When planning a day-specific event, like a wedding, things mayyyy not go exactly how you want them to. Elopement plans are no different. Life happens, weather happens, and memory slips happen in the excitement of all the goings on. I've been photographing elopements for years now, and I can confidently say: even when things don't go exactly the way you imagined them - you can still have a freakin epic day! WITH the right attitude!
What I love about adventure elopements is you have so much flexibility to turn the day around: to pivot, and then to embrace the freedom eloping comes with. Traditional weddings tend to be more rigid, with little room for error as it is a production of sorts. Elopements at their core are so much more relaxed. They make getting married much more of an experience rather than an event. However, there are still little things that can get in the way of having a relaxing elopement day. And there are a few tips I have for preparing in advance; so you know how to handle unexpected mishaps or changes to your elopement.
Tips on how to Prepare for a stress free elopement day
In the event that things don't go exactly according to your plan: having some ideas on ways you could pivot can be so beneficial! While you don't want to overcomplicate things and stress about unnecessary scenarios, here are a few tips on how to prepare in case you need to change your elopement plans.
Have backup locations just in case
Adventure elopements really are at the mercy of mother nature. No matter the season, there is always a chance of the weather not cooperating how we want it to! Most outdoor locations typically are overseen by some ordinance. Whether that be the state parks or national parks, or national forests: we are not always entitled to use the space. Even if you have a permit, things can happen that would require the area to be closed off to visitors (usually for weather, or another safety issue). While those situations are rare, having some backup location ideas to refer back to is ideal! I usually provide my couples with at least a couple options, and sometimes we go to multiple in one day!
Prepare for tough weather
As I mentioned above: we really don't have much control in this area. There's no predicting the perfect day to get married with your ideal weather conditions. Therefore, choosing to embrace the mindset of adaptability when it comes to this area is KEY to feeling relaxed on your wedding day. When you shift your perspective to "this is an ADVENTURE with my favorite person" it really changes things. You won't be as focused on the negative, therefore enjoying your elopement experience so much more.
Martha and Nick are the perfect example. We had an entirely different plan leading up to their day, until that morning. The weather was looking rough in the northern White Mountain region, but in the southern area, it was looking just fine. So instead, we ended up pivoting their entire day and all of their plans. That is also the benefit of having a local photographer, because I knew exactly where to go and what to do. The day ended up being even better than we ever imagined.
Hire vendors local to the area, or with knowledge of the area
If you just read Martha and Nick's little story above, then you knew this was coming. This can make a world of difference in your elopement planning AND day of experience! Hiring vendors who are familiar with where you will be getting married makes things go so much smoother. It can put your mind at ease knowing they (probably) won't get lost. And they can also assist YOU in preparing for your day. While I photograph most of my elopements around my New England home, I also travel for clients in other states + countries! But I make sure to arrive days in advance to scope out the area and familiarize myself with the locations and logistics.
Whatever you do, make sure that whoever you hire has your back. It's worth investing a little bit more, especially if you aren't familiar with the area yourself.
Get Organized - Make lists!
Even the best of us have brain farts y'all. We want to think we can remember everyyy last but of information on our lists. But the reality is, we all are capable of forgetting - especially around new experiences like getting married! Most often this is the first time a couple is doing something like this, and there are a lot of things to remember (and forget!) While I provide my clients with detailed packing lists, it's important to make sure you AND your partner check it - TWICE! Items on your packing lists should be acquired weeks in advance if possible. And try and pack at least a couple days ahead of time so you're not rushing! It's so easy to leave something out of a bag last minute.
But with this said... remember that things happen. You may forget something, and that's ok! One of my brides forgot her vow book and didn't realize it until we got to the top of the mountain. Instead of dwelling on it, she said oh well, I will write down the things I remember since I wrote them this morning! And guess what? Their vows were still absolutely beautiful and emotional.
Here's another story for ya. One of my grooms forgot his shirt at the top of the mountain, and they definitely did not want to get married without that. So we pivoted. We went back to their airbnb, then did their first look and ceremony in a totally different location. It was even more perfect than they could have imagined.
Set your expectations from the start
Be intentional with letting go of control, and remind yourself that you're getting married and that's what matters most. Set your expectations from the start, and be sure to communicate that with your vendors (especially your photographer!) The best type of elopement days is when you completely let go and simply enjoy. In the end, you will remember the way you felt on your day. And trust me when I say, you will want those feelings to be relaxed, in the moment, and embracing each second with one another.
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