How to plan an Elopement

How to plan an Elopement?

So what’s the deal with elopements? Well, that’s the current answer to your canceled wedding. These are strange times and people are cautious and in general, are not planning big weddings right now. If you have said YES to your groom and still want to get married this year or next year, I’d say that having an elopement is the way to go.

elopement in France
Elopement in France – Brittney and Chris

With travel bans being lifted people slowly start traveling again. Not in groups as large as before, but still, especially couples do travel. Well, you can stuff that dress in a suitcase. Or rent one on location and elope in France, or Paris, or elope in Italy. I’ll be your witness, our photographs will be the perfect memory of the day and there’s nothing more beautiful than sharing them with people who can’t travel. I know, it sounds a bit sarcastic, but I still believe, it takes two to get married. Yes, the party will be on the quiet side of the spectrum, but there are certain rituals that come after the party – you’ll have more time for that. Wink. Wink.

Elopements are not new in this current pandemic era. Actually they have been quite popular before. They are very popular for Japanese, American, and Chinese clients of mine. They are popular with people who want to travel to far locations and seal the special moment with a ring.  So couples came from the US to Italy, or from China to France. Now with overseas travels restricted, I’m happy to propose elopements as a solution to your canceled/postponed wedding here in Europe. So if you want to elope anywhere in Europe, call me. Here’s my wedding photography portfolio.

mountain top elopement


How does an elopement work

  • pack your bags
  • fly to a location, say Paris or Naples
  • have a beautiful little wedding ceremony either in a chapel or outdoors
  • have a fun photoshoot for next 4-5 hrs, traveling around the city or countryside or wherever your/mine imagination takes you
  • dinner for two or three

Planning an Elopement

You can plan your elopement yourself or ask a local wedding planner. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help as, trust me, nobody is “very busy and fully booked” right now.

First, you choose a country – ask your self and be selfish here – where would you like to elope – is it a mountaintop in the Alps, or lakeside in Italy? Is it a beach, fishing village in Portugal or a currently empty city? Once you have it figured out – France, or Italy … Portugal or anywhere, please check with me and we’ll go through possible scenarios. I’ll scout and recommend best local spots for photos and we’ll plan the route according to the times of day, season and location. To me, it’s all about you and light!

For the ceremony we’ll need some help from the local planner – I’m happy to recommend some in Paris, France, London, and Italy, they’ll help and organize the church or outdoor ceremony for you. They will take care of flower arrangements and other decorations and your dinner reservations, if necessary. Or, you can visit the local flower shop that will create a beautiful bouquet for you!

That’s it, simple. It really is more about spending most of the time taking absolutely amazing wedding photos in beautiful locations.

What are your favorite locations for elopements?

Elopements in France

Well, the most popular location for elopements is Paris in France. I’d go a bit further away and recommend shooting an elopement somewhere in the countryside. Either Loire Valley, or chateaus around Tours. If you’re feeling more adventurous, we can rent a car and travel through little villages of Provence or drive up in the French Alps for breathtaking sceneries. A particular place comes in mind near Chateau des Avenieres – with beautiful views over the mountains and Lake Annecy. If we move more to the south on the South of France, the coastal area, there are countless of serene villages that are off the tourist maps. Hence they’re empty and perfect for the way photography that I do. Everyone is in Eze, but we’ll be somewhere else!

elopement photographer

There’s a special place that comes into my mind – Chateau de Challain in Loire Valley, they have great deals for elopements, you can either check with me or check with the Chateau for their offers – be sure to refer to me though!

Check out this springtime elopement in France here! I believe it was last April I photographed this wonderful event for Brittney and Chris.

Here’s an autumn elopement I photographed just outside Tours – this was in late October, love the colors in nature then. Fabulous planning by Iris Weddings Paris

Iris wedding Paris
A fabulous elopement organized by Iris wedding Paris

Bordeaux region comes in mind as well – if we’re to do this in September or October – this is the perfect time of year to travel to Bordeaux. Extend your travels to few more days after the elopement and it will be beautiful autumn to remember.

Elopement in Italy

Well, you can’t go wrong with eloping in Italy. (see how I made it in Italic?) I hear Venice is empty right now with cruise ships not currently coming in the city. This might be a great opportunity for making an elopement there right now. I believe that this is the best opportunity to do photoshoots in Venice we’ve seen in a long time. If you add a day on top, we can drive up to Bolzano in the Dolomites for a totally different environment, totally different vibe!

Portofino is another gem in the Italian coastline. The tiny port in a bay is the perfect location for the photoshoot. There are several small churches like Chiesa di San Giorgio. If we’re going to spend a whole day in the area I suggest adding some local towns to the route like Sant Margherita Ligure or Rapallo for the variety. You can also have the wedding ceremony in Santuaro nostra Signora della Lettera church, which is located right next to Villa Durazzo with its pretty gardens and the Villa Durazzo itself. It’s just pretty everywhere you look, the time will fly and the day will be over before you know it!

elopement in Italy
Elopement in Italy

Moving south – Florence, Sienna and Tuscany in general. This is another beautiful part of Italy – different from the above – from rolling hills of the Italian countryside to the busy streets of medieval cities – pick your poison.

Elope in Rome or Tivoli – that’s a one-day photoshoot then – usually, there are tons of tourists in Rome, but this is the perfect time to take photos there. Just like many other tourist hotspots, Rome is currently empty. Tivoli is located just a 30-minute drive outside Rome – this historical location has beautiful ancient ruins to take wedding photos in.

Further south you’ll find the Amalfi Coast – Ravello and Positano with tiny streets, Duomo do Amalfi is the perfect venue for your wedding for two. Itš very popular with my Japanese clients and I asked them why? Turns out there’s a Japanese movie called Amalfi, so they love the location, that’s why they come to Amalfi and get married just two of them. Interesting people they are.

Elopement in Portugal

You caught me – I’ve never shot a wedding or an elopement in Portugal. Out of 36 countries I’ve worked in, Portugal is not one of them, yet. But still – having traveled through it extensively, I must say – the country has potential, either the beaches or narrow streets of Lagos, or back streets of Lisbon, there are excellent opportunities for elopement photography everywhere you go. Highly recommended! if you’re looking to book a wedding photographer in Portugal, get in touch now.

Elopement in Scotland.

This is a tricky bur rewarding recommendation. Yes, Scotland is amazing! It’s the perfect place for your elopement, but it comes at a cost. Due to the weather, I suggest planning two days for shooting – well, we’ll shoot one day, once the weather is right. Winds are strong and clouds come and go, so there’s not much you can plan ahead, but once the sun comes out, it’s just marvelous!

elopement Scotland
Oh yes, this was a rainy day in Scottish highlands, the only 3 minutes with a mountain visible in the back!
sunny elopement in Scotland
On another side – a sunny day in Scotland!

I will be updating this list my advice on how to plan an elopement, feel free to check back here in a few weeks.

As you see, having an elopement instead of a wedding has many benefits – first of all, you are very flexible when it comes to dates and locations. The other benefit is that you can take your photos as long as you want – we’ll have all day for that.

So here it is, the alternative to the big wedding that is a total “no go” right now. If you’re interested in having an elopement anywhere in Europe – please get in touch here.





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