While elopements and microweddings grew in popularity during the pandemic, they’re definitely here to stay. As a Maryland elopement photographer, I’ve seen some truly incredible celebrations for my couples over the last few years. Planning an elopement allows you, as a couple, to decide what matters most to you and focus on just that… whether it’s a unique venue, an over-the-top guest experience, or a specific vendor you can’t stop thinking about. Today, I’m sharing 4 tips for planning a Southern Maryland elopement!
1. Think outside the box for unique locations for your Southern Maryland elopement.
Elopements are naturally smaller, more intimate celebrations. Southern Maryland has some amazing locations that can make your dream elopement possible. From waterfront manors, incredible restaurants, or lovely farms. Two of my favorite venues for elopements are:
- Rousby Hall is located on the Patuxent River with gorgeous spots for getting ready, a tented reception along the water, and plenty of room to have your guests spend the weekend.
- Susannah’s Watch is another waterfront bed and breakfast that was a manor home once upon a time. They have gorgeous vineyards, a lush lavender field, and even wildflowers around the property. It’s a gorgeous romantic option for your elopement!
2. Utilize higher per-guest budget to enhance your guest experience.
One of the reasons that many couples prefer to plan elopements is that they often utilize a smaller budget than a full traditional wedding day. This allows them to put their hard earned money where they really want it. For some couples, that’s choosing a super unique venue. For others, it’s the food and sweets. Some couples like to use the budget to enhance their guests’ experiences.
This is a great chance to choose something special to highlight about your love story, your venue, or the city you chose to elope in! Here’s a few ways to use a higher-per-guest budget to enhance their experience:
- Custom stationery: Consider choosing stationery on more elevated or rich paper for your guests. You could also consider doing a more involved stationery set or having it customized with a painting, special liner, or unique drawing.
- Elevated menu cards: Now is the time to show off! Work with your vendors to create gorgeous menu cards and seating cards. This is your chance to go all out and showcase what makes your celebration special.
- Signature cocktails: While signature cocktails aren’t special for just elopements, utilizing your budget for a more specialized drink is a great option. Consider using a more expensive version of your ingredients, a few extra options to choose from, or something you might not see everywhere – like a special topper or specific ingredient.
- Welcome bags: Many elopements are in unique destinations, so a great option for your guests is a welcome bag! Fill it with your favorite items from the area, a map of things to do, or even some yummy snacks and drinks. Welcome bags help your guests feel ready to party and so special!
- Lounge furniture: Elopement budgets can be used for unique experiences too! Consider building a special lounge area for your guests at your reception, or choose an activity – like a firepit, s’mores bar, or something else that speaks to you to celebrate!
3. Elopements and micro weddings still need wedding planners to handle the logistics!
While elopements and micro weddings are smaller events, I still recommend hiring a wedding planner to take the stress off of you! Wedding planners play a crucial role in bringing your vision to life. Southern Maryland has some incredible planners I adore working with.. But here are two of my favorites:
- AMAVI Events is run by Brooke and her amazing team. They offer full and partial planning options and specialize in bringing your Maryland wedding day to life! They’ve got such great experience and I adore every time I get the chance to work with them on a wedding day.
- The Hitched Co. Heather runs an incredible team of wedding planners and designers in Maryland. I love how much they adore elopements and smaller weddings – plus they have a large team, ensuring that there will always someone available to help you with your questions and plans!
4. Invest in the best photo/video team you can afford for your Southern Maryland elopement
We’ve talked a little bit already about how important your elopement budget is and that spending it in the way that matters most to you is important. As a Southern Maryland wedding photographer, maybe I’m a bit biased… but I truly believe your smaller intimate wedding or elopement still deserves to be documented beautifully for you (and your loved ones). I highly recommend investing in the best photo and/or video teams that you can afford so that you know your memories will be preserved for years to come!
Intimate elopements are definitely here to stay – and I love helping my couples bring their unique and special visions to life. Whether your wedding day is big or small, it should be filled with what brings you joy. I hope that these tips help you feeling inspired for planning a Southern Maryland elopement!