HOW TO ORGANIZE A LAST MINUTE ELOPEMENT IN NEW YORK

Man, I thought I had seen it all and then a virus came along, and I realized I had seen nothing at all. Life has been shaken in more ways than one, and as a wedding photographer my whole year has been turned upside down. 2020 dates became 2021 dates, spring weddings became winter weddings. And some folks have decided to hold off altogether until the horizon gets a little clearer.

But having to postpone your wedding doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Although social distancing is fundamental right now and I am not advising anyone to have any sort of elopement unless it really is just the two of you (like those badass ladies somewhere in the city), planning a small and last minute wedding can be a great way to celebrate the end of these crazy times – soon, I hope! – and shout your love from the rooftops. You can always have your bigger wedding later this year.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, it is much easier than you think. Small elopements are very simple to organize. I had a 48 hour engagement before I eloped six years ago and we had 4 people in attendance, so I know how easy -and fast!- it can be to get married, so here are my tips on how to organize a last minute elopement in New-York.

 

last minute elopement in new york

 

1. KEEP THE GUEST LIST AS TINY AS POSSIBLE

Whether you’re having 200 or 80 guests, the guest list is always a headache. How to decide who to keep off your list? Should you invite people who invited you to their wedding, even if theirs was much larger than yours? Should you invite all your cousins even if you are close to a couple of them only? How do you break the news to the people you cannot invite?

Having a very small and last minute elopement gives you a very good excuse to not invite everyone. Include your parents and siblings, and a handful of your dearest friends. This should keep the guest list under 20. If your family is far away and you don’t want them flying twice this year to come see your get married, have a friends-only elopement. These can be a ton of fun, and have a whole different dynamic than a family wedding.

 

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2. CHOSE YOUR BACKDROP

The point of having an elopement is to simplify the planning process. By choosing a spot with a gorgeous backdrop, you will need nothing else than yourselves and your guests to make it beautiful. Central Park allows parties of 20 guests or less to have a wedding on their ground without a permit. Although the gazebos such as the Cop Cot or the Ladies Pavilion are usually quite busy, it isn’t hard to find a great spot to have a ceremony in the park. How about one of the beautiful bridges or Hernshead, which boasts beautiful views over Midtown?

Dumbo, in Brooklyn, also has a lot of great spots for an impromptu ceremony, such as the beach, St Ann’s Warehouse, or even the promenade in front of Jane’s Carousel.

There are many small parks all around the city that would be a great fit for a small elopement. Some of them are technically private, but they are so secret that you can easily find a good time to go and have a quick ceremony. These spots are better for very small elopements with 10 people or less though, so keep that in mind if you decide to go the “guerilla”wedding” route! Some of those spots include: Amster Yard and Greenache Park in Midtown East, Alice’s Garden in Midtown West, or the McDougal-Sullivan park downtown.

last minute elopement in new york

You can also pick a quiet street in the West Village and have your ceremony out there for the world to see. A street like Gay Street could be ideal for this, since it is stunning and very quiet. You can also check if any of your friends has a rooftop you can use to have your celebration. Most of us have one, and the views are usually quite awesome!

And of course, you can also get married in your own home. This will ensure that your venue will hold no matter what virus is trying to kill the planet on your wedding date (let’s hope none, but we never know), plus it will allow you to wrap yourselves in those memories anytime you step into the room.

ideas for last minute elopement in new york

3. PICK MUST-HAVE VENDORS

An officiant is all you need to make your wedding official, and New-Yorkers are lucky enough to be allowed to get married anywhere by anyone who has been ordained. But if you want to make your day even more special, you can hire more people to beautify your day. A florist can make you a bouquet or a boutonniere, a cake maker can make a small cake for you and your guests, and a photographer can capture your celebration. Most vendors have special prices for elopements, so make sure to check with them when you inquire about your elopement. With those must-have vendors, your wedding will be as stunning as any other, and you won’t break the bank.

There. With those tips, you have a solid base to build on top of. Now let’s show this virus who’s the boss (hint: not him) and let’s get married already!

ideas for last minute elopement in new york

BEST WEDDING PHOTOS OF 2019

I promised myself that I would do a Best Of every year, and this is the second one. So far so good, I am keeping my own promise (we’ll see about that in 2027).

I have no idea what my prospective or future clients expect to see in a post like this, so I did it mostly for myself. And as usual, I improvised on the way, instinctively picking my best wedding photos of 2019 -whatever that really means- while scrolling through ALL my galleries (it took me two evenings, guys). Some of those pictures reminded me of something that inspired me, like that gorgeous bouquet from the Flower Witch at Freehold, in Brooklyn. Some reminded me of a moment that made me chuckle, like the boys getting ready together in a chateau in France, laughing in their underwear.

2019 was a rough year and I was pushed to my limits many times, but looking through all the weddings that made me feel happy one way or another was therapeutic. I’ll make sure to remind myself to do this every January, if not for you, at least for me. Just like any relationship, sometimes we need to remind ourselves why we fell in love with the path we picked.

So to all the people – couples, guests, planners, florists, caterers- who made 2019 the great year that it was, thank you! And happy near year to all of you out there.

xx

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HANNAH AND SAM: A UNIQUE WEDDING A FREEHOLD, BROOKLYN

What I love the most about Hannah and Sam is that they did exactly what they wanted, from start to finish, to celebrate their love. Which is why this wedding at Freehold was so unique, and remains one of my favorite days to document this year.

Because they were already officially married after a short and sweet visit to City Hall, they really could do anything they wanted. So after meeting me in Dumbo to take the ferry in their wedding attires, they headed to Freehold, a great bar in Brooklyn with a huge backyard, to have their ceremony THEIR WAY.

They walked down the aisle holding hand, and officiated the ceremony themselves. That’s right! Who needs an officiant to fake-pronounce you husband and wife, when you are already husband and wife anyway? They held the mic for most of the ceremony, passing it to their favorite people for some inspiring speeches throughout. Sam even surprised Hannah with a song he played on hid upright bass (I still wonder how he smuggled that giant thing in the venue without her noticing, by the way) and they even had everyone in attendance proclaim them husband and wife with the help of two friends holding up signs with the words on them.

The night ended in glitter, and I’ll let you scroll to the end of this post to see what I’m talking about. But the whole day was an explosion or emotion, creativity, and color thanks to the amazing Flower Witch for her floral work. This unique wedding at Freehold is tattooed in my brain forever, and I am so happy I get so share it with all of you!

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A BACKYARD WEDDING AT FRANKIES SPUNTINO

A backyard wedding at Frankies Spuntino in Brooklyn

Mingie and Takeshi’s day was split in half, between a sweet and intimate backyard wedding at Frankies Spuntino and a casual reception at Fawkner with a denim outfit and a collector baseball hat. I personally love when a couple finds ways to be fully themselves, with all its contradictions and many facets. Mingie and Tak’s day was very genuine, and to me that’s what made it so beautiful.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful and included the couple’s family and Mingie’s best friend, who played the cello as the bride walked down the aisle. Followed by the ceremony was a gorgeous brunch in the garden with cheese, bread, and olive oil (the French in me LOVES this!). The bride’s sister Juju and her boyfriend did most of the work at Frankies Spuntino by gathering flowers at a Park Slope deli the day prior to the big day to make homemade flower arrangement in mismatched vases. Juju was also Mingie and Tak’s officiant.

After a little break, they all headed to Fawkner in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn for a fun reception with all their friends. Mingie and Tak changed in their evening outfits, which included a gorgeous denim cowgirl outfit for the bride with her favorite Patsy Cline’s lyrics embroidered on it. They had delicious cakes and bar finger food, as well as a sweet video retracing their lives playing in the backroom. Fawkner was filled with love for those two.

Check the pictures below as well as the list of vendors!

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VENDORS:

Bride’s first dress: Modern Trousseau

Bride’s second dress: Reformation

Bride’s cowgirl outfit: Penelope Gazin

Groom’s ceremony outfit: The Black Tux (shoes by Gucci)

Cakes: Buttermilk Bakeshop

Flowers: Zuzu Petals

Make Up Artist and Cello Player: Ivan Luza

 

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