If you have recently decided to elope, the planning process can seem a bit overwhelming at first. The elopement you’re dreaming of is probably unlike any wedding you’ve attended in the past, so it can be hard to know where to start. This blog post is going to break down my entire process – from sending in your inquiry, to the delivery of your gallery – so you know exactly what to expect when you book your North Carolina elopement with me.
The first step, after you’ve decided to elope, is to inquire here by filling out the contact form. Your inquiry will land in my inbox, and I’ll respond within 48 hours with information and a link to my packages.
Included in that first email will also be a couple times that I’m available for a phone call. You can respond with a time that works for you and your partner, and we’ll schedule a phone call! During the call, we’ll get to know each other more and I’ll ask you some questions about what you’re envisioning for your elopement. We’ll brainstorm ideas, choose a date, and narrow down which package will be the best fit for you. I’ll also answer any questions you have so far!!
If you’re ready to book right after the call, I’ll send an email containing a link to your contract. You and your partner will sign the contract digitally, and then I’ll send a link to pay your retainer. I require a $1500 retainer to save your date, and the rest is due a month before your wedding date (or, we can split it up weekly/monthly/etc.). Once your contract is signed and the retainer is payed, you’re officially booked!! And now the planning process can begin!
Once you’ve completed the retainer payment, you will receive a welcome email that contains all the info you’ll need to get started planning your North Carolina elopement. Included in the welcome email will be, your location questionnaire (more about this in step 5!), and a link to join the “Elopements by Erin Resources for Couples” Google Drive Folder: This folder is full of elopement planning resources, exclusively for my couples. The folder includes:
This questionnaire helps me get to know you more, and also asks specific questions about your ideal North Carolina elopement location(s). Your answers to these questions will help me create a custom location idea list for you, so I can suggest the locations that I think will be the best fit for you both!!
Once you’ve completed your location questionnaire, I’ll get to work on creating your custom location list!! The list includes the trail names, location, hiking distance and difficulty, trail conditions, permit information, guest limit, and photos. You’ll receive your list within 2 weeks, and I always recommend having a date night with your partner to browse through your list and see what stands out to you the most.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favorite location(s), the next step is applying for your permit. A lot of public lands (like the Blue Ridge Parkway) require what they call a “Special Use Permit” for wedding ceremonies. Rules and restrictions vary by park, so make sure you’re aware of those as well. I include links to permit information on your location list, and you can find more information in the “Permits” document in the Elopements by Erin Resource Folder. Permits for the Blue Ridge Parkway usually take a couple weeks to get approved, and they recommend applying at least 30 days in advance. Once your permit is approved, we’ll start building your elopement day timeline!!
The next step after choosing your location, is your elopement day timeline!! Similar to the location questionnaire, you’ll receive a Timeline Questionnaire that gives me all the information I’ll need to create a timeline for a fun and stress-free day. You will confirm the addresses/locations, length of your ceremony, guest count, sunrise or sunset preference, whether or not you’re doing a first look, activities, etc.
Once the questionnaire is complete, I’ll begin working on a rough draft of your timeline. Then, we’ll schedule a phone call to go through the timeline and make adjustments. The length of your timeline will depend on the package you booked. Most couples book the Full Day (8 hour) package, so I’ll use that as an example!!
Sample 8 Hour Timeline:
After we’ve completed your timeline, there are only a few last steps before your elopement day:
On the day of your elopement, we’ll meet up at our first spot and begin your day!! Most elopements start with getting ready. Followed by your first look, ceremony and vows, portraits with guests and as a couple, a picnic or meal, and one last adventure to end the day. This is how most of my elopements look, but the beautiful thing about eloping is that there are no rules — no 2 elopement days are the same. You have the freedom to craft a unique day for a completely personal wedding day experience. And I’ll be there to document the story of your day from start to finish!!
You will receive 10-20 highlights/sneak peeks the day after your elopement!! In most cases, I’ll send them the morning after. You’ll wake up to some beautiful photos to browse through together, and share with friends and family to show them what an incredible elopement day you had. You will receive your full gallery within a month, at your own personal gallery website, where you’ll be able to re-live your entire day through your photos!! Through your gallery site, you can…
If you’d like to leave me a review after you’ve received your gallery, I’ll send you an email with a link to do so, and then send some prints as a thank you!! And of course I’ll be keeping up with you both (and most likely sharing your photos all over my Instagram), so we’ll keep in touch even long after your wedding day.
Thank you so much for reading!! If you’d like to inquire about your North Carolina elopement, click here to fill out a contact form — I would be honored to help you and your partner plan your dream day!!
January 28, 2022