Wedding photography always makes me emotional. But I've decided that adventure elopement photography is my one true love.
As a wedding photographer in Delaware, I've thoroughly enjoyed capturing the love of couples on the most romantic day of their lives. Weddings are a truly spectacular experience where you're given the liberty to plan an entire day around how much you love your partner. As an elopement photographer, I've discovered that more intimate weddings strip away all the stresses of your typical wedding. You don't have to worry about what anyone else thinks; it's just you and your partner. Nothing else matters.
The wedding of Kelley and Josh was the first elopement that I planned, coordinated, officiated, photographed, and recorded. It was a magical day that left everyone involved joyous (and just a little bit tearful).
Let's walk through the process that brought us to the union of Kelley and Josh.
Planning an Adventure Elopement
Kelley and I met by complete happenstance. She posted in a Facebook group looking for a Pennsylvania wedding photographer for an elopement. I had been considering the idea of doing all-inclusive elopement packages so I commented that I would plan, coordinate, and officiate her wedding for the price of just photography and videography. It was my first time, and I wanted to try it out to see if it's something I wanted to offer in the future. She sent me a Facebook message and we hit it off immediately.
She told me that she wanted to get married in two months and wanted it to happen somewhere in the mountains. Only herself, her future husband, and her future step-daughter would be there.
With that information, I got started. I knew we had to first nail down a location. Everything else we needed to plan relied on wherever the wedding would take place. I wrote up all of the checklists and to do lists we needed to keep us on track along with a list of AirBnbs to look at.
I then scheduled a dress shopping date for us. I didn't want her to go dress shopping alone, and I figured that would be a great opportunity to get together, get to know each other, and to do engagement photos. We live about three hours apart. The consultant we had couldn't believe that we had just met!
K&B Bridals was phenomenal to work with! They helped us find a dress that she could walk out the store with and Kelley couldn't have loved her dress more.
After we picked the dress, we went back to her house to pick up Josh and his daughter for photos. Amara was such a delightful ball of energy. She kept asking if she could play with me, so I ended up playing dolls on the floor with her for a while.
Before we knew it, it was the day before the wedding. My husband and I packed up our car with gear and drove what ended up being over 6 hours to the AirBnb (these Delaware photographers travel!). Once we got there, we brought in the supplies and decorations we needed for the next day. We checked in on Kelley and Josh and there wasn't an ounce of stress between them. That's the beauty of an elopement!
Both Justin and I got roped into playtime with Amara again. Amara took a quick liking to Justin and became his best buddy for the next 24 hours. Justin and I headed back to our own AirBnb so we could relax before the big day!
The next morning, we went back to Kelley and Josh's place. We watched Barbie with Amara and Josh while Kelley showered and prepped her hair upstairs. Together, we went out into the woods behind the house and chose a spot for the arch. Justin and I put it together, and we were happy to see it again. It was the very same arch we got married in front of almost two years ago. My father crafted it by hand and it's a beautiful structure.
Once that was set up, Justin went back to our place. Josh went off to his groomer's appointment. I scheduled a haircut and beard trim for him to feel pampered and relaxed while Kelley got ready at the AirBnb. Justin then went out to eat with Josh to keep him occupied.
With Josh out of the house, Kelley started working on her hair and make up after Amara's grandmother came over to watch her.
They didn't intentionally pick an AirBnb close to Josh's mother, but it worked out perfectly. Josh's mom also got to help him get ready later, which she didn't get to do at his first wedding.
Kelley and I chatted while she got ready, and Amara would sneak into her room to try the mirror on for size!
As Kelley got ready, she called different members of her family. They got to watch her transform into a beautiful bride. It was a wonderful way to include them into her day.
Once she was ready, we did a grand reveal with Amara. Amara was so excited to see Mama Kelley all dressed up like a princess!
Until this moment, we didn't think Amara really understood what was happening. She's only three, but once Mama Kelley put on her fancy dress, she started to get an idea of how important this day was.
Then, we did bridal portraits (including Amara in a few!).
When Amara wasn't in the photos, I had her help out as my "assistant." Assistants had to stand next to me and tell Mama Kelley when to smile.
At this point, we were ahead of schedule. So we told the boys to come on back early! We tucked Kelley into the upstairs bedroom so Josh could get ready downstairs.
His mom got emotional when she helped him put on his tie and suspenders.
Then we went back outside to do grooms portraits. And of course Amara was excited to pose with daddy!
We then did "no look" photos. I asked them to say something special to each other while their backs were turned.
At this point, Justin took out the drone to get some shots, and Amara decided she did NOT like the drone. So the device was stored out of sight for any time Amara would be in photos.
The Wedding of Kelley & Josh
We were ahead of schedule and ready to roll. That's the beautiful of intimate weddings; you can change the schedule as you go. There was no reason to wait around and they didn't want to wait to get married, so why would we?
I walked up to the arch to take my place as the officiant. Then Josh made his way up. It was then time for Amara to do her job as a flower girl. She took on her role with an air of great importance.
She perfectly placed her petals, not dumping too many in the beginning and avoiding having leftover at the end. The only problem was that once she finished, she thought she had to pick them back up again! For the rest of the ceremony, she wandered in and out of frame, sometimes announcing her presence to the laughter of everyone else. When Kelley was saying her vows, she shouted, "Daddy, Mama Kelley's crying!"
Then it was time for the bride to arrive. Josh couldn't believe his eyes when she turned the corner.
The ceremony went perfectly. We had readings, meditating thoughts from me, personalized vows, and we finished with handfasting.
Before I knew it, I had officially married a couple!
After we finished the ceremony, Kelley and Josh went back inside to call their loved ones while I completed the marriage license.
We didn't have to go far for incredible adventure wedding photography. Kelley, Josh, Justin, Amara, and I just wandered around in the woods surrounding the property! Their portraits turned out beautifully.
Amara went off with grandma for the evening, and Kelley, Josh, Justin, and I went over to Dutch's at Silver Tree for our reception. Kelley wanted to wear her dress to dinner, and I said she absolutely should! You only get to wear it once, so wear it as long as you can.
We indulged on an incredible dinner. I couldn't believe they had room for dessert!
After that, it was time for them to head back to the cabin for some time alone. Justin and I left for home and we couldn't believe how well the day went.
Hire a Wedding Photographer as Fun as You Are
When you choose a wedding photographer, you're adding another member to your bridal party. No one else spends as much time with you as your wedding photographer. That's why you not only need to choose someone that shoots in your style, but you need to pick someone who's plain fun to be around. Justin and I are two Delaware photographers that certainly fit the bill!
By the end of your wedding day, your experience will be documented with incredible detail and you'll have thoroughly enjoyed our time together. If you're looking for an intimate wedding photographer or elopement wedding photography, send us a message at email@example.com. We can't wait to capture (or plan, coordinate, and officiate) your wedding day!