If you are looking for an elopement guide, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether eloping in the city or the woods or a rooftop, elopements can be super classy (and fun!). Keep reading for everything you need to create a day you will love forever. It’s time to get excited because there is so much personalization that can go into a wedding day like this. Keep reading to get inspired!
Now more than ever, couples are looking for ways to share vows and celebrate their love story through an elopement or intimate wedding. So what’s the difference between the two options? Think of an elopement as you, your officiant, your wedding photographers, and your closest family and friends only. On the other hand, an intimate wedding is basically a traditional wedding with a much smaller guest list (eg. only your closest family and friends with few to no extras!).
We’ve always been in love with the idea of making the main thing the main thing: You get to marry your best friend. Sometimes a more intimate wedding allows you to enjoy your day even more. But let’s just confirm something: an elopement or intimate wedding can still be gorgeous, classic, and timeless (in addition to being intimate)! It no longer means you get a quick ceremony with no celebration or events on your day. Welcome to the new standard for elopements… and we have all the details in this guide!
Elopements and intimate wedding days don’t mean that you get it done and move on. And the heart behind modern elopements are not about sneaking away and keeping your family out of the loop, either. What modern elopements are: they allow you to make your wedding day, no matter how small or intimate, personal and an experience you will always treasure.
It’s time to let go of your mom or grandma’s vision of elopements, which consisted of quick vows at the courthouse in a nice semi-casual dress with no photos to prove it happened. The new standard for elopements and intimate weddings is that you have all of the permission to slow down. Pause when you want to, and create a day filled with adventure and all of your favourite things to celebrate the day you share your life vows together.
In this elopement guide, you’ll learn the five keys to creating a personalized elopement day, including:
The following are simple things you will want to consider in order to make your elopement or intimate wedding day truly meaningful.
We have great news! Having an elopement or intimate wedding means that you now have even more freedom in choosing a location you adore. Read: The old way was to have a backyard barbecue. New way: pick a place that means a lot to you! Whether you want a really adventurous location like a mountain side, a beach, or the classic architecture found in the downtown core, pick a backdrop that truly inspires you and makes you feel alive and inspired.
When you’re having an intimate wedding or an elopement, the season you choose will also determine a lot of factors. If you have hiking involved to get to your location, a fall date is perfect so you don’t break a sweat! If you love the romance of a winter wedding, the downtown core is a gorgeous option.
In a nutshell: Make your location meaningful. You now have permission to let your brainstorming soar and think beyond your parents’ backyard or a public park!
Here’s a list of some of our favourite location ideas:
Related: Read our top favourite London Ontario engagement locations for more gorgeous elopement location ideas!
Related: See our list of top favourite Cambridge Ontario Wedding Venues
Having an elopement or intimate wedding means that you get the opportunity to pick a weekday wedding date! And when it comes to getting the wedding photographer that you love, trust me, they will be less willing to give up a prime weekend wedding date. A Monday-Thursday wedding allows them to offer smaller package prices, gets their calendar filled up, and gets you the talent you really want to hire. WIN-WIN!
Having an elopement or intimate wedding does not mean it’s less personal. It means you have even more freedom than before to make it very personal. Spend some time thinking about what backdrop you want for your vows. Make it special and unique. See if your photographer can visit your chosen location in advance; they can help you pick a place with beautiful framing for your vows!
You can probably tell so far that this Elopement Guide is about more than just getting married. Our couples love spending the day living out the beautiful adventure that is their wedding day. And as it all unfolds, we get to document it all! We’ll help you make an itinerary that includes all of the beautiful and special touches and places that mean something to the two of you.
From bringing along our stereo to play your favourite songs as the soundtrack for your portraits, to documenting the two of you grabbing take-out from your favourite restaurant and sharing your first meal as husband and wife, climbing your favourite mountain together or taking a wedding walk through the downtown core of the city where you first met. We capture it all because it means something to you and always will.
You have permission. Really. People will understand if they are not included on the guest lists of an intimate wedding or elopement day. Have as many or as few guests as you want! If they don’t understand your vision for your day, don’t take it on as something you need to fix. It’s not personal, and your wedding is about your vision, not theirs. Plus, sizes of group gatherings tend to be a lot smaller these days, which makes it even easier to not invite everyone including you mom’s second aunt!
When you forgo the traditional model of a wedding day, you have more financial freedom to create your dream day. You also have the opportunity to infuse all of the special touches that you love. And when you factor in all of the savings from a typical wedding day, it’s easier to add in these personal touch points that will make your day feel even more special.
If you are anything like us, food means a lot to you. Craft and gourmet foods just make life so much better. So if you are as passionate as us, include that in your wedding day. Eat your favourite foods from your favourite restaurants or an amazing caterer or a food truck. Again, it’s time to realize that you get to totally think outside the box with this, and make it exactly what you want to be.
Some of our favourite ideas for Cambridge and London Ontario wedding catering includes:
Other ideas to consider:
We find that one photographer is perfect for intimate weddings. You typically want two photographers when you have a traditional wedding because of so many more moments and interactions to capture. Having an intimate wedding, you can easily get away with one photographer to capture it all. For us, Dylan would be the lead shooter, and I (Sandra), would help you leading up to your big day! Our elopement and intimate wedding coverage starts at 6 hours because we take a storytelling approach; we want to tell the full story of your amazing day!
We truly believe photos are even more important when you have an elopement or smaller wedding. Not everyone will get to physically witness your vows, and that’s the job of your wedding photographer. You want an amazing wedding photographer that can document the entire experience so you (and they!) can relive it through your photos.
When it comes to your wedding photos, the main thing that would be missing in capturing your elopement day would be your reception. That’s why so many eloping couples are excited to have their wedding celebration reception at a later date. Food brings people together and is how humans connect and celebrate since the start of time! Having a celebration later gives you the best of both worlds: party with your friends down the road and get photos of all the people that mean the most to you.
There are so many reasons why elopements and intimate wedding days are something you will never regret.
Your wedding day is all about your vision and elopements provide the ultimate flexibility. Here are some of the options that our brides have considered. Determine which one you like best and the pros and cons for your specific situation. Get creative to create a celebration that allows the ones you love to cheer you on!
You can incorporate so many of the same traditional moments, or none of them. An emotional first look, your vows, your first kiss, you’re getting ready photos, your first meal as husband and wife, and your close family portraits if your families are there. Pick and choose what you love!
We adore working with wedding planners because it means that our brides don’t have to feel overwhelmed, or stressed. And we are big believers that the only job a couple should have on their wedding day is to soak it all in, be the VIPs, and be present to every single moment. One of our favourite London Ontario wedding planners, Kassia Tjia from Kassia Tjia Events, specializes in classic, elegant and authentic wedding celebrations and helps couples plan elopements as well.
Kassia’s Tjia’s number one piece of advice to engaged couples is to “build on the love that the two of you share, and keep that love close to your herts as you plan your elopement details… an elopement focusses solely on the two of you as a couple—think about what makes you perfect together and create a gorgeous celebration that is all for you!”. Even if you are just looking for day-of planning, or someone to coordinate your itinerary and all of the personal touches, having a planner is a guaranteed way to enjoy your day from start to end, and ensure your day is really special (no matter how small).
I’ve always connected with and loved the Barenaked Ladies song “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”. Honestly, some days the chorus is on repeat in my head as I think about all of our beautiful couples and their wedding plans! And seriously friends, the romance factor on getting married during any kind of dangerous time will be a fantastic story to share with your kids and grandkids. Plus, how amazing is it that your love story won’t be stopped? That alone makes elopements or an intimate wedding really, really meaningful.
We hope you’ve loved this elopememt guide! We’ve pulled together some more great resources for you below! Enjoy xo
We offer special elopement pricing for weddings that run between Monday and Thursday. We specialize in photographing classic and adventurous elopement days and would love to chat and help you with some ideas! Our belief is that elopements and intimate weddings are just as special as traditional wedding days. If you are looking for a wedding photographer that loves candids and a timeless classic feel as much as you, let’s connect!
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We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!
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