceremony outside at National Harbor where they had their first date.
Another did their ceremony at the park where they first met.
Another couple chose the gazebo at Carlyle House simply because it’s a beautiful spot.
This is such a wonderful way to create layers of connection with a special location, and have even more connection to your photos.
Your Photos Can Be Wherever You Want
Even if you get married inside a courthouse or at a certain venue, you can choose a second location for portraits. For example, I had a couple get married at the Arlington courthouse and we did their portraits on Capitol Hill.
Another couple got married at the Manassas courthouse and then wanted portraits at a gorgeous nearby park.
Yet another couple was married in the D.C. courthouse and we did their portraits on the National Mall.
On a traditional wedding day, it’s challenging to go off campus for portraits – there is a LOT more to coordinate and less time. When you elope, you have way more options for portrait locations.
There’s More Time for Relaxed Love Bird Portraits
Usually on traditional wedding days, portrait time is somewhat rushed. Even if we include plenty of time in the timeline, we all know we’re on a tight schedule. Sometimes there is a delay getting started due to running late on hair and makeup, waiting on family for portraits, a ceremony that ran long – any number of reasons, and portrait time gets cut. It’s in the back of everyone’s minds that we need to be done at a certain time. At an elopement, portrait time is more relaxed because usually the couple doesn’t have to be anywhere else by a certain time.
It’s Just About the Two of You
Of course it would be lovely and meaningful to have your family and friends surrounding you with love and support as you say ‘I do.’ I feel for you if you’re unable to have that due to the pandemic. While it may not be what you hoped or planned for originally, it can also be super romantic to have your ceremony be just about the two of you and your love. My hope for you is that if you’re turning to elopement after postponing or cancelling your traditional wedding, you can see the beauty in an intimate ceremony and appreciate it as it is. And if we get to work together, I’ll do whatever I can to ensure you have an enjoyable, romantic, and memorable time!
Did this post get you excited to book your own wedding, elopement, or engagement session?! If yes, send me a note and we can chat about what you have in mind: contact me
Hi – I’m Rachel! A wedding, engagements, and headshots photographer in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia. I love taking photos of elegant people who love to laugh, as well as of much in-love couples. If you’re a dog owner, that’s a plus! I’m currently booking 2020 portrait sessions, as well as 2020 and 2021 weddings.