As the global pandemic has emerged, the wedding industry has been heavily impacted. Even as states including Ohio begin reopening, our industry is in limbo. Many weddings have been impacted – most postponed, some cancelled, and some downsized. With wedding ceremonies still currently permitted, many couples are opting to make their original date special by eloping now, and celebrating later! But before elopements became the thing to do, for some couples a private, intimate ceremony was always the plan.
Jodi and Brianna eloped on a Thursday afternoon in April 2018 at the Whetstone Park of Roses. It was just the two of them, their son Dylan, their officiant Windi, and myself photographing! They always planned their wedding to be this way and it was perfect for them. This didn’t mean they minimized the experience: we spent a couple hours after the ceremony doing portraits at some of their favorite spots around town. And they ordered an album with me that tells the story of their day!
With today’s post, I’m kicking off a 3 part blog series! I’ve asked prior couples of mine, who planned alternative affairs or unexpectedly had to change their plans, to tell their stories, in their own words. I’m hoping this can help other couples with plans currently impacted by the pandemic, or those suddenly engaged and wondering what kind of celebration to plan. Here, Brianna and Jodi explain why they chose to elope, in their own words:
“When we started our wedding plans, we were immediately drawn to the idea of a small ceremony. That is exactly what we did and we could not have been happier. A low-key, intimate wedding experience without the pressure to meet other people’s expectations, allowed us the freedom to create our special day just the way we dreamed.
“Many of my friends had to make compromises when it came to everything from the guest list to the location and even the food selections to please everyone but the wedding couple. By having a private ceremony with Amy, the officiant, Brianna’s son Dylan, Brianna and myself, we were able to focus on what mattered – our special day. We held our ceremony at the raised gazebo in the Park of Roses, in Columbus, Ohio (which probably could not hold more than the five of us). By having such a small wedding, we were also able to keep costs low and spend our money were it mattered to us – our amazing photographer and our honeymoon in Hawaii.”
“The very best thing we did for our friends and family was to capture our ceremony through photos. Amy was there from the moment we arrived at the park and captured everything perfectly. Even though it was very low-key, I was feeling nervousness, excitement, love, and happiness that comes with marrying the love of my life. My favorite moment was when we were reciting our vows with Dylan present and knowing our little family shared in the moment together. Amy captured all these emotions beautifully. These were our first family photos. I have them displayed in our bedroom, and I look at them every day.”
“We cannot emphasize enough the joy of being fully present on our wedding day. This truly comes with a small wedding because we were not focused on last minute details, seating arrangements, party favors, etc. Instead, our ceremony was so romantic and special without any unnecessary distractions, and afterwards, we celebrated with a small family reception at a beautiful restaurant that we could never have afforded to rent out for a large reception. It was a wonderful way to create memories with those we love most. Unfortunately, I have learned from many that they felt pressured to entertain guests at their wedding whom they did not even know.
“I feel so lucky that I was able to experience my wedding exactly as I dreamed. I would not have changed a thing!”