I walked into the hotel room of the Ludlow Hotel to find a tall, handsome groom in a smart suit running out as his bride sat facing the window having her makeup done. The room was calm and happy as the make-up artist finish her work. The bride's friend tidied up the room as the photographer snapped a few pictures of the bride and her wedding details. The scene was quite familiar since most brides have a very similar pre-wedding routine, but this wedding was different: The couple will soon be getting married at City Hall. They came from across the pond (the UK) with a handful of friends who will witness their nuptials. I was invited by my friend, Amber Marlow, the photographer for this wedding, to be her assistant. I shadowed her to learn all about New York City elopements, and I sure did learn a lot!
What struck me right away about the couple getting married was how similar the elopement process is to a typical wedding. There was a need for organization as with any other event. There were months of planning that went into the day. The challenges are, of course, quite different. This couple traveled from Great Britain and finding vendors in a different country is no small feat. The bride experienced a lot of stress trying to contact vendors. According to her sister, she called dozens of business but many never responded, and others did not meet her needs, expectations or price point. The process was long and stressful. To me, having a planner seems to be the perfect solution.
I had a common misconception about elopements before meeting Amber: I assumed people rushed to city hall in their home-town when they didn't want to make a fuss of their wedding. What I learned from Amber and from my research is that many people elope to New York City to get married for a variety of reasons, none of which include wedding ambivalence. Some couples come alone; others, like the bride and groom in the introduction, come with friends. Some elopements are quite extravagant; others are simple. But most elopements need help with planning and coordination just like any other wedding. If you are planning to elope to New York City, here are four reasons you should hire an elopement planner:
A planner can help streamline the process.
She can recommend trustworthy vendors, such as a marriage officiant, a wedding photographer, a florist, musicians, make up artists and a hair stylist or anyone else that a couple would like to contract. Knowing you have someone local to ask your questions and make connections can alleviate so much stress for the couple.
A planner can help you figure out where you should stay.
A couple eloping to New York City will likely be able to find a hotel to stay in. (Obviously, traveling to New York City is done by millions of people!) But finding a hotel with the right views or the right location might be a different story. A planner can make suggestions that will prove invaluable. Did you know it can take an hour to go five miles in this crazy city? Do you want to stay near the court-house? Do you plan to get married in Central Park? Will you need a permit? How about getting married on a hotel terrace? So many options! An elopement planner can help you sort them all out and make the best choice.
A planner can help you coordinate your guests.
If a couple is flying in family or friends for the elopement, it's important to be well organized. Having a travel plan will help make the day go more smoothly. Will you rent limos? Call a car service? Walk? Here's a tip: Some car services offer couples coupon codes for their guests to use during wedding transfers. Having a planner help with transportation can really stream-line the process for everyone.
A planner can help you find the perfect place to take your wedding pictures.
When scouting out locations, I put my complete trust in the photographer. I was so impressed looking through Amber's website because she has shot dozens of weddings in her six years as an elopement photographer. She has captured the simple city hall ceremony, the perfect kiss at Central Park, and the roof-top celebration afterwards. I appreciate her ability to stage the perfect picture and capture the best candid moments. She definitely knows her way around this city. For this wedding, she knew where to find the perfect graffiti wall (see picture above), the clever building signage, and the romantic sweet spot. She took advantage of the best lighting and created a story the couple will love to look back on for years to come.
I loved my first elopement, and I can't wait to help couples coming to New York City to get married have a very #HappyWedding!
All photos are from Amber Marlow - thank you for inviting me to Rob & Kate's elopement! Cheers!!
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