March Down The Aisle – Philly Elopement Style! || Philadelphia Elopement Photographer
So March has come in like a lion, and every engaged couple who is either recently engaged or planning a wedding for this year (or both!) is probably sorting through wedding details and decisions. If you are like most couples, at some point during your planing (aka, budgeting, price stressing, linen decision making, etc.) you will consider eloping. Studies show that about 70% of couples have this conversation, so you are not alone! Some people quickly dismiss this option, noting that they would really prefer to have family around them, to not have to travel (as eloping = Vegas to most people), and fear that an elopement means they cannot still have a personal ceremony. Well, did you know that Philadelphia actually offers many elopement opportunities that allow couples to have personalized ceremonies, a fairly extensive guest count, and an officiant can even travel to you? It’s true!
People considering a quickie wedding ceremony most often know about City Hall, and this is a beautiful option. While the courtroom is rather simple looking and your ceremony will be brief (about 4 minutes…just long enough to get the consents and “I do’s” said) the location makes for some spectacular photos and fun places to go for a celebratory meal and/or drinks. You are permitted up to 8 guests to come with you (a photographer counts as one), and you need to book your date about a month ahead of time. They normally start taking appointments the first Tuesday of the month (call ahead to see when the appointment book will be opening) and civil ceremonies are done every Tuesday and Thursday. Of all elopement options, this one is the most simple – book your date, arrive that morning, and stand in line to get your nuptuals said! Some people balk at the idea of having such a ‘cattle call’ of a wedding, but many couples who choose to go this route say the energy of being surrounded by so many couples who are choosing to be married that day is very fun and exciting. Also, you can make this as simple or elegant as you choose; arrive in jeans and t-shirts or go more formal in a suit and full length gown (skip the big skirt though, as it’s difficult to navigate through the hallways and as beautiful as City Hall is there is constant construction, which means constant dust).
If City Hall isn’t the ambiance you want, plenty of other options exist in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Wedding Chapel
is one of the newest venues in the area, providing many different options. Located in the Northern Liberties section, you can do a simple elopement ceremony with just the two of you, or opt for a somewhat more elaborate set up (up to 40 guests) with a mini reception; the venue has a chapel like set up with room for a small buffet, dinner tables and cake. Weddings can take place any day of the week, and during slower times can be booked as quickly as a month away, and they honor the love of ALL couples, making them a chapel that honors and welcomes LGBT couples. The officiants here also travel to peoples homes, so should you prefer a ceremony in your home location, that is an option too!
And, on that note, if what you are looking for is a quick ceremony at your home, or at a favorite Philadelphia location, many officiant ministries are happy to oblige this. Two of the most well known ministries in our area, A Beautiful Affair of the Heart
and Journeys of the Heart
are happy to travel to the location of your choice as well as help you create a wedding ceremony that is a reflection of you. So, if what you want is a wedding with a Philly back drop, (Fairmount Park, Rittenhouse Square, LOVE Park and portions of Kelly Drive all make a beautiful back drop for a wedding!), you will need to go through the Philadelphia court or municipal building so as to get a permit for exclusive use of the space at a certain time, and that will guarantee you that others walking through the park cannot walk through your location (aka, strangers photobombing your pictures), then pick an officiant and meet them there!. Or, think about how fun it would be to surprise friends at your home with your wedding – invite your closest friends to a barbeque or pot luck at your home, and surprise them by getting married! Or, host a family holiday, and make that your wedding day too (many officiants will oblige a holiday ceremony, though know that the ceremony will most likely be brief).
If you are looking for the ultimate in simple, but also incredibly fun, wedding, consider a “Pop Up” wedding. Made popular by the movie The Vow, Pop Up weddings require no permits and little preparation; you, your soon to be spouse, and a witness list of very few people (don’t do more than 6) show up at a favorite area (the Art Museum steps, in front of The Franklin Institute, somewhere on Penn’s Landing, or maybe the location of your first date or where your proposal took place), say your “I do’s” and you’re done, no processional, recessional or formalities. This option works best when you do a Quaker marriage license, which gives you the right to just marry each other without an ordained officiant, you just need two witnesses to sign your license (you can also do a Quaker marriage license, but have a friend ‘run’ the ceremony, if you are fearful about carrying the ceremony on your own; he or she does not have to be ordained). It is also best to opt for a simpler wardrobe (again, Rachel McAdams donned a fantastic short pink dress for The Vow), as this ceremony will be short and you will be moving quickly! Since you will have not obtained a permit for use of a space, you will not be able to ask people to move out of your way for any reason, and should you get in the way of something you will be asked to move. But if you are a spontaneous couple who enjoys spur of the moment excitement and seizing the moment, this may be a great option for you.
Know that for all of these options you will still need to go through the process of obtaining your marriage license as you would for any other type wedding. And know that we would LOVE to capture all of these moments! We love weddings that are different and unique, and find that elopements are so full of passion and fun. So don’t think that eloping means you can’t have photos and video of your special moment; we will be there!
And make sure to ask us about our SPECIAL ELOPEMENT PRICING options!!!! and if you are eloping in the Philly area- leave a comment saying where and what made you decide to elope!! You may just WIN a FREE elopement photo session!!
Philadelphia Elopement Photographer
Meet Chingi || BG Team Member || Awesome Philadelphia Photographer and Videographer
I was the girl that ran barefoot through the sand most summers since age 8 with wanderlust in her eyes and adventure in her soul. I wear flip flops 9 months out of the year, love pink cotton candy and sure, why not, I really do love long walks on the beach and the colors in the sky at sunset, hee hee. After all, I am a dreamer by nature, a doer by nurture but always a romantic at heart. As a photographer and filmmaker I am driven to approach your moments as if they are my own. When I’m not hanging out and making magic with the BG family I can be found documenting moments as Head Treasure Hunter for my own studio while I complete plans for relocating my business to the sunny shores of Florida.
I’m still the girl that loves to run barefoot through the sand with wanderlust in her eyes and adventure in her soul, Just a simple girl who likes to sprinkle a little calm and happy whenever I can and wherever I go. I also love brewing yummy, high octane beer, taking way too many selfie pics with my puppies and cooking, yes, the cooking and the eating, especially in the company of friends and family. The moments that speak to me most often involve the interactions that occur in between the action at an event. It’s in these moments that the story unfolds and these images reflecting the emotion of the day resonate with every fiber of my heart. Be forewarned. I do have a split personality when it comes to shooting and although I adore chasing the moment, my other half just wants to play – she is a feisty lover of shaping light and she really just wants to make bad-ass images, starring you of course
We are Super Stoked to have Chingi as part of the BG family this year!! We know it is going to be an Amazing year of storytelling!! While we will be sad when her relocation to Florida is complete we know she is going to catch the Sunshine state on fire with her passion and skills! Here are a few images to show how Awesome she is!!
So Give a warm welcome to Chingi! she will be a kick ass addition to the BG Team!!
Biggest Wedding Regrets || Wedding Day Advice || BG Productions
Engagement season is officially over now that Valentine’s Day has passed (congratulations again to all couples who put a ring on it between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day!) so planning season is officially here. We wanted to do a spotlight on the most common wedding regrets that brides and grooms report after their wedding, so you can keep them in mind during your planning and avoid the same pitfalls!
Biggest wedding regret #1: Letting the wedding become bigger than you wanted. Couples often note that having a wedding that goes over the number of guest they originally wanted adds stress throughout the planning and cost on the wedding day. The bigger the guest list, the more food to order, centerpieces to create, and linens to have. However, the cost is almost a secondary regret; most brides and grooms say that a big wedding means they have very little one on one time with their guests; often guests whom have traveled long distances to spend this day with them. And, they have less time to actually spend with each other. So, if you can, from the beginning set a guest number and stick to it. Perhaps lock yourself into a venue that cannot go over a certain guest count, leaving you no opportunities to increase the guest list. If you are having a big wedding (and yes, this term is relative, but generally that means more than 130 people) see about adding an extra hour to your reception, so you get time with everybody.
Biggest wedding regret #2: Leaving for the honeymoon the day after the wedding, or even two days after the wedding. On the heels of wedding regret #1, brides and grooms regret that they had to hustle their way to the airport shortly after the big day, therefore having no time to enjoy out of town family and friends. Do yourself a favor and put your honeymoon off a bit (which can mean anywhere from 3 days to 6 months…whatever works for you!) and enjoy some time with your out of town guests. Host a small brunch the day after your nuptuals, plan a small outing to show them the sites of your town, and then also have a little down time with your new spouse to just enjoy and absorb that you are MARRIED!!
Biggest Wedding Regret #3: Not spending enough time in your dress and shoes. Yes, when selecting a gown and shoes, your top priority is looking and feeling beautiful. But remember to spend a good amount of time in the gown and shoes before you buy them. If the gown is heavy at try on, imagine being in it for 10 hours. If you have a full skirt, make sure you can sit down and that the crinoline/hoop underneath isn’t acting more like a forcefield, making it impossible for guests to hug you or for you to sit down. If you have a slim fitting gown, again, make sure sitting down is an option, as well as dancing and manuevering your way in and out of vehicles. Make sure your shoes are properly broken in and aren’t too high (even the most well worn 4 inch heel is bound to cause a cramp at some point). You don’t want to lose time on your big day feeling uncomfortable.
Biggest Wedding Regret #4: Not sticking to a timeline. Too many times, brides and grooms trust their vendors to know ‘what happens when’ and don’t give a full timeline of what they want, what they DON’T want, and when they want it to happen. While it may seem like a bore and a chore, creating a full timeline, from the moment people get ready to the moment you leave the reception, will make the evening go much more smoothly. And once it is created, stick to it! Review it with your caterer and photographer to make sure it coordinates with what they can do (allotting enough time between cocktails and dinner, allotting enough time for photos) and then give it to every other vendor involved (including your stylists and your transportation company. While they may not be involved in the full night, if their timeline is off, everybody’s is off!
Biggest Wedding Regret #5: Not having video. This seems like a self serving statement seeing as how we are a photo/video team, but it truly is one of the biggest regrets couples have (look it up!). Many couples feel they won’t watch it and that it will collect dust, and then as their wedding unfolds, they wish so much could have been captured to be relived again; their dance with their new spouse, with their parent/honored attendant, beautiful toasts, and other unscripted moments (a flower girl break dancing, relatives who haven’t spoken in years shaking hands, special moments you share with your new spouse, etc.). If budget is tight, try to arrange for at leaast a 6 hour package that will cover your ceremony and most of your formal moments through your reception (your first dance, cake cutting, toasts).
Another regret that couples often report is not enjoying the process enough. Don’t let this happen! Enjoy your tasting, your engagement shoot, your invitation designing, the whole thing. You want to look back on this time and remember it as happy and exciting. When it starts to get overwhelming step back, take a break, and tackle it again when you have the energy. And when wedding day comes, enjoy! It’s your wedding!!