How to Elope or Have a Small Wedding Part 2 - Jamie Tobin Photography
Midwest + New England .. Well anywhere in the United States! ;) 

How to Elope or Have a Small Wedding Part 2

Hello humans! So, you’re engaged and the one thing you know for sure is that a large wedding is not for you.. now you’re on my blog looking for the answer of, “what do I do next”? This is PART 2 of my mini blog series of how to elope!

Are you typing into google or Pinterest, “How to elope?” “How to have a small wedding” “What do I need to do to elope?” Well, I got you.

Missed part one of my series? Don’t worry, here is part 1 of “How to Elope or Have a small Wedding”

Just want to skim? In this blog post I focus on how to pick vendors, setting a budget, and do I need two photographers for an elopement like you would a traditional large wedding?


How do I hire vendors for an elopement?

Hiring vendors for your elopement doesn’t have to be totally different than for a traditional large wedding.

You reach out, you tell them your dreams, your goals, a little about your elopement and any other information that you may know (like date) and then they will get back to you whether they are able to do the services you are looking for.

So let’s use a makeup artist for example!

You’re eloping on a Friday at 3 pm in a national park, and it’s a few hour drive for the makeup artist to come to you.. if it’s realistic for them to work that day, they may charge for the service and a travel fee.

Or how about catering?

You rent an amazing house and are wanting a 4 course meal for you + your guests!
The first step is to always reach out and ask the vendor for their services! You mention you have a party of 18, you are craving their risotto (or insert the food you want from them) and if they have your date + location open!

Okay, but what if I’m more remote?

I gotchuuu, in these cases vendors might require to stay over night to be able to show up for the services you want at the time you want. This is not uncommon! This is how we get to where you want to go at the times we need to!

When it comes to planning your elopement, you usually have your photographer (and/or videographer), and then pick location + date, and then it’s so much easier to book the rest of your vendors because you can tell them a set in stone date + time that you need them for.

catered dinner at your elopement

How do I set a budget for an elopement?

First — everyones budget is different. No two families are the same, so setting a budget is a personal choice!

Second, your budget should always list your priorities in order.
For example: Photography, Attire, Location, Food, Flowers, Hair, Makeup, Having pets present

In order to put a dollar amount to something you need to be able to say how important something is to you, and what you would be upset about if you couldn’t have it.

I also firmly believe you shouldn’t put yourself in huge debt to try and impress anyone. You should strive to spend comfortably. These are your memories, and this is your wedding day, but there is no shame in being engaged for a year vs a few months to be able to save for the things you really want to do.

While it is cheaper to elope than throw a large wedding, you still are craving a little guidance!

On average elopements can range from $10-15,000 for a multi day, honeymoon vibe of pure bliss. This budget can include your dream photographer, attire, videographer, food, hikes, multi-day in honeymoon spots, and more.

When it comes to building your budget lets look at the type of activities you want to do, too.
Are you dying to escape on a helicopter ride? (Check this one out in the Grand Canyon)
Are you wanting to stay on location after and honeymoon right away?
What about doing multi cities?
Considering wanting to rent out an entire venue? (Check out this airbnb in Oregon)
Are you wanting to do a jeep tour? (Grand Canyon anyone?)

So this also comes in hand with writing your timeline for your coverage! Once we know what your goals are, and when we want to do them, you can know what is realistic and what isn’t.

Tips for booking, know that most vendors require anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 payment to lock in your date + services. Most times these are NOT refundable, so be prepared when you come to signing contracts.

4 course catered dinner at your elopement

Do I need two photographers at my elopement like I would for a traditional large wedding?

Two photographers, or “second shooters” became very popular at large weddings because most of the time it was not possible for 1 human to be able to grab every angle at any given moment. For example, during the ceremony trying to get both the perspectives of walking down an aisle, or from the back of the aisle.

While I feel very confident in my ability to work solo at most elopements, sometimes I will recommend that you have both myself + Mark on your day.. and this is why!

Reasons to have two photographers at your elopement:

1: Getting ready at different times or locations. For example, in urban elopements you might be going to your favorite salon, and your spouse might be going to their favorite salon but you still want images of both of you!

2: You want multiple angles. I am very fast, but I am not Dash. 😉 I can not physically being in two spots at once.

3: You want a huge variety in your final gallery. There will be more images in the end, and the ability for one of us to grab certain moments, while the other one grabs you two as a couple. This way you can have images from moments you weren’t fully present in… like sunset photos! If I were to steal you two away, and grab golden hour portraits of you, I can leave Mark to grab some of those candid moments of your family + friends either watching, or mingling.

Reasons you might not need two photographers:

1: You are getting ready together! This is one of my favorites too of having couples help each other.

2: You will be entering your ceremony together or your ceremony wont have any sort of aisle vibe and will just be picking a spot and rolling with the vows no entrance or exit!

3: You don’t have guests attending!

Okay, let’s review part 2 of how to elope or have a small wedding!

We went over how to hire vendors, how to set a budget, and whether or not you might need two photographers on your elopement day.

Remember, no two elopements are the same! If you want something, let’s make it happen! I’m here to help you feel confident in your choices.

Did this bring up other questions for you?
Share this blog post with your family + friends!

Next week we will focus on telling your family + friends your eloping instead


we're jamie and mark!

We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of love… and all the little candid ones in between.


get to know us


copyright jamie tobin photography 2022 | privacy | terms of service | site designed by madison ramm