How to Hire an Officiant You Vibe With

How to Hire an Officiant You Vibe With

We’re in love with wedding ceremonies. Many ElopeNC vendors would say the vows are our favorite part, and we wish more couples came into wedding planning excited about creating an amazing ceremony. Let’s talk about how to hire an officiant you vibe with. If you’re not sure why you should be excited about your ceremony, think about your love story… Look at your partner and the journey you’ve been on… Think about your favorite memories, hobbies, and dreams… Then think about all that “you-ness” being woven into a beautifully written story. If you’re not pumped yet, it’s time to have a date night, pronto.

 

Who’s going to tell your love story?

 

If you have a place of worship you regularly attend, you may have an ordained religious leader whom you have a relationship with, and the choice may be easy. Others consider having a family member or friend officiate, but we encourage couples to check state laws before going this route (in NC, online ordination is not considered legal). If no one in particular comes to mind, we recommend hiring a professional officiant so you can have a wonderful ceremony with none of the stress.

So how do you hire the right officiant?

 

First, you have to figure out what you actually want your ceremony to feel like. You may have thought about how beautiful it’ll be, and how much fun the reception will be, but have you thought about how you want to feel during your wedding ceremony? In that short window of time when it’s just you and your partner, eyes and hands locked for eternity in a moment, tears blurring the edges of your vision, with only a voice to keep you grounded in the moment, what do you want that voice to say?

Will the voice speak of marriage and its virtues, of its beauty and challenges? Will the speech be religious or secular? Will it speak of what marriage has always meant, or what it means to you and your partner? Will it share passages from religious texts or beloved poems, Star Wars quotes or a line from your favorite novel? Will you hear your love story shared, depicted as a romance for the ages, as the funny adventure it’s been, as a story of joining two hearts and families? Will there be more than one language or more than one speaker? Do you want your ceremony to be romantic, entertaining, uplifting, or serious? Will your time together be brief, or will the ceremony be long; will you stand on top of a mountain, or in a private home?

Once you have a clear idea of who and what you want, it becomes much easier to find the perfect officiant to fill that space. Whether you find a few officiants through word of mouth, online research, or through a vendor recommendation, you’ll want to ask a few questions to make sure they’re the right fit for your ceremony. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime celebration of your love story, so we hope you find the perfect person to fill that role.

Officiant Availability

 

Before you start asking any other questions, you’ll want to make sure they’re available for your date and time. Many officiants work multiple weddings on a day, so if you don’t have a set ceremony time, chat with your top choices and see what times are available to you. Consider these questions:

 

    • Will you be the person present at the wedding, or do you have a team?
    • Will you be working any other weddings that day or weekend?
    • Are you able to work at my venue, or do you only perform ceremonies in your place of worship?
    • How are you legally ordained?

Photo from ElopeNC + Green Wedding Guild's Green Elopements Challenge, Romantic Red Rose Picnic Elopement, by Southern Belle Photography ft Con Amor by Sucetty, 1 Blossom 2 Bloom Floral Design, and P&M Notary and Officiant | How to Hire an Officiant You Vibe With

Photo from ElopeNC + Green Wedding Guild‘s Green Elopements Challenge, Romantic Red Rose Picnic Elopement, by Southern Belle Photography ft Con Amor by Sucetty, 1 Blossom 2 Bloom Floral Design, and P&M Notary and Officiant

Price & Logistics

 

There can be quite a range in prices for officiants, with factors like expertise, demand, client experience, additional services like rehearsals and premarital counseling, and more. We encourage you to have a conversation with your potential officiants about their rates so you can fully understand what is included. Love story ceremonies are more involved and often start around $500-800.

 

    • What is your rate for a standard ceremony, and what does that include?
    • What is your most popular package? And what are the alternatives?
    • Do you come to the rehearsal? Does your rate include this?
    • When are payments due?
    • What is the refund policy if our wedding needs to be postponed?
    • Is there a difference in rates or services between a standard wedding and an elopement?

Creating the Ceremony Speech

 

If you want a simple ceremony so you can say “I do” and become a married couple, many officiants have ceremony templates available for lower prices, so you’ll get great delivery of a traditional ceremony with your names in it. If you want to get a bit more personal, chat with your officiant prospects about their speech creation process. You’ll also want to make sure the officiant can perform any religious or cultural traditions you want to include.

 

    • What is your ceremony writing process like? How much input do we have?
    • How many times will you speak with us before the wedding?
    • How do you learn about our relationship?
    • How personalized will our ceremony be?
    • Are there any restrictions with respect to the music, readings, unity ceremonies, etc?
    • How are interfaith marriages handled?
    • Will we see a copy of the ceremony script beforehand?
    • About how long are your ceremonies?

Ceremonies have always been beautiful and special, but as we experience a changing world where the future is more uncertain than normal, we hope people cherish their wedding ceremonies. Elopements allow you to marry the love of your life whenever, wherever, and with whomever in attendance. You can celebrate your marriage with a reception later, but there’s no need to wait for your marriage to begin, so make sure you hire an officiant you vibe with for an awesome wedding day.

 

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How to Hire an Officiant You Vibe With

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Romantic Red Rose Picnic Elopement

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Does personality matter when hiring wedding vendors? For planners and photographers, the answer is yes!

Does personality matter when hiring wedding vendors? For planners and photographers, the answer is yes!

We want to share in your excitement, quiet or loud as it may be, about all the love, joy, intimacy, colors, details, and everyday bits of magic that make up your life and your wedding day… Our favorite people love hard and laugh deeply, own all the quirks and weirdness that make them real, value photography and its ability to tell a story that lasts. – MKM Photography

Whether you’re planning a full wedding or downsizing to an intimate event, hiring the right vendors is essential to creating the day you want. Booking professionals with experience takes stress off your plate as you finalize your plans, and vendors often work behind the scenes on your wedding day, making things run smoothly. For most vendor types, hiring a quality pro comes down to asking the right questions to make sure they can accommodate your style of event and execute your specific needs, which can be determined via email and quick phone calls, but there are two vendors you need to hire with an extra aspect in mind – their personality.

Emily Katherine Events

“During the planning stage, she helped us with plenty of unique ideas, and recommended the most wonderful vendors. We knew we could trust them because they were Emily approved. We also loved how Emily made great efforts to keep the wedding environmentally friendly. On the day of the wedding, she helped everything ran so smoothly, and was wearing a mask the entire time to keep everyone safe. She worked SO hard behind the scenes and helped everyone have a great time.” – Review of Emily Katherine Events (Photo by Ariel Kaitlin Photography

We’re talking about the two vendors you’ll spend the most time with on your special day – your wedding photographer and coordinator.

You should love your venue or elopement location after a tour, feel excited for your meal after tastings, and trust that your florist and stylist understand your preferences, but when wedding day comes, those decisions are finalized and you can enjoy the results of their labor without directly interacting with the humans who make the magic happen. But before you book your elopement planner or coordinator and your photographer, make sure you like their personality.

Why do you need to personally like these vendors? Because they will be in your personal bubble on your wedding day.

It’s important to surround yourself with people you know, love, and enjoy spending time with as you commit your life to your partner, and you’ll likely spend more time with your photographer and coordinator than any other individual on your wedding day. If you have a good time with these vendors, you’re going to better enjoy your whole day.

Island Time Photography

Island Time Photography is all about creating a relaxed experience in taking photos. “It doesn’t even feel like you’re getting your photos taken!” is the number one thing I hear back after my sessions.

Wild Marie Photography

I have found my hidden talent, keeping the vibe as beautiful and chill, or crazy and energetic as you wish, while capturing the sweetest moments of your life.  I am down for any adventure and will go above and beyond to help make your day as special as I can. – Wild Marie Photography

When you hire a wedding coordinator, you’re trusting this person to communicate your wishes with your vendors, family, and guests throughout your wedding day. Their people skills and ability to interact with strangers are essential for a positive wedding experience. This vendor is the one escorting you through your day, and you want to enjoy seeing them come up to you during the wedding, rather than dread what they have to say. Plus, they’ll directly interact with guests, who will definitely notice the coordinator’s personality and the experience they create.

A wedding planner’s personality is even more important because you’ll be working with them for months leading up to your wedding. Seeing and talking with someone regularly is a big commitment, and you should feel comfortable sharing your wedding dreams, stressors, and expectations with them. When you vibe with your wedding planner, they’re better able to help you create a wedding day that expresses your love story in an authentic way.

Beauty & the Budget Events

Through all our wedding experiences, one thing has continued to be true – no matter the size of the guest count or budget, we love creating weddings that reflect the love story, relationship and personality of the couple so that they have a wedding experience unlike any other. It’s YOUR wedding day. It should feel like you – just all dolled up. – Beauty & the Budget Events (Photo by Images by Amber Robinson)

Con Amor by Sucetty

We had the pleasure to be Rhady’s Day of Coordinator on her wedding day. We had about 3 months of preparation to ensure that all her details were considered and honored on the day of her wedding. Here I am checking in on the beautiful bride and bringing the mother of bride her floral corsage. – Con Amor by Sucetty (Photo by Niada Cradle Photography)

Your wedding photographer’s personality matters because they will spend the entire wedding day with you. From the dressing room and private, intimate moments with your partner to the personal toasts and dancefloor excitement, your photographer will be in your sphere all day. You hire them to capture your event and love story, which requires some up close and personal time. They should be someone you feel comfortable around and trust to create the experience you want since they can set the tone as they lead you through photos and activities.

Every couple has a different love story and personality, and everyone wants a different wedding experience. Whatever personalities you gravitate towards, there are plenty of wedding photographers and coordinators to suit your style and goals, and all it takes is a conversation to see if you enjoy each other’s company. After all, we think the best planners and photographers are professional, experienced, and enjoyable to have a coffee with.

Want help finding the best elopement photographers and coordinators for your intimate event? Visit our Vendor Directory to get started!

Blue Satin Bee

“After rescheduling and then indefinitely postponing our Vegas wedding, Blue Satin Bee was able to perfectly capture our vision for our reimagined Oak Island wedding in just two months. I cannot speak highly enough of Kim! We immediately had a great connection from our very first call. She handles absolutely everything, and is also so kind and just a true joy to work with! I highly suggest hiring Blue Satin Bee for your wedding planner needs.” – Reivew of Blue Satin Bee (Photo by Hen House Photography)

Tom Waldenberg Photography

Whether a 200-person wedding or a courthouse elopement, I love getting to know my couples, emphasizing the parts of the day most important to them, and serving as a reliable and relaxed part of their wedding day team. – Tom Waldenberg Photography

Ents Events - Photo by Morgan Amanda Photography

“There are not enough amazing things to say about Kelsey! She made the entire planning process enjoyable and stress free. Her attention to detail calmed my nerves, and I had confidence going into my big day knowing that she had everything taken care of. Kelsey is professional and personable which shined through on the day of. Everyone loved her-seriously EVERYONE!” – Review of Ents Events (Photo by Morgan Amanda Photography)

Through Lindsey's Lens

My number one priority in any elopement or intimate wedding is focusing fully on the couple and making sure they are creating the best, most authentic, and positive memories from their day. I am simply there to capture those moments and remind them that this day is all about their love. – Through Lindsey’s Lens

Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

ElopeNC & Green Wedding Guild love co-sponsoring the annual Green Elopements Challenge because it’s incredible to see how different vendors can infuse a design with their brand styles, ideal clients’ vibes, and eco-conscious wedding details. Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement was filled with vibrant, warm colors and incorporated vintage details with a love of music and Asian cuisine.

Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

GWG member An Event to Remember said, “We were the planner and designer of our set up. We handled organizing all items, coming up with the design and doing florals as well. We worked with local florists to add to the overall look of the tables… We love Asian food and music so incorporating a little bit of us in this shoot was fun!”

The Two Hearts, One Song styled shoot had 1940s inspired attire and decor, including wooden crates, picnic baskets, and a crochet tablecloth overlay. The bearded groom wore a light blue jacket with a tweed vest, suspenders, and dark blue pants, with a Newsboy hat atop his brown curls. He carried a pocket watch and was donned with a burlap-wrapped boutonniere made of rosemary and mini pink and white flowers. A brown watch and shoes rounded out his vintage groomswear. His bride wore a sleeveless dress covered in pearls with a detailed back. She was accessorized with a pearl necklace and long earrings, and her blond hair was styled into a low bun with a pearl headband. Her spring wildflower bouquet featured stretching stems and flowers in warm colors like purple, peach, and yellow, with accents of white, wrapped in burlap to match the boutonniere.

Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

This groom is a musician who plays many instruments and brought along a lightweight option that was easy to travel with – his banjo! It’s easy to imagine a couple going for an old timey romantic picnic where the gentleman serenades his lady. Rachel Abi Wedding Photographer in Raleigh NC said, “It’s always fun to see things get created, chat with people, and help the couple have a great time in the process. Integrating the Banjo in the details was fun!”

The ceremony was on a grassy area in front of a wall of bamboo. Two stacks of vintage wood nesting crates framed the ceremony, decorated with warm-colored spring flowers, clear vases filled with pampas grass, and lanterns with wood and gold accents. The couple celebrate their vows with a glass of champagne at the ceremony site before heading to their sweetheart table.

Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

Their sweetheart table featured a green floor length linen with a cream crochet overlay. Rustic galvanized water pitchers sat atop vinyl records and were filled with orange, pink, and white flowers. A large matching floral arrangement sat at the foot of the table across the flowing green linen. Place settings consisted of green glass vintage goblets, gray dinner plates, vintage green salad plates, and black bowls for their Asian-inspired meal.

An Event to Remember shared, “Even if it’s a small event, make sure to make it look like it’s YOUR wedding and not just anyone’s. Figure out what you both like as a couple and develop around that. There can be so many ways of doing this, from the food , to the drink, to the dress, to the design, to the dessert and location.”

Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

Alongside the sweetheart table sat a rectangular guest table featuring wooden X-back chairs and a purple tablecloth with green linen napkins matching the sweetheart table. The simpler place settings included a mix of gray and green plates, with dark gray vintage water glasses. The centerpiece was a garland of greenery with flowers interspersed, and a black three branch candelabra held dusty purple candles. Music sheet notes were interwoven with the guest table greenery runner, and a ukelele sat at the end of the table.

Two picnic baskets were stacked on the other side of the sweetheart table, featuring the cutting cake. The top basket was open on one side, overflowing with wildflowers and vinyl records, and the other side supported a cake stand and vintage plate and cake cutting set. The tall white cutting cake was decorated with tall branches and a warm tone floral arrangement. At the base of the picnic baskets, a chalkboard showed the elopement date and the words, “Two Hearts, One Song.”

Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

Rachel Abi said, “The fact that it was focused on who the couple was and what they enjoyed speaks to the freedom you can have in planning your wedding!!”

Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

A few other designed areas helped enhance the experience and build on the elements of Asian cuisine and a vintage music experience. A seating chart had a chalk sign that said Pick Your Way to Your Seat atop a crochet runner pinned with sheet music featuring guest names and guitar picks with table numbers. The chart was surrounded by a green vintage suitcase, records, and a vintage jug filled with flowers. After cutting their cake, the couple moved to a cocktail table for a Sake toast before exploring the woods with the banjo and a blanket to snuggle up in.

Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement
Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

An Event to Remember shared, “We are part of the Green Wedding Guild and wanted to support but also [joined the event to] meet new vendors and loved the location. We had a great time doing this event! It was great meeting the other vendors and even the other teams that were there that day. Made it even more worth it. Got to chat about the industry and brainstorm with other vendors for future events. We loved our look and had fun playing with a tablescape to keep our design juices going.”

Green Wedding Guild Stylized Shoot - Two Hearts, One Song: A Musical Elopement

This styled shoot was part of the 2022 Green Elopements Challenge sponsored by ElopeNC + Green Wedding Guild.

Vendor List:

 

Sponsors: Green Wedding Guild + ElopeNC*

*Photographer: Rachel Abi Wedding Photographer in Raleigh NC

Venue: Old Lystra Inn

Planner, Florist: An Event to Remember

*Dress: Beautiful & Borrowed Bridal

Stylist: Reverie Hair Co

Rentals: Southern Vintage Table

Food: Sage and Swift Catering

Linen Rentals: American Party Rentals

Models: Jessica and Andrew

How to Successfully Plan a Daytime Wedding

How to Successfully Plan a Daytime Wedding

Photo of a daytime ceremony by North State Photography.

Late nights, high energy, and loud music may be the trend for weddings, but if you and your partner are morning people, that doesn’t have to change for your wedding day. Instead of starting the festivities at 5 pm, yawning on the dancefloor, and staying up ’til midnight, your dream wedding evening might include curling up with your new spouse after an incredible day. With a few important differences from evening events, there are some specific things to consider when planning a daytime wedding, and we’re going to break them down for you.

Jess prepares to get dressed before her morning ceremony on the beach. Photo by Elope with Emily.

Jess prepares to get dressed before her morning ceremony on the beach. Photo by Elope with Emily.

Setting an Early Ceremony Time

As you plan what time to start your ceremony, the biggest factor to consider is the setup and preparation! Wedding setup typically takes about 3 hours for all your vendors to make the magic happen, so you’ll want to have a simple decor plan in place or make sure your venue can open their doors in the early morning. Another option is to complete most of the setup the day before, if your location will allow.

For just the bride’s hair, makeup, and dressing time, it takes about 2 hours. You’ll also need to consider any travel time and the ability to wake up without feeling immediately rushed out the door. For example, if you’re getting married at 11 am, you’ll want everyone fully ready by 10:30 am. Hair and makeup should begin no later than 8:30 am at the ceremony location (or 2 hours before you leave for the venue). As you consider waking up, getting showered and ready for your day, and traveling to your venue, you could easily be looking at a 6 or 6:30 wake-up time.

With an early ceremony, there likely won’t be much time for photos beforehand, so plan to start earlier if you want to include a first look or getting ready photos. Talk to your photographer about taking most pictures after the ceremony and decide which photos you want to prioritize in the early part of the day.

All The Things Ceremonies officiates a mountaintop daytime ceremony.

All The Things Ceremonies officiates a mountaintop daytime ceremony.

Dessert bar for a tea party reception designed by Beauty & the Budget Events, featuring a cake by Cupcakes d'Amour. Photo by Brian Anthony Photography

Dessert bar for a tea party reception designed by Beauty & the Budget Events, featuring a cake by Cupcakes d’Amour. Photo by Brian Anthony Photography

Inviting Guests to a Daytime Wedding

If you plan to invite guests, make sure they’re aware of the early start time, since they may not be expecting it. Draw special attention to the time on your save the dates, invitations, and wedding website so that no one misses it! If you know your guests will be traveling for your wedding, set up a hotel block that’s as close as possible to the venue so guests won’t have to travel far in the morning and make sure they’ll have breakfast options available.

 

Not everyone is a morning person like y’all are, so help your guests feel ready for the day. If you’re having a sunrise ceremony, consider keeping the ceremony intimate and inviting a larger crowd for your reception later in the day. For weddings starting before noon, we recommend setting up a pre-ceremony coffee & juice bar to help guests be fully awake as you tie the knot.

The White Bounce House provided unexpected entertainment for a daytime wedding. Design by Ents Events. Photo by Morgan Amanda Photography

The White Bounce House provided unexpected entertainment for a daytime wedding. Design by Ents Events. Photo by Morgan Amanda Photography.

Daytime Wedding Attire Expectations

Be kind to your guests by setting the formality so their Google search doesn’t fill up with “What to wear to a brunch wedding.” The general expectation is that wedding guests will be wearing daytime attire rather than formal evening gowns, but you still get to set the formality.

 

If you’re going the super casual route, mention that jeans are welcome; for semi-formal, you can recommend sundresses and dress pants; and if your dream brunch wedding is an upscale formal brunch, suggest dress suits and cocktail attire.

Booking Daytime Wedding Vendors

Because daytime weddings aren’t as common, you’ll want to talk to each potential vendor about how they would handle a daytime wedding. With most vendors, you should feel comfortable asking if there is a discount since the wedding isn’t at a common time – but never get offended if the vendor sticks with their prices.

For hair and makeup artists, you’ll want to have a clear picture of how long the process will take, especially considering if you want bridesmaids or anyone else to be styled. With photographers, ask if they can handle high sun photos and see if they have examples, since the sun’s position can greatly impact your photos. You’ll want to check that your venue, planner, DJ, and any other vendors will be able to arrive to set up early, and ask about realistic setup times so you can be prepared. And of course, you’ll want to talk with your caterer about all the delicious options they can provide…

Duo Licht performs at a noon ceremony at the WRAL Azalea Garden, planned by Beauty & the Budget Events. Photo by Live View Studios

Duo Licht performs at a noon ceremony at the WRAL Azalea Garden, planned by Beauty & the Budget Events. Photo by Live View Studios

Wedding Brunch and Lunch Menus

As you consider the formality, think about the style of food. A more casual wedding is well suited for a cocktail-style reception with minimal food, while a formal sit-down lunch leans semi-formal to formal. Once you set the formality, it’s time to think about the menu! You can’t go wrong with a brunch spread of all your favorite goodies like fresh fruits, pastries, eggs, and bacon. Lunch menus allow so much creativity because you create lighter, more playful versions of dinner entrees, and your favorite foods can easily find their way onto the menu.

 

While you’re thinking about food, you’ll also want to consider your bar and dessert. When it comes to serving alcohol at a daytime wedding, guests typically drink less than they would at an evening reception, so you can easily cut costs. This gives you wiggle room to have fun with your specialty drinks – for brunch receptions, mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are sure to be popular, while a lunch reception pairs well with light, fruity drinks like sangrias and margaritas. For dessert, you can have a cake or get playful with options like waffle cakes and crepe cakes to keep with the brunch theme.

Entertaining your Guests

If you opt for a daytime wedding, the dance floor probably isn’t your top priority, since guests are less likely to dance in the middle of the day. Because of this, you have the option to create a shorter reception timeline or provide alternative sources of entertainment. For live music, a harp player or violinist is perfect for background music while guests enjoy their meal. Yard games are great ways for guests to have fun during your reception, and most guests will be happy to enjoy food, drink, and good conversation. Bringing in non-traditional entertainment like poets, magicians, and artists can also create a talking point for guests to enjoy.

 

Since the wedding is going to end earlier than guests may be used to, it’s great to provide recommendations for fun activities to enjoy afterward, especially if folks are traveling into town. Give guests a map of the town you’re getting married in, and pinpoint your favorite restaurants, bars, and hang-out spots so guests are still celebrating your love story throughout the evening.

Rev Kathie McCutcheon officiates a ceremony under the shade of a tree. Photo by Radian Photography.

Rev Kathie McCutcheon officiates a ceremony under the shade of a tree. Photo by Radian Photography.

A brunch centerpiece with fresh fruit, mini crepe cakes, and tea treats, prepared by The Crepe Cakerie. Design by Beauty & the Budget Events. Photo by Vidr Photography

A brunch centerpiece with fresh fruit, mini crepe cakes, and tea treats, prepared by The Crepe Cakerie. Design by Beauty & the Budget Events. Photo by Vidr Photography.

Romantic Red Rose Picnic Elopement

Romantic Red Rose Picnic Elopement

ElopeNC and Green Wedding Guild partnered to sponsor a Green Elopements styled shoot challenge in April 2022, and each team of vendors put their heads together to create a design full of inspiration for couples wanting an intimate wedding.

“I worked with an amazing team to put together our Red Rose Romance Elopement,” Brenda of Con Amor by Sucetty said. “I helped plan & coordinate the event, ensuring we have a cohesive experience for our couple while always staying true to everyone’s talent. I particularly really enjoyed the opportunity of bringing in some fairly new (to the industry) vendors to work on this with me. It was just awesome seeing it all come together, and everyone’s joy in learning together and building our community.”

Hannah of Southern Belle Photography said, “I photographed the shoot and also found our model bride & groom, a sweet Indian couple who had been following my work on Instagram. Brenda found most of our vendors for the shoot.”

Brenda says, “I really liked the challenge of creating an eco-friendly experience; that was a brand-new concept and approach to planning and designing an elopement. I was able to include a luxury picnic experience for the couple & guests + puppy and create an intimate elopement filled with joy & love. During our styled shoot, my goal was to execute an elopement that incites ROMANCE. I knew that I wanted to use the story of red roses to create the romance for our couple. My favorite part was the bride’s red rose crown.”

Betts Family Kitchen provided a 3-tiered semi-naked cake with fresh flower garland. The cake flavor was Rosemary Lemon Olive Oil, with a fresh Blueberry Filling, & Rose Buttercream. Cake boards were made with recycled cardboard and dowel rods were reusable. All fruit & dairy in the cake were organic and locally sourced.

“Green weddings are still something new for me,” Hannah said, “so trying to brainstorm how we could make the shoot ‘green’ was a bit challenging at first. Once I was more familiar with the concept, it became obvious that any wedding or elopement could easily be green with a little thought. I think our intimate romantic picnic set-up is something a lot of couples can draw inspiration from. It is a memorable and fun way for couples to involve their closest friends or family and enjoy some time together talking and eating after vows are made. The picnic set-up Brenda made could be set-up anywhere from a mountaintop meadow to the Carolina coast.”

 

Stephanie of Elope NC invited me to join,” Hannah said, “and since I had the day available, I felt it would be a great opportunity to network with other Elope NC vendors and also learn more about green elopements. I liked making new vendor friends and seeing people in person. I don’t always get a chance to network with bakers, bridal shops, etc. on a wedding day so being able to do so is wonderful. I also enjoy styled shoots where I am the sole photographer because I can take my time and direct the models to my vision. They also allow me to create opportunities to experiment, something I feel is important for creatives to do so their work doesn’t feel ‘cookie cutter.'”

Our model couple had a puppy they didn’t want to leave at home so they took him along in the car,” Hannah shared. “When I realized they had brought their brown lab, I insisted he join the shoot! I love it when couples involve their furry babies so while it wasn’t planned, I feel including their pup was a fun, unique touch. Elopements are small enough that couples can include their animals and it totally be doable! It’s all about what makes them happy & relaxed as a couple so if that means bringing their dog, they should do it!”

Florist Adanna of 1 Blossom 2 Bloom used a reusable and eco-friendly source for her design mechanics, which she says was really exciting, and “included locally sourced and seasonal florals that actually out shined the more traditional florals. This shoot focused on being a green wedding but it didn’t sacrifice the element of elegance that a bride may be looking for. I loved the idea of something small where only the people who truly love you are in your wedding – to me it gave more focus to the genuine love of the couple.”

“I think having a clear vision of your day and committing to it will facilitate the communication between your vendor team to ensure that all your priorities are celebrated your way,” Brenda tells couples. “The officiant did a beautiful job tying it all together by sharing the history of flowers and the meaning of the wedding arch. Our photographer heightened red lighting tones in some of the couple portraits, the cake & floral decor just married beautifully on our set… literally it was all the little details that memorialized this special day. This was due to really good communication and understanding of the ‘couple’s’ vision & priorities. Go Team!”

The model groom said, “It was a great experience being a part of the shoot today. My favorite part was cake I guess 🙂 The way things were setup was great. There was a lot of hard work put into this, loved every part of it.”

Vendor List:

 

Sponsors: Green Wedding Guild + ElopeNC

Venue: Old Lystra Inn

*Planner: Con Amor by Sucetty

*Photographer: Southern Belle Photography

*Dress: Borrowed & Beautiful Bridal

*Cake designer: Betts Family Kitchen

Floral design: 1 Blossom 2 Bloom

Officiant: P&M Notary & Officiant

Hair & make-up: Lovestruck Beauty

Bride & Groom: Sirija + Shaan