Elopement Ideas + Inspiration


Hey friends! First, let's make sure we're on the same page about what elopement IS. Modern elopements are no longer last minute secretive rushed run-off-and-get-married-plans. Quite the opposite, really! Here is how I define elopement:


Just the two of you or an intimate group, these wedding celebrations can take place in a private garden (we have one to show you!), your backyard, a family farm, a local spot you fell in love with together, a quaint inn, a mountain top, a tropical beach... Wherever it is, we create the space for it to be about THE TWO OF YOU and document it in an authentic and meaningful way.

Are you thinking of choosing a less traditional route? Need a way to make your wedding plans pandemic proof? We want to help you take out the stress and literally create a day (or more!) that is filled with the things you choose to do, the memories you choose to make, and the rituals or traditions that are meaningful to you as a couple.



First, let's bust a couple of myths about elopement:


MYTH #1: No one can be there.


FALSE! Elopements that we've seen be able to transcend the stress of a big wedding day have twenty five people or less. You can have anywhere from just the two of you, to just immediate family, to family and your best friends, the list goes on.... You can customize when and how people join you on your special day however you'd like! A lot of couples choose to do their vows + ceremony alone, and then have some people join them for a dinner celebration. There are COUNTLESS ways to do this, and we're here to help you craft your dream day!



MYTH #2: Elopements only last a couple of hours.


​No way! This is your wedding day. The anniversary date you'll have forever. Don't sell yourself short on this. You want to look back on this day and remember the fullness and beauty that you two crafted together. Whether it starts with snuggling in your pjs on the couch with coffee, or taking a morning dip in the ocean, YOU get to plan and make your dreams for the day come true. It can be a full day, or even two. You deserve to have an experience that only the two of you could dream up.


MYTH #3: We have to take an 8 hour hike to an epic location and camp in the wilderness.


Honestly, this one always got me. The elopements I saw, the couples were wearing hiking backpacks and head lamps (and I have hiked a mountain with a couple, and I'm here for it!) BUT that does not always have to be the case. Remember, this is about you, your interests, your dream day. If that includes rooftop views of the city, being on a kayak in the middle of a river, your favorite place to stargaze, in an amazing garden, at sunset on your favorite beach, or under a tree in your yard -- it doesn't matter! You get to decide how the day goes.



If you have more questions about what your elopement may or may not entail, I'm here to answer any of them. To help with some inspiration, I'm going to show you a timeline of a full day elopement to get the wheels turning for you!



Here's a Virginia example, since this is local to me:

[but remember, yours can look ANY way you want it to!]


Fiona & Ioane

Shenandoah Mountains | 10.21


10-HOUR ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE


Getting Ready Location: Fiona + Ioane's Boho Cabin Airbnb

Ceremony Location: Inspiring Mountain Overlook

Additional Portrait Location: Downtown Sperryville

Meal/Celebration Location: Dinner with Private Chef


6:30 am

~wake up, coffee, lite breakfast & couch snuggling in dimly lit living area

~getting ready - separate rooms

8:30 am

~emotional first-look & private moment

9:00 am -

~leave - travel in antique car on skyline drive

9:40 am -

~arrive at overlook and begin short hike

10:00 am -

~vows, first kiss, portraits at overlook

9:45 am -

~Head to Sperryville -taking scenic route with antique car

10:15 am

~Cute brunch spot, champagne bottle pop, mimosas, donuts, music, first dance, private moments

12:00 pm -

~(travel time included) head to small private farm for portraits with beautiful views, open fields, rolling hills, small pond with canoes, horseback riding

1:00 pm -

~leave for late lunch at rappahanock pizza kitchen

1:40 pm -

~Nap in hammock

~chill/play music/freshen up

4:00 pm -

~10 of the closest friends and family join in for craft cocktail hour

5:00 pm -

~Matt Waller plays chill dinner music while private chef Ryan Ross cooks meal

6:30pm -

~Eat beautiful meal together

7:15pm -

~Cake cutting

7:30 -

~Matt plays an hour and a half of fun dancing music

~Anyone who wants to toast to them can

9:30-

~Wildflower send off

~Pjs and a cup of tea


The goal here is true and pure joy between you as a couple. No full to the brim timelines of things you don't actually want to do but feel like you "should", or an overwhelming amount of people that you may or may not know very well. I know it bucks tradition a bit, but your wedding day is not for your parents, or what other people think you should do, it's for you. So make it reflect that. I know there are also people who DO truly want a big wedding. Maybe the pandemic has forced you to change to your plans. It can still be meaningful and beautiful!

If you want to talk through some of this with me, I'd love to. Reach out anytime with questions or ideas, I'd love to help. I created a list of 6 places that I shoot elopements with help designing the day. Check out that list here! I'm happy to answer more questions about this in the comments if you have them! Cheers to having the elopement day of your dreams!



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ABOUT ALI
Ali Hebert of Freebird Imagery is an elopement, intimate wedding, & lifestyle family photographer based in Northern Virginia and Southwest Florida. Ali also offers 1-on-1 mentoring for women in creative business.
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