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