The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive and lasting impact on the wedding industry.
The number of weddings were down by nearly 50% compared to 2019 (Wedding Report). With the vaccine roll out taking longer than originally expected, full-size summer 2020 weddings are still in jeopardy.
Many couples have chosen to elope or plan an intimate wedding. You can see these inspirational examples in Wall Street Journal and Huffpost.
I personally photographed far fewer elopements this year than in previous years, but was grateful to safely document a handful of ceremonies in Oregon and California.
This guide will help you navigate the process of planning your elopement during a pandemic.
The ability to get marriage licenses has been either restricted or affected in many counties. There are also restrictions on event sizes and locations at the state / city / county levels.
Here are links to helpful state websites:
In general, small groups under 10 total (including guests and vendors) are going to be okay for outdoor elopements in most states and locales.
There are restrictions to international travel to/from the US (CDC).
Interstate travel is not regulated, but can be subject to quarantine.
I have not been flying to elopements during the pandemic, choosing to drive instead.
Small Guest List Tips
It can be a difficult decision to elope without your close friends and family, but there are ways to still include them in your ceremony.
Adventure Instead has a great write-up that includes ideas like: having your family write letters for you to read on your day, opening gifts from friends/family, doing a video conference toast, having a zoom ceremony, and more:
Who knew that we’d be doing weddings over Zoom, but here we are..
My friend Sam Hurd created a great guide for setting up a virtual wedding.
There are many videography companies that are adding this to their repertoire of services. It might not work in remote locations, but is great for ceremonies with wifi!
My elopement packages include travel and accommodations for the Western US. I’ve shot over 300 elopements and weddings in my 10 year career and would love to help you plan the perfect pandemic elopement adventure.