Fall Wedding Inspiration at Trinity River Audubon Center | Elopement Photographer
This was Junebug Wedding’s first collaborative editorial shoot. I love everyone behind the Junebug blog and am so excited we got to work on this together! Here is a little write up from their post:
Leather jackets, warm, rich florals, and all the textures – that means one thing: fall is here. We are so excited to share our first-ever wedding inspiration shoot designed by the Junebug team. With the help of some of Dallas’ most talented vendors, this shoot showcases our favorite trends for this season’s weddings. Here is a little more insight of the inspiration behind the shoot from one of the stylists and our very own Editor-in-Chief, Carrie Schwab.
“The inspiration behind this shoot is two-fold! First of all, I love warm, autumnal colors and that feeling you get when you think of fall – cozy and intimate. My second bit of inspiration comes from a few of my favorite trends in weddings this year such as edgy details like leather jackets and asymmetrical florals. I wanted to choose two totally different design concepts for this shoot because I love when contrasting themes such as rustic minimalism or bohemian glam are thrown together. By pairing warm and cozy colors with edgy details, we were able to add a new twist to the look of a fall wedding while still maintaining those intimate, cozy feels!”
An intimate wedding is a great way to feel more connected and present on one of the most important days of your life. Many people think an “intimate wedding” is the same as a “small wedding.” However, you can still have an intimate feel, even with a larger guest list. There is a big movement toward more intimate feeling weddings and elopements within an industry that has become more and more about lavish, expensive, showy celebrations the past few decades. As someone who truly values the authentic connection and moments that occur during weddings, I welcome this change. Of course, the most obvious way to make a wedding more intimate is to have a smaller guest list, but not everyone has that luxury. I’m going to highlight some other options you may want to look into as well.
Get Ready Together
Getting ready for your wedding takes up a good portion of the day. Many times, I have experienced brides and grooms prepping with friends and immediate family, getting stressed, and trying to take care of everyone but themselves. There is certainly something to be said for spending that time together. Don’t think this means you can’t also have a first look either. I’ve seen couple get ready up to the point of putting the dress on and still having an emotional first look together.
Have a Private First Look
First looks can be a great way to experience a very emotional moment, without all eyes being on you. I don’t think first looks are for everyone though. I like the idea of having a last moment together before two becomes one, and you can do that without seeing each other. Try getting together for a prayer or just to talk about whats happening. You can be in two adjoining rooms, around a corner, or get back to back (my personal favorite). This is also really great for couples who tend to get nervous and can have a calming effect when needed.
Schedule Alone Time
This is a big one for me. I encourage all my couples to schedule time before (if a first look is involved) or after the ceremony where they can get away from everyone else, slow things down, and take in the moment together. This usually also doubles as a great time for candid portraits because they can explore an area around the location while I capture what happens.
Shrink the Bridal Party
Consider having less, if any, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Many times your friends will enjoy the day more as guests anyway. The smaller the bridal party is, the less crowded and time consuming your prep, ceremony, and photo experiences with be. If you’re finding it to hard to narrow it down, try having your party seated during the ceremony. That way it’s just the two of you at the altar.
Create a Personalized Ceremony Layout
Think outside the box when it comes to your ceremony. For example, try having your ceremony in the round with you as the center or have your guest sit on casual furniture. This will set the tone for the event and let everyone know that it’s ok to relax and have fun.
Use a Close Friend as Your Officiant
Find a close friend or family member to officiate your ceremony. The best ceremonies I’ve experienced almost always have this element in common. It’s so much more personal and entertaining when someone you are comfortable with is performing this task. One of my favorites is when a parent or sibling does the honors.
Involve Your Guests in the Ceremony
Another way to get things feeling more intimate is to involve your guests in the ceremony. You can have them recite a poem or scripture together, pray over you, take turns telling stories, thank people by name, etc. Just make sure it fits with the vibe you want the ceremony to have. Personally, I love it when the guests participate in a ceremony recessional or exit. It’s usually a lot more fun and successful than exits at the end of the night and makes for better pictures as well!
Exchange Private Vows
There is no law that says you have to exchange vows in front of anyone else or even at your own ceremony. You may want to exchange vows privately after the ceremony in a place of your choosing. This usually makes for a more emotional and direct exchange. It’s also a great opportunity to create really impactful photographs. Another option is to simply have your ceremony without guests and meet them afterwards at the reception.
Make Time to Eat Together
Schedule time to eat dinner together. This is another big one for me. So often I see the bride and groom’s cold plates sitting untouched at the end of the night. Be sure to sit down together and eat uninterrupted. Plan about the same amount of time it takes you to eat out somewhere on a date night where you can savor the food and have good conversation. Resist the old school of thought that you are obligated to go around the room and thank everyone personally. This is what “Thank You” cards and guest favors are for (not to mention that you invited them). Slow down and enjoy the evening together.
Plan a More Casual Reception
Plan a more casual reception with things like open seating, lounge areas, and more of a cocktail, horderve style approach to dinner. For my own wedding, we had a buffet style smorgasbord of awesome food and open seating inside and outside our small french hotel venue. Everyone gets to mingle and interact this way. Again, it creates a mood of informality, as well as speeding up the timeline and allowing more time for dancing and fun.
Create Personalized Guest Favors
Taking the time to create something personal to each of your guests can go a long way. It can be something as simple as a thank you card or something as elaborate as their favorite homemade desert. A little goes a long way and people are very appreciative of any kind of acknowledgement.
Have a Surprise Wedding
This is something that is becoming more popular. Invite your closest friends and family to some sort of get together and surprise them with nuptials. This option is not for the faint of heart, but it can make for some very memorable moments!
Consider a Destination Wedding
I can’t recommend destination weddings enough if you are looking for an intimate event. There is something about getting everybody in an exotic setting that loosens everyone up and puts them in a great mood. After all, you’re basically on vacation! The travel and time commitment also assures that your guest list will contain only the people who really want to be there. You can easily choose to make the whole event a little longer and more inclusive because people are usually staying in the same area. For example, you can invite everyone to an informal rehearsal dinner the night before or out to a nearby afterparty the night of.
Consider Eloping Somewhere Special
This is my personal favorite option. If you really want to experience your big day in the most intimate, personal, and memorable way, travel to someplace magical and go on an adventure. Try exchanging vows on the beach in Iceland or in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. How about just the two of you at San Francisco’s City Hall or on top of a mountain in Switzerland? There are so many amazing options and I love to help plan unforgettable experiences with my couples! Check out some tips on how to plan an elopement here.
The whole appeal of an intimate wedding is really the personal moments and connections that are possible with them. Big weddings just don’t have as many of those opportunities but there are things you can do to tighten the experience, no matter what size the guest list. If you are considering having an intimate wedding or elopement somewhere amazing, I’d love to tell your story and capture every special moment. Get in touch and let’s get to know each other!
Is there anything better than long golden grass dancing in the wind and warm sunlight? Maybe, but I have yet to find it! Believe it or not, this was in the dead of winter. These two wouldn’t let the cold get them down though. They have one of the cutest stories and I have heard and I had so much fun getting to know them better. Both are actors and met while on set. They played a couple who were going through some difficult times. Thankfully, art definitely did NOT imitate life in this instance. As you can see, they know how to “work it” in front of a camera. I felt like I was photographing a fashion editorial at times (Never a bad thing in my opinion!). Other times, I was struck at the intimacy they were willing to share. These little moments, looks, gestures, are what I love about capturing couples. I also have to say, I am absolutely in love with Sahara’s yellow dress in this grass and wind. It really made me think of being in the African savanna. One day I’ll get there, but for now, this will do nicely.
Rocky Mountain National Park Couple | Colorado Elopement Photographer
These two are such a joy. Alena is an amazing fashion blogger at Modaprints and picked out some gorgeous clothes for their photoshoot. They drove up to from Denver and met us in Estes Park, Colorado. We got to know each other better over breakfast, food is always a priority when traveling, and then headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s only a couple of miles to the entrance and it didn’t take long to find an amazing little spot off the road. It was a cold windy day but there wasn’t any snow where the sun hit in the valleys. Speaking of the sun, it was shining through the grove of aspen trees we found and made for some dreamy photos. After lots of laughing and piggy back rides, we headed up to a higher elevation, Bear Lake to be exact. It was even colder up here and the snow was a few inches deep in some places. Alena changed into a beautiful gold dress and it really popped against the winter backdrop. It was pretty frigid so we didn’t travel too far from the lake. The great thing about adventurous couples like this, is that they don’t mind a little discomfort if it means makes memories and having a fun experience. Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect location for an intimate adventure destination elopement or engagement. I cant wait to go back soon. If your interested in getting together in Colorado or somewhere else amazing, please come say hi!
To learn more about how to plan an adventurous engagement or elopement, check out these tips.
Intimate Fall Woodland Wedding | Intimate Wedding Photographer
Ray and Roxana celebrated the beginning of their new lives together on a beautiful Autumn day in Aubrey, Texas. There were many emotional touches that made things feel authentic and personal. After getting ready, the two closed their eyes and met back to back for a pre-ceremony prayer. The ceremony took place in a clearing on the edge of the woods that were filled with fall colors. The couple’s friend played a song that Ray, a musician, wrote just for Roxana’s walk down the aisle. Roxana carried a bouquet that complimented the fall foliage surrounding them. After a ceremony with lots of laughter and tears, we took time to head into the woods and enjoy the sunset. I love to use this time as an opportunity to slow things down and let the couple enjoy being together. Roxana and Ray also wanted to use this time to privately exchange vows that each had written. They read to each other as the last rays of sun set over the trees. It was the end of a wonderful day and the beginning of a fun night of communion and dancing. Check out tips on how to plan your own intimate wedding here.
How To Plan A Destination Elopement | Adventure Elopement Photographer
Planning an intimate elopement
Elopements are special. There is nothing quite like saying your vows in a place that you are in awe of. There’s no need to worry about the venue, meal, or how the guests are getting along. It’s just the two of you and whoever you deem worthy enough to help out and capture the moments. While I think elopement planning tends to be much easier to execute, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind when starting out.
Choosing the perfect destination
This is certainly one of the most important decisions you will make. It really does affect every other aspect of the day. A good rule of thumb is to start by asking whether you would prefer somewhere that already has meaning for the two of you, or a new location that you will make new memories at. You really can’t go wrong either way, but for the more sentimental, going to a place that already holds importance can add value to the experience. A favorite vacation spot from childhood, the place you first realized you loved each other, or even retracing an ancestors steps, are all great options. Personally, I prefer going someplace you’ve always dreamed about; that way each and every moment spent traveling and exploring will have such great meaning and importance attached to it. Having a photographer you trust with you to preserve those moments and tell your story will be the ultimate icing on top of your adventure cake. (See below for some of my favorite destination elopement locations!)
The best time to elope
There are multiple factors involved in choosing what time of year to elope. Of course, the biggest factor is your location and the weather. For example, if you are not used to cold weather but are set on a mountain ceremony, you might want to plan something in the summer. It’s also smart to think about the time of year in terms of crowds. Many national parks and vacation destinations have peak times of the year when they are can most crowded. One of the best things about eloping is the intimacy involved, having to fight with strangers to get a photo next to a popular spot or having to say your vows over whistles and congratulatory screams from passers by is anything but ideal. The right photographer can help suggest the best times of day and show you areas off the beaten path.
Planning and timelines
The planning any kind of wedding can be stressful. We care so much about the day being perfect. Elopements usually make this a lot easier because of their spontaneous nature. However, you do need to be prepared to expect the unexpected. It’s a great idea to have you’r vow exchange spot picked out ahead of time, and to have a plan B and even C spot selected. The time of day you want the ceremony to take place will basically determine your schedule for the day. It’s good to know the sunrise and sunset times, but don’t forget to ask your photographer their opinion on when the best light will be. If there are trees or mountains involved, those times can get tricky. I also love the idea of making plans for a romantic late night dinner or intimate celebration afterwards. Find a special place and make reservations. Just be sure to leave enough time for all the unforeseen circumstances that can crop up. Of course, you don’t want a timeline in the traditional sense. Just a few guidelines of when you should be where in order to accomplish your vision. The goal is to relax and take in the day as it happens.
Choosing a wedding dress
This may seem pretty obvious, but you’ll want to be prepared for the elements; your dress should reflect this as well. However, I never recommend sacrificing style for functionality. In the long run, I think you you’ll regret it. Try to find a happy medium. In most cases, you can wait to change into your dress at the location. This also gives the chance for some incredible first look images! If your destination features an extreme climate it can be tempting to not consider your comfort and try to “tough it out,” while that’s certainly an option, I usually prefer that such an important moment not be rushed. You will want to be thinking about each other and the once in a lifetime moments you are experiencing, not how miserable the wind, rain, or heat feels. Accessories like coats or hats can be well thought out ahead of time to compliment your dress. Elopements also give you the opportunity to think outside the box and look at options that might be a little too “out there” for a traditional wedding.
Who to invite
This is a very personal choice you have to make. Obviously, elopements are usually very intimate and many people opt only to bring a photographer. This works great because they are able to truly focus on each other and still share their story with family and friends. However, sometimes there are people that just have to be there. In this case, it can be helpful to give these people a role in the day. They can act as an officiant, carry essentials, be in charge of hair and makeup, or even be crowd control (those pesky, but well meaning tourists mentioned earlier). Not only can this take a little weight off your shoulders, it makes them feel more connected and part of the day.
Finding the right photographer
I may be a bit biased, but this is really the most important decision you will make. Your photographer will determine the majority of your memories of this experience, and how the story looks and feels for everyone who were not there with you. You should choose somebody whom is enthusiastic about not just the location, but the spirit of the event. I love getting to know my couples, and telling their story in a way that reflects what is important to them. I want you to see yourselves in the photography. I often hear people say that their images help fill in the blanks of their experience and that’s important to me. I don’t want to you to look back at an image and think about how you were being posed or asked to perform an action. I want to encourage you to be adventurous and have fun, then capture what happens authentically. I also believe in photographers helping out when it comes to traveling. Part of the reason I love elopements and destination weddings, is that I get to explore with couples. We end up collaborating on the places we go and the things we experience. It’s a really powerful thing that plugs me into the story even more.
I hope this has you dreaming of your perfect day. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch. I’m always up for a new adventure with fun couples! Speaking of adventures, here are some destinations I think would be amazing options for an adventurous elopement:
Looking forward to 2018, I’m hoping to do a greater number of adventure elopements. It’s something I really love, but have not gotten to do as much as I’d like. I also hope to mark a few more adventurous destinations off my list. Yosemite, Zion, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Great Sand Dunes, and Mount Rainier National Parks all come to mind. As well as Scottland, Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, Hawaii, Japan, Spain, etc. Here’s to the new year and to all the couples sharing it in amazing places!
Thomas and Josh are amazing people. They wanted their wedding to be full of fun, friends, and dancing. That doesn’t mean the day didn’t have lots of sweet emotional moments. The grooms were surrounded by their family while getting ready with lots of special details and matching navy suits. The ceremony started just after sunset. The two said their own vows and had everyone laughing and crying the happiest tears. The fun continued long into the night with drag performances, dancing, and amazing friends.
East Village, Manhattan Engagement | New York City Wedding Photographer
When I first met David and LeElle, they told me about how they met and fell in love in New York City, and I knew we had to do their engagement session in NYC. Here is their love story in their own words:
“We met on December 15, 2015, in New York, after matching on JSwipe (a Jewish dating app) (of course). At David’s suggestion, we went to a bar in the Lower East Side for lychee martinis. LeElle enjoyed the date so much that she had three drinks . . . and she hates lychee martinis.
We dated for over a year before moving to Dallas, where David promptly bought a big red truck. Then, while on a trip to Israel, David proposed at sunset on a rooftop in Jerusalem. LeElle thought she said yes, but she was crying so hard that she really just nodded.”
Emily and I flew out to New York for a three day weekend in September to meet up with David and LeElle for their engagement session. Emily and I both love New York, but have never actually had a chance to go together until this trip, and we had an absolute blast. David and LeElle were so much fun! We started off on the Highline in Chelsea early Saturday morning, then David and LeElle went to catch up on some sleep while Emily and I headed for Central Park Zoo; later that day we met up for some more photos. LeElle had this great idea to take some pictures in the Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotel. LeElle is a great lawyer, but even she couldn’t talk her way into the Boom Boom Room for us to take some quick photos. So we had to move on to plan B, we walked around the Meatpacking District and their old stomping grounds in the East Village. The day ended on the roof of LeElle’s old apartment building, which had a killer view of downtown. Emily and I had such great day with LeElle and David, and I can’t wait for their wedding in March!
Lake Como, Italy Destination Wedding | Lake Como Wedding Photographer
Lauren and Stefano’s Lake Como wedding was an all time favorite. They met in Dallas but their relationship progressed from Texas to Los Angeles and from California to Italy. While in Venice, Stefano proposed in San Marco Square. Therefore, it made perfect sense that before the couple moved to New York City, they would get married on the shore of Lake Como. Keeping with the international theme, family from the U.S., Great Britain, and Italy joined them for a weekend full of amazing food, wine, and laughter. The weekend began with a rehearsal dinner and welcome party at La Laconda del Cantiere, where Stefano’s two brothers surprised him with their arrival. After a beautiful four course dinner, the party continued on at Relais Villa Vittoria. This beautiful old Villa is located on the western side of the lake in the town of Laglio, famous as George Clooney’s home away from home. The wedding day forecast had predicted rain, but when Lauren woke up the weather was perfect. Following the lakeside ceremony held in English and Italian, the bride and groom enjoyed dinner and dancing into the night with their guests. If you are interested in your own intimate destination wedding, check out these planning tips.