Thinking of eloping during Covid-19? This is for you!
It’s been a hell of a couple months hasn’t it, friends? Between the shutdowns, the sadness, the uncertainty, and the ever-increasing glimmers of hope we’ve all been on a wild rollercoaster together. And one group of people who have felt this uncertainty in a super unique way? Couples who are getting married. Every single day for the last several weeks I’ve heard a similar story from couples: “We had to cancel our wedding because of Covid-19 and now we’re thinking we want to elope in Colorado. We have NO idea where to start. Can you help???”
And the answer is obviously “YES! Yes I can!”
Eloping was on the rise way before Covid entered the picture but with large events canceled across the world, it has never been a better option. Reducing the number of guests at your wedding (whether that’s from 100 to 10 … or zero) keeps everyone safer and gives you the best shot possible at being able to actually do this thing this year. We don’t know what the future is going to look like for big events but we DO know that the higher the number of guests, the greater the risk to everyone’s health and the chance that any kind of shutdown will put an end to the party before it even begins.
While all of that may sound terrible to some people I’m hearing from a LOT of couples who kid of wanted to elope instead of have the big wedding to begin with … and now they have their chance!
With all that in mind, I put together a list of advice for couples who are finding themselves canceling their big weddings and thinking about eloping (and for couples who never wanted the big wedding but DO want to elope during these crazy days!)!
**Don’t** Lower Your Expectations
This is the big one in my book. Do NOT think that because you aren’t having a big wedding doesn’t mean that you can’t have a big, amazing day. Elopements are incredible and can be SO MUCH MORE than just going to the courthouse to sign some papers and take a few pictures. With the guidance of someone who knows how to plan these things, an elopement can be every bit as “big” and special as a traditional wedding … while also being far more personal!
2. Choose a Destination You Can Drive To (if necessary!)
Air travel is a bit iffy right now and I don’t know that any of us know exactly when we’ll be getting back on planes. As someone who LOVES long flights (I know, I’m weird!), it pains me to say this but the smartest thing you can do right now if you’re planning a destination elopement is to do it somewhere that you can drive to (if you have to). That doesn’t mean you CAN’T fly to your destination if things are looking up but knowing that you *can* get there whether you can get on a plane or not is a huge bonus. I’ve heard from multiple couples who have told me that they WILL be here for their elopement – even if it means a two day drive to make it happen. Having that option is awesome.
3. Hire an Experienced Elopement Photographer
Obviously I’m a little biased in this but that’s because I SEE the value in having someone guide you through this process who knows what they’re doing. As many weddings have turned into elopements I see photographers who shoot traditional weddings scrambling to figure out how to put together an awesome elopement for their couples. Find someone (whether that’s me or any number of the other amazing elopement photographers out there!) who can truly help you through this process, make sure you have any and all permits you need, help you plan activities that will make your day special, make sure you’re following all Leave No Trace guidelines, and know that you are in really good hands. Elopement photographers do SO MUCH more than just show up and shoot. We help you every step of the way.
4. Work with Vendors Local to your Elopement Location
Again, as someone who loves to travel this pains me a bit but honestly I think that, right now, its SUPER important to work with vendors (especially planners and photographers) who are up to date on local closures and regulations and have in depth knowledge of off-the-beaten-path places. With so many big parks (like Rocky Mountain National Park) closed or severely limiting access and events, having someone who knows all the best secret spots is worth its weight in gold. If you’re eloping in Alaska, hire someone in Alaska. If you’re eloping in Colorado, hire someone in Colorado (Hi! That’s me!). When things loosen up again this won’t be as important but right now that kind of local knowledge is invaluable.
5. Be Flexible
If this whole crisis has taught all of us anything its that life can change in an instant and the things that we thought were possible one day could be totally different the next. And that’s ok. If you’re eloping during Covid-19 it’s going to be super important to remember to roll with the punches and understand that you are getting married in an incredibly extraordinary time. Flexibility, open-mindedness, and the ability to go with the flow is key.
For as long as I can remember my husband and I have lived by the motto “Tell better stories.” and that absolutely applies to these crazy times we are living in right now. Maybe you had planned a 200+ person traditional wedding … but you ended up getting married on the side of a cliff or on top of a mountain or at a little cabin in the woods instead. Maybe instead of all those guests your wedding gets crashed by a moose or a bunch of mountain goats (which are way cuter and better behaved than most guests anyway). Maybe you end up with one hell of a story to tell your grandkids about how, in the midst of a pandemic, you threw out tradition and decided to get married in a wildly special way.
To all of you who have had your big weddings canceled by Covid, I’m sincerely sorry. I know it sucks. I also know that we can still make this day freaking incredible.
Stay healthy, friends!