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How to elope or have an intimate wedding

All things elopements, adventure elopements, courthouse weddings, minimonies, micro weddings, and intimate weddings

So you want to know how to elope or have an intimate wedding? Elopements, minimonies, micro weddings, and intimate weddings have become a topic that many couples are now entertaining after Covid-19 has rescheduled their big weddings. This is a subject near and dear to my heart as adventure elopements have always been a fascination of mine and intimate ceremonies are always a favorite to photograph.

First let’s get into explaining what these are!

Eloping isn’t always the secretive, shameful running away in the middle of the night or the drunken party in Las Vegas that many people think it is. Honestly I see it as the exact opposite! You can elope on the top of a mountain, on a trip, or anyway that fits who you are and makes you feel alive and in love. It can be planned and it can be spontaneous. Or it can be in Vegas if you really want it to be. It can be anything you want it to be really.

Now, keep in mind that not everyone is going to be onboard with your plans. This can be a fun surprise that you share with them the photos and adventure later OR one eloping couple told me that they let their family and friends know beforehand what the plan was and that there was going to be a photographer there. It allowed their loved ones time to process and accept their plan to elope. Being able to share photos with all of the people you love is really important and helps them feel included even when they aren’t there.

You can totally elope with a few guests too! An intimate wedding has a guest count of 75 or under. A micro wedding is 50 or less. A minimony according to the knot is just close friends and family often meaning there are 10 or less there total. I don’t know about you but none of this is information I had until I googled it. Elopements and intimate weddings are a favorite of mine but all these fun new sub categories have started to be defined as many couples are choosing new ways to celebrate!

There are several options elopements, minimonies, micro weddings (or whatever you want to call it) to make it legal. You can make a little side trip to the courthouse before or after your wedding. This is beneficial for things like adventure elopements where you might not have an officiant who will hike with you before the sun comes up. Or say you’re set on eloping to Paris? You totally can but you’ll have to make it legal beforehand because France requires you to be a resident for forty days before you can get married there. As amazing as living in France sounds, it might not be the most convenient. The making it legal part has nothing to do with how you truly want to celebrate and honor your union.

Or you can have a courthouse wedding!

Other options are to find an officiant, have someone you know go online so that they can legally officiate it, OR you can find a handy dandy photographer who is ordained (oh hi there…that’s me). You’ll need to get your marriage certificate beforehand too so don’t forget that! With a photographer who is ordained you can self lead your ceremony and you’ll just need to either bring a witness or find someone close by to be your new friend and witness it. There’s just a few sentences that need to be said by your handy dandy ordained photographer to make it super legal and you’re set! Just check with your local area or the area that you’re getting married in if you’re making it a destination thing. Laws vary by state and it can even depend on the county…much less going to another country!

If you’re not having a courthouse wedding or a micro wedding in your backyard, then you’ll have to check out if you need a permit for the area you’re thinking of. A minimony in the forest might need a permit if over ten people.

Big weddings can be a big party and it’s amazing. Super intimate weddings can be super profound in their own way and it’s amazing too. So do it in a way that’s true to the both of you and hire a photographer because all of it deserves to be photographed.

Now personally, I have never dreamed of a big wedding. Not once. My dad would talk about me getting married as a kid and I always told him he’d hate how I’d want to get married. I didn’t want a princess dress. I didn’t want a ballroom. All I’ve ever wanted was a profound, beautiful little ceremony in the forest. When I was engaged a million years ago in another life, and we joked that I wanted to elope with guests. When Antoine proposed, my closest friends asked if I had been serious about no one being there and Antoine was surprised that I hadn’t been kidding this whole time about not wanting a wedding. It’s a running joke about me being a wedding photographer who loves weddings but isn’t a wedding person. What I do support is you getting married in a way that is something you want and is true to you. It’s not about the show of the wedding for me…it’s about you and celebrating and championing you. If you want the princess dream and the ballroom then do it. If you want to hike up a mountainside at dawn then go for it. I’m here for you.

Now that you have some information on how to elope or have an intimate wedding, here’s a blog post about a recent elopement (and was the witness to). And I’ll post more links to the Covid-19 minimonies that I’m photographing and/or officiating as well!

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