I have a special love for small elopement. I feel like there is just something so strong about these couples that go against the grain of this huge wedding industry and realize weddings are for them, and that they don’t need anything super huge to celebrate their love. Just being together is all that matters.
Over my years of photographing, I have collected a few of my favorite images from these sessions. Some of you may be wondering, why not give each of these couples their own blog post? Truth is, I totally would, except if you remember from my blog post awhile back that I mentioned how I lost years of photo work? A lot of these engagements came from those years have been lost, so all that remains are my few favorites from every session. I think it’s also fun to see how much my editing style has changed since these were taken!
The first elopement I ever did was for the French’s. They had found me on craigslist and told me that they had planned to do a private sunset ceremony on one of their favorite beaches on the North Shore as well as wanted a couples shoot at the Abandoned Waialee School for Wayward Boys because they loved haunted places. The school that was now mostly over grown by plants was such a thrill to work with. I loved their sense of adventure and when it came to their ceremony, their vows to each other moved me to tears.
After the French elopement, they loved me so much that they told their dear friends who were also planning to have a small ceremony all about me. This couple had a cute backyard ceremony with just their immediate family of about 12 people. After that we headed to a beach I had never been to but is famous for Clark Little’s waves pictures (if you haven’t seen them before, you need to look them up. This little fact got me so excited to work there!)
Their personalities were so joyful and they gave off such a carefree spirit. I was also so pleased to run into them one day at my favorite Spitting Caves location to catch up with them. I loved how willing they were to try any idea I had which really helped to get some awesome photos of their special day. Can I say also, how awesome is her $40 dress from Ross and her bouquet she bought from Safeway that she made herself?!
This next one was a family friend who was getting married. They had a little bit larger of a ceremony than that of an elopement but I wanted to include it here. They had about 20 people come to their day that was full of sun and perfect blue skies. The bride was so cute telling me how she was kind of nervous to be in front of the camera but also so excited to be getting married. But one of the best things that was shared with me came after the ceremony. They were told that cause of her age, it would be unlikely for them to have a child, but a couple months later I got a phone call of them being super excited to announce they were pregnant! What a perfect cherry on top for this couple!
This last couple, I met them in New York. They found me on Craigslist and said they were getting married that weekend. They gave me directions to a little place in chinatown that I didn’t even know existed. Upon arriving, I was a little confused as I entered a restaurant instead of a place to have a ceremony. I was guided into the left side to see it open into a large buddhist temple! It was so beautiful to see all the red and gold that painted the walls. I quickly learned what is sacred and not allowed to be photographed. (Lesson learned, research your location and the culture that goes a long with it ahead of time!) This couple was deep into their buddhist faith and it gave me an amazing experience to learn about this culture that I haven’t seen practiced before. They had moments of prayer, bowing, and chanting, all while being surrounded by their 10 guests of honor.
I think my favorite part of small weddings and elopements is the chance you get to know each couple, bond with them, and their guests. I feel like they even take special notice to the things that are most important to them and give you this insight into their lives as they take the leap into their forever love together. These small ceremonies also bring so much less stress. I feel like with big weddings, there is so much money and pressure put on the couple to hope everything goes perfect, while small ceremonies are so much more laid back. I know it’s been years since I photographed these people but I bet they’re doing wonderful things!