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In the past, eloping held a certain stigma. The word calls to mind young couples madly in love, escaping into the night to marry in secret, away from the eyes of disapproving families. However, times have changed. Now, modern couples may choose elopement over traditional weddings for a number of reasons. Some may prefer a more intimate, limited-stress ceremony. Others desire an out of the box experience. Whatever the reason, there’s no shame in eloping and here at Christopher’s Studio we’d love to help. We put together some Hudson Valley elopement ideas for you to think over.
First, let’s discuss the differences between traditional weddings and elopements:
The main difference between traditional weddings and elopements is the number of people in attendance. The average wedding size in 2021 was 105 people. An elopement typically involves 25 guests or less.
The second distinguishing factor between a wedding and an elopement is the time and amount of planning. Planning a wedding can take several months to a year to nail down the details. An elopement is typically planned in a smaller time frame, and with less of the bells and whistles of a full event.
One of the draws of a non-traditional wedding is that it doesn’t need to conform to the traditional wedding day schedule. You have the freedom to customize your perfect celebration. If you don’t want a cocktail hour or wedding party photo shoots, you don’t have to have them. It’s your wedding day and that is why we put together this list of Hudson Valley elopement ideas.
Cutting out the things that don’t matter to you also has the added benefit of cutting down the overall costs. The average wedding in 2021 cost approximately $28,000. Most couples reported spending about $10,000 on the venue, $8,000 on vendors, and nearly $6,000 on entertainment. A smaller, less formal wedding means that some of those costs can be reduced or eliminated entirely.
If this sounds like the kind of day you’re interested in, here are 5 steps to help you on your journey to wedded bliss.
While you might not need the average $28,000, it’s still a good idea to figure out how much you’re willing to spend. Make a list of features you definitely want on your big day and check against average costs in your area to come up with an estimate. Knowing your spending limit and the average prices will help keep you from overspending.
The beauty of a smaller guest list is that your choice in venue isn’t limited to banquet halls or ballrooms. You’re free to choose somewhere off the beaten path that’s more personal to you and your spouse to be. Think about places that played a significant role in your love story. Consider your shared hobbies. Or choose a combination wedding/honeymoon destination. Be adventurous and let your venue reflect who you are as a couple. Once you have that chosen, be sure to contact the venue to check if they can accommodate a small ceremony and party.
Even though elopement takes place in a shorter time frame, you still need a valid marriage license. Be sure to check the laws of the location of your venue well in advance. Most states have a waiting period, and you cannot hold your ceremony within a set amount of time after signing the required forms. For example, New York has a 24 hour waiting period, but New Jersey has a 72 hour restriction. Plan your visit to your town or city clerk accordingly.
Also, check your venue state guidelines for who needs to be present at your ceremony. Both New York and New Jersey require a licensed officiant and one witness over the age of 18.
Lastly, if you are planning a religious ceremony, be sure to check with an official for any necessary requirements you must fulfill prior to the big day.
A lot of factors go into choosing a wedding date. Is there a date significant to your love story? Is the venue available on that day? Do you and your partner have vacation days accrued? Can your guests take time off?
If you still can’t narrow it down, consider choosing by season. What vibe do you want to go for, and what sort of photos would you’d like to take? A garden in full bloom would place you in the spring time. Do you want to capture a sunny waterside jump for joy? A summer wedding is for you. A warm mountainside embrace? Fall is perfect for that. Or maybe you’d love to be married in an elegant winter wonderland.
If you opt to hire a professional photographer, you can consult with them. They’re experts at knowing exactly when and where to capture that special moment.
No matter how small your wedding is, there are still details you’ll need to plan. Return to your budget list and ask yourself specifics about the features you chose. There are many venues you can discuss your Hudson Valley elopement ideas with, many price points to consider and many ways to tie the knot. Enjoy the moment and make it last forever with photographs.
Do you need to find your wedding dress and tux? Be sure to allow time for shipping, tailoring, etc. Do you have a caterer in mind? Can the bakery transport your cake to the venue? Is your favorite band available that day? Is your favorite flower seasonal or do you need time for your florist to procure it from out of state? Or maybe you’re a DIY couple. Figure out how much time you need to get everything done and give yourself an extra week to deal with any hiccups.
A lot goes into planning the day of your dreams, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. Plan in advance to minimize unwanted surprises. On the day of, focus on the love that brought you down the aisle, and enjoy your day.
Also, remember to hire a great photographer to capture your vision, this day will be the start of something amazing and you will want to have great memories to look back on in the future.
Take a look at some recent work we captured at Hudson Valley Weddings.