Being a wedding photographer in California allows me the opportunity to photograph weddings of all sizes. From small and intimate elopements to grand wedding events, the most important thing about a wedding is love. In the years that I’ve been photographing weddings in the Los Angeles area, I’ve seen wedding trends come and go. An interesting trend that continues to gain in popularity is the increase in small, intimate elopements.
I wanted to share the wedding photography from Ariana and Niko’s gorgeous San Diego Elopement and share some of the advantages and disadvantages of eloping. Ariana and Niko chose to elope and had a ceremony at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. I was so pleased to be their photographer.
The Beauty of Elopements
I love elopements, and many of my wedding photography clients do as well. Not only are they a way to save money, but they are intimate and personal. Your wedding day should reflect you and your love. Not everyone is interested in a huge wedding. People who are more private or reserved may prefer a small intimate wedding or elopement. Here are a few of the things I love about photographing elopements.
Elopements Are Intimate
A wedding is about two people uniting into one and celebrating their new life together. With an elopement, the only people who need to be there are you, your partner, your wedding photographer, and a wedding officiant. For couples who want their vows to be private and personal, an elopement is a perfect option. There’s something intensely beautiful and romantic about saying your vows only to each other. When you don’t have to worry about anyone else other than your beloved, it shifts the focus of your wedding day onto your love.
Elopements Save Money
One attractive option of an elopement is that it can save a significant amount of money. Today, the staggering cost of a 21st-century wedding can feel overwhelming. But, if you’re not entertaining hundreds of people, you don’t have to worry about paying for a big party and an opulently catered meal. You can still meet up with friends and family and have fun, but when you eliminate the formal sit-down portion of a wedding, you remove a significant financial burden.
Elopements Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Some of my wedding couples who decided to elope did so because it lowers the stress and anxiety of wedding planning. Families are more complicated today, when you account for divorces and second marriages. It can be terribly stressful to manage family expectations when there are multiple sets of parents, step-parents and extended relatives. For some brides and grooms, rather than incur the wrath of disappointed family members, many couples avoid the drama entirely by eloping.
Wear What Makes You Happy
One of the best things about eloping is that you can wear whatever you want to wear! If you want to get married in jeans and a t-shirt, you can! If your dream wedding dress is a color that isn’t white, there’s no reason why you can’t wear any color you want. With an elopement, there are no restrictions or expectations. Get married barefoot on a sunny California beach if you want! The only limit is your imagination.
Elopements Can Happen Anywhere
Location wise you can choose to have your elopement almost anywhere. You can have your wedding ceremony on the top of a mountain or pick your favorite beach. You can find places that are more unique, like deep within the forest or out in the desert. When I photographed Melanie and Anthony’s Joshua Tree State Park Elopement, they found the perfect Bed and Breakfast near the park for their intimate ceremony, then we were able to focus on capturing interesting photographs with the majestic Joshua Tree State Park as a backdrop.
Instead of spending money on a big gathering, elopements make it easy to use that money to travel to have your wedding in your dream destination. Often, even including airfare, it’s still less expensive to travel to a special elopement location than to host a big wedding.
Have the Best of Both Worlds
One thing that is also popular is having an elopement and then having a party afterward! Rather than forgoing a large celebration, you can elope to your dream destination and then host a party with friends and family later on. When brides and grooms live far from family, this can be a great way to have your dream ceremony and still celebrate with loved ones.
When Not to Elope
As I mentioned, elopement isn’t for everyone. If you have a close relationship with friends and family and can’t imagine them not being by your side for your wedding vows, then an elopement might not be for you. If you have dreamed of the moment you walk down the aisle and imagine what it will be like to waltz across the dance floor together as husband and wife, then eloping might not be the best choice for you. Of course, it’s hard to avoid the pressure of the wedding industry. There is such a push for today’s trends and so many unnecessary expenses. It’s hard to step away from the idea of a big, beautiful, extravagant wedding. If you feel like you will regret not having an impressive event, then you might regret eloping instead of having a wedding.
Again, the best decision for your wedding is to make sure that you have the wedding of YOUR dreams and not anyone else’s.
Arianna & Niko’s Sunset Cliffs Elopement
I was the wedding photographer for Arianna and Niko’s intimate elopement at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in San Diego. Their wedding day was beautiful in its simplicity. Sun, sand, sea and love. That’s all they needed. Arianna wore a beautiful gown but kicked her shoes off and had her toes in the sand after the ceremony concluded. The thing I loved most about photographing their San Diego elopement was capturing their love and joy. It was an honor to document them on their wedding day.
If you are considering an elopement to California, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would be happy to talk more about any questions or concerns you may have.