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What is an elopement?
First, elopements, sometimes confused for a micro-wedding, usually consist of about 2-5 people total. This would be the couple, plus their two witnesses, and the officiant. We, your videographer and photographer, can also act as your witnesses if you’d rather it be just the two of you. An elopement focuses on you and your partner and the celebration of your marriage and not to be distracted by stresses that go into planning centerpieces and wedding favors. Occasionally we do get couples who would like to include more friends and family and in this case would be no more than about 25 people, which at that point becomes a Micro wedding or intimate wedding. Now that you know what is considered an elopement, let's get into off-road elopements, our specialty!
Basically, instead of hiking a trail, you drive your off-road capable vehicle on a dirt trail to get to the destination. Off-roading is more about the terrain of the trail (easy or challenging). This can include crawling the slippery rocks in Moab, driving between tall trees on forest roads, four-wheeling up a mountain to get to a secret lake, or even camping out overnight when we reach our destination. The experience is all about the journey, getting you away from the hustle and bustle of the world and allowing you to take the time to truly soak in your beautiful surroundings.
What are off-road elopements?
Now that you understand what off-roading is, let’s talk about off-road elopements. These are wedding celebrations for the outdoor enthusiasts. When we use the word off-road in conjunction with the word elopement, we mostly mean that your wedding day will be spent outdoors surrounded by the most beautiful views of nature! We take you away from tradition, FAR from the rush of daily life, and lead you to landscapes that will take your breath away. Be warned – you won’t want to go home!
This means you wouldn’t have a traditional wedding venue. The mountain side cliff that took us an hour or hours to get to is your venue and the stars are your guests. The crashing of the waves in the background as you share your “first kiss” will be the cheers you get in celebration with you! The chirping of birds as we stroll through the forest will sound like the clinking of glasses! You could take home red rock dust on the hem of your dress instead of the dirt from everyone’s shoes on the venue floor. This is your opportunity to have the adventure of a lifetime that you have been waiting for!
1. Guest Count
Five things to think about when planning your off-road elopement
Remember, for us, we consider an elopement to be no more than 5 guests. Once you have more than 5, we consider it a micro wedding. Now this doesn’t mean we can’t do the same things, but once you start having more guests, this means there’s more people to wait on, more people to travel with, and more people to plan your day around which can put a limit on location options.
There are SO many places we can recommend to you! Whether you want to stay in state, travel out of state, or out of the country, we ask that you keep an open mind and be flexible. You may decide you want to have a Sedona elopement in Arizona but after seeing our suggestions you may decide you want to elope in Moab, Utah instead! Or maybe you thought you wanted to get married at a beach in San Diego but after seeing out suggestions, you realize that you can get married in the Red Roods AND still take beach pictures that same day! The options are endless!
When it comes to transportation, we have space in our truck for the two of you and your pup! However, when we take a couple off-roading, we HIGHLY recommend that you rent your own off-road vehicle (truck, jeep, razor, etc.) so you can experience the thrill yourself! You already have your own off-road vehicle? EVEN BETTER! Try renting multiple Jeeps and give your guests an experience they never would have gotten had you decided to have a more traditional wedding!
Getting married at a National Park or a State park, requires that you apply for and purchase a permit first. A lot of BLM Land, Bureau of Land Management, and forest service land do not require the use of wedding or photography permits. Some do, so it is important that you always check ahead of time. It is safe to apply at least 6 months in advance. The fees can range between $50-$250+. That’s right! It’s SO much cheaper than paying upwards of $10K+ for a traditional wedding venue.
5. Weather & Time of Year
It’s best to decide on the location that you love and then work out the time of year you want to get married. We don’t want you to be totally set on a specific date, then get so excited about a location only to be disappointed that the roads to get there are closed that time of year.
If you love the heat, then maybe you would love getting married in Arizona in the middle of August! Something to keep in mind is that it is monsoon season so if you had planned on driving an off-road trail to your spot, we will need to come up with a backup location since it is not safe to drive some of the trails in the rain once the red dirt turns to mud. Or if you want to get married in summer but don’t want to be hot, we can travel to California or to Oregon where it’s cooler! Check out this Crater Lake National Park Elopement that we shot in July and there was still snow on the mountain!
This is quite the opposite! A lot of couples choose to elope because they feel it focuses more on the reason they are getting married, which is to celebrate the joining of the two of you in marriage. Planning a bigger wedding can add a lot of negative stress. This stress can come from other family members wanting things their way even though it’s not their day. Stress can come from all the tiny details like table settings, and seating charts, and who can’t sit next to who. You want to be 100% excited to marry the love of your life and not just ready for the day to be over with.
When you CHOOSE to elope and it’s something you WANT to do and not just because you think it’ll save you money, you’ll be so much happier! Yes, you can still get negativity from family or friends not supporting your decision to elope, but at the end of the day, you’ll know that this was YOUR dream and you didn’t go through with a day planned around someone else’s dream.
This cannot be farther from the truth. You can totally include your family! I know we talk about guest count and whether it’ll be an elopement or a micro wedding but who cares what you call it! If you want your closest friends and family there, DO IT! One regret you don’t want to have is thinking back later and wishing your mom and dad was there with you, or your sister who is your best friend, or your brother who has always been there for you.
You can even include your dog! We had a couple who brought their FIVE dogs to their micro wedding! This day is whatever you want it to be so include whoever you want to include! Just don’t cave to pressure and invite people simply because you don’t want them to feel left out. Only include those you absolutely cannot imagine not having there on the best day of your life.
It can mean that if you want it to! Or it can be an adventure! A lot of people still think of the stigma of elopements being a day where you run away and get married in secret because certain sides of the family don’t approve. When you choose to elope with us as your team to document your day, we will help you plan your adventure and the activities throughout the day or days! This is NOT a plan B, or a “let’s just settle for an elopement because we’re out of money.” With us, an elopement is intentional. You’re here because you cannot wait to spend the day(s) adventuring the outdoors, feeling that sun on your skin, and doing it all to celebrate your marriage!
The average wedding costs $30K+. Let that sink in for a second. If that hits you hard, think about this: You can travel for a MONTH with that money or even use it as a down payment on a house! While you can save money eloping instead, elopement doesn’t mean cheap. Imagine if you decided to use the $30K to travel to Greece to get married instead! Then you could even stay there for another couple weeks for your honeymoon and really experience the life and culture there! Now that sounds like a good use of $30K! However, you can still have a beautiful elopement and spend only half that! It all depends on how and where YOU want to get married.
Now if it is your dream to have a big wedding and you’ve been planning it since you were little, then absolutely do that! But that’s not why you’re here. So it’s important to know your options.
Well, this last one is true, but being selfish for once doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Ever heard of self care? A lot of us don’t often put our needs and wants before others even on our wedding days. Your wedding day is supposed to be 100% about the two of you! So why wouldn’t you be selfish on YOUR day? If anything, that’s the time where you have a free pass to be selfish. And when I say selfish I mean putting your desires first because they matter.
Weddings have turned into family reunions
We’ve heard the saying that weddings have turned into family reunions. We invite people who we haven’t seen in forever, then later realize it wasn’t necessary to invite them. Honestly, it’ll probably be another several years before you see them or even speak to them. If they weren’t family, they’d be more like acquaintances anyway. Why would you spend $50-$150+ per plate on an acquaintance who probably didn’t even bring you a gift?
Think about this, imagine if you were to charge each guest $150 admission to your wedding to help cover costs. Let’s be honest, the party is for them, so for 100 guests that’s $15,000! That would help you a TON wouldn’t it? But how many of them would still come? Would they still ask you if they could bring their kids? I bet your guest list would be cut at LEAST in half if not 75%.
“Why do I want a big wedding?”
A. Because that’s just what people do
B. Because it’s what my family wants
C. Because it’s my dream come true!
If your answer is ANYTHING but C, you should really consider an elopement or a micro wedding. If you have decided, “Yes! Eloping is right for us!” then fill out our contact form and let’s start planning your adventure! Still torn on whether or not you want to elope, have a micro wedding, or larger wedding? Take this quiz I’ve created! It’ll ask you important questions that you may not have thought of yet. It’ll give you your result and tell you if you which type of wedding you should have.
We are Arizona Elopement Videographers and Photographers!
Now you know what is considered an elopement! We're not here to convince you to have an elopement or a micro wedding. We still film and photograph bigger weddings. When you do it the right way and plan your day for YOU, they're so fun! Your day, whether big or small, should be all about you! If you agree, click that inquire button and let's start planning your day!
Happy wedding planning!