Why Not Elope? COVID-19 Wedding Tips | Chicago Wedding Photographer

We need a reset button on 2020. Am I right? If you’re like many brides and grooms this year, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in your wedding plans. You had a long wedding planning “to do” list before the virus hit, and now your job is complicated by social distancing guidelines, reduced venue availability, and more. How are you supposed to plan a wedding when you don’t know what’s going to happen next week, next month, this summer and fall, or even next year?

Well, in partnering with several of my 2020 wedding couples to plan “COVID Elopements,” I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot. Maybe even more so than some of the brides and grooms out there, because this is my business.

COVID-19 Wedding Planning Tips

And I have a plan! Follow along to learn how these COVID-19 wedding tips can help you have a gorgeous, luxurious, and unique wedding.

Insight #1: Weddings do not have to be parties

As long as I can remember, going to a wedding meant going to a party. The couple invited their families (even the distant cousins), coworkers, and friends from all corners of the country. There was a ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner…and of course, dancing late into the night.

As much as we love a good party, that sort of celebration might not be in the cards for brides planning 2020 weddings as government guidance on large group meetings continues to evolve. I’m positive we’ll make it back to “normal” and those big, festive weddings that we love will happen. But what if you want to have your wedding during all of this quarantine craziness?

Something couples sometimes forget is that you don’t need a long guest list to tie the knot. You don’t need a fancy cake, a DJ and uplights, you don’t need every person you’ve ever met to be there to witness you marrying the love of your life. When it comes down to it, you need an officiant and a couple of witnesses.

That’s it. covid-19 wedding tips

But don’t let this get you down. Read on, as there are more silver linings here than you might expect!

covid-19 wedding tips

Insight #2: Venue and Location Perks

If not having 50 or more people at your celebration sounds like a bummer, think about this: If you only have to worry about you, your spouse, and maybe a few very close friends or your parents, your possible wedding locations expand immensely! covid-19 wedding tips

If you don’t have to plan group portraits around the mobility issues of your guests, you can hike through Starved Rock State Park and create some epic waterfall photos!

If you don’t have to worry about securing a wedding venue to host 50+ people, why not consider renting a gorgeous mansion in Lake Forest on VRBO or AirBNB? Due to hotel and boarding laws, they can’t be advertised as “wedding venue” options here in Illinois. But if it’s just you and a handful of your closest friends? Why not?

Insight #3: Level Up Your Ambience

Yes, your wedding celebration could take place in a large reception hall, filled with family and friends, and you might end up choosing dinner options from a pre-fixed menu offered by your reception hall. Chicken, steak, or vegetarian. Sound familiar? You could do that. covid-19 wedding tips

Or, what about creating a luxurious, intimate dinner party for you and your family? You could hire a private chef to prepare a delicious meal at your million-dollar AirBnB. Maybe add a private guitarist or string quartet to serenade you. Think of how special a magical, memorable night for you, your spouse, and few friends could be! covid-19 wedding tips

Insight #4: Photography Perks

Let’s face it. One of the most difficult aspects of planning every wedding is the timeline. When is the ceremony? Are we doing a first look beforehand? Will there be enough time for portraits before cocktail hour? Where and when will you do family portraits? Who will be in those portraits? How long is cocktail hour? When do you make your grand entrance for dinner?

If you’ve partnered with a professional planner, then you might not have some of these worries. But for the rest of us, the wedding timeline can be a huge hill to climb. Pivot to an elopement-style wedding, and many of those questions and concerns disappear! And all that freedom in your schedule allows your photographer more opportunities to create stunning couple’s portraits. You’ll have all the time in the world! (Okay, almost…) And more photo time means more varied and artistic compositions from your photographer! covid-19 wedding tips

covid-19 wedding tips

Insight #5: The Best Thing about Elopement-Style Weddings

Hosting all of your friends and family and coworkers on your wedding day can be a blast, but…we all know that when more people are involved, the number of logistics you have to manage grows exponentially. What will the bridesmaids wear? When do the guys need to get ready? What time is our hair and make-up session? Who’s doing family portraits? What about the family drama between those cousins you’ve actually never met?

By planning an elopement-style wedding, you remove all of those variables and free yourself to focus on what’s most important: how much you love each other. Now, you can put all of your energy into planning those perfect vows and preparing for forever with your person. Because, at the end of the day, getting married to “the one” is what matters most.

So, cheer up! By following these COVID-19 wedding planning tips you can still have a fairy tale, dreamy, intimate, and completely unique wedding in 2020 and beyond…and it might turn out to be more fabulous and more memorable than you ever dreamed.