• Fifty Miles West

Elopement Vendors: Choosing the Best for Your destination Wedding or elopement

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

So you and your partner have agreed that your wedding fairytale is an elopement wedding where the main focus is on both of you committing for life. However, regardless if you’re hiking up a mountain or exchanging vows on a beach, eloping still requires some preparation based on your initial plans. There are four main elopement vendors you will need to look into that will make the whole experience all the more enjoyable.

The types of Elopement Vendors

  1. Elopement photographer

  2. Hair and makeup artist

  3. Florist

  4. Officiant

Additionally, you might want to look into hiring an elopement planner that can do most of the work for you. While the whole point of eloping is to minimize the planning and the cost of the entire ceremony, making it a minimalist’s version of heaven, I understand that sometimes life can get in the way, and you would need an extra hand to help. With that said, let’s go through each category together and see how each one of these people will be of help.

Elopement photography

One of the main reasons why people choose eloping instead of a regular wedding is the adventurous moments on gorgeous spots something on the earth and, of course, the dreamy photos that come with it to cherish for a lifetime. You cannot plan an elopement on a glacier or under a waterfall without a skilled photographer by your side, taking gorgeous shots of the two of you exchanging vows. This is why one of the first things you have to do is search for an elopement photographer that is available on the set dates and work with them to plan some of the details around the trip.

That said, you need to look for a photographer with an outdoor experience and someone who will help you determine the location for the best scenery. Your photographer must take various lighting situations, landscapes, weather scenarios, and legalities of eloping in a certain area, into account so that the entire experience is nothing short of a perfect one. Look for photographers who:

  • Have experience photographing elopements specifically.

  • Have experience photographing in this place or if not, can explain to you what is their process for getting ready to photograph in a place they’ve never been before.

  • Who know and abide by Leave No Trace ethics, follow specific rules for specific regions, and know the legality behind permitting in your specific location.

  • Who have plan B for unexpected weather scenarios, road closure and etc.

Hair and makeup artist

Wedding ceremonies, whether eloping or large ones, happen only once. So, in my opinion, no one has time for bad hairstyles or makeup. This is why, even if you decide to go for a more subtle, natural look, you have to hire a professional that will prepare you for the camera. The good thing about the professional hair and makeup is that they stay for the entire day of elopement no matter what mountain you’re climbing or where you want to catch that sunset. You will still look natural and well-rested for a gorgeous set of photographs.

At this point, you have to search for someone who is either close to the place of the elopement or they are willing to come along, or they can prepare your look at home before you take off with your partner and the photographers at the elopement place. It does require some planning ahead, but I believe nothing is too challenging for the right professionals.

This is a few points you must go over with your hair and make up artist:

  • Are they willing to start very early for example before sunrise?

  • Can they guarantee you will be ready at the right time? 

  • Are they know how to make hair styling and makeup that will work well in the outdoors?

  • Can they provide an experience that’ll last through hiking and other activities?

  • Are they willing to travel to your place and do work on site?

One bonus tip here, if your hair and makeup artist cannot come along on the elopement spot, ask them to provide some touch-up materials and advice in case you need to adjust anything once you have arrived at the eloping place. This will be super-useful, and it makes sure you leave nothing to chance.

For couples who choose me as their elopement photographer makeup and hairstyling is included in the Elopement Package, so you don't need to worries about anything I wrote above:)

The florist

Since you’re already being adventurous and breaking so many traditions on your special day, why not hold on to one that looks just splendid in photos? The bouquet! Having one on your special day makes the whole experience all the more real.

However, as with everything, there are some adjustments to be made and details to be taken into consideration. For instance, not many florists will agree to make a single bouquet. Usually, the tradition of a wedding is to hire a florist to create the whole arrangement of flowers, including the bouquet. So, firstly, you have to ask your florist if they’re willing to go with just one.

With that said, you also have to order your bouquet large but not too heavy and with sturdy flowers that will withstand the varying weather and the hike on the top of the mountain.

The reason why I emphasize having a bouquet is that it creates a lovely color pop from the dress and the background, especially if it has colored florals and long flowy ribbons on the sides. Also, with your order, you can include some additional floral accessories like a crown, or some other hairpiece, flower collar for your dogs or a ceremony arrangement that will accompany the bouquet as such. So, to make your florist experience as smooth as possible here’s what you can ask your florist:

  • Will they take a one-bouquet order along with the other previously mentioned accessories

  • Will their bouquet withstand the trip to the eloping place, and the most important thing to mention is that they need to prevent dropping flowers while carrying it (it’s going to be helpful if you can tell them your exact plans of travel and the elopement trip so they can prepare it best)

  • Can they create a bouquet that will be big but lightweight

  • When you supposed to pick up your elopement bouquet in case you planning hit the trial super early.

  • Could you make order online, in case you will arrive in location maybe only couple day or even one day prior ceremony.

You can also order your bouquet to have some matching colors of the place you will be having your elopement for additional picturesque details.

The officiant

Whether you will have an officiant at your elopement ceremony or not depends mainly on the trip and also on your personal preferences. Many couples I have worked with decided to have an officiant in front of while they will exchange vows, so before you start planning your own, let’s talk about the details of hiring an officiant.

ICE Hotel Wedding, Sweden

First off, if you are traveling to a foreign country, you should get all the official stuff completed beforehand and make the marriage legal in the state where you live. But if you have an elopement in US, then you can hire an officiant without a problem. The things to consider are:

  • Is the officiant is willing to travel?

  • Is the officiant comfortable for hiking?

  • Is he/she comfortable to hike back alone if you want to stay in place after ceremony?

  • What kind of accommodation they want if it's needed?

  • How much their travel fees?

  • Is the officiant okay for very early ceremony, for a sunrise for example?

  • Any planning they need or some recommendations they have for your ceremony?

Make sure to talk to them and explain your idea of the perfect elopement for you. This way, there will not be any unpleasant surprises last-minute.

If it's not an option to have an officiant for your ceremony I will be happy to sign your marriage license for you to make your vow legal (I'm ordained officiant)

If you’re planning to have guests at your wedding, I highly recommend asking one of them to perform your wedding. It is so special to have someone you love do the ceremony for you! Trust me I done it for my elopement and it's was very emotional!

They can get ordained online through the Universal Life Church, this is easy and fast process!

Finally, there may be many more factors that are important to you, and you want to include in your elopement but aren’t on the list. Feel free to contact me for any additional plans. As a professional photographer, I have experience with many couples planning their elopements in various sites across the US and world. Whatever your doubts may be, let’s solve them together and make the elopement the most beautiful day in your life.

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