Growing up in North Carolina has truly given me many adventures to look forward to. I have lived in the mountains, the piedmont and the coast of North Carolina. My father was an ordained minister my whole life. Yes, I am a 'PK' - Preachers Kid. Not all of the stories told about preachers kids are true but we are different from most. I traveled a lot as a child into my teen years and we were always moving from one city to another. I attended three high schools, so I guess you can say I can make friends with anyone at the drop of a dime. It has also helped me navigate relationships in business and in my personal life. In a way, I'm thankful for the life I had as a kid. Being a drop of a dime relationship creator has strategically been beneficial as a wedding and elopement photographer. Especially when I get to travel with my couples. Going on an adventure with me while I photograph every memory and I will say, I love church bells, barn weddings and sit down table settings with fine dining for my couples, but the adventurous, storyteller in me loves a good backdrop created by nature. The intimacy elopements give to a couple and a photographer is my ultimate passion. I crave meaningful photographs over everything else. It's the experience my couples go after and I am their to document it.
In 2022, I had the honor of photographing an elopement for a sweet couple who only brought thirty of their closest family and friends to Corolla, North Carolina. The weekend getaway was a spectacular trip. This is the North Carolina beach where Spanish mustangs live undisturbed in this formerly remote location for the last 400 years. To view this location and to stay there, you are to travel by 4X4 for miles down the beach to your beach home getaway. For 45 minutes we drove on the beach for this experience. We arrived on a Friday afternoon to mingle and prepare for their elopement on Saturday, and then we traveled home on that Sunday. During the elopement, I saw a mustang in the far off distance standing alone. Where the horse was standing was exactly the center-point area where we walked once the ceremony was over. Mother nature was working in our favor on this beautiful day. I was able to capture the mustang in the distance behind the couple kissing. The most beautiful experience and view while being a photographer. Considering an elopement but not sure it’s right for you? I get the hesitation! Don't overthink the process. Here are my 6 major benefits that come with eloping that you might not have thought of! Maybe this just might be what you need to decide if an elopement is right for the two of you.
1. You get to experience your wedding day fully. This is a really key reason why so many couples are choosing to elope or have a smaller celebration. Brides and grooms want to take control. They want their wedding day to be about their favorite things, in their favorite place, with their favorite people – rather than risking blurring the day into a whirlwind of things they felt pressured to do. Choosing to have a smaller celebration means focusing more on the quality of time spent with loved ones, and truly feeling present in every moment of the day. You’ll have time to take in the sights, sounds, and scents of the details you’ve lovingly chosen. You can immerse yourself in the atmosphere, and build a (relaxed) timeline of the day that revolves around your story – in whichever way is most meaningful to you. You’ll have the luxury of slowing down, breathing it all in, and genuinely engaging in heartfelt conversations and memory-making with the person (or people) there with you.” 2. Saved costs = more room to indulge for yourself Your wedding day is all about you and your fiancé, so why not elope and spend those extra dollars saved on florals and catering for all those guests and treat yourself?! Your wedding morning getting ready moments in your dream lingerie and robe will be memories that are cherished forever. You can even use the extra time you will have with your photographer as a wedding morning ‘boudoir’ shoot! This is a great extra special gift for your soon-to-be-spouse that will make the morning extra memorable.
3. You can have more privacy. One of the elements of large weddings that can cause a lot of anxiety or pressure for couples is the idea of entertaining and hosting such a wide group of people – all the while being at the very center of attention, all day. For those couples whose personalities are more introverted, or whose story has been more independent, it can be a huge relief to know that your vows will be heard only by your closest loved ones, and that you won’t feel the need to justify your wedding choices to a large group of (possibly quite opinionated) people. You can choose the timeline with which you share your news more widely. You can strip away the anxiety, expectations, or pressure you feel from the world around you, and focus on making your wedding day truly private and authentic to you. 4. You can choose to celebrate how you want to. More and more couples do first looks in recent years, so they can avoid the hour-long photo shoot right after the ceremony and instead both start enjoying the reception right away. Elopements create a similar opportunity but in the biggest way possible. More time to save and budget, and more time to plan at a speed and pace you like. Many couples quickly realize it’s a lot harder to get all the guests you want to RSVP “yes” for a “regular party” than it is for a wedding; so we still see couples having that wedding event after elopements so they can involve all the people they care about, but just more on their own terms and timeline.
5. You can pare things back. “Many couples love the idea of declaring their love to one another through marriage – but don’t actually feel that excited about planning a complicated, elaborate gathering of people, and that’s ok! Just because some people grow up dreaming of planning their wedding, and you don’t feel that way, doesn’t mean there is anything less special about your celebration or that you should feel any guilt or shame. Maybe it doesn’t fit your lifestyle right now, or your personalities, and that’s absolutely fine. So many couples these days grow up with multicultural circles of friends and families spread across continents, and the logistics of getting everyone in one place, and pleasing them all, can feel overwhelming. There could be a personal or professional reason to keep the planning timeline shorter and simpler – or perhaps you have a family or community much too large to realistically invite everyone whose feelings wouldn’t be hurt by not being there. Whatever the reason, you have every right to want your wedding planning to be easy, carefree and light: and for many couples, their definition of that is to elope with their best friends and closest family only.
and lastly... 6. You can forget about the societal pressure in regard to attire. I was created for the bride that doesn’t care about following trends or traditions and is all about the unique and unconventional wedding looks. For an elopement you can go even beyond that, and truly wear what you feel your most beautiful self in without worrying about living up to society’s pressure about if it’s too casual, too formal, or doesn’t match the venue! My favorite elopement options are a short lace mini dress or a cute two-piece lace tee and silk skirt with the smallest detail that still shines and compliments classy. At the heart of your photographs is your story.