How to Have an Amazing Wedding Experience Despite the Pandemic

Updated: May 26, 2020

It sounds like a crazy idea, I know. But you can still have an amazing wedding experience, even with COVID-19 doing it's thing. Stay with me here. Maybe you are someone who always dreamed of a big lavish wedding in a gorgeous venue with 300 people in attendance or maybe you weren't sure what your wedding would look like, but the idea of waiting to marry your sweetie until after the pandemic seems like forever.

Well do I have great news for you! You can have a wedding that looks however YOU want it to!

Elopements have been growing in popularity over the past few years and with good reason. No longer do elopements mean running off into the night like Corey and Topanga from "Boy Meets World", or getting married on a whim in Mexico like Heidi and Spencer on "The Hills"


Elopements have become so much more than that! You can think of them as a truly custom wedding. Let's switch thinking for a minute, from what a wedding traditionally looks like and start thinking about what it could look like. So what is an elopement really?

Simply put, Elopements are all about you, your loves, your life, your wildest dreams put together to create a wedding that is perfect just for the two of you. It celebrates your personalities and radiates your values, all culminating in an experience that is truly once in a lifetime.

Maybe you love hiking and want to hike up a mountain to have your wedding on at the top surrounded by amazing views with wind in your hair. Maybe you want to spend the day doing all of your favorite activities, saying your vows in the spot that holds significant meaning for you and your fiance. Maybe you want to have a little fun with it and recreate your first date all ending in the two of you saying your vows. The possibilities are truly endless!

When you think of an elopement, I would love for you to think of Ben and Leslie from "Parks and Rec". They got married in the place that meant the most to both of them surrounded by the people they loved the most. Their wedding was perfect for them, and still epic in every way.

Did you catch that? It was perfect for them.

A wedding can be so much more than a venue and thinking about how many people you can invite. A wedding is a celebration of your love. It is your commitment to each other and it should be celebrated however is best for you! Don't get me wrong, if you have always dreamed of a traditional wedding and that is who you both are then by all means, go for it! I love traditional weddings too! But if any part of you feels a little relieved to not be planning a huge traditional wedding right now. Consider an elopement. It is essentially a Treat yo' self day where you get also get married.

Your wedding day is your wedding day forever. You will celebrate it every year on your anniversary. You will tell your kids and grandkids about it one day. It is an important day! I realize when most people think of elopements they think, small, short, no family or friends. But that simply is not true! An elopement can be just you and your hunny or it can be you and all your closest friends and family - the people you love the most.

To better illustrate this point, I have drafted a sample all day elopement timeline for Jim and Pam (for all you fellow office fans). This elopement takes place in beautiful San Diego, since that is where I am located.

Jim & Pam

San Diego, CA | May 23, 2020


Getting Ready Location:

Bride - Gets ready at home

Groom - Gets ready at Parent’s House

Ceremony Location:

Beach Next to Centennial Park, Coronado

Additional Portrait Location:

Sunset Cliffs

Meal/Celebration Location:

Cesarina Italian Restaurant - Point Loma

11:00 am - Getting Ready - Groom

12:00 pm - Getting Ready - Bride

1:00 pm - Head to Coronado for first look

2:00 pm - First look at Centennial Park

2:30 pm - Vows/ ceremony on Coronado beach next to Centennial Park with view of SD skyline in the background

3:00 pm - Coronado Brewing company for Celebratory Beer and Appetizers

4:30 pm - Head to downtown San Diego - Explore SD taking photos along the way - Grab some Tacos/ Fro-yo

6:30 pm - Head to Sunset Cliffs

7:00 pm - Sunset Photos at Sunset Cliffs for first dance and portraits

8:30 pm - Cesarina Point Loma for dinner and drinks with close Friends and Family

This is just a sample of what an all day elopement can look like. It really is up to you! Your city can be your venue like this one, or you can go somewhere you've always dreamed of!

I am sure by this point you might be bursting with questions, so I want to take a minute to try and answer the ones I find most popular.

Don't we need an officiant and witnesses?

Yes, well, in California you do. Although now-a-days it is easy to get ordained online so really, anyone can marry you as long as they take the time to get ordained (usually only takes a few minutes). Be sure to check with your photographer, some may already be ordained and able to marry you as well as document your day! As for witnesses, you can bring your own or have passers by sign for you. Most are happy to do it.

How many people can we invite and still have it be considered an elopement?

This varies but the general rule of thumb is less than 30 people. I have heard less than 50 or as low as 15 as well. Be sure to check with your photographer what they consider the limit to be.

Do we have to go somewhere epic?

Nope! You can get married in your backyard, the living room, in a field, on the beach, where ever you deem fitting! Keep in mind some locations will require a permit, like some national parks or beaches. You will definitely want to do your research no matter what location you choose to make sure you understand all the requirements to get married in a public space. (Obviously you won't need to worry about this if you get married in your backyard)

Aren't elopements rushed and not thoroughly planned out?

Au Contraire, Mon Frere! Some elopements can require as much planning as a traditional wedding. It all depends on what you want your day to look like.

But if we're eloping, why would we want more than 2-3 hours with our photographer?

Good question! On a traditional wedding day, couples are getting photographed for 8-10 hours resulting in hundreds of beautiful images documenting the whole of their day. Eloping couples deserve the same! A wedding day is a wedding day no matter how the couple chooses to mark the occasion. Don't sell yourself short! The photos from your wedding day are going to be cherished forever! Wouldn't you rather have memories from your whole day, not just 2-3 hours?

Do we need a wedding planner?

You can if you want to, but I don't think it is necessary. I am always happy to help my couples however I can, as I am sure most photographers are. It may be a matter of just asking for extra help!

I hope I was able to give you some hope for how you can still have an awesome wedding experience during these crazy times! Do you have any questions I didn't cover here? Feel free to reach out! I am happy to chat with you about all-day elopements and answers as many questions as I can. You can reach me by clicking HERE.

If you found this helpful in anyway, be sure to like it by hitting that little heart icon below. You can also share this post with any fellow engaged friends who need a little help pandemic proofing their wedding!

Thanks for Reading!

Christina is a San Diego, CA based wedding and elopement photographer. She enjoys mexican food, cold beer, and any good comedy on Netflix.

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