If I had to pick one part of this elopement experience that I was most concerned about, it would be this- choosing vendors!! If you haven’t read part 1 and 2 of this series, check them out, here!
Now, the thing with our situation is that we wanted to elope, yet still have wedding-like details and photos. A lot of couples who choose to elope choose to do so for the simplicity of it- which is totally awesome. Run off to the courthouse, sign some papers, boom! You’re done. But for us, we chose to elope so that we could have that special romantic moment alone, and so we could give our full attention to each other on the day we become one. For us, that still deserves some attention to detail, and proper documentation not only in the form of photographs, but also video.
Separating our ceremony from our reception is the easiest way to look at it. We’re essentially still doing “all of the things”, just split up into two occasions in order to get the most out of each. Therefore, it was top priority for us to make our wedding ceremony perfectly catered to us.
So we know at this point that we’re hiking up a mountain, and the only thing on our side for finding vendors for our elopement is the fact that this is a growing trend, so people don’t look at us QUITE as crazy when we tell them what our needs/wants are. So I’m going to list off each vendor we have booked so far, and how we went about finding them!
- Amy & Josh with Amy Marie Events
I got SO lucky with Amy and Josh, and to be honest, being in the same professional niche is what helped me out with a lot of these finds, but you can easily do some simple searches on your own for this! Roman and I were blessed enough to photograph Amy & Josh’s wedding a couple years back, and I’ve worked with them on several occasions for other weddings and events. I reached out to see if they’d be willing to help us on this wild adventure and they excitedly agreed, which was CRUCIAL to me! I don’t want to hire someone who isn’t excited to work with us, and that’s an awesome tip for anyone who is wedding planning!!
Amy has been amazingly helpful with so many aspects of this, from finding a baker for our cake, to making sure we follow all of the laws in order to have this done safely and properly. A lot of times your photographer can help you with these things too if you don’t want to splurge on a planner- just ask them!
Josh is also going to marry us, so 2. Officiant- check! and Amy is a floral designer, so 3. Florist- check!
That being said, I think the best bet for you finding an officiant is to find a friend who is willing to becoming certified in that state for you. In our case, Josh was the perfect person because he will be joining us on the hike with Amy anyways, and we wanted the least amount of people possible!
I found Nomi through insta hashtags! I mentioned in my last blog post that instagram hashtags are a great way to find wedding vendors, but especially photographers, since Instagram is a visual platform. Once I knew we wanted to get married somewhere in the Carolina’s (we were unsure at first), I just searched #southcarolinaweddingphotographer on Instagram and boom- hundreds of options (I recommend this for any initial search for your elopement vendors!!) I instantly fell in love with Nomi’s warm tones and joyful style! Nomi is based out of Greenville, SC, which is where we met her for our engagement session this past summer, and where I did my hair trial run- making Greenville the definite getting ready spot. We fell in love with it!
Therefore, 3. hair- check! We went with Blend Salon in Greenville, SC- a beautiful quaint little salon and my hair looked better than I ever imagined it could during the trial!! I am doing my own makeup, because I’m actually pretty good at it!! (also extremely particular..)
5. Rilee Jackson Visuals– Videography
Sorry ya’ll, I cheated here too. Rilee Jackson is one of my best friends since high school. And when I decided I wanted a wedding video, I knew exactly who to ask. But book your photographer first, and then ask them who they recommend! And if that fails, insta hashtags will never do ya wrong!
6. Cake- Ellyn with Fat Rabbit Cakes
This is where having a planner comes in handy! Amy found us the sweetest baker for our mini cake! We set up a phone call with her just a few weeks ago and Amy is going to bring it down to Greenville with her, so we don’t have to!
7. Calligraphy- Molly with Letterful RVA
Same deal here! I’ve worked with Molly before on styled shoots and I absolutely love her work. We wanted more of a “we eloped!” announcement suite with name cards for detail photos to pull everything together, rather than a full set of invitations… which is actually a decision I just made on a whim last week!
8. Dress- Here & Now Bridal in VA Beach
I. Love. This. Place. I just got my dress back from alterations and omg!!!! I want to wear it ALL THE TIME!! Here’s the cool thing about Here & Now Bridal- your dress is completely one of a kind. They take the dresses that didn’t make the cut in the showroom, meaning the price gets chopped down (mine was originally $2,400, but I got it for $500!). There is NOTHING wrong with it- it’s just that technically you’re buying the sample! The only bummer is that the dress has to fit you pretty well, because it’s only made in the one size. So I highly recommend only trying on dresses that are your size or one size smaller or bigger!
Well I think that’s it, guys! We are officially only a month and a half away, but who’s counting?! I hope this post helps you book the best vendors for your special adventure elopement!!